Tonya Webb, Co Founder and Scientific Lead
Dr. Webb is a Member of the Scientific Advisory Board. Dr. Webb received her PhD from Indiana University. She completed postdoctoral training at Indiana University School of Medicine and at Johns Hopkins. Dr. Webb is an expert in NKT cell biology and her research experience includes cancer and infectious diseases. She has received awards for her research from the NIH/NCI, American Cancer Society, and American Association for the Cancer Research (AACR). Beyond the bench, Dr. Webb is the founder of Webbcures LLC and has participated in leadership and entrepreneurial workshops and was recognized by the Daily Record in 2012 as one of the top 50 leading women under 40 in Maryland.
Vik Subbu, Co-Founder and Member
Vik Subbu is the founder of Immunaccel. He is a Managing Partner at Equidis Ventures, a life sciences venture creation group. Vik also advises several start-ups in life sciences. Prior to joining Equidis Ventures he served as the Director of Business Development at Amplimmune (a member of the AstraZeneca Group since 2013) where he was instrumental in securing a multi-million dollar partnership with Daiichi Sankyo. Prior to Amplimmune, Vik was at Emergent Biosolutions, a top 20 vaccine company in the world. Vik is passionate about building life sciences companies from the ground up and brings a wide range of experience in business development, corporate and partnering strategy, project and alliance management, licensing, contract negotiations and obtaining non-dilutive funding.
Ali Tinazli PhD, Member
Dr. Tinazli is the Chief Commercial Officer at Fluxergy. He has served as a Member since 2015 and brings expertise in next generation such as microfluidics. Dr. Tinazli has a deep background in the science and business of biomedicine and healthcare. Ali has done extensive work in the field of molecular biology of aging and nanobiotechnology and has authored about 20 publications. He received his PhD in BioChemistry from J.W. Goethe University in Germany, and also studied business at UC, Berkeley’s Haas School of Business and MIT’s Sloan School of Management. After receiving his Ph.D., Ali was in Corporate Development at Applied Biosystems (now: Thermo Fisher) where he conducted technology scouting and in-licensing. From 2008-2015, Ali built the biomedical consumables business at Sony DADC (part of SONY Corporation). As a member of the management team at Sony DADC BioSciences, he has headed as VP & Head of Business Development the Americas business based out of Cambridge, MA. In December 2015, Ali Tinazli joined HP’s CTOs office in Palo Alto (CA) and is leading the corporate-wide, global strategy for Healthcare and Life Sciences. In addition to his bioscience and industry domain experience, Ali brings strong entrepreneurial experience and hands-on knowledge of the biosciences start-up community. He currently sits on the Advisory Board of a bioinformatics/computer processor company, and serves as a Board Member at various start-up companies in the biomedical/digital health space.
Sheng Yao PhD, Scientific Advisor
Dr. Yao is a Member of the Scientific Translational Advisory Board. Dr. Yao is the Senior Vice President of Oncology at Top Alliance Biosciences where he oversees all oncology program development activities. Prior to Top Alliance, Dr. Yao was Senior Research Scientist and Head of New Target Discovery at Amplimmune Inc., ( a member of the AstraZeneca Group). Prior to industry, Dr. Yao was an Associate Research Scientist at the Yale School of Medicine where he worked closely with Dr. Lieping Chen, a pioneer in the immuno-oncology arena. Dr. Yao completed his Post Doctoral Fellow in Dr. Lieping Chen’s lab at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and has several key publications and book chapters in the field of immuno-oncology.
Linda Liu PhD, Member
Dr. Liu has served as a Member since 2015 in a scientific capacity. Dr. Liu is the Senior Vice President of Nextcure Inc. She has more than 20 years of research and industry experience with broad knowledge and proven success in the discovery and development of biological drug candidates in oncology and autoimmune diseases. She was one of the founding members of Amplimmune (now MedImmune/AstraZeneca) where she held various key positions with increasing responsibilities, including Executive Director of Translational Science/Scientific Affairs and VP of New Products. Prior to that, she served as Senior Director of Biological Product Development at MaxCyte, where she was responsible for development, in vitro and in vivo characterization and manufacture of various gene & cell based therapeutics including CAR-T, CAR-NK & DC therapies. Dr. Liu is an author or co-author of many research and review articles in peer-reviewed journals and book chapters in the areas of cancer immunotherapy, gene/cell therapy and cell biology. She is an inventor of numerous US and European patents and patent applications. Dr. Liu received her Ph.D. degree in Virology and Cell Biology from the University of Texas, Austin and her B.S. degree in Virology and Molecular Biology from Wuhan University in China. She conducted her postdoctoral training in Tumor Cell Biology at the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
Ravi Amaravadi MD, Oncology Clinical and Scientific Advisor
Dr. Amaravadi is a Member of our Clinical Oncology Advisory Board. He is a physician scientist with expertise in autophagy, conducting early phase clinical trials, and clinically treating patients with advanced melanoma. He was one of the first to demonstrate that autophagy is a targetable mechanism of resistance in cancer therapy using animal models. He has translated this finding into 9 phase I/II clinical trials testing hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) as a possible anticancer agent in multiple cancers. The first 6 clinical trials were published and represent the first deliberate attempt to modulate autophagy therapeutically in any disease. His laboratory published the first evidence that autophagy is elevated in melanoma patient tumors and predicts poor survival. His work on the role of autophagy in melanoma has identified ER stress associated autophagy as a resistance mechanism to BRAF inhibitors. Working with collaborators in Chemistry, his lab has designed, synthesized and characterized a novel autophagy inhibitor Lys05, which is more potent than HCQ in animal models. Dr. Amaravadi is also a recognized melanoma medical oncologist and phase I trialist who has served as the site PI or co-investigator on melanoma clinical trials involving BRAF inhibitors, and first in human phase I clinical trials of novel cancer agents. In 2013 he was appointed co- Leader of the Cancer Therapeutics Program of the Abramson Cancer Center. In 2015 he was inducted into the American Society of Clinical Investigation.