Senti Bio Adds Prominent Scientific and Industry Leaders to its Scientific Advisory Board
- Members include world-leading experts in fields of immunotherapy drug discovery and development and commercial oncology therapeutics -
- Dr. James Collins, a founder of the field of synthetic biology, appointed SAB Chairperson -
South San Francisco, Calif., August 17, 2021 —Senti Bio, a leading gene circuit company, today announced the addition of three independent experts to its Scientific Advisory Board (SAB). Michael Kalos, PhD, Robin Taylor, MBA, PhD, and Michael Varney, PhD, are leaders in the fields of immunotherapy drug discovery and development and commercial oncology therapeutics. These new advisors will join the current SAB members, working closely with Senti Bio leadership to advance its mission of creating a new generation of smarter medicines that outmaneuver complex diseases in ways previously inconceivable. In addition to these appointments, Senti Bio also announced that James Collins, PhD, was named as Chair of the SAB.
“It is a distinct pleasure to welcome Drs. Kalos, Taylor and Varney to our Scientific Advisory Board. All three are distinguished scientists and company builders—they have demonstrated tremendous vision, leadership and success in their fields of expertise,” said Tim Lu, MD, PhD, Chief Executive Officer of Senti Bio. “They will be joining a highly regarded group of advisors who have made critical discoveries and contributions to the fields of synthetic biology, oncology and cell and gene therapy. In addition, it’s an honor to have Dr. Collins, a founder of the field of synthetic biology, become Chair of the SAB. He has pioneered multiple synthetic biology breakthroughs in biomedicine and biotechnology, and will continue to provide insightful scientific leadership as we strive to create a new generation of smarter medicines.”
Including the three additions, the members of Senti Bio’s Scientific Advisory Board are as follows:
James Collins, PhD, Scientific Co-Founder and Chairperson
Dr. Collins is the Termeer Professor of Medical Engineering and Science in the Institute for Medical Engineering and Science as well as Professor of Biological Engineering at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is one of the founders of the field of synthetic biology, has been elected to all three national academies—the National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering and National Academy of Medicine—and has received a number of awards recognizing his work, including the Dickson Prize in Medicine and the Sanofi-Institut Pasteur Award. Dr. Collins has been a Rhodes Scholar, a MacArthur Fellow and a recipient of the NIH Pioneer Award. In addition to his role as a faculty member at MIT, Dr. Collins is a Core Faculty member of the Wyss Institute at Harvard and an Institute Member of the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard. Dr. Collins is a co-founder of Synlogic, Sherlock Biosciences, Cellarity and Phare Bio, and serves on the SAB of multiple companies including Danaher and Shape Therapeutics. Dr. Collins has a PhD in Medical Engineering from the University of Oxford, and an AB in Physics from the College of the Holy Cross.
Michael Andreeff, MD, PhD
Dr. Andreeff is a Professor of Medicine and holds the Paul and Mary Haas Chair in Genetics at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. He has worked extensively on drug resistance in hematopoietic malignancies, such as acute myelogenous leukemia (AML), and developed or co-developed several new therapeutic agents. Dr. Andreeff has an MD and PhD from the University of Heidelberg Medical School, and additional training and faculty appointments at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC) in New York in the Departments of Pathology and Leukemia.
Lawrence Fong, MD
Dr. Fong is the Efim Guzik Distinguished Professor in Cancer Biology and leads the Cancer Immunotherapy Program at the University of California, San Francisco. Dr. Fong is a physician-scientist in UCSF’s Department of Medicine, Division of Hematology/Oncology directing both a translational research program and an NIH funded research lab. He has been focused on cancer immunotherapy for two decades and has been involved in both preclinical and clinical studies of FDA-approved immunotherapies including sipuleucel-T and immune checkpoint inhibitors. Dr. Fong has an MD from Stanford University, and a BA from Columbia University. He completed a residency in internal medicine at the University of Washington and completed an oncology fellowship at Stanford Medicine.
Martin Fussenegger, PhD
Dr. Fussenegger is a Professor of Biotechnology and Bioengineering at ETH Zurich. He is a pioneer in therapeutic synthetic biology and a member of the National Academy of Engineering, and is the recipient of numerous honors including the AIChE Bailey Award and the Merck Cell Culture Engineering Award. Dr. Fussenegger graduated with Werner Arber at the Biocenter of the University of Basel, has a PhD in Medical Microbiology from the Max Planck Institute of Biology, and completed his postdoctoral studies at the Max Planck Institute of Infection Biology.
Michael Kalos, PhD
Dr. Kalos is an independent advisor and consultant as well as an internationally recognized expert in T cell therapy, oncology vaccines and immuno-oncology with over 25 years of experience in both industry and academia. He has served in leadership and executive roles at Janssen, Eli Lilly and most recently at Arsenal Bio. Prior to industry, Dr. Kalos spent 10 years in academia, including founding and directing the Translational and Correlative Studies Laboratory at the University of Pennsylvania that played a key role in the development of the CTL019 program that was licensed to Novartis and commercialized as Kymriah, the first approved CAR-T cell therapy product. Dr. Kalos has a PhD from the University of Minnesota and completed post-doctoral training in the laboratory of Phil Greenberg at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. He has over 85 peer-reviewed publications including multiple high-impact and field-defining manuscripts, and over 26 issued patents in the fields of cell therapy, immunotherapy and vaccines.
Ahmad (Mo) Khalil, PhD
Dr. Khalil is an Associate Professor of Biomedical Engineering and the Associate Director of the Biological Design Center at Boston University, and a Visiting Scholar at the Wyss Institute at Harvard University. An expert in synthetic biology, Dr. Khalil has done pioneering work in designing transcription factors and gene regulatory systems for mammalian synthetic biology and therapeutic applications. He is a recipient of several awards including the DoD Vannevar Bush Faculty Fellowship, Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE), NIH New Innovator Award, NSF CAREER Award, DARPA Young Faculty Award and a Hartwell Foundation Biomedical Research Award. Dr. Khalil is a co-founder of K2 Biotechnologies and Fynch Biosciences, and a SAB member of Chroma Medicine. Dr. Khalil has a MS and PhD in Mechanical Engineering from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, as well as a BS in Mechanical Engineering from Stanford University.
Robin G. Taylor, MBA, PhD
Dr. Taylor is an independent consultant with two decades of biopharma experience in global development and commercialization of oncology drugs. Most recently he was the Chief Commercial Officer at Seagen, leading the organization for the launches of PADCEV (enfortumab vedotin) and Tukysa (tucatinib). He began his career at Genentech with leadership roles in Product Marketing, where he contributed to the success of several leading brands, including HERCEPTIN® (trastuzumab), AVASTIN® (bevacizumab) and ALECENSA® (alectinib). Subsequently, he was the Franchise Head for Immuno-Oncology (IO) at both Genentech/Roche and AstraZeneca, gaining significant experience in development and commercialization of IO therapies, including TECENTRIQ® (atezolizumab) and IMFINZI® (durvalumab). He earned a PhD in Molecular and Medical Genetics from the University of Toronto, an MBA from the University of California, Berkeley, and a BSc from the University of British Columbia.
Michael Varney, PhD
Dr. Varney is the Chairman of R&D, SAB Member and Board Director at Erasca, an early-stage biotechnology company on a mission to erase cancer by shutting down key cancer pathways. Dr. Varney is a pioneer drug discoverer and biotech leader—he has led research and early drug development efforts at Agouron, the developers of an early HIV protease inhibitor, Viracept®, as well as multiple approved anti-cancer agents, including Xalkori® (crizotinib) and Inlyta®(axitinib). Dr. Varney was instrumental in expanding Genentech’s drug discovery capabilities to include small molecules, building an organization that produced anti-cancer drugs Erivedge® (vismodegib) and Cotellic® (cobimetinib). He most recently retired from Genentech as the Head of Research and Early Development. Dr. Varney has a BS in Chemistry from the University of California, Los Angeles, and a PhD in synthetic organic chemistry from the California Institute of Technology. He was an American Cancer Society postdoctoral fellow at Columbia University.
Wilson Wong, PhD, Scientific Co-Founder
Dr. Wong is an Associate Professor at Boston University. He is an expert in immune cell engineering and synthetic biology for therapeutic applications. Dr. Wong’s research has been published in numerous high-impact journals including Nature, Nature Biotechnology, Cell and PNAS. Dr. Wong has been recognized with multiple early academic career awards, including the NIH New Innovator Award, the ACS Synthetic Biology Young Investigator Award and the NSF CAREER Award. Dr. Wong has a BS in Chemical Engineering from the University of California, Berkeley, and a PhD in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering from the University of California, Los Angeles. Dr. Wong completed his postdoctoral studies in the laboratory of Professor Wendell Lim at University of California, San Francisco.
About Senti Bio
Our mission is to create a new generation of smarter medicines that outmaneuver complex diseases in ways previously inconceivable. To accomplish this mission, we are building a synthetic biology platform that we believe may enable us to program next-generation cell and gene therapies with what we refer to as “gene circuits.” These gene circuits, which are created from novel and proprietary combinations of DNA sequences, are designed to reprogram cells with biological logic to sense inputs, compute decisions and respond to their cellular environments. We aim to design gene circuits to improve the “intelligence” of cell and gene therapies in order to enhance their therapeutic effectiveness against a broad range of diseases that conventional medicines do not readily address. For more information, please visit the Senti Bio website at https://www.sentibio.com.