Our leadership team has a successful track record in pharma and biotech that spans the entire continuum of protein therapeutics, from discovery to global commercialization.
Susan Dillon, PhD
Co-founder, President and Chief Executive Officer
Sue Dillon, PhD, brings 30 years of experience in executive leadership roles at pharmaceutical and biotech companies to Aro Biotherapeutics. During her more than 16 year career at Johnson & Johnson, Sue led global Immunology R&D, and achieved numerous regulatory approvals for innovative antibody products for autoimmune diseases including REMICADE®, SIMPONI®, STELARA® and TREMFYA®. She also built a robust Immunology development portfolio through internal discovery and external licensing, and championed research into the emerging areas of the microbiome and immune repertoire profiling. Multi-disciplinary teams under Sue’s leadership were twice recognized with the Prix Galien Award for PROMACTA® and STELARA®, each first-in-class medicines. Sue received her PhD in Immunology from Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia and completed a postdoctoral fellowship in Immunology at Duke University. She was named by FierceBiotech as one of the “Top Women in Biotech” in 2013.
Co-founder and Chief Scientific Officer
Karyn O’Neil has more than 30 years of experience in peptide, antibody and protein engineering. As the Venture Leader for Centyrex, a Johnson & Johnson Venture, Karyn focused on designer protein platform technologies. She is co-inventor on the Centyrin patents and has led the team advancing the Centyrin platform since its inception. She joined Centocor/Johnson & Johnson in 2001 where, prior to working on Centyrins, she held positions of increasing responsibility, ultimately becoming a Director of Antibody Therapeutics. There she played a leadership role in the discovery and optimization of multiple clinical candidates. Prior to Johnson & Johnson, Karyn was in the Applied Biotechnologies group at DuPont Pharmaceuticals. Karyn received her PhD from the University of Pennsylvania where she focused on protein engineering and protein biophysics. She has authored more than 55 publications and holds over 30 patents. Karyn also serves as an editor for Protein Engineering, Design and Selection.
Chief Business Officer
Scott Greenberg brings to the company a wealth of experience across a number of functional disciplines in both oncology and immunology garnered at Roivant Sciences and Celgene Corporation. Scott most recently served as Vice President, Head of Operations at Roivant Sciences, where he was responsible for executive direction of newly established clinical-stage companies. Prior to Roivant, he spent more than a decade at Celgene Corporation (now BMS/Celgene) in multiple roles spanning business development, alliance management, operations, R&D project leadership, sales and marketing. He began his career in investment banking at Goldman Sachs & Co. Mr. Greenberg has a dual degree, with a BS in Economics and a BA in Biological Basis of Behavior with a minor in Mathematics, from the University of Pennsylvania as well as an MBA from Harvard Business School.
Chief Administrative Officer
Mark Laurenzi has more than 30 years of broadly-based experience that encompasses general management, operations, finance, law and incubation methods. Prior to Aro, Mark held several roles at Johnson & Johnson, most recently as Venture Leader. He was also instrumental in establishing a new incubation program as part of Johnson & Johnson’s Corporate Development office. Previously, Mark has consulted with private equity and venture capital firms, serving as an operating partner and interim executive for portfolio companies. Mark graduated cum laude from Princeton University, receiving his AB in Economics. He is a graduate of New York University School of Law, and began his career practicing corporate and securities law in New York City.
Steven Nadler, PhD
Vice President of Discovery and Translational Research
Steven Nadler, PhD, brings more than 25 years of experience in drug discovery, development and translational research to Aro Biotherapeutics. As the former Executive Director and Head of Immunoscience, Immuno-oncology and Oncology Discovery Translational Research at Bristol-Myers Squibb, he was solely responsible for establishing the company’s Immunoscience and Immuno-oncology Discovery Translational Research group. During his tenure at Bristol-Myers Squibb, he took on roles of increasing responsibility in the autoimmune and oncology therapeutic areas, where he was instrumental in the discovery and development of five biologic and small molecules which entered the clinic for autoimmune diseases. He also led early clinical development for three of these biologics designed to modulate T cell co-stimulation. Steve was an integral member of the teams which brought both ORENCIA® and NULOJIX® from discovery to the market. Steve received his PhD from the University of Texas at Houston, followed by postdoctoral studies at Yale Medical School. He has authored more than 80 publications and is co-inventor on over 10 patents. Steve is also an adjunct full professor at Rutgers Medical School.
Miguel S. Barbosa, PhD
Miguel S. Barbosa, PhD, has more than two decades of experience leading drug discovery and development programs at major pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies. Until his retirement in 2017, Miguel was Chief Scientific Officer (CSO), Microbiome at Assembly Biosciences. Prior, he was CSO of Mirna Therapeutics. Until 2015, he was Global Head and Vice President of Immunology Research and External Innovation at Janssen Research & Development, where he oversaw immunology R&D and new program initiatives. In addition, Miguel held positions of increasing responsibility managing new drug R&D programs at prominent biopharmaceutical firms, including Centocor, Signal Pharmaceuticals, TRL USA and Chugai Biopharma. Prior to joining the biotech industry, he was on the Faculty of Microbiology at the University of Texas, Southwestern Medical Center. Miguel received a BS, Genetics degree from the University of California, Davis and a PhD, Microbiology & Immunology from the University of California, Los Angeles. He completed a post-doctoral fellowship at the National Cancer Institute.
Masad Damha, PhD
Masad Damha is Distinguished James McGill Professor of Chemistry and has over 35 years of experience in nucleic acid drug discovery and development. He graduated from McGill with a B.Sc. (Hons) in Chemistry (1983) and then a Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry (1988) under the mentorship of Kelvin K. Ogilvie developing methods for the chemical synthesis of RNA and its analogues. His research group at McGill University focuses on synthesis and structural analyses of chemically modified oligonucleotides directed toward biomedical and diagnostic applications. His 200+ publications and dozens of patents issued have been widely cited and used in both fundamental sciences and oligonucleotide based therapeutic applications. Masad is the recipient of several awards from the Canadian Society for Chemistry, the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal (Governor General of Canada), and McGill’s Fessenden Professorship in Science Innovation. He is currently President of the International Society of Nucleosides, Nucleotides, Nucleic Acids, and has served as President of the Oligonucleotide Therapeutics Society.
Rob Kramer, PhD
Rob Kramer, PhD, has 27 years of experience in the pharmaceutical industry and is the former Head of Oncology Discovery Research at both Bristol-Myers Squibb and Janssen Pharmaceuticals, part of the Johnson & Johnson group of companies. He has been responsible for enabling the transition of more than 40 drugs from discovery into the clinic. Rob championed immunotheraphy at Bristol-Myers Squibb, resulting in the acquisition of Medarex, Inc. in 2009 and its portfolio of immune therapeutics that included Ipilimumab and Nivolumab. He received his PhD in pharmacology from the University of Vermont and undertook his post doctorate studies at the National Cancer Institute. Rob then held an Assistant Professorship at the Harvard Medical School from 1986-1991. He is currently CSO of the SalvaRx Group, a drug discovery and development company focused on immune-oncology, and serves on several Boards for both the Pharmaceutical and Biotechnology Industry. He is a grant reviewer for the Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association and the State of Texas (CPRIT) and is also Vice President of the Cancer Molecular Therapeutics Research Association which organizes an annual conference on novel approaches to cancer therapy.
Lawrence Mayer, PhD
Lawrence Mayer, PhD, has played a lead role in the discovery and development of a number of oncology drugs, several of which eventually achieved market approval, including CPX-351 approved by FDA in August, 2017. He held senior management positions at The Canadian Liposome Company and QLT Inc. before joining the BC Cancer Agency, where he established and directed the Health Canada-accredited Investigational Drug Program. Lawrence was Co-founder, President and Chief Scientific Officer of Celator Pharmaceuticals which was formed in 2000 as a spin-out of his laboratory at the BC Cancer Agency. Celator was acquired by Jazz Pharmaceuticals in July, 2016 after the successful Phase 3 outcome with its lead leukemia product CPX-351. He has authored more than 250 scientific publications and has over 35 patent families awarded or pending. Lawrence received his BS in both Chemistry and Biology, summa cum laude, from Wartburg College and his PhD in Biochemistry from the University of Minnesota.
Martin McMahon, PhD
Martin McMahon’s translational cancer research program focuses on the mechanisms underlying the initiation, progression and maintenance of metastatic melanoma, lung and pancreatic cancer. Martin graduated with a B.Sc. (Hons) in Biochemistry from Glasgow University in 1981 and a doctorate from King’s College, University of London in 1985. He completed a postdoctoral fellowship under the mentorship of J. Michael Bishop at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) investigating the mechanisms of action of oncoprotein kinases such as SRC, ERBB and RAF. In 1991, Martin established an independent research group at the DNAX Research Institute in Palo Alto working on the RAF family of protein kinases, now known to be mutationally activated in many human cancers. In 1998, Martin joined the faculty of the UCSF/Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center where he served as the Efim Guzik Distinguished Professor of Cancer Biology, Co-Leader of the Experimental Therapeutics Program and Director for Professional Education. In 2015, he joined the faculty of the University of Utah where he currently serves as the Cumming-Presidential Chair of Cancer Biology in the Dept. of Dermatology, Senior Director for Preclinical Translation and Co-Leader of the Experimental Therapeutics Program in the Huntsman Cancer Institute.
Ron Swanson, PhD
Ron Swanson recently retired from Janssen R&D where he was a Senior Director in the Biologics Discovery group. Ron has expertise in protein engineering and structural biology and led teams at Janssen working to develop peptide, protein and antibody candidates for therapeutics for the last 12 years. Under his leadership, several protein candidates were advanced into development. Prior to joining Janssen, Ron was the Co-founder and CSO at ActiveSIght, Director of Molecular Biology at Syrrx and Director of Genomics and Protein Expression at Diversa. Ron received a BA in Biochemistry and Cell Biology from UCSD, a PhD from UC Berkeley and pursued postdoctoral studies at CalTech.
Anthony Tolcher, MD
Anthony Tolcher, MD, is the founder and CEO of NEXT-Oncology, a clinical research organization dedicated to advancing highly innovative cancer therapeutics to Phase I clinical trials. Before founding NEXT-Oncology, Dr. Tolcher was co-founder and a leading member of START (South Texas Accelerated Research Therapeutics), managing a network of clinical trial centers across the U.S. Europe and Asia. He is a graduate of the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada. He performed his residency in internal medicine at the University of Toronto, a fellowship in oncology at the University of British Columbia and a fellowship in research at the National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, Maryland. Dr. Tolcher is a board certified medical oncologist.
Ted J. Torphy, PhD
Ted Torphy, PhD is the Chief Scientific Officer of BioMotiv, a for-profit drug development accelerator associated with The Harrington Project. Prior to joining BioMotiv, he spent 12 years with Johnson & Johnson. His roles included Global Head of External Innovation & Business Models for Discovery Sciences, Vice President and Head of External Research and Early Development, Corporate Vice President and Head of Johnson & Johnson’s Corporate Office of Science & Technology, and Senior Vice President and Head of Discovery and Preclinical Development at Centocor, the biopharmaceutical arm of Johnson & Johnson. Prior to joining Johnson & Johnson, Ted spent 17 years with SmithKline Beecham, most recently as Vice President and Head of Biological Research for the Cardiovascular, Metabolic, Pulmonary, Renal and Inflammatory Diseases therapeutic areas. Ted holds a BS degree in Pharmacy from the University of Wisconsin and a PhD in Pharmacology and Toxicology from West Virginia University. He completed his postdoctoral training at the University of California, San Diego.