Harpoon is a clinical-stage immuno-oncology company developing a novel class of T cell engagers that unleash the natural power of the T cells to fight cancer and other diseases.
At the heart of Harpoon’s approach is a novel antibody-derived platform called TriTAC® (Tri-specific T cell Activating Construct) designed for targeted penetration and destruction of solid tumors and hematologic malignancies, and engineered to bind to human serum albumin for improved therapeutic schedule and patient convenience.
Gerald McMahon, PhD
President and Chief Executive Officer
Dr. McMahon brings has more than 25 years of exceptional biotechnology leadership, scientific innovation and creative deal-making experience. With broad disease-area expertise and a specialty in oncology therapeutics, he has held scientific, pharmaceutical and venture capital positions, has been the CEO of multiple drug development companies and has discovered, developed, and licensed novel therapeutics leading to value-creating portfolios including drug approvals.
Dr. McMahon has held academic appointments at the Yale Comprehensive Cancer Center at Yale University, Tufts University School of Medicine and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He received his BS in biology and PhD in the field of biochemistry and genetics from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.
Vice President, Research
Rick Austin joined Harpoon Therapeutics in June 2015, previously having worked at Amgen and Tularik. In his 20+ years of biotech experience in the field of oncology, he has led small and large molecule programs focusing on target validation, drug discovery, and drug development. His work has produced numerous publications and patents. Dr. Austin holds a B.A. from Middlebury College and a Ph.D. in Molecular Biology and Biophysics from Yale University, and he received postdoctoral training at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Georgia L. Erbez
Chief Financial Officer
Georgia L. Erbez joined Harpoon in October 2018 as Chief Financial Officer, bringing financial, operational and strategic advisory experience in multiple biotech settings, as well as investment banking. She previously served as Chief Business Officer and Chief Financial Officer of Zosano Pharma, a therapeutics company focused on migraine. She served as Chief Financial Officer and Executive Vice President of Asterias Biotherapeutics and Chief Financial Officer, Secretary and Treasurer of Raptor Pharmaceuticals, where she helped to navigate the company through a growth period that included its first drug approval and subsequent commercial launch. Prior to Raptor, Ms. Erbez was a Managing Director, Healthcare Investment Banking at Collins Stewart, a Founder and Managing Director at Beal Advisors, and a senior level investment banker at Jefferies & Company, Inc. and Cowen and Company. She has also held positions at the investment banks Hambrecht & Quist and Alex. Brown & Sons Inc. Ms. Erbez received a Bachelor of Arts degree, International Relations from the University of California at Davis.
Susan Dana Jones
Senior Vice President, Product Development
Susan Dana Jones joined Harpoon in July 2017 as Senior Vice President, Product Development. She brings more than 30 years of experience to her new position, including biopharmaceutical and vaccine product development, outsourcing, project management and strategic planning. Dr. Jones has served as Vice President and Principal Consultant of BioProcess Technology Consultants (BPTC) for 16 years, where she focuses on manufacturing requirements for advancement of product candidates from early discovery through all stages of clinical development. She has previously served as Senior Vice President of Corporate Development at Serenex, Vice President of Product Development at Waratah Pharmaceuticals, and Vice President Technology Strategy at Dyax Corp. Dr. Jones received her Bachelor's degree in biochemistry from Harvard University, holds a Ph.D. in Genetics from the University of California, San Francisco, and performed post-doctoral research at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute of Harvard Medical School.
Vice President, Corporate Development
Rachael Lester joined Harpoon Therapeutics in September 2017 as Vice President of Corporate Development, and is responsible for spearheading the company’s corporate strategy and business development activities. She brings nearly 20 years of experience in corporate and commercial strategy, business development and commercial operations. Most recently, as VP of Product & Marketing for Bruin Biometrics, she led the commercialization of SEM Scanner® , and drove ongoing R&D collaborations and partnerships. From 2010 through the approvals of Kyprolis™ and Stivarga™ and its acquisition by Amgen in October 2013, Ms. Lester served as Global Head of Strategic Asset Management at Onyx Pharmaceuticals, where she was responsible for portfolio management, strategic finance, sell-side corporate development, and strategy & innovation initiatives. At Deloitte Consulting, she held a leading role in the Life Sciences Strategy & Operations practice, as a thought leader and advisor to biotech clients on growth strategy, M&A, and new product planning & commercialization. Ms. Lester received a B.A. in neuroscience from University of Pennsylvania and an M.B.A. from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.
Che-Leung Law, PhD
Senior Vice President, Translational Medicine
Dr. Law joined Harpoon in April 2017 with more than 19 years of experience in the discovery and development of novel biologics and small molecules in oncology and immuno-oncology. Dr. Law most recently was senior director of preclinical research at Seattle Genetics, where he led target discovery, drug technology development, IND-enabling studies, translational research, and pharmacodynamic and biomarker research. Dr. Law previously held scientific positions at CDR Therapeutics and Xcyte Therapies. He was also an affiliate assistant professor in the department of microbiology at the University of Washington for several years. Dr. Law received his PhD in pathobiology from the University of Minnesota and an MPhil in biochemistry from the University of Hong Kong.
Natalie R. Sacks, MD
Chief Medical Officer
Dr. Sacks joined Harpoon in October 2018 as Chief Medical Officer, bringing extensive oncology and clinical development expertise. She most recently served as Chief Medical Officer of Aduro Biotech, a company focused on the advancement of novel immuno-oncology technologies. Previously, she was Vice President of Clinical Development at Onyx Pharmaceuticals (acquired by Amgen) where she played a key role in the development and approval of Kyprolis®, an FDA-approved therapy for the treatment of multiple myeloma, and in business development strategy. Prior to that, she served as Vice President of Clinical Research for Exelixis where she directed the development of a portfolio of small molecules, with responsibilities ranging from IND filings to late-stage development, including development of Cometriq™. Earlier in her career, Dr. Sacks served as Vice President of Clinical Development at Cell Genesys, a company focused on the development of cancer vaccines and engineered chimeric antigen receptor (CAR)-T cells. She received her M.D. from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, her M.S. in Biostatistics from the Harvard University T.H. Chan School of Public Health and her B.A. in Mathematics from Bryn Mawr College. Dr. Sacks was an Assistant Clinical Professor at the University of California, San Francisco, and served as volunteer Attending Physician in Hematology-Oncology at San Francisco General Hospital for more than a decade. She serves as a board member for Zymeworks Inc. and Caribou Biosciences.
VP Development Operations and Project Management
Omer brings 20 years of experience in drug development to Harpoon, across multiple therapeutic areas and modalities. Most recently he served as the Head of Clinical Development Operations at Alector, where he built the company’s clinical organization and was responsible for leading and defining developmental strategy, and overseeing trial execution. He played a key role in advancing four clinical programs into the clinic, including to Phase 3. Prior to Alector, Omer was the Vice President of Clinical Operations at Allakos, where he led multiple antibody programs from first in human to proof of concept in patients. Before joining Allakos, he spent more than 5 years at Genentech in the research and early development group overseeing clinical operations experts, with responsibility for the delivery of all clinical trials through various stages of development across neuroscience, immunology and infectious diseases. Earlier in his career, Omer worked at INC Research, Eli Lilly, and MDS Pharma Services in in clinical study management. Omer completed his BSc in Biology from the University of Western Ontario in Canada, and completed his MSc in biotechnology at Johns Hopkins University.
Karin Ann Thacker, M.Sc.
Vice President, Regulatory Affairs and Quality Assurance
Ms. Thacker joins Harpoon with more than 20 years of leadership experience in regulatory affairs and quality assurance in the biopharmaceutical industry. Prior to joining Harpoon, she served as Vice President of Global Regulatory Affairs at Gritstone Oncology where she built out the Regulatory Affairs function, led the company’s INDs, and provided regulatory strategic expertise on the development of personalized therapeutic cancer vaccines, bispecific antibodies, biomarkers and companion diagnostics as well as FDA interactions on the design and quality systems for GMP bioinformatics and manufacturing facilities. Prior to Gritstone, she served as Senior Director, Head of Regulatory Development, Global Regulatory Affairs at Puma Biotechnology. She has also held positions at Gilead Sciences, Sunesis Pharmaceuticals, Genitope Corporation, Chiron Corporation, and Sanofi Pasteur in roles of increasing responsibility. Ms. Thacker received her M.Sc., and B.Sc. (hons) degrees in microbiology from the University of Manitoba.
Holger Wesche, PhD
Chief Scientific Officer
Dr. Wesche joined Harpoon Therapeutics with 20 years of biotech experience focused on target validation, drug discovery and drug development as well as multi-site project management in the fields of oncology and inflammation. His previous role was as scientific director at Amgen where he was responsible for cross-functional organization and coordination of the next generation BiTE platform, the industry’s leading T-cell engaging antibody platform. He also led several drug discovery projects through pre-clinical development. Dr. Wesche is co-author of numerous publications and several US patents. Dr. Wesche received his PhD, summa cum laude, in biochemistry and Immunology from the University of Hannover, Germany.
Vice President, Finance
Mr. Whitmore has more than 15 years of experience in strategic finance, accounting, operations, investor relations, organizational planning and oversight. Prior to Harpoon, he served as Vice President, Finance and Administration for Immune Design, a publicly-traded immuno-oncology company. Prior to Immune Design, he held management positions of increasing responsibilities at AcelRx Pharmaceuticals and Sangamo Therapeutics. He started his career at KPMG LLP, where he served as a manager in the audit practice, and holds an active CPA license. Mr. Whitmore received his B.A. in Business Economics from the University of California, Santa Barbara.
Joseph S. Bailes, MD
Dr. Bailes is a medical oncologist with substantial experience in clinical practice, legislation, public policy, advocacy and business. For nearly two decades, he served in various executive leadership capacities for the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), including terms as President, Interim Executive Vice President and Chief Executive Officer, and Chair of the ASCO Government Relations Council. He has spent the last decade advising and consulting in the biopharmaceutical industry for a number of companies including Telik, Kite, Lilly, and G1. Dr. Bailes has many years of experience in the practice of oncology in the private sector as a former partner in Texas Oncology, P.A., the largest oncology practice group in the country, and as a founding member of Physician Reliance Network (PRN), one of the corporate predecessors to US Oncology, Inc. Dr. Bailes served as President of PRN Research, where he oversaw clinical trials and drug development activities. Subsequently, he was Executive Vice President for Clinical Affairs with US Oncology, and has served on several Boards of Directors within the pharmaceutical and banking industries. Dr. Bailes received his medical degree from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School at Dallas, followed by his internship and residency at Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas. He completed his Medical Oncology/Hematology Fellowship at the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio. Additionally, Dr. Bailes has served as Clinical Assistant Professor at the University of Texas Health Science Center.
Mark Chin, MS, MBA
Mark Chin currently sits on the boards of Imara, Harpoon Therapeutics and Iterum Therapeutics. He was previously an investment director at Arix Bioscience, a biotechnology focused venture capital firm, and a principal at Longitude Capital, where he focused on investments in biotechnology and medical technology companies. Prior to Longitude, he was a consultant at the Boston Consulting Group, where he was responsible for strategy and corporate development projects for pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies. Before BCG, he worked in corporate development at Gilead Sciences and market planning at Genentech. He has an MBA from The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, an MS in Biotechnology from the University of Pennsylvania, and a BS in Management Science from the University of California at San Diego.
Alan Colowick, MD, MPH
Dr. Colowick is an experienced biotech leader and has served in numerous executive and board roles. Dr. Colowick served as a Partner and Executive Partner from May 2017 to Jan 2021 at Sofinnova Investment, Inc., a clinical stage life sciences venture capital firm. From February 2010 to April 2017, Dr. Colowick held various positions, including Executive Vice President, at Celgene Corporation. From February 2008 to January 2010, Dr. Colowick served as the Chief Executive Officer of Gloucester Pharmaceuticals Inc until its acquisition by Celgene Corporation in January 2010. From October 2006 to February 2008, Dr. Colowick served as President, Oncology at Geron Corporation. Earlier in his career, Dr. Colowick served in various capacities at Amgen Inc. Dr. Colowick presently serves on the board of directors of Personalis Inc, Xylocor, and In Carda. Recently he served as Chair of the BOD of Prinicipia Bio until its acquisition by Sanofi, and Velos Bio until its acquisition by Merck. Previously, he served on the board of directors of Human Longevity, Inc., Achaogen, Inc., and Dimension Therapeutics, Inc. Dr. Colowick holds a B.S. in Molecular Biology from the University of Colorado, an M.D. from Stanford University School of Medicine, and an M.P.H. from the Harvard School of Public Health. He completed fellowship training in hematology and oncology at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute and Brigham and Women's Hospital.
Jonathan Drachman, MD
Dr. Drachman has more than 20 years of academic research, clinical oncology and biotechnology experience, most recently as Chief Medical Officer and Executive Vice President of Research and Development at Seattle Genetics, where he played a key role in the clinical development of Adcetris and advancing the pipeline of antibody-drug conjugates and immuno-oncology drug candidates. He currently serves as Strategic Advisor for Innovation for Seattle Genetics. Dr. Drachman completed his internal medicine residency and medical oncology fellowship at the University of Washington and was a faculty member in the Division of Hematology, Department of Medicine at the University of Washington School of Medicine from 1998 through 2004. He received his medical degree from Harvard Medical School. Dr. Drachman also serves as a member of the Board of Directors for Calithera Biosciences.
Julie Eastland, MBA
Julie Eastland is a seasoned strategic and financial executive with more than 25 years of experience in the public and private biotechnology industry. She currently serves as Chief Operating Officer and Chief Financial Officer of ReCode Therapeutics, a private genetics medicine company focused on delivery of novel, anti-viral lipid nanoparticles therapeutics for respiratory diseases. Prior to ReCode, she served as Chief Financial Officer and Chief Business Officer of Rainier Therapeutics, a private biopharmaceutical company focused in FGFR3 bladder cancer. Prior to Rainier, she served as Chief Financial Officer and Chief Business Officer of Cascadian Therapeutics, a publicly traded oncology company that was acquired by Seattle Genetics in 2018. While at Cascadian, she was instrumental in the negotiation and sale of the company, primarily for its product tucatinib, a HER2 targeted breast cancer therapy now marketed as Tukysa®. Prior to Cascadian, she served as Chief Financial Officer and Vice President of Finance and Operations of VLST Corporation, a privately-held biotechnology company, and held various financial and strategic management positions at publicly traded biotechnology companies including Dendreon and Amgen. Ms. Eastland received an M.B.A. from Edinburgh University Management School and a B.S. in finance from Colorado State University. In addition to serving on the board at Harpoon Therapeutics, she serves on the board of Dynavax Technologies (Nasdaq: DVAX) and Graybug Vision (Nasdaq: GRAY).
Ron Hunt, MBA
Ron Hunt is the Chairman of the Board of Harpoon Therapeutics and a managing director at New Leaf Venture Partners, and focuses on investments in biopharmaceutical companies. Hunt was one of the founders of New Leaf following the spin out from the Sprout Group in 2005, and has over two decades of life sciences venture capital investment experience. Hunt has played a significant role in many of the firm’s investments in biopharmaceuticals and in other sectors. He is currently on the board of Iterum Therapeutics and a number of private Biopharmaceutical companies. Hunt is a graduate of The Wharton School (MBA) and Cornell University (BS).
Gerald McMahon, PhD
Dr. McMahon joined Harpoon in December 2016 bringing more than 25 years of biotechnology leadership, scientific innovation and creative deal-making experience. Dr. McMahon was previously president and CEO of Kolltan Pharmaceuticals, an oncology biologics company acquired by Celldex in 2016, and senior vice president of R&D oncology at MedImmune, the biologics arm of AstraZeneca. He also served as a venture partner at Bay City Capital and in executive leadership roles at Poniard Pharmaceuticals and SUGEN (ultimately acquired by Pfizer), where he was a key player in the development of innovative oncology drugs Sutent® and Palladia®.
Dr. McMahon holds an academic appointment at the Yale Comprehensive Cancer Center at Yale University, and held previous appointments at Tufts University School of Medicine, department of hematology & oncology at the New England Medical Center, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He received his BS in biology and PhD in biochemistry from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.
Scott Myers, MBA
Scott Myers currently serves as President and Chief Executive Officer of AMAG Pharmaceuticals, Inc. a public biopharmaceutical company focused on bringing innovative products to patients with unmet medical needs. Previously, Myers was Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Rainier Therapeutics, a clinical-stage biotechnology company focused in metastatic bladder cancer. Prior to joining Rainier, Mr. Myers was Chief Executive Officer, President and Director of Cascadian Therapeutics, a publicly traded oncology company acquired by Seattle Genetics (Nasdaq: SGEN) in March 2018. He was also CEO of Aerocrine AB (OMX Nasdaq: AERO), A Swedish Medtech company from September 2011 until its acquisition by Circassia, PLC in July of 2015. He has held senior commercial operations, general management and information management positions for UCB SA, a Belgium-based biopharmaceutical company, and Johnson & Johnson. Scott is also an Independent Director and member of the Nomination and Governance committee of SelectaBio (SELB), SelectaBio has developed the ImmTOR platform focused on the treatment of Gout and other novel therapies for immune system diseases. Myers earned his B.A. in biology from Northwestern University and his M.B.A. from the University of Chicago’s Graduate School of Business (Booth).
Andrew Robbins, MBA
Andrew Robbins is an accomplished executive with extensive commercial, development and strategic leadership experience during a 20-year career in the pharmaceutical industry, with a specific focus on oncology and hematology products. He currently serves as President and CEO of Cogent Biosciences, a public biotechnology company developing real solutions to treat genetically driven diseases. Before Cogent Biosciences, he served at Array Biopharma as the Chief Operating Officer until its acquisition by Pfizer in 2019. Prior to joining Array in 2012, he held management positions at Hospira, Inc., a global pharmaceutical and medical device company. Prior to January 2007, he held commercial and leadership positions within Pfizer's oncology division. Additionally, Mr. Robbins served on the boards of directors of Fate Therapeutics, Cytograft Tissue Engineering and StemCor Systems. Mr. Robbins holds an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University and a bachelor's degree from Swarthmore College.
Joanne Viney, PhD
Dr. Viney is an entrepreneurial scientist and experienced biotech executive with deep autoimmune and inflammatory disease expertise. Dr. Viney currently serves as President, CSO and Co-founder of Pandion Therapeutics, a privately held startup drug discovery and development company focused on developing modular biologics for regulating autoimmunity and inflammatory disease. Previously, Dr. Viney worked at Biogen where she began as Vice President, Immunology Research and was responsible for building and advancing the company’s immunology portfolio before moving on to become Senior Vice President, Drug Discovery and a member of the senior R&D leadership team. Previous roles include Director of Inflammation Research at Amgen as well as Director, Department of Autoimmunity and Inflammation at Immunex. She received a Ph.D. in immunology from the University of London, St. Bartholomew’s Hospital Medical School and a B.Sc. in biophysical science from the University of East London. Dr. Viney is a member of the Board of Directors of Finch Therapeutics and Quench Bio, and is a member of the Scientific Advisory Board for HotSpot Therapeutics.
Ramy Ibrahim, MD
Dr. Ibrahim serves as Chief Medical Officer and US General Manager at bit.bio. A recognized leader of clinical development in immunotherapy, Dr. Ibrahim previously spent nearly five years at the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy building translational, clinical, and regulatory capabilities from the ground up as Chief Medical Officer and remains on the Board of Directors. Dr. Ibrahim helped develop some of the first breakthrough treatments in the field during his tenure at Bristol-Myers Squibb and MedImmune/AstraZeneca. At AstraZeneca, he helped develop durvalumab (anti-PD-L1 antibody) and tremelimumab (anti-CTLA-4 antibody). Previously, at Bristol-Myers Squibb, he served on the Yervoy (ipilimumab) clinical team supporting the program through multiple global launches of the first FDA-approved immune checkpoint inhibitor. In addition, he played a key role in early development for nivolumab (PD-1), PD-L1 and CD137 antibody. Dr. Ibrahim is a trained medical oncologist, who conducted bench and clinical immunotherapy research at the cancer vaccine branch of the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, MD. He received his MD from the National Cancer Institute at Cairo University, where he also did a fellowship in medical oncology. Dr. Ibrahim also serves as a member of the Board of Directors of bluebird bio and Surface Oncology.
Jeffrey Ravetch, MD, PhD
Dr. Ravetch is the Theresa and Eugene M. Lang Professor and head of the Leonard Wagner Laboratory of Molecular Genetics and Immunology at The Rockefeller University. A pioneering immunology researcher, he won the 2017 Ross Prize in Molecular Medicine for his identification of the mechanism by which the specific structure of antibodies controls immune cell reactivity. Dr. Ravetch received his PhD from Rockefeller and his MD from Cornell University Medical College. He was on the faculty of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and a guest investigator in Rockefeller’s Laboratory of Cellular Physiology and Immunology, before being appointed professor at Rockefeller in 1996. Dr. Ravetch has received the 2007 Coley Award from the Cancer Research Institute; the Canada Gairdner International Award and the Sanofi–Institut Pasteur Award, and the 2015 Wolf Prize in Medicine.
Charles Rudin, MD, PhD
Dr. Rudin, a board-certified medical oncologist specializing in lung cancer, is chief of the thoracic oncology service at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. He is also co-chair of the Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group thoracic committee, and member of the National Cancer Institute thoracic malignancies steering committee. Dr. Rudin directs a broad research program of therapeutic research, including laboratory-based investigations to identify and test novel treatment approaches to small cell and non-small cell lung cancers. Some of these strategies include turning back on genes silenced in cancer, re-activating cancer cell death pathways and treating lung cancer with a cancer-specific virus. Dr. Rudin received his MD from the University of Chicago, and did his residency in internal medicine and fellowship in hematology/oncology at the University of Chicago.
Eric Small, MD
Dr. Small is a professor of medicine and urology, and chief of the department of medicine/division of hematology/oncology at University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). He is co-director of the urologic cancer service and director of urologic oncology research. His patient care and research focus is prostate cancer, immunotherapy and the mechanisms of resistance to standard therapies. He is a member of the Therapy Consortium of The Prostate Cancer Foundation, the largest private source of prostate cancer research funding, and on the board of directors of the American Prostate Cancer Foundation. He chairs the Prostate Cancer Correlative Sciences Working Group of the Cancer and Leukemia Group B Cooperative Oncology Group. Dr. Small earned a bachelor's degree at Stanford University and a medical degree at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, where he graduated with honors. While in medical school, he completed a fellowship in pathology. He completed post-graduate residency training in internal medicine at Beth Israel Hospital and a fellowship in hematology and oncology at the UCSF Cancer Research Institute.
In November 2019, Harpoon and Abbvie entered into an exclusive worldwide option and license transaction for HPN217, Harpoon’s B cell maturation antigen (BCMA)-targeting Tri-specific T cell Activating Construct (TriTAC®), and an expansion of their existing discovery collaboration for up to six additional targets. These agreements build upon the discovery collaboration established by the two companies in October 2017 and are expected to advance and broaden the use of Harpoon’s proprietary TriTAC platform. The TriTAC platform produces novel T cell engagers targeting both solid tumors and hematologic malignancies.