Niranjan Y. Sardesai, PhD
Dr. Sardesai founded Geneos after building Inovio Pharmaceuticals into a Phase III cancer and infectious disease immunotherapy company serving as its Chief Operating Officer. He held positions of increasing responsibility after joining the company in 2006 where he helped formulate the company’s product development and growth strategies and reorganized the company into a DNA vaccine and immunotherapies company. For Inovio, Dr. Sardesai drove multiple M&A and licensing transactions to consolidate key technologies, establish the corporate footprint, and develop its immunotherapies platform and product pipeline. He led the strategic out-licensing of Inovio’s pipeline products to secure major licensing deals totaling over $1 Bn with pharma partners.
Dr. Sardesai was previously the founder and President of NVision Consulting Inc., a firm providing strategic counsel to entrepreneurial life sciences companies. He served as Director of Research and Development at Fujirebio Diagnostics, Inc., where he oversaw the expansion of the company’s oncology portfolio. Products developed under his leadership include groundbreaking new tests for mesothelioma (MESOMARKTM), bladder cancer and a multi-marker test for ovarian cancer (HE4).
Dr. Sardesai received a PhD in Chemistry from the California Institute of Technology and a MBA from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, where he was the recipient of the Shils-Zeidman Award in Entrepreneurship. He was awarded fellowships at the Scripps Research Institute and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Dr. Sardesai received his Bachelor and Master of Science degrees in Chemistry from the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay. Dr. Sardesai has authored over 120 peer-reviewed manuscripts and was recognized by PharmaVoice magazine as one of the top 100 most influential and inspirational leaders across the life sciences industry (2015).
Joann Peters, MHA
Joann Peters joined Geneos after a successful 19-year career working in the Contract Research Organization (CRO) industry where she supported the growth strategy of companies and effectively led oncology focused study teams. She is bringing her strong oncology clinical operations experience to Geneos and will play a pivotal role in the company’s growth by leading the execution of the clinical and development strategy. She leads all facets of Geneos Clinical and Business Operations, providing oversight to clinical trials and implementing operations strategy and structure.
Prior to joining Geneos, Joann served in roles of increasing responsibility at PRA, Chiltern and INC Research. Most recently, Joann served as the Vice President of Clinical Operations and Project Delivery at Linical Accelovance. At Linical Accelovance, she held multiple leadership roles spanning global, operational and investigative site relationship responsibilities with a focus in immuno-oncology, solid tumor and hematology. She was responsible for the design and clinical implementation of 30+ protocols spanning Phase I-IV clinical studies and ensuring that projects were delivered effectively and with transparency.
Joann received her B.S. from Iowa State University in Dietetics and a Master’s in Health Care Administration at Webster University.
Presently Freddi is President of CFO’Brien Consulting, LLC, for which she provides executive level strategic and financial consulting services. Freddi has previously held the roles of Chief Financial Officer, Chief Operating Officer, Controller and Director of Financial Reporting and has been integral in the growth and financing of both private and public companies ranging from preclinical through commercial stage. Collaborating with the Genova Group, a boutique accounting advisory firm, Freddi leads the technical accounting and financial reporting functions of Geneos.
Freddi’s corporate experience includes senior leadership roles at several life sciences companies including Complexa Inc., Cerecor Inc., Cervilenz Inc., Cardiokine Inc., Barrier Therapeutics, Inc. and at Infonautics, Inc., a technology company. Freddi currently serves on the Board of Directors of TELA Bio, Inc., a publicly held commercial-stage medical technology company, where she also chairs the Audit Committee. She is also on the Board of Directors of MacroGenics, Inc., a publicly held biopharmaceutical company focused on developing and commercializing innovative monoclonal antibody-based therapeutics for the treatment of cancer, and she is Chair of the Audit Committee. Before specializing in life sciences and technology, Freddi spent over a decade in professional service accounting firms, including PricewaterhouseCoopers, where she was focused on high growth companies in multiple industries. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree in accounting from Rutgers University and is a Certified Public Accountant – Inactive.
Jian Yan, PhD
Dr. Yan joined Geneos to lead the research team and brings with her over 15 years of experience in leading preclinical research programs for the development of novel immunotherapies. Prior to joining Geneos, she served as the Vice President of Design and Product Development at NEUVOGEN, where she was responsible for design and development of next generation of therapeutic whole cell cancer vaccines. Prior to NEUVOGEN, Jian was a Director of Antigen Design and Discovery, where she led a cross-functional team to provide strategic insight into prioritization and down-selection of therapeutic indications for DNA-based vaccine programs at Inovio Pharmaceuticals. She also provided leadership for novel therapeutic vaccine target evaluation, discovery and design to support the robust product portfolio of therapeutics in solid tumors.
Jian started her career as a postdoctoral researcher at University of Pennsylvania where she created and established novel vaccine design strategy, design and developed multiple therapeutic DNA vaccines. She has authored over 80 peer-reviewed publications in the area of DNA-based immunotherapy. She is also a co-inventor of more than 60 patents to innovative vaccine and antibody claims and was selected as one of the “Top 20 Translational Researchers” for 2016 and 2018 by Nature Biotechnology.
Dr. Jian Yan received her Ph. D. in Molecular Biology and Genetics from Fudan University through a co-training program between Fudan University and Yale University.
Myrna F. Thomas, MS, CPGP
Myrna Thomas brings over 25 years of Quality and Manufacturing experience to Geneos. During her career, she has provided broad US and European experience in Quality Assurance, Analytical Development, Regulatory Compliance, Validation and Corporate Auditing in support of both clinical and commercial products for start-ups and large biopharmaceutical companies. She will rely on her extensive interactions with FDA during inspections and in-depth knowledge of GCP and GMP requirements to ensure the Quality and Manufacturing strategy meets regulatory expectations and supports the growth of Geneos. She will oversee implementation of the Quality Management System and collaborate with our CDMO’s.
Before joining Geneos, Myrna held senior management positions at Praxis Biologics (now Pfizer), Merck, and Isolagen (now Fibrocell Science). Myrna was the VP of QA/RA at Accupac, a CDMO, with oversight of two manufacturing facilities. Recently, she was the Site Head of Quality at Pharmedium, where she was instrumental in transitioning the company to meet cGMPs. In all of her positions Myrna has created and sustained a strong culture of quality and compliance.
Ildiko Csiki, MD, PhD
Dr. Csiki most recently served as the chief commercial research and development (R&D) officer at City of Hope, an NCI-designated leading cancer center, where she led the development of a translational biotech-like R&D arm and oversaw the research business development and the office of transfer and licensing functions. Previously, Dr. Csiki served as the chief medical officer at Sensei Biotherapeutics, where she was responsible for the clinical strategy for the discovery and development of cancer immunotherapies. Prior to that, Dr. Csiki served as Vice of President of Immuno-Oncology Clinical Development at Inovio Pharmaceuticals where she led the advancement of Inovio’s DNA-based cancer immunotherapies. She also held clinical development lead roles at Merck responsible for pembrolizumab (Keytruda®) development in multiple indications as well as at GSK focused on multiple assets for various cancer programs. Dr. Csiki began her post-graduate career at the University of Pennsylvania, Perelman School of Medicine as a tenure-track physician scientist in the Department of Radiation Oncology. She earned an M.D. and Ph.D. in cancer biology from the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. Her postdoctoral training included an internship in Internal Medicine and residency in radiation oncology at Vanderbilt and subsequently, a Holman Pathway Research Fellowship. She is also a General Management Program graduate from the Wharton Business School with focus in strategic innovation and entrepreneurship.
David Wurtman, MD, MBA
Dr. Wurtman has served as President & CEO of Lyric Pharmaceuticals, an ICU therapeutic development company which he founded, built and successfully funded, and as CMO and an early employee of Lucid Diagnostics, a medical device-diagnostic company which went public via IPO in 2021.
He has led or advised on ~30 in-licensing, out-licensing and co-development deals and M&A transactions and has raised over $70MM from Venture Capital, Private Equity, Family Office and the US Government. He has deep development expertise across drugs, biologics, and diagnostic devices and has led successful FDA interactions, including obtaining FDA Breakthrough designation.
In addition to Lyric and Lucid, Dr. Wurtman has held roles in Corporate, Business and Product Development at Genzyme, Protein Design Labs, Eos Biotechnology, Kineta and Ansun Biopharma. He has consulted to more than 25 biopharmaceutical, technology platform, medical device, diagnostic, and healthcare IT companies on corporate strategy, fundraising, mergers & acquisitions, business development & licensing, product development, market research, product positioning, and clinical-regulatory strategy and development. He has particular expertise in assisting early-stage product and platform companies.
Dr. Wurtman received his AB from Harvard College, MD from Harvard Medical School, and MBA from the MIT Sloan School of Management. Prior to entering the life sciences industry, he completed a primary care internal medicine residency at Mt. Auburn Hospital, a Harvard teaching hospital, and practiced Primary Care at Harvard Community Health Plan as a board-certified physician in Internal Medicine.