04 May 2023 | Lassen Therapeutics Appoints Maria Fardis, PhD, MBA, as Chief Executive Officer

  • Industry veteran Dr. Fardis to succeed current CEO Mark Barrett to lead Lassen in its next phase of growth and ongoing advancement of clinical programs

San Diego, CA, May 4, 2023 – Lassen Therapeutics, a clinical-stage biotech company developing first-in-class antibody therapeutics targeting interleukin-11 receptor (IL-11R) and interleukin-18 binding protein (IL-18BP) as potential treatments for fibro-inflammatory diseases such as thyroid eye disease (TED) and for cancer, today announced the appointment of Maria Fardis, Ph.D., MBA as Chief Executive Officer. Dr. Fardis brings more than 25 years of leadership experience in the biopharmaceutical industry to Lassen.

“I’m excited to welcome Maria as CEO of Lassen as we enter an exciting trajectory, moving into advanced clinical trials in fibro-inflammatory mediated diseases,” said Jamie Topper, M.D., Ph.D., member of Lassen’s Board of Directors and a Managing Partner of Frazier Life Sciences. “Maria has an impressive track record of creating value for patients, the clinical community, and investors. She will be a tremendous addition to Lassen’s leadership team as the company continues to grow and advance clinical programs including LASN01, a first-in-class IL-11R blocking antibody in clinical development in fibro-inflammatory mediated disease.”

Prior to joining Lassen, Dr. Fardis was a Venture Partner with Frazier Life Sciences. Dr. Fardis served as President and Chief Executive Officer of Iovance Biotherapeutics where she transformed the organization from an early-stage development company to one with multiple late-stage programs. At Iovance, she raised more than $1b in multiple rounds of financing for the company. Prior to that role, as the Chief Operating Officer of Acerta Pharma B.V., Dr. Fardis led the development of CALQUENCE® in clinic for hematologic malignancies until the company’s acquisition by AstraZeneca. At Pharmacyclics, she was the Chief of Oncology Operations and Alliances and was a key contributor in the creation of a broad clinical program leading to global approvals for IMBURIVICA® in multiple hematologic malignancies. Dr. Fardis also spent ten years at Gilead Sciences where she held increasingly senior positions from research to project and portfolio management. While at Gilead, she was involved in multiple therapeutic areas including antivirals, oncology, and cardiovascular and worked on the development and life-cycle management of LETAIRIS®. Dr. Fardis received her Ph.D. in organic chemistry from the University of California, Berkeley, and holds an MBA from Golden Gate University.

“I am excited to be joining the innovative team at Lassen in pursuing first-in-class therapies targeting IL-11 in addressing unmet need in patients with TED and other fibrotic disorders,” said Dr. Fardis. “I look forward to expanding the clinical program with the Lassen team to generate additional data for both LASN01 and our novel immuno-oncology therapeutic targeting interleukin-18 binding protein (IL-18BP) which was recently announced at AACR.”

Dr. Fardis succeeds Mark Barrett who is a Founder of Lassen and has led the company as CEO since its inception.  Mr. Barrett said, “I would like to thank the dedicated Lassen team for their incredible work to create two first-in-class programs and successfully bringing LASN01 to end of Phase 1. I am delighted that Maria will be the next CEO at Lassen. She is the ideal person to lead Lassen in its next phase of growth. I look forward to working with her over the coming months to assist with the transition and then plan to focus on new company creation opportunities.”

“On behalf of the board of directors, I want to thank Mark for his tremendous contributions in establishing and building Lassen,” said Dr. Fardis.  “Under his leadership, the company has made great progress over the last four years, advancing first-in-class antibodies in development.”

About Lassen Therapeutics

Lassen Therapeutics is a clinical-stage biotech developing first-in-class antibodies as potential treatments for fibrosis, thyroid eye disease, and oncology. The company’s lead candidate, LASN01, is a first-in-class monoclonal antibody targeting IL-11 receptor (IL-11R).  IL-11 is a central mediator of fibrosis and blocking its activity has the potential to offer novel modality for treatment of TED and other fibrotic diseases. For more information, please visit and follow us on LinkedIn.

Media Contact:
Christine Quern
CBQ Communications