Maria Fardis, PhD, is a Venture Partner at Frazier Life Sciences and is the Chair of Board of Directors at Obsidian Therapeutics. She is a member of the Board of Directors at CRISPR Therapeutics as well as Quanta Therapeutics. She has over 20 years of scientific and management experience in public and private companies. Dr. Fardis previously served as President and Chief Executive Officer at Iovance Biotherapeutics, a publicly traded Biotechnology company. As CEO at Iovance, she led the transformation from an early-stage development company to a company with late-stage cell therapy programs for the treatment of solid tumors. Prior to Iovance, Dr. Fardis served as the Chief Operating Officer of Acerta Pharma B.V., where she worked on the development of Calquence® until the company’s acquisition by AstraZeneca. Prior to that, she worked at Pharmacyclics, Inc. She was a key contributor in the creation of a broad clinical program leading to global approvals for Imbruvica® in multiple hematologic malignancies. She served as Chief of Oncology Operations and Alliances at Pharmacyclics. Before Pharmacyclics, Dr. Fardis held increasing senior positions in medicinal chemistry and the project and portfolio management at Gilead Sciences, Inc., during which time she was involved with different therapeutic areas including antivirals, oncology, and cardiovascular therapeutics and worked on the development and life cycle management of Letairis®.
Maria received her PhD in Organic Chemistry from the University of California, Berkeley and her B.S. summa cum laude, in chemistry from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. She also holds an M.B.A., received with the highest honors, from Golden Gate University.
Puneet Arora is the CMO of Lassen. Puneet is a highly regarded physician-scientist and drug developer with more than a decade of experience in the development of innovative investigational therapies and clinical leadership in small and large biotech companies. He most recently served as Head of Clinical, Inflammation and Immunology at Principia Biopharma, a Sanofi company. At Principia, he led clinical development strategy and the clinical team in the design and execution of clinical studies across the company’s portfolio. Puneet managed clinical development for lead programs including early translational development and proof of concept through late development and regulatory submissions. He played a key role in leading the pivotal study clinical and filing teams for the rilzabrutinib program in pemphigus. Prior to his time at Principia, he was Senior Medical Director of Early Clinical Development and Clinical Team Leader at Genentech Research and Early Development working across multiple therapeutic areas. He also worked at Amgen, leading clinical teams for the development of romosozumab (early stage) and denosumab (late stage). Puneet received his medical degree from the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, completed his residency in internal medicine at the Southern Illinois University School of Medicine, a fellowship in endocrinology at NYU, and a Master’s Degree in Clinical Research and fellowship in Advanced Diabetology at the Mayo Clinic, as part of the Clinical Research Training Program. He is also an alumnus of the American Course on Drug Development and Regulatory Sciences (UCSF).
Jamie Swaney, Ph.D. is Vice President of Fibrosis and Translational Biology. Jamie has more than 15 years of drug development experience in tissue fibrosis/remodeling and inflammation. Prior to joining Lassen, Jamie was Executive Director and head of fibrosis at Metacrine, leading small molecule programs for NASH liver fibrosis. He began his career at Lpath Inc. where he helped advance lysophospholipid and sphingolipid antibodies for cardiac and pulmonary fibrosis and age-related macular degeneration. Following Lpath, Jamie spent several years at Amira Pharmaceuticals developing LPA receptor antagonists and autotaxin inhibitors for fibrosis.
Following the acquisition of Amira by Bristol Myers Squibb, Jamie led the in vivo fibrosis effort at BMS in San Diego as a member of BMS’s fibrosis discovery team. Jamie later joined Inception Sciences where he led in vivo and in vitro efforts to advance small molecule therapeutics in multiple fibroinflammatory disease indications. He has contributed to several patents and authored multiple peer-reviewed publications. Jamie received a Ph.D. in Molecular Pathology from the University of California at San Diego and holds an M.S. from the University of San Diego and a B.S. from the University of California at Santa Barbara.
Toni Jun, Ph.D. is Vice President of Preclinical Biology. She has more than 20 years of experience in both cancer and inflammation drug discovery and development programs. Prior to joining Lassen, Toni was the Senior Director of Preclinical Development at Phanes Therapeutics where she helped advance the company’s immuno-oncology programs. She began her career at Kinetix Pharmaceuticals developing small molecule kinase inhibitors for cancer and inflammation. Following the acquisition of Kinetix by Amgen, Toni spent more than a decade with Amgen, working on antibody and small molecule programs targeting cancer. Toni later headed the assay biology group at AnaptysBio, leading antibody and bispecific immuno-oncology programs, including both antagonist and agonist molecules against the immune checkpoint LAG3. She has contributed to multiple patents and peer-reviewed publications throughout her career. Toni received a Ph.D. in Virology from Harvard University and B.S. from the University of Michigan.
David King, Ph.D., is co-founder and CSO of Lassen. David is an internationally recognized expert in the discovery and development of antibody therapeutics and an experienced executive leader in the biotech industry. Prior to joining Lassen, David served as the CSO of aTyr Pharma, developing novel therapeutics based on tRNA synthetase biology, and CSO of AnaptysBio, developing antibody-based therapeutics in autoimmune diseases and oncology. David also worked at Medarex (acquired by BMS) designing and developing antibody therapeutics for oncology and autoimmune diseases and was part of the team that developed innovative therapies, including OPDIVO®, the first approved anti-PD1 therapeutic. Earlier in his career, David worked at Celltech (acquired by UCB pharma) where he contributed to the development of a number of fundamental antibody technologies and the design and development of the approved antibodies CIMZIA® and MYLOTARG®. David received his Ph.D. in Biochemistry from the University of Surrey and a B.Sc. in Biochemistry from the University of Warwick.