Daniel Bensen is Chief Operating Officer of Tyra which he co-founded in August 2018. Prior to co-founding Tyra, Dan served as Head of Immunology and Protein Chemistry at Cidara Therapeutics, Inc. where he led cross functional research groups pioneering a novel immunotherapeutic platform resulting in two candidates. Before Cidara, Dan served as Principal Scientist, Protein Chemistry and Structural Biology at Trius Therapeutics, Inc where he oversaw efforts to generate and advance a novel class of dual-targeting broad spectrum antibacterial agents until its acquisition by Cubist Pharmaceuticals. Before Trius, Dan held positions of increasing responsibility in structural biology and protein chemistry at ActiveSight and Diversa. Dan holds a B.A. in Biology from Point Loma Nazarene University and an M.B.A. from the University of Southern California, Marshall School of Business.
Jason SheltzerScientific Advisor
Todd Harris is Chief Executive Officer of Tyra which he co-founded in August 2018. Prior to co-founding Tyra, Todd co-founded Sienna Biopharmaceuticals, Inc. (SNNA) a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company where he was Chief Executive Officer and a member of the board of directors. Todd started his career as a consultant at McKinsey & Company in the Health Care Practice Division. Todd currently serves on the board of directors of Primmune Therapeutics, Inc., a biopharmaceutical company focused on the second arm, innate immune system. Todd holds a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from Brigham Young, a M.S. in Bioengineering from the University of California, San Diego, and a Ph.D. in Medical Engineering and Medical Physics from Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Gilla Kaplan, Ph.D. is the Chief Executive Officer of Gilrose Therapeutics and a Senior Advisor of Medicine Development for Global Health. Before Gilrose, Dr. Kaplan was Senior Advisor at the Bill and Melinda Gates Medical Research Institute (Gates MRI) and the Director of the Global Health Program, Tuberculosis of the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation (BMGF). She has spent her career as an academic research scientist leading a laboratory in investigations focusing on human disease, exploring novel experimental medicine approaches that modulate the immune response for disease control. She was a recipient of multiple grants from the NIH-NIAID and other funding organizations for her research. Dr. Kaplan currently serves on the board of directors of Cerecor. She previously served on the board of directors at Celgene for 20 years. Dr. Kaplan received a Bachelor of Science degree from Hebrew University, Jerusalem, Israel and a Master of Science and Ph.D. in Cellular Immunology from University of Tromso, Norway.
Rehan Verjee served as President of EMD Serono and Global Head of the Innovative Medicine Franchises for Merck KGaA until March 2021. At Merck KGaA Rehan led the North American biopharmaceutical business across the U.S. and Canada in addition to leading the global oncology and neurology & immunology specialty medicine franchises for the healthcare business. Prior to this role, he served as Executive Vice President, Chief Marketing and Strategy Officer, leading the global franchises of oncology, neurology & immunology, and infertility, in addition to global business development, market access, strategy and portfolio management, marketing operations and the medical device and services unit. Prior to this, he led the Canadian operations as Managing Director of EMD Serono Canada. Rehan is currently a member of the board of directors of Massachusetts Biotechnology Council. He holds a master’s degree in Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry from the University of Oxford in the U.K.
William HahnScientific Advisor
Sarah Honig joined TYRA in July of 2022 as our Vice President, Corporate Development and Strategy. Prior to joining TYRA, Sarah was the Chief of Staff at Allogene Therapeutics, where she drove corporate and portfolio strategy, governance, and operations since the inception of the company. Previously, Sarah spent time leading transactions as part of Amgen’s Business Development Team and co-founded the New Ventures group at UCLA’s Office of Intellectual Property. She began her career consulting for biotechnology companies on corporate development, portfolio and commercial strategy at Leerink Swann. Sarah holds an A.B. from Harvard College and an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School.
Ali Fawaz joined TYRA in May 2022 as our General Counsel and Secretary. Prior to joining TYRA, Ali served as Vice President and Deputy General Counsel at Sampled (formerly Infinity BiologiX LLC), where he was a member of the senior management team focused on leading the legal affairs and corporate strategy for the company. Previously, Ali worked at Celgene Corporation where he served as the lead legal negotiator on all employee related matters in connection with the $74B acquisition of Celgene by Bristol Myers Squibb. Prior to that, Ali was a Partner at Proskauer Rose LLP in New York City, and before that, was a Senior Associate at Latham & Watkins LLP in San Diego and Washington, DC. Ali holds a B.A. degree in Business Administration (Finance and General Management) from Portland State University and a J.D. from the University of Michigan Law School
Siddarth Subramony, Ph.D. is Vice President for Boxer Capital, where he is responsible for conducting due diligence of public and private investments in healthcare. Prior to joining Boxer, Dr. Subramony was a Vice President at H.I.G. Capital, where he was a member of the investment team for the firm’s dedicated healthcare fund, evaluating public and private investment opportunities in the life sciences and representing H.I.G. on the board of Leiters Pharmacy. Prior to joining H.I.G., Dr. Subramony was a management consultant at the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) and served as a member of the firm’s healthcare practice. Dr. Subramony received a Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Engineering and Economics, summa cum laude, from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, an MBA from Harvard Business School and a Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering from Columbia University, where he was an NSF Graduate Research Fellow.
Esther van den Boom
Esther van den Boom joined Tyra in January 2019 heading accounting and finance and brings over 20 years of accounting and finance experience. In addition to her role at TYRA, she is the founder of van den Boom & Associates, a finance and accounting firm that specializes in supporting life science companies. Esther has led finance and accounting for many life science companies including, most recently, as Chief Accounting Officer of Artiva Biotherapeutics and Chief Financial Officer of Forge Therapeutics. From inception through initial public offering, she was Head of Finance at Equillium Biosciences and Phathom Pharmaceuticals. Esther began her career at Ernst & Young and currently serves on the board of directors of Eleusis, Ltd. Esther received a B.A. in Economics from the University of California, San Diego and a M.S. in Accountancy from San Diego State University and is a licensed CPA.
Kelleen CheaOffice Manager
Isan Chen, M.D. is the Chief Executive Officer at MBrace Therapeutics. Dr. Chen is board certified in internal medicine, hematology, and medical oncology with more than 20 years of experience in oncology and clinical trials from first-in-humans through global registration studies. Before MBrace, he served as the Executive Vice President and Chief Medical and Development Officer of Mirati Therapeutics. Prior to Mirati, he was the Chief Medical Officer of Aragon Pharmaceuticals, which was acquired by Johnson & Johnson, and prior to Aragon, he served as Vice President of Tumor Strategy in the oncology business unit at Pfizer. Before joining Pfizer, Dr. Chen practiced medicine as a staff physician at City of Hope Medical Center and later as an assistant professor at the University of Texas, M.D. Anderson Cancer Center. Dr. Chen is currently a member of the board of directors of Treadwell Therapeutics. He holds an M.D. from University of San Paulo and completed his fellowship in Hematology and Oncology from the University of California, San Diego.
Nina Kjellson is a General Partner at Canaan. Nina invests in biopharma and digital health companies that serve unmet therapeutic and access needs. As a leader of Canaan’s Women of Venture program, Nina is a vocal advocate for women entrepreneurs and investors. She serves as a mentor to Blueprint Health and Springboard Life Sciences and on the boards of Essential Access Health, the California Leadership Council for The Nature Conservancy and the Oliver Wyman Health Innovation Center. Nina is also a 2018 Aspen Institute Health Innovators Fellow. Previously, Nina was a General Partner at Interwest Partners. She holds a B.A. in human biology from Stanford University.
Jake Simson, Ph.D. is a Partner at RA Capital Management, a multi-stage investment manager dedicated to evidence-based investing in healthcare and life science companies developing drugs, medical devices, and diagnostics. Dr. Simson works on both public and private investments and serves as a Board Director for Xenikos, B.V, Janux, AavantiBio, and DiCE Molecules. He holds a B.S. in materials science and engineering from MIT and a Ph.D. in biomedical engineering from Johns Hopkins University. In his doctoral research, he investigated clinically translatable treatments for musculoskeletal tissue repair using injectable hydrogels.
Ronald V. Swanson
Ronald Swanson serves as our Chief Scientific Officer having joined Tyra in August 2019 and brings over 26 years of biotech and pharma experience. Prior to joining Tyra, Ron served as Senior Director, Biologics at Johnson & Johnson, Inc. where he focused on new technologies and engineering of antibodies, peptides and protein therapeutics. Prior to J&J, he was co-founder and Chief Scientiﬁc Oﬃcer at ActiveSight, the contract crystallography arm of Rigaku Americas Corporation. Ron was also previously at Syrrx and Diversa and was a post-doc at Caltech. Ron holds a B.A. in Biochemistry and Cell Biology from the University of California, San Diego, and a Ph.D. in Molecular Biology from the University of California, Berkeley.
Hiroomi Tada has served as our Chief Medical Oﬃcer since November 2020. Prior to joining Tyra, Hiroomi served as Chief Medical Oﬃcer at Notable Labs, Inc., a personalized precision oncology company. Prior to Notable Labs, he served in various roles at Incyte Corp. including Vice President of Translational Sciences for Target Therapies. Hiroomi has also served in various clinical development roles at GlaxoSmithKline and AstraZeneca. Prior to joining the pharmaceutical industry, Hiroomi held faculty appointments as Assistant Professor of Surgery at the University of Massachusetts Medical School and Temple University School of Medicine. Hiroomi holds a B.A. from Haverford College, a Ph.D. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from Thomas Jeﬀerson University and an M.D. from Jeﬀerson Medical College and completed his fellowship in Surgical Oncology at the University of Texas, MD Anderson Cancer Center.
Jeffrey HagerScientific Advisor
Peter SmithScientific Advisor
Robert More is a Managing Director at Alta Partners, a healthcare focused venture capital firm. Bob currently manages investments in and serves on the board of Affinivax, eGenesis, Qihan Biopharmaceuticals, and Vir Biotechnology (NASDAQ:VIR). He was a founding board member of the Kauffman Fellows Program and is on the board of BIO (Biotechnology Innovation Organization). Before joining Alta, Bob was a Senior Advisor for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Prior to that, Bob spent 5 years as a General Partner at Frazier Healthcare Ventures and 13 years at Domain Associates. He received his B.A. from Middlebury College and an M.B.A. from the Darden School of Business Administration at the University of Virginia.
Melissa McCracken, Ph.D., is a Principal at Nextech Invest Ltd., where she manages investments in companies pursuing emerging cancer therapies. Dr. McCracken currently serves as a board observer of IconOvir, and previously served as a board member of ImaginAb and a board observer of Silverback Therapeutics. Prior to Nextech, she was a senior associate at Third Rock Ventures. Prior to that, Dr. McCracken completed multiple internships in research and development at Amgen (NASDAQ: AMGN). She holds a B.S. in biochemistry and molecular biology from University of California, Davis, and a Ph.D. in molecular and medical pharmacology from University of California, Los Angeles, where her research focused on engineered immunity for cancer. She also completed a postdoctoral fellowship at Stanford University where her research focused on immuno-oncology.
Piyush Patel has served as our Chief Development Oﬃcer since January 2021 and brings over 29 years of drug development experience including all aspects of nonclinical and product development of small molecules. Prior to joining Tyra, Piyush was the Chief Scientiﬁc Oﬃcer at CinRx Pharma, LLC where he oversaw the development of multiple small molecule programs from drug candidate selection to IND submission. Prior to CinRx he was a Senior Director at Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd responsible for global formulation development, clinical manufacture, process development/Pharmaceutical Operations and CMC documentation groups. He has authored several scientiﬁc publications and is a co-inventor on multiple patents. Piyush holds a Bachelor of Pharmacy from the Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda, and a M.S. and Ph.D. in Pharmaceutical Sciences from Temple University.
Brian SchwartzScientific Advisor
Robert L. Hudkins
Robert Hudkins serves as our Chief Technology Oﬃcer having joined Tyra in January 2020. He brings over 30 years of drug discovery experience including all aspects of drug design and computational chemistry. Prior to joining Tyra, Bob spent the majority of his career with Cephalon, Inc., and later with Teva Pharmaceuticals where he was a Distinguished Scientist and Senior Research Fellow / Senior Research Director in Medicinal Chemistry responsible for the advancement of numerous clinical candidates in oncology and neuroscience. He has co-authored over 100 publications, and was co-inventor on over 123 published US patents. Bob serves as a Journal Editorial Advisory Board Member for multiple medicinal chemistry journals. He holds a B.S. from Barton College, a M.S. in Organic Chemistry from Old Dominion University, and a Ph.D. in Medicinal Chemistry from Virginia Commonwealth University.
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