Mika Derynck, M.D.
Chief Medical Officer
Dr. Derynck is the Chief Medical Officer of Amunix. She is an accomplished drug developer with over 25 years of experience in cancer research, including a 15-year career at Genentech/Roche. She has deep expertise in oncology drug development, which spans multiple therapeutic modalities, tumor types, and all phases of development. During her tenure at Genentech/Roche, she oversaw the approvals and/or global development for over a dozen drugs, including Perjeta®, Avastin®, Tecentriq®, Cotellic®, ipatasertib, taselisib, pictilisib, and apitolisib. Most recently, she served as the Global Head for Cancer Immunotherapy, GI/GU Cancers, Angiogenesis Franchises and China Oncology Development. She also served as the Co-Chair of the Cancer Immunotherapy Committee (CITC), the GI/GU Franchises Committee, and the Breast Cancer Disease Area Team. Dr. Derynck was also a Senior Group Medical Director of Exploratory Clinical Development at Genentech, serving as the development lead for multiple early-stage programs. Before Genentech, Dr. Derynck was an Assistant Clinical Professor in the UCSF Department of Cellular and Molecular Pharmacology and Division of Hematology / Oncology. Dr. Derynck holds a B.A. from Boston University and an M.D. from Boston University School of Medicine. She completed an internal medicine residency at Johns Hopkins, followed by a fellowship in Hematology / Oncology at UCSF and a postdoctoral fellowship at UCSF.
Maninder Hora, Ph.D.
Chief Technical Operations Officer
Dr. Maninder Hora currently serves as the Chief Technical Operations Officer of Amunix. Dr. Hora has served the biopharmaceutical industry for more than 30 years with demonstrated leadership in process, analytical and pharmaceutical sciences, manufacturing and quality functions. He has been part of teams that have successfully filed 50+ INDs and registered 11 biopharmaceutical products worldwide. Prior to joining Amunix, he served as the Chief Technical Operations Officer of Nektar Therapeutics, where he spearheaded strategic direction and execution of all process and product development as well as manufacturing activities. Prior to Nektar, he served as Vice President of Product Operations & Quality at Facet Biotech/ PDL BioPharma (now a part of Abbvie) and Vice President of Process and Product Development at Chiron Corporation (now Novartis). Prior to that, he held positions of increasing responsibilities at Chiron, Pfizer and GSK.
Dr. Hora received his Ph.D. from the Indian Institute of Technology in Bioengineering (Materials) in 1980 and held a Fulbright fellowship at the University of Washington, Seattle. He holds 23 US Patents and has authored scores of publications and delivered numerous presentations in international forums. He serves on the Scientific Advisory Board for Cristal Therapeutics, an emerging nanotechnology-based biopharmaceutical company.
Bryan Irving, Ph.D.
Chief Scientific Officer
Dr. Bryan Irving currently serves as the Chief Scientific Officer of Amunix. He has 30 years of experience in immunology, with nearly 20 years in industry focused on discovering and progressing immune drug candidates into the clinic for both autoimmune and oncology indications. Prior to joining Amunix, he served as Chief Scientific Officer of Five Prime Therapeutics, where he led research and preclinical drug development, and as Vice President of Cancer Immunology at CytomX Therapeutics, where he led immune applications of their protease-activatable, prodrug technology (included T cell bispecifics and T cell checkpoint targets). Prior to CytomX, he worked 12 years as a scientist at Genentech in the Departments of Immunology and Oncology/Cancer Immunology, where he was a key inventor and research leader for the PD-L1 immunotherapy atezolizumab (Tecentriq).
Dr. Irving received his Ph.D in Immunology from the University of California, San Francisco, and a B.A. in Physiology from the University of California, Berkeley. His doctoral work, performed in the laboratory of Dr. Arthur Weiss, pioneered the single-chain chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) technology. He performed post-doctoral work at Harvard and UCSF on early T cell development. His work has been published in top tier journals including Cell, Science, Cancer Cell, Nature Immunology, and Immunity, and he is an inventor on patents that include the single-chain CARs and atezolizumab. Dr Irving is also a musician and studied clarinet performance at the Eastman School of Music at the University of Rochester, NY.
Vice President of Contracts
Robert Jones serves as the Vice President of Contracts at Amunix. He brings over 18 years of extensive contract negotiation experience in both small and large companies, including Sierra Oncology, Pharmacyclics, Gilead, and Abbott Vascular. Before joining Amunix, Robert served as Senior Director of Contracts at Sierra Oncology, where he negotiated manufacturing, collaboration, and clinical supply agreements, and managed CRO contract-related issues. He was also responsible for all domestic and international clinical trial contracts, as well as informed consent form reviews. Prior to Sierra Oncology, Robert worked at Pharmacylics, where he led the Contracts Management team through the development and approval of Imbruvica (ibrutinib), developed the infrastructure between Contracts Management and Finance, and provided leadership on budgeting, contract negotiation, and outside counsel management across functions.
Robert attended Clarendon College and Phoenix College.
Anne Keane, J.D.
Senior Vice President of Regulatory and Quality
Anne Keane, J.D. is the Senior Vice President of Regulatory and Quality. Anne is an experienced regulatory leader with extensive experience across numerous therapeutic areas and phases of development. She has contributed to more than 20 development programs at both small and large companies including Lyell, Achaogen, Genentech, Merck KGaA, Jazz and Arginox Pharmaceuticals. Prior to joining Amunix, Anne served as the Vice President of Regulatory Lyell Immunopharma, where she had the opportunity to lead the drafting of a Friends of Cancer White Paper: Designing the Future of Cell Therapies, which proposed a number of opportunities to accelerate early cell therapy research. While at Achaogen, Anne led the regulatory and clinical quality organizations through the development and approval of Zemdri®, an important new antibiotic for gram negative infections. Earlier experience includes leading successful regulatory filings for Avastin® and Perjeta®.
Anne received a law degree from the University of Washington Law School and a Physician Assistant Degree from the Albany Medical College Physician Assistant program.
Vice President of Clinical Operations
Ursula McCurry serves as the Vice President of Clinical Operations at Amunix. Ursula is a seasoned clinical operations leader with over 20 years of global clinical development experience across a number of established and emerging biotech and pharmaceutical companies including Genentech, Exelixis, Astex, and QLT Inc. She has led global clinical operations programs spanning a variety of therapeutic areas and all phases of clinical development, contributing to over 20 programs and subsequent multiple regulatory approvals at both small and large biotech companies. She also brings significant partnership and alliance management experience. Prior to joining Amunix, Ursula served as Clinical Program Director at Genentech, leading multiple programs from entry into the clinic into phase three development, including taselisib and GDC-9545. She has also served as part of Drug Safety teams, ensuring quality, compliance, pharmacovigilance, and safety reporting.
Ursula received a Master of Arts degree from Simon Fraser University and a certificate in Biotechnology, Clinical Trial Design and Management from San Francisco State University.
Chief Financial Officer
Zeeshan Merchant serves as Chief Financial Officer of Amunix. Mr. Merchant has over 15 years of experience in biotechnology as an investment banker and investor. Prior to joining Amunix, Mr. Merchant worked as an investment banker at Morgan Stanley, serving as an Executive Director in the firm’s healthcare investment banking group. In this role, Mr. Merchant advised U.S. and Asia based biotechnology companies on financings and strategic matters, and successfully executed over 50 transactions, including $20 billion in financing and $25 billion in mergers and acquisitions. Prior to Morgan Stanley, Mr. Merchant worked as Senior Analyst at Ayer Capital, a healthcare dedicated investment fund. In this role, Mr. Merchant identified and analyzed biotechnology and healthcare investments globally. Prior to Ayer Capital, Mr. Merchant worked as a private equity Associate at TA Associates, a leading, global growth private equity firm.
Mr. Merchant received a B.A. in Economics from the University of Pennsylvania.
Darcy Mootz, Ph.D.
Chief Business Officer
Dr. Mootz is the Chief Business Officer of Amunix. Before joining the company, she was an independent consultant working with VCs and pharmaceutical companies on a wide range of corporate development and strategy projects, including new company formation, product launch strategy, and M&A strategy. Prior to that, she served as Chief Business Officer of ORIC Pharmaceuticals, then an early-stage oncology company, where she had a broad operational role. While VP of Corporate Development at Achaogen, she helped the company complete a successful IPO, led the project team for the company’s lead Phase 3 antibiotic (now launched as ZEMDRI), and helped raise over $200M in capital. Earlier experiences include playing key roles in a successful M&A while at BiPar Sciences, and in a successful new indication launch for Avastin while at Genentech.
Dr. Mootz started her career in industry at L.E.K. Consulting, where she worked with biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies on a wide range of projects. She earned a B.S. in Biology from Duke University and a Ph.D. in Biochemistry from Harvard University.
Nabeela Rasheed, Ph.D., J.D.
Vice President of Intellectual Property
Dr. Nabeela Rasheed serves as the Vice President for Intellectual Property at Amunix. Before joining Amunix, Dr. Rasheed served as Section Head of Intellectual Property at AbbVie, where she devoted her time to building and securing intellectual property portfolios in therapeutic areas including immunology, oncology, antiviral, women’s health, renal disease, and neuroscience. Prior to that, she spent 20 years working at a law firm specifically focused on intellectual property law as it applies to the biopharmaceutical industry, as well as advising clients on related regulatory and legislative changes in fast-evolving legal markets. She has been integrally involved in implementing strategic plans and launches of several pharmaceutical products.
Dr. Rasheed is a member of the State Bar of Illinois, holds a Ph.D. in Biochemistry from the University of Liverpool, United Kingdom, and a Juris Doctorate Degree from Chicago Kent College of Law.
Volker Schellenberger, Ph.D.
President and Chief Technology Officer
Dr. Volker Schellenberger is a co-founder of Amunix and currently serves as President and Chief Technology Officer. Dr. Schellenberger has extensive industry experience in protein engineering and drug discovery. Previously, he headed the Protein Engineering department at Genencor, where he invented combinatorial consensus mutagenesis, selection by micro-compartmentalization, as well as mutator technology. In addition, he initiated and led collaborations with Seattle Genetics that focused on antibody-enzyme fusion proteins. Prior to his work on biotherapeutics, Dr. Schellenberger directed projects optimizing enzymes for industrial applications as well as microbes for metabolic pathway engineering.
Dr. Schellenberger received his Ph.D. from Leipzig University, where he studied protease catalyzed peptide synthesis. After postdoctoral studies at the Institute for Protein Research in Pushchino (Russia), he moved to the University of Göttingen where he developed a novel method for the production of peptides from recombinant peptide-multimers. After a postdoctoral fellowship with Bill Rutter at the University of California, San Francisco, Dr. Schellenberger joined Genencor in 1994. Dr. Schellenberger is the author of over 40 scientific papers and an inventor on more than 70 issued and pending patent applications. He is also the recipient of the Karl Lohman award of the German Society of Biochemists.
Geetha Shankar, Ph.D.
Vice President of Clinical Science and Clinical Operations
Dr. Geetha Shankar serves as the Vice President of Clinical Science and Clinical Operations at Amunix. She has over 25 years of experience in drug discovery and development, with expertise extending from high throughput screening and drug discovery, to clinical development (IND to phase III), regulatory filings, and market access. Before joining Amunix, Dr. Shankar spent 10 years at Genentech as Group Clinical Science Director. In this capacity she oversaw US, EU, and global approvals of Tecentriq® in non-small cell lung cancer. She was also a key contributor on the PI3K program and worked in both breast and lung cancer indications on proof-of-concept studies. Prior to Genentech, she worked at Exelixis for six years, first as a team leader on drug discovery projects, and later transitioning to clinical development. In the latter function, she worked on early trials for cabozantinib in medullary thyroid cancer. Prior to Exelixis, she worked at Ceretek LLC, an oncology startup focused on lipid G-protein coupled receptors.
Dr. Shankar received a Ph.D. in Molecular Pharmacology from Northwestern University School of Medicine and an M.S. in Medicinal Chemistry from the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia. She also holds a B.Pharm. from the College of Pharmacy in Bangalore, India.
Gary T. Taniguchi, Ph.D.
VICE PRESIDENT OF BIOANALYTICAL SCIENCES
Dr. Taniguchi serves as the Vice President of Bioanalytical Sciences at Amunix. He has over 25 years of experience in biopharmaceutical drug development from pre-IND to post-marketing in the areas of oncology, inflammation, and rare diseases like MPS and PKU. Gary has strategic and scientific expertise in the areas of CMC analytical and bioanalytical, which includes analytical characterization and comparability and PK, immunogenicity and PD biomarker development. Prior to joining Amunix, he has led analytical, bioanalytical, and/or Quality groups at various companies including Coherus BioSciences, BioMarin, Genentech, Abbott, and PDL BioPharma/Facet Biotech (now part of Abbvie). While at Genentech and BioMarin, Dr. Taniguchi along with other biopharmaceutical industry scientists wrote the early manuscripts for strategies in detecting and characterizing the immunogenicity of biotherapeutics.
Dr. Taniguchi received his Ph.D. in Pharmaceutical Chemistry majoring in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from the University of California at San Francisco.
Angie You, Ph.D.
Chief Executive Officer
Angie serves as Chief Executive Officer of Amunix Pharmaceuticals Inc. Prior to joining Amunix, Dr. You served as Chief Business & Strategy Officer and Head of Commercial at Sierra Oncology (NASDAQ: SRRA), a publicly listed hematology and oncology drug development company, where she helped the company through a successful initial public offering. She also led the company’s strategic and transactional business and commercial efforts, including building its robust pipeline through acquisition and licensing of several product assets. Prior to Sierra, Dr. You served as Chief Business Officer of Aragon Pharmaceuticals, a private oncology drug discovery and development company, where she was responsible for finance, operations, human resources, and business development. At Aragon, Dr. You helped secure several rounds of financing as well as leading the business development process that resulted in the company’s acquisition by Johnson & Johnson. In previous roles, Dr. You served as Chief Business Officer at Synosia Therapeutics and Ren Pharmaceuticals. Before joining Ren Pharmaceuticals, Dr. You focused on new company formation at Venrock Ventures.
Dr. You earned a Ph.D. in Biochemistry from Harvard University and a B.A. in Chemistry from Harvard College.