ABOUT

We are developing first-in-class immunotherapies for autoimmune diseases and cancer through precise elimination or modulation of cytotoxic T and NK cells via KLRG1. We believe this strategy will result in therapeutics with reduced toxicity compared to existing therapeutic approaches for T cell modulation.  

  • In the context of certain autoimmune diseases: KLRG1 is present on highly differentiated cytotoxic T cells that are the key mediators of tissue damage
    • ABC008 is an anti-KLRG1 cell depleter which selectively removes pathogenic cytotoxic T cells
  • In the context of cancer: KLRG1 is an immune checkpoint receptor expressed predominantly on late-differentiated effector and effector memory cytotoxic CD8+ T and NK cells
    • ABC015 is an anti-KLRG1 cell activator which reactivates inhibited cytotoxic T and NK cells

Abcuro’s foundational IP was developed by Dr. Steven A Greenberg and licensed from Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

Leadership Team

David de Graaf, Ph.D.

Chief Executive Officer
David de Graaf is CEO of Abcuro. He is a pioneer in the biotech industry with an impressive track record of advancing programs into the clinic. Most recently, he was the CEO of Comet Therapeutics. Prior to Comet, he was CEO of Syntimmune, a clinical-stage biotechnology company focused on advancing novel treatments for IgG-mediated autoimmune diseases. His experience includes leadership roles at Apple Tree Partners, Selventa, Boehringer-Ingelheim, Pfizer and AstraZeneca. He holds a Ph.D. in genetics from the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Steven A Greenberg, M.D., M.S.

Chief Scientific Advisor
Steven A. Greenberg, M.D., M.S. is a founder of Abcuro and is the Chief Scientific Advisor. Steven is a clinical neurologist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and Professor of Neurology at Harvard Medical School. His clinical and laboratory research focus involves translational medicine, inventing diagnostics including blood tests for dermatomyositis and inclusion body myositis, and therapeutics, including co-inventing a therapeutic monoclonal antibody for dermatomyositis currently in phase 2 studies. He has authored over 100 publications and served as Principal Investigator for multiple clinical trials, and is the founder of the non-profit research organization, the Inclusion Body Myositis Foundation. Steven received an A.B. degree in Mathematics from Princeton University, an M.S. degree in Medical Informatics from MIT, and an M.D. degree from Harvard Medical School through the Harvard-MIT Health Science and Technology Program.

Niti Goel, M.D., FACR

Chief Medical Officer
Dr. Goel is the Chief Medical Officer of Abcuro. She is a board-certified rheumatologist with 25 years of academic, clinical development, and medical affairs experience. She has extensive expertise in clinical trial design and has had successful global regulatory interactions and approvals for biologics, cellular therapies, and small molecules. Dr. Goel is highly experienced in autoimmune and autoinflammatory diseases. Prior to joining Abcuro, she was CMO at Kezar Life Sciences and held several roles at IQVIA, the Human Data Science Company, as well as various roles at Array BioPharma, Inc., UCB Pharma, and P&G (Procter & Gamble) Pharmaceuticals. She is an adjunct Assistant Professor of Medicine at Duke University School of Medicine in the Division of Rheumatology. Dr. Goel received a B.S. degree from Pennsylvania State University and her M.D. degree from Jefferson Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University. She completed her internal medicine and rheumatology training at Duke University Medical Center.

Board of directors

John Edwards

Executive Chair
John Edwards brings over 30 years of experience in discovery, development, and global commercialization of biopharmaceuticals. He was involved in the development or commercialization of 10 FDA approved biologics and has had successful exits at 8 of the 10 biotech companies he helped to build, which include Tilos, Siamab, Exonics, Adnexus, F-star, and Genetics Institute. He built a hematology therapeutic business that reached over $1B in annual revenue for Wyeth/Genetics Institute and was responsible for leading the development of the fastest biologic to progress from phase I to FDA approval. John started his career in R&D as one of the first employees at Genzyme. He received his M.B.A. from Boston University and his B.S. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.

Yajun Xu, Ph.D.

President, Hongsen
Yajun Xu is currently president of Hongsen Investment Group. She also serves as Sr. Advisor for Shangbay Capital, co-founder of Epimab Inc., and board member and advisor on numerous biotech companies in U.S. and China. Previously, she was Sr. Vice President of corporate development at Shangpharma, Executive Vice President of biology and pre-clinical service at Chempartner in Shanghai, China. Prior to Joining Shangpharma, Yajun was director of inflammation at Millennium pharma Inc. and senior scientist at BASF Bioresearch Corp. (now AbbVie Bioresearch Corp.). She received her Ph.D. in Biochemistry at Brandeis University and postdoctoral training at Harvard School of Public Health.

Jay Knowles

Partner, Mass General Brigham Ventures
Jay Knowles joined Mass General Brigham Ventures in 2014 as a Partner. Previously, Jay was CEO of X-BODY Biosciences (acquired by Juno). Prior to X-BODY, he was at Novartis in charge of the Platforms team for Strategic Alliances, responsible for global technology and drug discovery collaborations. Jay was also President of Novalar, Vice President of Business Development at Novacea, and Director, R&D Planning at Vertex Pharmaceuticals. He earned his MBA in Finance from Wharton Business School, an M.Sc. in Chemistry from UC Berkeley, and a BA with Distinction in Chemistry from Carleton College. He represents Partners on the boards of Apres, Keros (KROS), ROME, Swan, and Triplet. Previous recent investments include Akouos (AKUS), Denali (DNLI), Editas (EDIT), Tilos (acquired by Merck), and Translate (TBIO).

Iyona Rajkomar, M.B.B.S., C.F.A.

Partner, Pontifax
Iyona Rajkomar joined Pontifax as a Partner in February 2019. She spent the last four years at Advent Life Sciences where she founded and was a board member on a number of their early-stage companies. She was previously an equity research analyst and also worked in strategy consulting. At Pontifax, she will be responsible for generating deal flow, diligence and transactional work across both the equity and venture debt funds. Iyona qualified as a medical doctor with Honours from St George’s Hospital Medical School and holds the CFA Charter. Iyona is a Director on the boards of Horama, Amolyt Pharma (formerly Alizé Pharma), Abcuro, and Stargazer Pharmaceuticals.

Ryan Berry, Ph.D.

Analyst, RA Capital Management
Ryan Berry, Ph.D. is an Analyst on the Investment Team at RA Capital Management. Ryan’s primary responsibility at RA Capital is to is to conduct due diligence on biotechnology companies. Prior to this role, Ryan was an Associate on the Cardio-Renal Team within the TechAtlas division of RA Capital, where he mapped competitive landscapes of drugs and medical devices for disease indications and capabilities, with a focus on coronary artery disease, stroke, and dyslipidemia. Ryan holds a B.S. in Biochemistry and Molecular Cell Biology from the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, and a Ph.D. in Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology from Yale University. His doctoral research focused on cellular mechanisms of adipogenesis.

Mike Dybbs, Ph.D.

Partner, Samsara BioCapital
Mike Dybbs is a Partner at Samsara BioCapital, where he invests across all stages of the life science sector from seed stage to public equities. He currently serves on the board of a number of Samsara portfolio companies, including: Enara Bio, IONpath, Levo Therapeutics, Nkarta Therapeutics and Sutro (STRO). Prior to Samsara, Mike was a Partner at New Leaf Venture Partners. Mike has served on the boards of Versartis (VSAR), Dimension Therapeutics (DMTX), Advanced Cell Diagnostics (acquired by Bio-Techne) and Principia. Before joining New Leaf, Mike was a Principal at the Boston Consulting Group, where he was a core member of their health care practice. Mike received an A.B. in biochemical sciences from Harvard and a Ph.D. in molecular biology from UC Berkeley, where he was awarded a Howard Hughes Medical Institute fellowship. His research was published in peer-reviewed journals, including Nature, Science, and Neuron.

Jason P. Hafler, Ph.D.

Managing Director, Sanofi Ventures
Jason P. Hafler is the Managing Director of Sanofi Ventures. Prior to Sanofi, Dr. Hafler was the Director of Corporate Development at RaNA Therapeutics, LLC a company co-founded by his previous firm Atlas Venture. While at Atlas, Dr. Hafler was an Associate in the Life Sciences group. Previously, he was a Flagship Ventures Entrepreneurial Fellow, and consulted for the technology transfer company at the University of Cambridge while performing his doctoral research. Before his time at Cambridge, Dr. Hafler was an analyst at JSB Partners LP, an investment banking firm, focusing on advisory and business development activities in the life sciences space. Outside of Dr. Hafler’s Sanofi Venture boards, he serves on the Board of Trustees at the Buckingham Browne and Nichols school, the Board of Directors of The Magdalene College Foundation and the Board of Directors of the Beacon Hill Nursery School. Dr. Hafler graduated with honors from Bowdoin College, and holds a Ph.D. from the University of Cambridge.

investors

Hongsen Investment Logo

Hongsen Investment Fund

We are a strong and experienced management team, with over 100 years of collective experience in investing, biotech and healthcare, business operations and capital market experience. Hongsen Investment focuses on growing biotech companies with a strong team, proven technology, and sound business model, along with companies that have clear arbitrage and exit plans. Strong relationships and networks with global top–notch research institutions and private equity firms are what broaden our path to cutting-edge technologies and industry-transforming projects.
Mass General Brigham Logo

Mass General Brigham Ventures

Mass General Brigham Ventures is an early-stage venture capital firm focused on commercializing technologies emerging from the Mass General Brigham research community. The fund invests in companies based on technologies created by principal investigators at Mass General Brigham’s flagship hospitals, including Massachusetts General Hospital, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Mclean Hospital and Mass. Eye and Ear. The fund provides access to groundbreaking technologies with the goal of developing inventions and innovations for the benefit of patients worldwide.

Pontifax

Founded in 2004, Pontifax is a healthcare-dedicated venture capital firm with over $775 million under management. We seek transformative, cutting-edge life sciences technologies at all development stages. Our portfolio comprises of about 80 companies that develop breakthrough solutions to substantial unmet needs.

RA Capital Management

RA Capital Management is a multi-stage investment manager dedicated to evidence-based investing in public and private healthcare and life science companies developing drugs, medical devices, and diagnostics.

Samsara BioCapital

Samsara BioCapital was founded after years of working in the medical field and investment industry. Our goal is to help entrepreneurs turn their own ideas and visions into successful companies with fundraising and networking guidance. As a results-driven organization, we are constantly looking for ambitious and visionary partners with the drive and flexibility to take their company to the next level.

Sanofi Ventures

Sanofi Ventures is the corporate venture capital arm of Sanofi. We have the ability to seed and to lead financings in early-stage companies with innovative ideas and transformative new products and technologies that are of strategic interest to Sanofi. Among these areas are rare diseases, oncology, immunology and inflammation, vaccines, potential cures in other core areas of Sanofi’s business footprint, and digital health solutions.