Chief Executive Officer
Jeff Knapp has over 30 years of experience in the pharmaceutical industry, including 20 in executive management. He has developed and executed strategies supporting clinical development, regulatory approval, and commercial launch of multiple products across a diverse array of therapeutic areas. Prior to joining DNAtrix, Jeff served as Chief Operating Officer at Aimmune Therapeutics where he was responsible for preparing the company’s first asset, AR101, for approval and commercial launch in the US & EU as a treatment for children and adolescents with peanut allergies. Before joining Aimmune, Jeff served as Chief Operating Officer at Adamas Pharmaceuticals. While working with Adamas, Jeff established the preliminary commercial and manufacturing infrastructure as the company moved from a privately held Phase 2 company to a publicly-traded Phase 3 / pre-commercial company and supported the company’s successful Initial Public Offering in April 2014. Jeff also served as Chief Commercial Officer at Affymax, where he developed the strategy and led the build out of the commercial organization leading to the successful 2012 launch of the company’s lead compound, OMONTYS® (peginesatide), for the treatment of anemia in patients with end-stage renal disease. Earlier in his career, Jeff held several senior positions in Sales and Marketing, including Senior Vice President and Vice President, at companies such as Abgenix (acquired by Amgen in April 2006), Pharmion Corporation, EMD Pharmaceuticals (a division of Merck KGaA), and the Oncology Division of Eli Lilly and Schering-Plough Corporation. Jeff received a BA in Biology with a Minor in Business Administration from Wittenberg University.
Matteo Levisetti, MD
Chief Medical Officer
Matteo Levisetti has extensive experience leading global clinical development for mid-size and large pharmaceutical companies. Prior to joining DNAtrix, Matteo served as Chief Medical Officer at Dauntless Pharmaceuticals where he was responsible for assets in endocrinology and oncology. Previously, Matteo directed immuno-oncology programs as Executive Director of Clinical Development at Mirati Therapeutics. Before joining Mirati, Matteo served as Global Head & Vice President, Translational Medicine, Immunology and Inflammation at Roche Pharma Research & Early Development (pRED) and held several senior positions with Pfizer, including Global Clinical Lead. While working with Pfizer, Matteo led multiple early clinical development programs across several therapeutic areas, including endocrinology, immunology and oncology. Earlier in his career, Matteo held joint appointments as Assistant Professor in the Departments of Medicine, Pathology, and Immunology at Washington University School of Medicine. Matteo received his MD from the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine, completed residency training in internal medicine at the University of Chicago Hospitals, and completed subspecialty training in endocrinology and a research fellowship with Dr. Emil R. Unanue at Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, Missouri.
Brian Mooney, MBA
Chief Financial Officer
Brian Mooney has over 25 years of senior management experience in life sciences, software, and financial industries both as a Chief Financial Officer and Chief Operating Officer. Brian brings broad experience in venture capital and mergers & acquisitions, having been a Managing Partner of a venture lending fund and a boutique merchant bank. He has successfully structured and closed a wide variety of transactions and served on multiple boards of directors. Brian has also managed a wholly owned subsidiary of a publicly traded company and been in charge of subsidiary reporting. Brian received a BA in Finance from Trinity College Dublin and an MBA from Smith School of Business, University of Maryland.
Karen Basbaum, MBA
senior vice president, Business development
Karen Basbaum has over 20 years of experience in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industry with both private and publicly traded companies. Prior to DNAtrix, Karen served as VP of Business Development for Dauntless Pharmaceuticals and Elcelyx Therapeutics. Previously, Karen worked with Amylin Pharmaceuticals, where she established several partnerships with prominent institutions such as Biocon and the JDRF and was instrumental to licensing transactions for subsequently commercialized products with Amgen and Shionogi & Co. Earlier in her career, Karen held scientific roles in drug discovery at Abbott Laboratories (now Abbvie) and Celgene Corporation. Karen holds an MBA from the Paul Merage School of Business at the University of California, Irvine, an MS in Organic Chemistry from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and BS degrees (with Honors) in Biology and Chemistry from the University of North Dakota.
Imre Kovesdi, PhD
Senior vice president, research
Imre Kovesdi is an accomplished scientist as well as biotechnology entrepreneur. Prior to DNAtrix, Imre served as the Chief Executive Officer of Vectorlogics, a privately-held biotechnology company developing virus-based cancer therapies. Previously, he served as Chief Scientific Officer with GenVec (NASDAQ:GNVC). He joined GenVec as one of its first employees and held several senior positions directing research, development and manufacturing before being appointed as CSO. Imre was also a major contributor to GenVec’s intellectual property portfolio. Before joining GenVec, he led projects in the development of gene expression systems and therapeutic gene design at the Medical Research Division of the New York-based American Cyanamid Company. Imre was a postdoctoral fellow at The Rockefeller University, and received a PhD in molecular biology from Simon Fraser University and a BAS in electrical engineering from University of British Columbia. He is the holder of over 100 US and foreign patents and has authored over 130 scientific articles in the areas of virology, gene delivery and molecular biology. Imre has also served on the boards of a number of biotechnology and information technology companies.
Erin Mitchell, PhD
Senior Vice President, Manufacturing
Erin Mitchell has extensive experience in process development and manufacturing. As Director of Manufacturing and Process Development at MediGene, Erin assembled and directed a team of scientists and technicians that developed a scalable manufacturing process for herpes virus. Previously, she was a key part of the team that developed the process and oversaw the successful production of the material used for the Phase 1 clinical trial of NeuroVir’s herpes virus product. Erin received a BS in Biochemistry from McMaster University, an MSc in Biochemistry from The University of Toronto, and a PhD in Immunology from Cambridge University.
Brett Ewald, PhD
Vice President, Development
Brett Ewald has over 15 years of oncology experience within pharma, biotech, and academia, developing novel treatments for glioblastoma, solid tumors, and hematological malignancies. He joined DNAtrix from Novartis Oncology, where he had increasing roles of responsibility and focused on accelerating early stage clinical programs into late stage development. Brett has contributed to the Phase 1 clinical development of many agents, including approved drugs, BRAFTOVI (encorafenib) and PIQRAY (alpelisib). Prior to Novartis, he performed translational research in the Department of Experimental Therapeutics at MD Anderson Cancer Center, identifying new ways to target DNA damage repair pathways for the treatment of leukemia. Brett holds a PhD in Pharmacology from The University of Texas Health Science Center, as well as BS and BA degrees in Biology and Economics from Villanova University.
Joan Robbins, PhD
vice president, Translational research
Joan Robbins has comprehensive experience in the development of gene therapy. Prior to joining DNAtrix, Joan served as Senior Vice President of Biosafety & Gene Therapy at Western Institutional Review Board (WIRB) - Copernicus Group, the world’s largest provider of regulatory and ethical review for human research. Prior to that she was Vice President of Translational Research at Tocagen, advancing the first replicating retroviral vector from the bench to a pivotal study in primary brain cancer. She also served as CSO of ADVENTRX Pharmaceuticals, developing a portfolio of drugs for cancer and infectious disease, and was VP of Product Development at Immusol, developing gene therapies and biologics for multiple indications. Additionally, Joan is the co- founder of two virus and biologic specialty manufacturing companies. Joan trained at the NIH/NCI, the Garvan Institute and Center for Immunology (Sydney, Australia), and the University of California, San Diego. She received a BS in Genetics from the University of California, Davis, and a PhD in Genetics from the George Washington University, Washington, D.C.