Pyxis Oncology Strengthens Leadership Team with Executive and Scientific Advisory Board Appointments

– Steve Monks, Ph.D., appointed as Chief Technical Officer, brings 20+ years in drug development and CMC, Quality, and Regulatory operations –
– Ritu Shah, PMP, appointed as Chief Operating Officer, brings 20+ years of industry experience specializing in portfolio management and strategic planning –
– Christoph Rader, Ph.D., and Anthony W. Tolcher, M.D., join Scientific Advisory Board –

CAMBRIDGE, Mass., June 8, 2021 Pyxis Oncology (“Pyxis” or the “Company”) today announced the appointments of Steve Monks, Ph.D. as Chief Technical Officer and Ritu Shah, PMP, as Chief Operating Officer. Additionally, Christoph Rader, Ph.D. and Anthony W. Tolcher, M.D., have joined the Company’s Scientific Advisory Board.

“It is with great pleasure that we welcome Dr. Monks and Ms. Shah to our team,” said Lara Sullivan, M.D., Chief Executive Officer of Pyxis. “Dr. Monks brings a breadth of manufacturing and regulatory experience that will help rapidly advance our rich portfolio of candidates to the next stage of clinical development. Additionally, Ms. Shah’s unparalleled industry and execution expertise will be instrumental as we expand our operations and progress towards our mission of transforming the lives of patients with difficult-to-treat cancers.”

Ronald Herbst, Ph.D., Chief Scientific Officer of Pyxis, added, “At Pyxis, we are thrilled to have Drs. Rader and Tolcher, with their tremendous experience in the development of antibody therapeutics, including antibody-drug conjugates, join our Scientific Advisory Board. Their deep expertise in antibody technology, conjugation of different payloads, and clinical development of new biologics will further strengthen the science at Pyxis and help guide our therapeutic programs towards the clinic.”

Dr. Monks added, “I am honored to join the Pyxis team alongside industry veterans who are committed to improving the treatment landscape for patients with cancer. The Company has rapidly established a robust, diversified portfolio that holds significant clinical potential. I look forward to leveraging my past experience to assist the Company in advancing its innovative biologics to the next stage of development.”

Ms. Shah said, “I am eager to apply my vast expertise in portfolio management and execution excellence to help support the Company during this period of exponential growth.”

Before joining Pyxis, Dr. Monks served as Senior Vice President of Development at Aura Biosciences. Before joining Aura, he was a member of the executive leadership team at Agenus. Dr. Monks received his Ph.D. from The University of Melbourne and a B.Sc. with first class honors in Zoology from the University of Queensland.

Most recently, Ms. Shah served as Vice President of Business Operations and Program Management of Levo Therapeutics. Prior to this, Ms. Shah was the Chief of Staff to the Chief Executive Officer and Vice President of Program Management at AveXis. Ms. Shah previously held various executive roles at Baxter, Baxalta, and Shire after starting her career at Accenture. Ms. Shah earned her B.Sc. from the University of Notre Dame in the Department of Chemical Engineering.

Dr. Christoph Rader is a Professor in the Department of Immunology and Microbiology at Scripps Research. Prior to this appointment, he was a Senior Scientist at the National Cancer Institute (NCI), National Institutes of Health (NIH). After earning his Ph.D. from the University of Zurich, Dr. Rader completed his postdoctoral training in antibody technologies at Scripps Research. In his independent career, he has pursued both antibody target and drug discovery strategies toward more specific and more potent treatment options for cancer patients, including target discovery efforts aimed at identifying new cancer cell surface antigens and drug discovery efforts based on antibody display, antibody engineering, and antibody conjugation methods.

Dr. Anthony W. Tolcher is the Chief Executive Officer, Founder and Director of Clinical Research at NEXT Oncology. In 2007, Dr. Tolcher became co-founder of South Texas Accelerated Research Therapeutics (START), a global clinical trial organization enabling first-in-human clinical trials with innovative cancer drugs within a global network. He has been involved in the earliest clinical studies of 17 approved agents for the treatment of cancer and has extensive experience and is considered a thought leader in the field of antibody drug conjugates. Dr. Tolcher is a board-certified medical oncologist and studied internal medicine at the University of Toronto and received his medical oncology training at the BC Cancer Agency in Toronto. His postgraduate research training was performed at the National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health Bethesda, MD. Dr. Tolcher is a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians Canada (FRCPC), Fellow of the American College of Physicians (FACP), and Fellow of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (FASCO).

About Pyxis Oncology
Founded by Longwood Fund, Pyxis Oncology is building a differentiated portfolio of biologics, including antibody-drug conjugates (ADCs) and immunotherapies, to improve the lives of patients with difficult-to-treat cancers. Pyxis is employing site-specific conjugation technology to develop highly stable ADCs with enhanced therapeutic indexes. Pyxis is also advancing a diverse portfolio of immunotherapies that target broad immune regulators as well as novel immune checkpoints identified through its immuno-oncology and cold tumor discovery efforts. For additional information, visit

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Martina Molsbergen

Interim Chief Business Officer

Martina Molsbergen has more than 28 years of business development and marketing experience. She is currently the Chief Executive Officer of C14 Consulting, a business development advisory firm serving the life sciences community. Previously, Ms. Molsbergen held several leadership roles in business development, including Vice President of Business Development of Crucell Holland BV, where she managed the company’s joint venture with DSM Biologics; Vice President of Business Development of Biowa, Inc., where she negotiated more than 15 deals valued at over $2.5 billion; Vice President of Business Development of Zetiq Technologies Ltd. and Vice President of Pharmaceutical Development Services & Business Development of Patheon, Inc. Her career has earned her business development and marketing expertise in biotherapeutics, immunotherapies, and regenerative medicine, especially with cutting-edge tools, technologies, and products. Ms. Molsbergen holds a Bachelor of Science in chemical engineering from Drexel University.

Lucio Iannone, Ph.D.


Lucio Iannone is an investor at Leaps by Bayer, the investment arm of the global life sciences company Bayer. Lucio is responsible for developing investment cases and deal execution. He is also involved in the sourcing, screening, and mentoring of companies with game-changing science. As an investor, Lucio is also serving as board member for Khloris Biosciences, Vesigen Therapeutics , Immunitas Therapeutics, eGenesis, Azitra, Kojin Therapeutics and Axxam. Before joining Leaps by Bayer, he had several senior roles in biotechnology companies and venture capital firms. He has experience with molecular biology, cell & gene therapy technologies and their application in oncology and other therapeutic fields. Lucio obtained his Ph.D. in Medicine at the Imperial College of London.

Robert Crane

Chief Financial Officer

Robert Crane is the Chief Financial Officer of Pyxis Oncology. Mr. Crane has 30 years of experience in the life sciences industry, including therapeutics, medical devices, and diagnostics. Mr. Crane has been involved with public and private firms in the U.S., Europe, and Asia, serving as chief financial officer at six U.S. public companies. He has listed companies on NASDAQ as well as the Australian Stock Exchange.

Mr. Crane has served as Chief Financial Officer plus stepping in to run manufacturing, quality, and business development when required. Mr. Crane has been responsible for several IPOs and numerous public and private financings with proceeds of over $1 billion plus partnerships and collaborations. He has also been responsible for the sale of multiple companies. Mr. Crane’s involvement includes growth-stage companies and turnarounds. Companies where Mr. Crane has been CFO include Sirtris Pharmaceuticals, Inc., which was acquired by GlaxoSmithKline Plc; I-STAT Corporation, Inc., which was acquired by Abbott Laboratories; Taris Biomedical, which was acquired by Allergan and Johnson & Johnson; InKine Pharmaceutical Company, Inc., which was acquired by Salix, Inc.; Olivo Laboratories which was acquired by Shiseido; Seragen, Inc., which was acquired by Ligand Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

Mr. Crane was previously a partner in the venture capital firm, Montgomery Ventures which invested in emerging healthcare and technology companies. He was also chairman of the American Bicycle Group, a premier manufacturer of high-end bicycles with brands including Litespeed, Merlin, and Quintana Roo.

Mr. Crane holds a Bachelor of Science in mechanical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a Masters of Business Administration from Stanford University.

Ronald Herbst, Ph.D.

Chief Scientific Officer

Dr. Ronald Herbst is the Chief Scientific Officer of Pyxis Oncology. Prior to joining Pyxis, Dr. Herbst was Vice President, Research & Development and Head of Oncology Research at MedImmune, the global biologics research and development arm of AstraZeneca, where he served as Chair of the Oncology Research Committee and as member of the MedImmune Research Leadership Team. Under his leadership, the oncology group brought 10 novel targets to the clinic in the areas of immunotherapy and antibody drug conjugates. Prior to that, Ronald focused on the company’s respiratory, inflammation and autoimmunity efforts, where he led the advancement of 4 novel molecules into the clinic, including one that is now approved by the US Food and Drug Administration. Before joining MedImmune, Ronald was Senior Principal Investigator in oncology at DNAX, a Schering Plough biotechnology subsidiary. Ronald conducted his postdoctoral research in the Department of Biology at Stanford University.  He obtained his Ph.D. at the Ludwig-Maximilian University of Munich, with research conducted at the Max-Planck Institute of Biochemistry in Axel Ullrich’s Laboratory. Ronald has (co)-authored more than 100 publications and is co-inventor on 17 pending or granted patents. 

James Mutamba, Ph.D.

Vice President of Business and Corporate Development

Dr. James Mutamba is the Vice President of Business and Corporate Development at Pyxis Oncology. Prior to joining Pyxis, Dr. Mutamba was a Principal at Longwood Fund, where he was responsible for building and supporting portfolio companies, including Pyxis Oncology. Prior to Longwood he was a Senior Associate at PureTech Health where he co-founded Commense, Inc., a microbiome-based maternal and childhood health company. Dr. Mutamba was also a co-founder and inventor in Glyph Biosciences, an immune-focused company targeting novel lymphatic system biology, and Calix Biopharma, a company developing engineered exosomes for novel drug delivery applications. Prior to joining PureTech, Dr. Mutamba was a strategy consultant at ClearView Healthcare Partners and played multiple roles in research and product development at Pathogenica, Inc., a biotech startup out of Harvard University. 

Dr. Mutamba earned his Ph.D. from MIT in the Department of Biological Engineering and completed coursework at the MIT Sloan School of Management. He received his BS in Biochemistry from UNCG where he graduated summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa. 

Steve Monks

Chief Technical Officer

Steve is the Chief Technical Officer at Pyxis Oncology. Prior to joining Pyxis, Steve was an independent consultant advising small to medium biotech companies in the oncology, vaccine, and tissue repair spaces on CMC (chemistry, manufacturing, and controls), Quality, and Regulatory strategies. Prior to this, Steve served as Senior Vice President of Development at Aura Biosciences where he spearheaded all product technical development efforts for their Virus-Like drug conjugate AU-011. Prior to Aura, Steve was a member of the executive leadership team at Agenus, where he was responsible for internal and external cGMP manufacturing, warehousing and distribution, and the analytical and process development functions across the entire Agenus pipeline.

Steve received his Ph.D. from The University of Melbourne and a BSc with first-class honors in Zoology from the University of Queensland, Australia.

Ritu Shah, PMP

Chief Operating Officer

Ritu Shah is the Chief Operating Officer at Pyxis Oncology. Ritu has over 20 years of experience in the pharmaceutical and biotech industry specializing in portfolio management and strategic planning. Prior to joining Pyxis, Ritu served as the Vice President of Business Operations and Program Management of Levo Therapeutics where she led the operations for the Phase 3 trial of Prader-Willi syndrome, a rare disease. Prior to Levo, Ritu was the Chief of Staff to the CEO and Vice President of Program Management for AveXis, a biotech gene therapy company focusing on SMA, and led the integration following the $8.7B acquisition by Novartis. Prior to AveXis, Ritu spent 8 years at Baxter, Baxalta, and Shire in various executive roles leading patient advocacy, commercial, research and development, supply chain, and global operations. Ritu started her career at Accenture where she spent over a decade in management consulting focusing on R&D and supply chain projects across manufacturers, wholesalers, and retailers. Ritu earned her B.Sc. from University of Notre Dame in the Department of Chemical Engineering and graduated summa cum laude. Ritu is certified as a Project Management Professional, PMP. Ritu is also involved in her community and serves as a Board member of an entrepreneurial incubator program.

David Steinberg

Founding CEO and Chairman

David is co-founder and Chairman of Pyxis Oncology, where he was founding CEO, and serves as a General Partner at Longwood Fund. Previously, David was co-founder and Chief Innovation Officer at PureTech Health, (LSE: PRTC), where he focused on biotech venture creation and investing. David has co-founded and served as CEO and founder of several biotech companies, including Vor Biopharma (NASDAQ:VOR) Be Biopharma, Vedanta Biosciences, Endra Life Sciences Inc. (NASDAQ: NDRA), and Entrega Biosciences, and co-founded ResTORbio (NASDAQ: TORC). Prior to that David worked in biopharma strategy consulting at Boston Consulting Group and Vertex Partners, and in R&D at P&G Pharmaceuticals. He received his M.B.A. from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business and holds a B.A. in biology from Cornell University.

John Flavin


John Flavin is co-founder and an independent Director of Pyxis Oncology, where he was founding Chairman. He is also the Founder and CEO of Portal Innovations, a life sciences venture development engine.  A seasoned life sciences executive and entrepreneur with over 20 years of experience in finance, operations, and innovation, John has co-founded and scaled several life sciences companies as President and CFO such as Advanced Life Sciences and MediChem Life Sciences. Mr. Flavin has also co-founded and led transformative life sciences incubators including MATTER and the Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the University of Chicago.


John has completed numerous public and private capital financings totaling over $300 million including 2 NASDAQ IPOs and has raised over $135 million in philanthropic and corporate funding to support university technology commercialization and venture start-up activities.  He received his B.S. in Business Administration from Marquette University and his M.B.A. in Finance from Lewis University. 

Darren Cline


Darren Cline has more than 30 years of experience in the biopharma industry as an accomplished commercial executive. Mr. Cline has held various commercial leadership roles of increasing scale and complexity at industry-leading companies including Amgen, InterMune, Alexion, Seagen and most recently, GW Pharmaceuticals, where he served as Chief Commercial Officer until their recent acquisition by Jazz Pharmaceuticals. Mr. Cline also served on the Board of Stemline Therapeutics prior to the acquisition by Menarini Group.


Mr. Cline received his undergraduate degree from San Diego State University and his MBA from Pepperdine University.

Christian Schetter, Ph.D.


Christian has over 20 years’ experience in the life science industry. He is Executive Chairman of STipe Therapeutics, Chairman of Twelve Bio and a Non-Executive Director of Atox Bio, all Arix portfolio companies. Prior to joining Arix he was for four years CEO of Rigontec GmbH, a German Biotech start-up company in the immune oncology space. Christian lead Rigontec to a successful acquisition mid 2017 by MSD valuing EUR 115 MM in upfront payment and additional EUR 349 million in potential milestones. Between 2008 and 2014 Christian was President and CEO of Neovii Biotech, previously Fresenius Biotech. During his tenure one antibody product was brought to market and the indication for another product expanded. Christian was instrumental in selling Fresenius Biotech to the Neopharm Group, Israel, to form Neovii Biotech and positioning it as a successful standalone business. Before joining Fresenius, Christian was Senior Vice President, European Operations of Coley Pharmaceutical Group, Inc, a pioneer in the development of immunostimulatory oligonucleotides, and served as Managing Director of Coley GmbH. He was part of the leadership team which built Coley Pharmaceuticals from inception through multiple financing rounds, a NASDAQ IPO and, following a number of significant pharma deals, to a trade sale to Pfizer in 2007.

Before entering the life science industry Christian was successfully performing academic research at the Max Planck Institute in Martinsried, Germany. He received his undergraduate degree and PhD from the University of Cologne and did postdoctoral research in oncology and virology at the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, California.

Gotham Makker, M.D.


Gotham Makker, M.D., serves as head of Strategic Investments at RTW Investments, LP (“RTW”). Gotham has more than 17 years of healthcare industry experience. Prior to joining RTW, Gotham served as CEO of Simran Investment Group, LLC, a privately held equity investment fund. Before Simran, Gotham was a healthcare portfolio manager and principal at Citadel Investment Group LLC, a position he held from 2002 to 2005. Prior to joining Citadel, Gotham served in various analyst roles at Oracle Partners LP, covering biotechnology and medical device sectors. He began his career on the life sciences investment banking team at Hambrecht & Quist.

Gotham serves on the board of directors of Rocket Pharmaceuticals.

Gotham received his MD from the University of Nebraska Medical School, and he completed the Sarnoff cardiovascular research fellowship at Columbia University, College of Physicians & Surgeons and at Harvard Medical School, Brigham & Women’s Hospital.

Christopher O’Donnell, Ph.D.


Christopher O’Donnell, Ph.D. is a Partner at Pfizer Ventures and Executive Director, Pfizer Worldwide Research, Development & Medical. Chris has over 20 years of scientific leadership at Pfizer and a strong track record of delivering clinical candidates across multiple disease areas and modalities. Prior to Pfizer Ventures, Chris built and led the Applied Synthesis Technologies group within Pfizer Worldwide Research & Development organization to accelerate the delivery of Pfizer’s small molecule portfolio. Prior to that, Chris built and led Pfizer’s Antibody Drug Conjugate Oncology Medicinal Chemistry group which delivered new linker, payload and conjugation methods resulting in 7 conjugates entering clinical development for many different cancer indications and this technology is at the foundation of PYX-201 and PYX-203. Chris started his career in the Neuroscience Medicinal Chemistry group where he invented and helped deliver numerous clinical candidates, with the most advanced being the AMPA positive allosteric modulator in Phase II that was licensed to Biogen. Chris has co-authored 60 peer reviewed manuscripts and is the inventor/co-inventor on 25 patents.

Chris earned his BS in Chemistry from the University of Illinois-Urbana/Champaign and his Ph.D. in Chemistry from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and joined Pfizer after his post-doctoral research studies as an American Cancer Society Fellow at the University of California – Irvine.

Within Pfizer Ventures Chris is responsible for identifying, evaluating, making and managing equity investments aligned with the future directions of Pfizer. He currently serves on the boards of Adapsyn Biosciences, ARKUDA Therapeutics, Pyxis Oncology, Storm Therapeutics (UK) and Strata Oncology. Chris previously served on the boards of Kymera Therapeutics (KYMR) and was a board observer of BioAtla Inc. (BCAB), Mitokinin, Morphic Therapeutic (MORF) and Petra Therapeutics.

Mark Chin


Mark is an experienced venture capital investor, with significant experience as a board director of both private and public biotech companies in the US and Europe. He led Arix investments into key portfolio companies, including: VelosBio (acquired by Merck), Amplyx Pharmaceuticals (acquired by Pfizer), Aura Biosciences, Harpoon Therapeutics (NASDAQ IPO) and Imara (NASDAQ IPO). Previously, Mark was a principal at Longitude Capital, where he focused on investments in biotechnology and medical technology companies. Prior to Longitude, he was a consultant at the Boston Consulting Group, where he was responsible for strategy and corporate development projects for pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies. Before BCG, Mark worked in corporate development at Gilead Sciences and market planning at Genentech.

Mark currently serves on the board of directors for Harpoon Therapeutics, Inc. (NASDAQ: HARP), Imara Inc. (NASDAQ: IMRA), Iterum Therapeutics plc (NASDAQ: ITRM), Pyxis Oncology, Artios Pharma and several other private biotechnology companies.

Mark received an MBA from The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, an MS in Biotechnology from the University of Pennsylvania, and a BS in Management Science from the University of California at San Diego.

Pamela Connealy, M.B.A.

Chief Financial Officer

Pamela Yanchik Connealy, M.B.A. joined Pyxis in July 2021 as the Chief Financial Officer with responsibility for finance, legal and human resources. Pam has over 25 years of finance and business operations experience and prior to joining Pyxis Pam was the CFO, Chief HR Officer of Immunovant with additional responsibilities for legal, IT and facilities. Ms. Connealy also served as the Chief Financial Officer and Chief Operating Officer of Kiva, a San Francisco based nonprofit organization. From April 2014 to June 2018, Ms. Connealy served as Global Head of Talent at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, focusing on talent management, compensation, benefits, and global mobility. From March 2012 to November 2013, she served as Vice President of Business Operations at Salesforce, and from March 2002 to April 2010, Ms. Connealy served as a Vice President and Corporate Officer at Genentech, with roles including Chief Financial Officer of Research & Development and Global Head of Procurement. Ms. Connealy earned a B.S. in Chemistry from Gannon University and an M.B.A. in Finance from the University of St. Thomas in Houston, Texas.

Jay M. Feingold, M.D., Ph.D.

Chief Medical Officer

Dr. Feingold has extensive experience in academic medicine and the pharmaceutical industry. Before joining Pyxis Oncology, he spent seven years at ADC Therapeutics where he was Senior Vice President and Chief Medical Officer. Dr. Feingold created the organization responsible for the submission of 6 INDs and initiated 6 clinical programs. Most recently, FDA granted accelerated approval for Zynlonta this past April, the first approved CD19 directed ADC. Prior to joining ADCT, he was Vice President of US Medical Affairs and Chairman of the Global Medical Affairs Oversight Committee at Daiichi Sankyo. Previously Vice President of Global Oncology Clinical Development and Global Therapy Area Director of Oncology at Wyeth. Before joining Wyeth, Dr. Feingold was a member of the Departments of Medicine and Pediatrics and Associate Director of the Bone Marrow Transplant Program at the University of Connecticut, overseeing the Alternative Donor and Pediatric Transplant Programs. Dr. Feingold received his M.D. and Ph.D. from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine and trained in Pediatrics and Pediatric Hematology and Oncology at the UCLA Center for the Health Sciences.

Thomas Civik


Mr. Thomas Civik most recently served as President and Chief Executive Officer of Five Prime Therapeutics until its acquisition by Amgen for $1.9 billion in April 2021. He was previously Chief Commercial Officer at Foundation Medicine, delivering significant growth during his tenure and launching the first ever FDA-approved pan-cancer comprehensive genomic test.


Thomas held various roles over a 17-year career at Genentech, including responsibility for several important therapies such as Avastin, Tecentriq, Alecensa and Tarceva. Mr. Civik earned a B.A. from St. Norbert College, and an M.B.A. from Northwestern University Kellogg School of Management.

Lara S. Sullivan, M.D.

Chief Executive Officer

Dr. Lara S. Sullivan is the Chief Executive Officer of Pyxis Oncology. Prior to joining Pyxis, Lara was Founding President of SpringWorks Therapeutics (NASDAQ: SWTX), a clinical stage biopharmaceutical company spun-out from Pfizer. While at Pfizer, Lara led strategy, competitive intelligence and portfolio operations for the company’s early-stage R&D pipeline. Prior to joining Pfizer, Lara was an associate partner at McKinsey & Company, where she specialized in biopharmaceutical R&D productivity and efficiency. Lara also served as a principal at Paul Capital Partners, where she led due diligence for healthcare investments, and earlier in her career worked in healthcare equity research and healthcare municipal finance at Credit Suisse First Boston. Lara holds an M.D. from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, an M.B.A. from The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, and a B.A. in Comparative Literature from Cornell University.