About Pyxis Oncology

Our Vision

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Liberate science to cure patients with cancer.

Our Mission

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Our disruptive approach improves and extends life for patients with cancer and their families.

Pyxis Oncology is devoted to transforming the lives of patients with cancer by advancing our innovative and differentiated portfolio of clinical assets that specifically target tumor cells and overcome immune suppression. We believe that antibody-drug conjugates (ADCs) and immunotherapies offer unique potential to address difficult-to-treat cancers, leading to improved patient outcomes.

Pyxis Scientist

Established leadership

We have assembled a world class management team with deep experience in oncology research and development and a demonstrated track record of success, building public biotech companies and developing innovative medicines.

Executive team

Lara Sullivan
Lara S. Sullivan, M.D.
President and Chief Executive Officer
Pamela Connealy
Pamela Connealy
Chief Financial Officer and Chief Operating Officer
Ken Kobayashi MD
Ken Kobayashi, M.D., F.A.C.P
Chief Medical Officer
Jan Pinkas
Jan Pinkas, Ph.D.
Chief Scientific Officer
Stephen Worsley
Stephen Worsley
Chief Business Officer
Balu Balasubramanian PhD
Balu Balasubramanian, Ph.D.
Interim Chief Technology Officer
Xiaodong Yang, M.D., Ph.D.
Xiaodong Yang, M.D., Ph.D.
Distinguished Research Fellow

Board of Directors

Lara S. Sullivan, M.D.

Chief Executive Officer

Clinical and Translational Medicine Advisory Board

Paul A. Bunn, Jr, M.D., FASCO, FACP, FAAAS

University of Colorado Cancer Center

Giulio Draetta, M.D., Ph.D.

UT MD Anderson Cancer Center

Elliott Levy, M.D.

5AM Ventures, Omega Therapeutics, NuCana, Editas Medicines, Boston Consulting Group

Patricia LoRusso, D.O., Ph.D. (hc)

Yale University, Yale Cancer Center

Jason J. Luke, M.D., FACP

UPMC Hillman Cancer Center, University of Pittsburgh

Glenn A. Miller, Ph.D.

CDX Vision

Anthony W. Tolcher, M.D., FRCPC, FACP

NEXT Oncology

Technical Advisory Board

Morris Rosenberg, D.Sc.

TAB Chair
Founder & Consultant, MRosenberg BioPharma Consulting

Robert Baffi, Ph.D., MBA

President of Global Manufacturing & Technical Operations, BioMarin

V. Bryan Lawlis, Ph.D.

Director, Aeglea BioTherapeutics, Inc.;
Director, Geron Corporation

Christopher O’Donnell, Ph.D.

Vice President, WRDM and Partner at Pfizer Ventures

Michael Sun, Ph.D.

Crux CMC Consulting


We are always open to strategic partnerships that can help advance our mission to develop life-changing biologics for patients with cancer. We welcome you to get in touch.

Our partners:


Lara S. Sullivan, M.D.

President and Chief Executive Officer

Dr. Lara S. Sullivan is the President and Chief Executive Officer of Pyxis Oncology. Prior to joining Pyxis Oncology, Lara was Founding President of SpringWorks Therapeutics (NASDAQ: SWTX), a clinical stage biopharmaceutical company she conceived of, founded, and spun out from Pfizer. As a biotech entrepreneur and advisor, Lara has leveraged her expertise in asset evaluation, portfolio management, and start-up financing to raise nearly $500 million of capital from seed stage through IPO. While at Pfizer, Lara held a variety of executive roles including Vice President, Pfizer Medical and Vice President, Worldwide Research & Development, where she led strategy, competitive intelligence and portfolio operations for the company’s early-stage R&D pipeline. Earlier in her career, Lara held a variety of roles in management consulting, private equity, and investment banking. 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.

Pamela Connealy, M.B.A.

Chief Financial Officer and Chief Operating Officer

Pamela Yanchik Connealy, M.B.A., is the Chief Financial Officer and Chief Operations Officer at Pyxis Oncology. Pam is responsible for finance, global clinical operations, commercial development, quality, CMC, human resources, legal, and information technology. Pam has over 25 years of finance and business operations experience. Before joining Pyxis Oncology, Pam was the Chief Financial Officer and Chief Human Resources Officer of Immunovant, with additional legal, information technology, and facilities responsibilities. Pam also served as the Chief Financial Officer and Chief Operating Officer of Kiva, a nonprofit organization based in San Francisco. From April 2014 to June 2018, Pam served as the 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, Pam served as the Vice President and Corporate Officer at Genentech, with additional roles including Chief Financial Officer of Research & Development and Global Head of Procurement. Pam serves on Orchestra BioMed’s Board of Directors and is Chair of the Audit Committee.
Pam 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.

Ken Kobayashi, M.D., F.A.C.P

Chief Medical Officer

Dr. Kobayashi is an experienced medical oncologist, clinical pharmacologist, and senior global life sciences executive. He has a deep background as a clinician-scientist, regulator, scientific diplomat, and drug developer across the US, Europe, Latin America, and Japan/Asia. As a senior executive in large and mid-size pharmaceutical companies, including Pfizer, Daiichi Sankyo, AstraZeneca, Janssen, and Novartis, he has successfully overseen the introduction of more than 28 investigational agents into the clinic and has been directly involved with 60 programs across multiple solid tumor and hematologic malignancy indications, including small molecules, antibody-drug conjugates (ADCs), monoclonal antibodies, and tumor vaccines. He has early and late-stage experience, including filing and regulatory review of INDs and NDAs. He was previously Senior Vice President of Clinical Development at Kinnate Biopharma, where he led the Clinical, Medical Affairs, Clinical Operations, and Patient Engagement functions. His experience includes roles at the National Cancer Institute and the Food and Drug Administration. While in the Federal service, he was a Mike Mansfield Fellow, during which time he was seconded to the Japanese Government for a year-long assignment. Dr. Kobayashi earned his MD from Northwestern University Medical School and trained in medical oncology and clinical pharmacology at the University of Chicago.

Jan Pinkas, Ph.D.

Chief Scientific Officer

Dr. Jan Pinkas is the Chief Scientific Officer of Pyxis Oncology. Prior to joining Pyxis Oncology, Jan was Senior Vice President, Head of Translational Sciences at Magenta Therapeutics where he was responsible for all therapeutic programs from development candidate nomination through Phase II with particular focus on toxicology, clinical pharmacology, and biomarkers. Prior to this role, Jan worked at ImmunoGen as Vice President, Translational Research & Development where he led nonclinical and translational research and development related activities in discovery through late stage clinical development. He obtained his Ph.D. in Molecular and Cellular Biology from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and his undergraduate degree in biology from Johns Hopkins University.

Stephen Worsley

Chief Business Officer

Mr. Stephen Worsley is the Chief Business Officer (CBO) at Pyxis Oncology. Before joining Pyxis Oncology, Stephen was the CBO for corporate and business development at Lytix Biopharma, a leading European immuno/oncology company. Prior to that, he served as the Vice President of Strategic Business Development at Redwood Biosciences/Catalent Pharma Services. Stephen is a seasoned life sciences executive who also served as the CBO at Sutro Biopharma, Sr. Vice President of Business Development at IndiMolecular, and Vice President of Business Development at Peregrine Biopharmaceutical (dba Avid Pharma Services), amongst other roles in his career. Stephen served on the Board of Directors for Peregrine Beijing (a subsidiary of Peregrine Pharmaceuticals) and as Director of Business Development for several successful startups, including Abgenix (acquired by Amgen) and OHM Technologies (acquired by The Carlyle Group).

Stephen’s business development leadership spans more than 25 years in roles of increasing impact and executing high-valuation strategic deals in biopharmaceuticals and drug discovery/development. As a business development executive, Stephen has led and successfully negotiated transformative and award-winning technology and clinical product partnerships for leading therapeutics companies; his focus has primarily been in the protein and antibody arena. Stephen’s achievements include global co-development agreements on behalf of Abgenix with Immunex/Wyeth (led to acquisition by Amgen for $2.7B) with Vectibix® (panitumumab); on behalf of Peregrine a deal with Oncologie Inc. for clinical Phase II level bavituximab; on behalf of Zosano Pharmaceutical with Asahi Kasei Pharma Corporation (AKP) Asahi Kasei Pharma Corporation (AKP) on ZP-PTH®; on behalf of Raven Biotechnologies with B7-H3 & B7-H4 mAbs with Macrogenics (leading to the merger of the two companies); and also on behalf of Raven with Abbott (AbbVie) a collaboration focused on five key mAbs (for ADC development) programs.

Stephen holds an MBA from the University of Washington and a BS in Econ/International Finance from the University of Utah.

Balu Balasubramanian, Ph.D., ACSF

Interim Chief Technology Officer

Dr. Balu Balasubramanian has over 26 years of experience in drug discovery research and management. After starting his career as a medicinal chemist with Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS), he assumed positions of increasing responsibilities while leading programs in cardiovascular, metabolic diseases, oncology, immunology/inflammation, infectious diseases, and neuroscience. Balu led the Oncology BMS-Research Triangle Park collaboration while responsible for External R&D innovation activities at BMS and became the Managing Director of BMS-BIOCON R&D Center (BBRC). In this role, Balu led the company to expand its capability as an integrated research and early clinical development center. Balu was instrumental in creating the Translational Medicine Team with BBRC/BMS and Kiran Mazumdar Shaw Cancer Center, Bangalore. As a result, BBRC delivered several clinical candidates from India. During this period, Balu established the academic-industry partnership programs (PPP) in India to increase drug discovery awareness and the talent pool. Under his leadership at BMS, several candidates were taken from preclinical development, through the clinic to new drug application filings. He has authored and co-authored over 75 scientific publications, patents and presentations. Balu holds a Ph.D. from Wayne State University.

Xiaodong Yang, M.D., Ph.D.

Distinguished Research Fellow

Dr. Xiaodong Yang is the Distinguished Research Fellow of Pyxis Oncology. Before joining Pyxis Oncology, Dr. Yang was the founder and Chief Executive Officer of Apexigen. Prior to forming Apexigen, he served as Vice President of Preclinical Development at Intradigm Corporation (acquired by Silence Therapeutics). Dr. Yang began his career as a founding scientist at Abgenix, Inc. (acquired by Amgen), where he was Senior Director and headed the Oncology Therapeutic Program Team responsible for setting the strategy and managing the company’s oncology portfolio. While at Abgenix, he served as the project team leader for Vectibix® (panitumumab) and played a key role in its discovery, development, and BLA approval. Dr. Yang also managed Abgenix’s partnerships on a number of therapeutic antibody programs. He has over 20 years of experience in the research and development of antibody and siRNA therapeutics.
Dr. Yang was an American Diabetes Association and Juvenile Diabetes Foundation post-doctoral fellow in Microbiology and Immunology at Stanford University School of Medicine. He received his Medical Degree from Beijing Medical University and was awarded his Doctorate in Immunology from the University of Bern in Switzerland.

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. 

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.

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.

Jakob Dupont, M.D.

Executive Partner, Private Equity

Jakob Dupont brings more than two decades of experience in the field of oncology and other therapeutic areas, in developing therapies and programs dedicated to addressing high unmet medical needs.


Prior to joining Sofinnova, Jakob was previously Global Head of Research & Development (R&D) and Executive Vice President at Atara Biotherapeutics, where he helped lead efforts to secure regulatory approval of the first-in-kind product, Ebvallo® and advancing a multiple sclerosis candidate (ATA188) to a key Phase 2 read out. Prior to Atara, he served as the Chief Medical Officer at Gossamer Bio, overseeing global development, regulatory, and quality activities for the company, and advancing therapeutics in the disease areas of immunology, inflammation, and oncology. Before Gossamer Bio, Jakob served as Vice President and Global Head of Breast and Gynecologic Cancer Development for Genentech/Roche, where he was responsible for the global development of Herceptin®, Perjeta®, Kadcyla®, Tecentriq®, among others, and where he previously led the development of Avastin® for GYN and Breast Cancers when starting his industry career. Jakob was also Chief Medical Officer and Senior Vice President of OncoMed Pharmaceuticals, Inc., where he oversaw the successful submissions of eight investigational new drug applications (INDs) and 26 clinical trial initiations. Through his industry career he has received numerous grants and awards, contributed to 12 regulatory approvals, 13 successful IND filings, co-authored 47 peer-reviewed publications, and has 18 patents.


Jakob received his M.D. from the Joan & Sanford I. Weill Medical College of Cornell University and his M.A. in philosophy from New York University. He also served as Assistant Chief Resident and completed his Medical Oncology Fellowship at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSK), his Internal Medicine Residency at the New-York Presbyterian Hospital — Cornell Campus, and his Internal Medicine Internship at The University of Michigan Medical Center.

Freda Lewis-Hall, M.D., DFAPA, MFPM


Freda Lewis-Hall, M.D., DFAPA, MFPM, served as Senior Medical Advisor to the Chief Executive Officer at Pfizer until her retirement in March 2020. Prior to that, she was the Chief Patient Officer and Executive Vice President at Pfizer. In this role, Freda worked to extend the reach of Pfizer’s patient-facing health information and education and amplify the patient’s voice inside and outside Pfizer. From 2009-2018 Freda served as Pfizer’s Chief Medical Officer, responsible for the safe, effective and appropriate use of Pfizer medicines and vaccines.


Before joining Pfizer, Freda held senior leadership positions in medical affairs and product development with Vertex Pharmaceuticals, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Pharmacia and Eli Lilly and Company. Prior to joining the biopharmaceutical industry, she served as Vice Chairperson and Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at Howard University College of Medicine and as an advisor to the National Institute of Mental Health. She graduated from Johns Hopkins University and earned her medical doctorate at Howard University College of Medicine. She launched her medical career as a practicing physician and then focused her academic research on the effects of health care disparities and the impact of mental illness on families and communities.


Freda currently serves as a member of the Board of Directors for SpringWorks Therapeutics, 1Life HealthCare, Inc., and Exact Sciences Corporation.


A passionate advocate for health equity and improved outcomes for all patients, Freda serves on the Board of Advisors of the Prostate Cancer Foundation, the Davos Alzheimer’s Collaborative, and the Board of Fellows of the Harvard Medical School.


Freda is a Distinguished Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association and an Honorary Fellow of the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Medicine of the Royal College of Physicians of the United Kingdom. She is a frequent speaker on issues such as improving patient safety and outcomes and reducing stigma and healthcare disparities. She appears regularly on health-related television programs in major global markets, including CBS-syndicated shows such as The Doctors and Dr. Phil.

Rachel Humphrey, M.D.


Dr. Humphrey is a medical oncologist with over 25 years of experience in the pharmaceutical industry. Currently she serves as President and Founding CEO of Normunity, a Boston-based biotech focused on immune-oncology. She is also Founder and Acting CEO of NorthBridge Therapeutics. Over the course of her career, she’s served as Chief Medical Officer in multiple biotechnology companies, including Black Diamond Therapeutics, CytomX therapeutics and Mirati Therapeutics. She’s also held numerous senior leadership roles in large pharmaceutical companies including SVP and Head of Immuno-Oncology at AstraZeneca, and VP, Clinical Development and Immuno-oncology at Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS) where she supervised the development of ipilimumab (Yervoy) from early development to post-launch and founded/chaired the first Immuno-oncology working group. She currents serves on the board of directors of Sporos Biosciences and Asylia Therapeutics, and previously served on the Board of Directors of Xilio and CytomX Therapeutics, respectively. Dr. Humphrey holds an M.D. from Case Western Reserve University and a B.A. from Harvard University. She received her training in internal medicine at The Johns Hopkins Hospital and started her career as an oncology fellow and staff physician at the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, MD.

Santhosh Palani, Ph.D., CFA


Dr. Palani is a former investment partner and a current advisory partner at PFM Health Sciences. At PFM, Dr. Palani led public and private biotechnology investments and served on the board of companies in the cell therapy and gene editing fields. Prior to joining PFM in 2020, Dr. Palani was a Principal at New Enterprise Associates (NEA), where he invested in early-stage private biotechnology companies and served on the boards of companies in the radiopharmaceuticals, cell therapy, targeted oncology, and gene editing fields. From 2016 to 2018, Dr. Palani was a Vice President of equity research at Cowen and Company, where he covered small- to mid-cap biotechnology stocks across numerous therapeutic areas. Prior to Cowen, Dr. Palani was in oncology drug development at Pfizer Inc. and Takeda Pharmaceuticals. Dr. Palani has a Ph.D. in bioengineering from the University of Pennsylvania and completed his postdoctoral work in biochemistry and molecular biophysics at Columbia University. He also holds an M.S. in chemical engineering from Texas A&M University and a B.S. in chemical engineering from the University of Madras. Dr. Palani is a CFA® Charterholder.

Charles T. Gombar, Ph.D.

Senior Vice President, Portfolio & Program Management

Dr. Gombar is the SVP, Portfolio & Program Management at Pyxis Oncology. Charlie brings forty years of drug development experience, across several therapeutic areas, to Pyxis Oncology. Prior to joining Pyxis Oncology, Charlie was Deputy Director, HIV drugs at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation where he was responsible for the programs investing in the development of long acting antiretrovirals for prevention of HIV infection. Prior to the Gates Foundation, Charlie had a long career in the pharmaceutical industry at companies including Wyeth, Knoll, Sterling-Winthrop, and SmithKline Beecham. Charlie spent much of his time in the industry as a development team leader, and as the leader of portfolio and project management groups. Charlie also has experience leading a group responsible for defining the strategic path forward in R&D to help Wyeth thrive in the increasingly challenging environment and drive process improvements in R&D. Charlie has devoted time to teaching drug development and is currently the director of the American Course on Drug Development and Regulatory Science. Dr. Gombar holds a Ph.D. in Pharmacology from the Albany Medical College and a undergraduate degree in Chemistry from Pace University.

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

Chief Medical Officer

Dr. Jay M. 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. Jay 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, Jay 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. Jay 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.