Leadership Team

Micah Benson, PhD, Senior Vice President, Immunobiology

Micah Benson has more than 15 years of industry and academic experience as an expert immunologist and drug hunter.  Prior to joining KSQ Therapeutics, Micah served as Head of Tolerance Therapeutics in the Immunology and Inflammation Research Unit at Pfizer, Inc.  In this capacity, Micah was responsible for building and overseeing a drug discovery portfolio and identifying and seeding external research opportunities with biopharma partners focused on immune tolerance induction technologies.  This included leading innovative approaches encompassing biologic, targeted drug delivery and cell therapy modalities, and working with patient advocacy groups to seed new opportunities in the immune tolerance space.  He earned his PhD in Immunology from Dartmouth Medical School in Dr. Randy Noelle’s lab, where he discovered factors driving T regulatory cell differentiation, and was a Leukemia Lymphoma Society postdoctoral fellow at Harvard Medical School in Anjana Rao’s lab, where he worked on mRNA splicing factors in B lymphocytes.  He has authored several patents and published extensively in top-tier scientific journals.

 

Caroline Dugopolski, Vice President, Technical Operations

Caroline Dugopolski is a technical operations leader with more than 18 years of industry experience in GMP clinical and commercial manufacturing operations across biologic, device, and cell therapy products. Prior to joining KSQ, Caroline spent five years leading technical operations functions at Histogenics Corporation, including manufacturing, quality control, and analytical development. While in this role, she led a cross-functional team to achieve successful completion of clinical manufacturing for a Phase 3 clinical trial for NeoCart®, an autologous tissue-engineered cartilage product. Prior to Histogenics, Caroline spent thirteen years at Genzyme Corporation in manufacturing technical support and compliance leadership roles. She initially focused on biomanufacturing and technology for Genzyme’s core enzyme replacement therapy products, Cerezyme®, Fabrazyme®, and Myozyme®. She supported commercial manufacturing operations by analyzing process performance, addressing production issues, and implementing process improvements. She later transitioned into a quality compliance role in which she made critical contributions to addressing quality system challenges. She led teams through design, implementation, and operation of remediated quality systems to enable successful completion of Genzyme’s work plan to improve quality systems at its Allston Landing Facility.

Caroline has a BSE in chemical engineering and a MS in biomedical engineering from the University of Michigan.

Brigid Garelik, Vice President, Clinical Development

Brigid Garelik has over 25 years of experience in oncology drug development and as an oncology stem cell transplant physician-scientist, with expertise that spans basic/clinical research to patient care with a strong focus on immune oncology. Prior to joining KSQ, she was Executive Director of Clinical Science at Iovance. She was involved in the development of autologous T-cell based therapy across multiple indications and led a registrational program that brought the first novel autologous cell therapy to patients with advanced cervical cancer. Before joining Iovance, she was Senior Medical Director of Global Clinical Research and Development at Celgene where she served as clinical lead in the multiple myeloma and lymphoma programs. Before Celgene, Brigid began her industry career with Bristol Myers Squibb, where she held roles of increasing responsibility in the clinical research group including development programs for the first FDA approved checkpoint inhibitors ipilimumab and nivolumab. Prior to joining industry, Garelik was Assistant Professor of Clinical Pediatrics at Columbia University in the division of pediatric stem cell transplantation with a focus stem cell transplantation for malignant diseases. Garelik received her MPH from Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University, and her MD from State University of New York, Health Science Center at Syracuse.

Chris Heberlig, MBA, Chief Financial Officer

Chris Heberlig comes to KSQ with over 20 years of experience managing and leading teams, including overseeing the financial and operational responsibilities of private and publicly traded biotechnology companies. Before his new role at KSQ, Chris served as Chief Financial Officer of Kiniksa Pharmaceuticals, where he was part of the company’s founding team and in-licensed a portfolio of products. During his time at Kiniksa, he oversaw three private financing rounds, an initial public offering, and a follow-on financing as part of developing and advancing the company’s portfolio of programs. Prior to Kiniksa, Chris was at Synageva BioPharma Corp., where he held roles in global financial and operational leadership, most recently serving as Senior Vice President of Finance and Business Operations and Chief Accounting Officer. At Synageva, Chris also oversaw the company’s transition to the public markets and significant organizational growth. Earlier in his career, he held financial leadership positions at Panacos Pharmaceuticals Inc. and EPIX Pharmaceuticals Inc., both publicly traded biotechnology companies. He received an MBA from Boston University and a BA in economics from St. Lawrence University. He is also a Certified Public Accountant.

Patty Martins Harris, MPH, Vice President, Clinical Sciences

Patty Harris has over 20 years of global clinical development experience across a variety of oncology/hematology indications. Prior to joining KSQ, Patty was Vice President of Clinical Sciences at Cogent Biosciences and at Unum Therapeutics where she led the clinical development for small molecule and modified autologous cellular therapies.  She has worked at both emerging and large biotechnology companies where she managed a number of clinical development functions and helped build clinical infrastructure.  While at Infinity Pharmaceuticals, she was the clinical science lead for the clinical development of duvelisib (Copiktra) which received marketing approval for CLL and follicular lymphoma. At Pfizer, Patty was the global clinical program lead and clinical submissions lead for bosutinib (Bosulif) providing clinical strategy and execution guidance from phase 1 through pivotal registration trials. She received her Master’s in Public Health from Boston University and her Bachelor’s degree from The College of the Holy Cross.

Qasim Rizvi, MD, MBA, Chief Executive Officer

Qasim Rizvi is a trained surgeon and highly accomplished health care executive with broad experience in the biopharmaceuticals industry. He has a distinguished track record of innovation and operational excellence, coupled with a strong commitment to collaboration and teambuilding. Prior to joining KSQ, Dr. Rizvi was senior vice president of operations & chief commercial officer at Kiniksa Pharmaceuticals. He held previous positions at Genentech, where he most recently served as vice president and franchise head of Tecentriq®, with commercial responsibilities for Genentech’s cancer immunotherapy portfolio. Earlier, he led Roche’s hematology franchise, as VP of global product strategy and lifecycle leader for Hemlibra® for hemophilia A. Dr. Rizvi has a record of success in building exceptional teams that deliver results. He has extensive launch experience in the oncology space; having launched Herceptin®, Perjeta® and Kadcyla® for HER2-positive breast cancer as well as Venclexta® for chronic lymphocytic leukemia and Gazyva® for follicular lymphoma. Under his leadership, Rituxan Hycela® received FDA approval as the first sub-cutaneous treatment for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Prior to joining Genentech, Dr. Rizvi was at Novo Nordisk and Eli Lilly, where he served in numerous roles in sales, marketing, business development and new product planning. Dr. Rizvi earned an MB.ChB. from the University of Dundee Medical School in Scotland. He completed his residency in general surgery, including rotations in neurosurgery, orthopedics, ENT and accident and emergency care. He also holds an M.B.A. from the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan.

Michael Schlabach, PhD, Vice President, Target Discovery

Michael Schlabach has more than 20 years of experience in academia and industry in human genetics and cancer biology.  His specialty through most of his career has been in building and screening high throughput systems for functionally interrogating human biology.  Before coming to KSQ he oversaw the Project DRIVE screening effort at Novartis Institutes of Biomedical Research (NIBR), a massive collaborative effort to systematically interrogate cancer cell lines using RNAi for new target discovery.  This effort was ultimately successful at introducing multiple novel cancer targets into the Novartis  pipeline.  He received his PhD in Genetics at Harvard Medical School in Dr. Stephen Elledge’s Lab, where he built some of the first shRNA libraries for screening human cells.  He has authored multiple patents and published extensively in top tier journals.

Frank Stegmeier, PhD, Chief Scientific Officer

Frank Stegmeier is an industry-leading expert in genetics, cancer biology and functional genomics who has led the industrialized application of functional genomics for oncology drug discovery in the pharmaceutical industry. Prior to joining KSQ Therapeutics, Frank served as Director and Head of Global Oncology Target Discovery at the Novartis Institutes for Biomedical Research (NIBR), where he was responsible for developing the early oncology drug discovery portfolio. Frank also led the therapeutic siRNA research strategy at Novartis and directed the Cancer Cell Line Encyclopedia collaboration with the Broad institute. During his tenure at Novartis, Frank and his team identified more than a dozen novel oncology targets and advanced multiple chemical entities addressing these targets into preclinical development. He also led the biology efforts to advance the PKC inhibitor Sotrastaurin into phase I clinical trials in lymphomas and uveal melanoma. Frank was awarded the prestigious Novartis VIVA Leading Scientist Award for his vision, scientific excellence and innovative leadership.

Frank earned his PhD in biology from MIT and was a Helen Hay Whitney postdoctoral fellow at Harvard Medical School in Dr. Stephen Elledge’s lab. He has authored numerous patents and published in top-tier scientific journals including Cell, Nature, Science, and Nature Medicine.

Andrew Wylie, PhD, Senior Vice President, Discovery Biology

Andrew Wylie has over 16 years of oncology drug discovery experience in both small biotech and big pharma environments. Prior to joining KSQ Therapeutics, Andrew served as a Director in the Oncology group at the Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research where he was responsible for leading drug discovery teams from early conceptual stages to the nomination of clinical candidates. In this role, Andrew led internal and external teams that identified and progressed a number of important oncology programs from lead optimization through IND-enabling studies including Asciminib (ABL001), the first allosteric inhibitor targeting BCR-ABL and LXS196 a PKC inhibitor in development for uveal melanoma. Prior to joining Novartis, Andrew held oncology drug discovery roles of increasing responsibility at Infinity Pharmaceuticals and Vertex. Andrew earned his PhD in Genetics from the University of Glasgow, Scotland, and was an AstraZeneca postdoctoral fellow based in Duke University, North Carolina, USA. He has authored several patents and published in top-tier scientific journals.

Board of Directors

Theo Melas-Kyriazi, MBA, Chairman of the Board

Theo Melas-Kyriazi joined Flagship Pioneering as an Executive Partner in April 2019. Prior to joining the firm, Theo served as chief financial officer of Levitronix Technologies, a worldwide leader in magnetically levitated bearingless motor technology. Before Levitronix, Theo held a nearly two-decade career at Thermo Fisher Scientific, where he served in a variety of roles including Treasurer, CFO, and CEO of a publicly-traded Thermo subsidiary where he increased revenues from $40M to $200M over 4 years.  As Treasurer and then CFO, Theo was instrumental in raising $2B in equity and convertible debt; executing 5 IPOs of Thermo subsidiary companies; and executing a broad restructuring that transformed Thermo from $4B revenue diversified holding company into a $2B company focused on serving life science customers.

Over the last 20 years, Theo has served on the boards of multiple public and private healthcare and life science companies, including Moderna, Valeant Pharmaceuticals, Thoratec Corporation, Helicos Biosciences, and Evelo Biosciences.  He also served as an operating partner of a middle-market private equity firm from 2007 to 2012.

Theo holds a bachelor’s degree in economics and an MBA from Harvard University.

Doug Cole joined Flagship Pioneering in 2001. He focuses on life science.

At Flagship, Doug has co-founded Ensemble TherapeuticsFoghorn Therapeutics (NASDAQ: FHTX), Inzen Therapeutics, Moderna (NASDAQ: MRNA), Permeon Biologics, Sigilon Therapeutics, (NASDAQ: SGTX), and Syros Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: SYRS). He has led investments in Agios Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: AGIO), Alvine PharmaceuticalsAvedro (NASDAQ: AVDR, acquired by Glaukos), CombinatoRx (NASDAQ: ZLCS), Concert Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: CNCE), Denali Therapeutics (NASDAQ: DNLI), Editas (NASDAQ: EDIT), Quanterix Corporation (NASDAQ: QTRX), Receptos (NASDAQ: RCPT, acquired by Celgene), Seventh Sense BiosystemsTetraphase Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: TTPH), and Torque.

He currently serves on the board of directors of Denali Therapeutics, Cygnal Therapeutics, Foghorn Therapeutics, KSQ Therapeutics, Inzen Therapeutics, Repertoire Immune Medicines, Sana Biotechnology (NASDAQ: SANA), and Sigilon Therapeutics. He formerly served on the board of directors of Avedro, AVEO Oncology (NASDAQ: AVEO), CombinatoRx, Concert Pharmaceuticals, CGI, Moderna, Morphotek (acquired by Eisai Pharmaceuticals), ReceptosResolvyxSelecta (NASDAQ: SELB), Seventh Sense, Taris (acquired by JNJ), and Tetraphase.

Before joining Flagship, Doug was instructor in neurology at Harvard Medical School and assistant in neurology at the Massachusetts General Hospital; medical director at Cytotherapeutics, in Providence, Rhode Island; and program executive at Vertex Pharmaceuticals, Inc., in Cambridge, Mass.

He holds an A.B. magna cum laude with high distinction in English from Dartmouth College, where he was a senior fellow and a member of Phi Beta Kappa, and an M.D. from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, where he was a member of Alpha Omega Alpha. He obtained post-graduate training in medicine at the Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, and in neurology at the Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, Mass.

Doug is a member of the scientific advisory board and the board of directors of the Spinal Muscular Atrophy Foundation.

Alan Crane, MBA, Board Member

Alan Crane is a Partner and Entrepreneur at Polaris Partners focusing on building and investing in healthcare companies. He has served as founder and/or has played a significant role as chairman and CEO in building six Polaris companies including: Momenta Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: MNTA), Cerulean Pharma (NASDAQ:CERU), Visterra, Navitor Pharmaceuticals, XTuit Pharmaceuticals and Arsia Therapeutics. In addition, he currently serves on the board of Seventh Sense Biosystems and has previously represented Polaris on the boards of T2 Biosystems (NASDAQ: TTOO), Ocular Therapeutix (NASDAQ: OCUL), Sirtris Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: SIRT, acquired by Glaxo SmithKline) and Adnexus Therapeutics (acquired by Bristol Myers Squibb).

From 2002 to 2006, Alan was President and CEO of Momenta Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: MNTA). He joined Momenta as the fifth employee and built it into a public company, creating an advanced and diversified pipeline, entering into two strategic collaborations with Novartis and raising $275 million. The first product from Momenta’s pipeline achieved over $1B during its first year of sales.

Prior to Polaris, Alan was Senior Vice President of Global Corporate Development at Millennium Pharmaceuticals, where he was responsible for leading Millennium’s strategic partnering, mergers and acquisitions, and licensing activities, generating over $2B in partner funding and acquiring 19 development stage products. Among these products was Velcade which became the main basis of the company’s $9B acquisition by Takeda. Before joining Millennium, Alan was a marketing executive at DuPont-Merck and a consultant with the Boston Consulting Group and Arthur D. Little.

Alan earned a BA in Biology, summa cum laude, from Harvard College, an MA in Cellular and Developmental Biology from Harvard Graduate School of Arts & Sciences and an MBA, with honors, from Harvard Business School. He also spent two years studying towards an MD at Harvard Medical School.

 

Pearl Huang, PhD, Board Member

Pearl Huang is the President and Chief Executive Officer of Cygnal Therapeutics, a Flagship Pioneering company. She is also on the board of Cygnal and a venture partner at Flagship Pioneering.

Before joining Cygnal, Pearl most recently served as Senior Vice President and Global Head of tTherapeutic Modalities at Roche, where she oversaw the discovery of biologic, small molecule, and nucleic acid-based therapies. Prior to Roche, Pearl was Vice President and Global Head of Discovery Academic Partnerships at GSK. In 2010, she founded BeiGene and served as Chief Scientific Officer until 2012, developing the company’s initial drug discovery pipeline and moving the company’s first programs into the clinic. From 2006 to 2010, Pearl served as Vice President, Oncology Integrator, Discovery and Early Development at Merck, leading 14 early development teams and conducting seven first-in-human trials in one year. Prior to that, she led oncology discovery at GSK, initiating the programs that delivered tramentinib and dabrafenib to patients.

Pearl received her undergraduate degree in life sciences from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a Ph.D. in molecular biology from Princeton University.

Richard Moscicki, MD, Board Member

Richard Moscicki has more than 25 years of leadership experience in translational medicine, clinical development, regulatory affairs and medical affairs in the pharmaceutical industry.

Rich is currently the Executive Vice President for Science and Regulatory Advocacy and the Chief Medical Officer at Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA). From 2013 to 2017, prior to joining PhRMA, he served as the Deputy Center Director for Science Operations for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Center for Drug Evaluation and Research (CDER). Rich was senior vice president and head of Clinical Development at Sanofi-Genzyme from 2011-2013. He was Chief Medical Officer at Genzyme Corporation from 1992 to 2011, where he was responsible for worldwide global regulatory and pharmacovigilance, as well as all aspects of clinical research and medical affairs.

Rich is board certified in internal medicine, diagnostic and laboratory immunology, and allergy and immunology. He completed his residency in internal medicine, followed by a fellowship at Massachusetts General Hospital in clinical immunology and immunopathology. He remained on staff at MGH and on the faculty of Harvard Medical School from 1979 until 2013. Rich received his medical degree from Northwestern University Medical School.

Qasim Rizvi is a trained surgeon and highly accomplished health care executive with broad experience in the biopharmaceuticals industry. He has a distinguished track record of innovation and operational excellence, coupled with a strong commitment to collaboration and teambuilding. Prior to joining KSQ, Dr. Rizvi was senior vice president of operations & chief commercial officer at Kiniksa Pharmaceuticals. He held previous positions at Genentech, where he most recently served as vice president and franchise head of Tecentriq®, with commercial responsibilities for Genentech’s cancer immunotherapy portfolio. Earlier, he led Roche’s hematology franchise, as VP of global product strategy and lifecycle leader for Hemlibra® for hemophilia A. Dr. Rizvi has a record of success in building exceptional teams that deliver results. He has extensive launch experience in the oncology space; having launched Herceptin®, Perjeta® and Kadcyla® for HER2-positive breast cancer as well as Venclexta® for chronic lymphocytic leukemia and Gazyva® for follicular lymphoma. Under his leadership, Rituxan Hycela® received FDA approval as the first sub-cutaneous treatment for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Prior to joining Genentech, Dr. Rizvi was at Novo Nordisk and Eli Lilly, where he served in numerous roles in sales, marketing, business development and new product planning. Dr. Rizvi earned an MB.ChB. from the University of Dundee Medical School in Scotland. He completed his residency in general surgery, including rotations in neurosurgery, orthopedics, ENT and accident and emergency care. He also holds an M.B.A. from the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan.