Leadership Team

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.

Micah Benson, PhD, Chief Scientific Officer

Micah Benson joined KSQ at its founding and was responsible for building KSQ’s Immuno-Oncology and Autoimmunity efforts, leading to a clinical-stage portfolio of multiple first-in-class therapeutics. A co-inventor of KSQ’s foundational Immune CRISPRomics® platform, Micah’s work led to the discovery of SOCS1 and Regnase-1 and the development of KSQ’s eTIL® programs, including KSQ-001EX and KSQ-004EX, as well as a broad strategic partnership established with Takeda to develop and commercialize novel Immuno-Oncology therapeutics. Prior to joining KSQ, Micah served as the Head of Tolerance Therapeutics in the Immunology and Inflammation Research Unit at Pfizer, Inc., where he was responsible for building and leading a drug discovery portfolio and identifying external research opportunities focused on immune tolerance induction therapeutics. He earned his PhD in Immunology from Dartmouth Medical School where his work on B cell survival and T regulatory cell differentiation generated fundamental insights into the mechanisms of immune-mediated diseases. Micah subsequently served as a Leukemia Lymphoma Society fellow at Harvard Medical School where he studied mRNA splicing in B lymphocyte differentiation. He is the author of several patents and multiple publications in top-tier scientific journals.

Chris Heberlig, MBA, Chief Financial Officer

Chris Heberlig has more than two decades of financial, strategic and operational experience in the biotechnology industry with a background supporting companies advancing from private to public markets and from early-stage development towards commercialization. Prior to KSQ, Chris served as Executive Vice President, Chief Financial Officer at Kiniksa Pharmaceuticals, where he was part of the founding team that in-licensed a portfolio of products. During his time at Kiniksa he helped raise over $500 million in private and public equity financing, including an initial public offering, as part of progressing the company’s programs. Prior to Kiniksa, he served as Senior Vice President of Finance and Business Operations and Chief Accounting Officer at Synageva BioPharma Corp. supporting the company’s transition to the public markets, raising more than $1 billion in new capital and significant organizational growth. Earlier in his career Chris held financial leadership roles at Panacos Pharmaceuticals Inc. and EPIX Pharmaceuticals Inc., both publicly traded biotechnology companies. Chris began his career at PwC, a national audit, tax and advisory services firm. He received an MBA from Boston University and a BA in economics from St. Lawrence University.

Thomas Leitch, Chief Technology Officer

Tom brings nearly 25 years of leadership experience in cell & gene therapy, biologics, and vaccines to his role as Chief Technology Officer. His experiences span Manufacturing Sciences, CMC Strategy Development, Internal and External Manufacturing Operations, Quality, Engineering, Tech Transfer, and Supply Chain across a broad range of leading biopharmaceutical companies.

Tom came to KSQ from bluebird bio, where, as the Head of Manufacturing, he led the development and execution of the company’s supply strategy during a period of rapid growth that expanded the network to include more than ten internal and external manufacturing sites around the world. At bluebird, Tom was instrumental in the regulatory approval of multiple commercial therapies. Prior to bluebird, Tom held various positions of increasing responsibility in Quality, Manufacturing Operations, and Manufacturing Sciences positions at Alexion and Merck.

Tom holds M.S. and B.S. degrees in engineering from Virginia Tech.

Lance Ostrom, Chief Business Officer

Lance brings over 20 years industry experience and over the past ten years has focused his work in business development at large pharmaceutical companies and small biotechs.  At KSQ he’s led three major transactions with Ono, Takeda and Roche resulting in significant runway extension and partners poised to leverage KSQ discoveries.  Before joining KSQ, Lance was the Head of BD at Xilio Therapeutics where he focused on early-stage collaborations with pharma resulting in a deal with Merck. Previously, he was Head of the Roche Boston Innovation Hub, focused on early-stage therapeutics as well as accessing innovative research and technologies through collaboration, licensing, or M&A in the academic, pharma, and biotech community. Before Roche he held many roles of increasing responsibility at Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research (NIBR) including translational research, alliance management and BD.  Lance has worked on deals totaling more than 5 billion dollars from discovery collaborations to Phase I programs.  Lance holds a Master’s in biology from Harvard University Extension School and a Bachelor of Science in Biology from University of Michigan.

Scott Goldman, VMD, PhD, Vice President, Portfolio Strategy and Operations

Scott Goldman has spent the past twenty years leading medical and scientific organizations in the civilian and government sectors.  Prior to joining KSQ, Scott managed clinical antibody-drug-conjugate drug development programs at Mersana Therapeutics and served as an Alliance and Program Manager at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, where he was responsible for corporate-sponsored research programs with Calico Labs and IBM Watson Health.  While at the Broad, Scott spearheaded a “BioTech Startup” short course with Jason Ruth (MRL Ventures Fund and 5AM Ventures)  and Tony Kulesa (Principal at Pillar VC, Founder of Petri) for medical, PhD, and MBA students across the Cambridge ecosystem.  Before joining the Broad, Scott was a Veterinary Corps Officer in the U.S. Army for fifteen years.  His assignments spanned the country and included everything from public health and animal care to serving as the Executive Officer of a major government biomedical research laboratory.  He earned his PhD in Cellular and Molecular Pharmacology from Rutgers University where he studied autophagy, adipogenesis, and cancer imaging techniques. He earned his VMD from the University of Pennsylvania where he specialized in comparative medicine.  Scott’s professional interests include non-traditional drug development, organizational change management, and leadership strategy.

Grace Law, M.Sc., LLB, Head of IP

Grace brings over 20 years of patent law expertise in various biologics modalities, including monoclonal antibodies, antibody drug conjugates, and gene therapies. Prior to joining KSQ, Grace worked at Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research and was responsible for a significant portfolio of biologics programs ranging from early discovery prospects to late-stage clinical candidates. She also led multi-attorney teams to support strategic development of complex platforms, conduct due diligence investigations, and implement cross-divisional patent portfolio management software. Grace also worked at Pfizer where she supported various biologics development programs. Her experience spans multiple disease areas, including cancer, respiratory disease, inflammation, and immunity. Before working in-house, Grace was an associate at Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow & Dunner LLP and at Oyen, Wiggs, Green & Mutala LLP. Grace obtained her law degree and M. Sc. in Microbiology from the University of British Columbia.

Patty Martins Harris, MPH, Senior 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.

Elizabeth Twomey-Gansler, Head of Human Resources

Elizabeth Twomey-Gansler has served as the Head of Human Resources at KSQ Therapeutics since April 2019. Prior to joining KSQ, Elizabeth worked in executive search focusing on the recruitment of physicians and clinical development professionals for life-science companies of all sizes at The Higgins Group. Elizabeth has received her Bachelor of Social Work from Saint Mary’s College, her Master of Social Work from Boston College, and her Juris Doctor from Suffolk University Law School. Elizabeth has served on the Area Board for the Park Street region of the Department of Children & Families since 2018.

Board of Directors

Doug Cole, MD, Board Member

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.

Mahesh Karande, Board Member

Mahesh is the President and CEO of Omega Therapeutics (Nasdaq: OMGA), a clinical-stage biotechnology company pioneering a new field of epigenomic programming to use mRNA therapeutics as programmable epigenetic medicines. At Omega, he has led the translation of completely new science into a drug development and therapeutic platform with a broad pipeline in oncology, regenerative medicine, immunology, inflammatory conditions, and important monogenic conditions. As Omega’s CEO, Mahesh has raised $350 million through private rounds (series A, B, C) and a successful IPO in July 2021. Prior to Omega, he held the position of CEO of Macrolide Pharma. Upon his arrival, Mahesh immediately assessed the science of the company, leadership, core competencies, and pipeline to optimize a path forward for the highest shareholder return.

Before his CEO positions, Mahesh held numerous leadership roles at Novartis Pharmaceuticals most recently as a corporate-level Vice President and US franchise head leading the Oncology solid tumors business, President of Africa, President of Egypt and Regional Vice President of strategy and business development for 95+ emerging markets from Africa to Australia, where he oversaw execution of over 50 partnership deals.  He has led over 10 product launches in the U.S. and across global markets.  He has had the distinction of successfully leading his teams in Egypt though the military coup of 2013 and Africa through the Ebola crisis of 2014 and the oil-currency crisis of 2015.  He over-delivered on business results despite these existential crises.

 

Prior to entering the pharmaceutical industry, Mahesh worked for the global management consulting firm, McKinsey and Company where he led and worked on projects across pharmaceuticals, medical devices, telecom, technology and private equity.

 

Mahesh has an M.B.A. from the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania. He is also a graduate of the Georgia Institute of Technology, where he completed his M.S. in engineering, and the University of Bombay, where he completed undergraduate studies in engineering.

Ravi Mehrotra, PhD, Board Member

Ravi Mehrotra joined Flagship Pioneering in 2023. He works with  Flagship Growth companies to help maximize value creation opportunities for their bioplatforms.

Prior to joining Flagship, Ravi spent 20+ years in biotechnology equity research and investment banking and he has held various executive team operational roles. He was previously Senior Managing Director on Evercore ISI’s Biotech team and served in senior equity research roles at Credit Suisse and Cowen. Ravi started his career on Wall Street in 1997 at Bankers Trust-Alex Brown/Deutsche Bank.

Ravi developed a “macro-micro” approach to equity research encompassing thought leadership and industry analysis on a broad range of topics including bioparma R&D productivity, biotech business models, the gene and cell therapy revolution, and drug pricing. He was the number one ranked biotechnology analyst in both Institutional Investor and Extel surveys for multiple years and has been involved in over 200 IPO’s and financings globally.

Ravi holds a B.S. (Honors) and a Ph.D. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from The Wellcome Trust Center, Manchester University, UK.

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.

Frank Stegmeier, PhD, Board Member

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.

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.

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