Team

Our Motivation

At CARMA Therapeutics we are motivated to bring the power of adoptive cellular immunotherapy to the large number of solid tumor patients, approximately 500,000 per year in the United States alone, for whom cancer progresses despite surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, or, increasingly, targeted small molecule therapeutics.


AttachmentSteven Kelly, President and CEO

Steven Kelly joined CARMA Therapeutics in February 2018 bringing nearly thirty years of experience in Pharma/Biotech at all phases of the business across multiple therapeutic categories.  Prior to joining CARMA, Mr. Kelly held a number of leadership positions in the biotechnology industry including: CEO, Pinteon Therapeutics; CEO, Theracrine;  CCO, BioVex; CEO, Innovive Pharmaceuticals; as well as various commercial and manufacturing roles at Sanofi, IDEC Pharmaceuticals and Amgen.

Steve holds a BS from the University of Oregon and an MBA from Cornell University.

Saar Gill, MD, PhD, Co-FounderGill Headshot stairs

Saar obtained his medical degree and PhD in immunology from the University of Melbourne in Australia and completed a post-doctoral fellowship in cellular therapy at Stanford University. He is now Assistant Professor of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania where he specializes in the treatment of patients with leukemia and in bone marrow transplantation.

Saar leads two clinical trials of chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cell trials for leukemia, based on concepts that were developed in his laboratory. The Gill research laboratory focuses on the interface between adoptive cellular therapy and genetic engineering and is translating the lessons learned from the CAR T cell experience to other immune cell subtypes.

Klichinsky Headshot en faceMichael Klichinsky, PharmD, Co-Founder

Michael is a PhD Candidate in the Department of Systems Pharmacology and Translational Therapeutics at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine. He developed CAR-macrophages for his doctoral thesis under the co-mentorship of Saar Gill, MD, PhD and Carl June, MD. Michael previously earned a Doctor of Pharmacy degree from the University of Sciences in Philadelphia, graduating Magna Cum Laude. Michael’s scientific expertise is in the field of genetic engineering and immunology, with a focus on chimeric antigen receptor technologies.

Dora Mitchell, PhD, VP, OperationsMitchell headshot railing

Dora runs operations at CARMA Therapeutics Inc. and enjoys wearing many hats at a young biotechnology company. Prior to joining CARMA, she managed the therapeutics and diagnostics company portfolio at PCI Ventures at the University of Pennsylvania (Penn), where she also directed the UPstart Company Incubator. In that role, she led the launch, funding, incubation and growth of Penn intellectual property-based businesses including CytoVas LLC, LignaMed LLC, Quantitative Radiology Solutions LLC, Linnaeus Therapeutics Inc. and others. Prior to joining PCI Ventures, Dora was a member of the Health and Life Sciences team at Battelle Ventures, LP, an early-stage life science and technology company investor.

Dora holds a PhD in Molecular Biology from Princeton University.

Dan headshot croppedDaniel Cushing, PhD, VP, Development

Dan is responsible for product development at CARMA Therapeutics Inc.  He has over 25 years of pharmaceutical and biotechnology industry experience, including discovery research, drug development, medical affairs, and regulatory affairs. Over his career, Dan has led the development and registration of several products and launched multiple products that still enjoy success in the market.

Previously, Dan served as Chief Scientific Officer and Senior Vice President, Research and Development of Nuron Biotech Inc. and as Chief Scientific Officer and Vice President, Drug Development, Medical and Regulatory Affairs of Prism Pharmaceuticals. Earlier in his career, Dan worked at Pfizer, Merck, and Astra Merck and AstraZeneca, where he held senior positions in medical and regulatory affairs.

Dan holds a Ph.D. in Pharmacology and is a Fellow of the American College of Clinical Pharmacology.

Bruce A. Peacock, Chairmanbruce-cropped-as-others

Bruce has held senior executive positions with a number of biotechnology, medical device, and service organizations focused on healthcare including CEO of The Little Clinic, a medical care services company, President and Chief Executive Officer and director of Adolor Corporation, President and Chief Executive Officer and director of Orthovita, Inc., Executive Vice President, Chief Operating Officer and director of Cephalon, Inc., and Senior Vice President and CFO of Centocor, Inc.

Bruce joined Ophthotech Corporation in 2010 and served as Chief Business Officer until September 2014.  He now serves as a director of Dicerna Pharmaceuticals, Discovery Laboratories, Invisible Sentinel, Ocular Therapeutics and PanOptica.

Bruce holds a BA degree from Villanova University.

Margarita Chavez, JD, BoardMargarita cropped as others

Margarita is Managing Director at AbbVie Ventures.  Margarita has lead investments in over a dozen biotech companies in the US and Europe and is responsible for AbbVie’s investments in Morphic Therapeutics, Palleon Pharmaceuticals, eFFECTOR Therapeutics and CARMA Therapeutics. Margarita brings 20 years of dealmaking experience, with over 10 years of biotech and pharma M&A, licensing, public and private financings.

Most recently, Margarita was a Director with Abbott’s Global Pharmaceutical Licensing & Acquisitions.  Margarita was involved in the acquisition of Immuven, the collaboration with Synlogic, the in-licensing of Elagolix and the acquisition of the Lupron franchise. Before joining Abbott, Margarita practiced as a corporate and securities lawyer in Silicon Valley with the firm of Brobeck Phleger & Harrison, advising in equity financings, M&A and IPOs.

Margarita currently serves as co-president and Board Member of the MidAmerica Healthcare Investors Network.  Margarita also serves on the Advisory Board of the Santa Clara University School of Law.

Jacob cropped as othersJacob Gunterberg, MBA, Board

Partner at HealthCap. Prior to joining HealthCap in 2007, he gained 14 years of investment banking experience, most recently with Hjalmarsson & Gunterberg Corporate Finance. His investment banking career started with ABB Aros in 1993. In 1997, he was appointed Director and responsible for the life sciences sector within the corporate finance department of Aros Securities. In 2000, he co-founded Hjalmarsson & Gunterberg Corporate Finance. Mr. Gunterberg has over his career gained extensive experience from origination and execution of transactions, predominantly within the areas of Mergers & Acquisitions, IPO’s as well as public and private capital raisings. Mr. Gunterberg received his M.Sc. in Business Administration and Economics from the University of Lund and has also studied at the University of St. Gallen.

Michael D. Poisel, MBA, BoardPoisel headshot cropped

Michael is Director of PCI Ventures at the University of Pennsylvania, where he has been building entrepreneurial programs for the university since 2009. Prior to Penn, Michael made investments in software and business services for NewSpring Capital, Apax Partners and GE Capital spanning more than ten years in private equity. He began his career in manufacturing operations for General Electric/Lockheed Martin and participated in the successful completion of several satellite programs.

Michael graduated with honors in Mechanical Engineering from Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, holds an M.S. in Systems Engineering from The Moore School of Engineering of the University of Pennsylvania, and has an M.B.A. in finance and entrepreneurial management from The Wharton School of Business of the University of Pennsylvania.