Discover and develop life-changing antibody-drug conjugates for patients fighting cancer

We are a clinical stage antibody drug conjugate company that has leveraged twenty years of industry learnings to develop proprietary technologies that enable us to design antibody drug conjugates with improved efficacy, safety and tolerability relative to existing ADC therapies.  Our proprietary technologies combined with our deep understanding of target and patient selection allow us to create precisely targeted therapies with the potential to radically improve patient lives.

We are assembling an industry-leading pipeline of groundbreaking medicines by leveraging the advantages of our technology.  We are advancing our proprietary pipeline through early clinical development and are leveraging partnerships with leaders in the field to accelerate the development of important medicines created with our platform.  Our lead platform, Dolaflexin, is incorporated into our first two clinical programs.

We have assembled an experienced management team with a strong commitment to scientific excellence and patient care.  We have cultivated a collaborative workplace and a shared passion to advance therapies that make a significant difference in the lives of cancer patients and their families.

Anna Protopapas
President and Chief Executive Officer

Ms. Protopapas joined Mersana in March 2015, bringing a substantial track record of executive leadership and business experience in the biotech industry. Prior to Mersana, Ms. Protopapas was President of Millennium, where she led Takeda Pharmaceutical Co.'s $1.3 billion oncology business. Ms. Protopapas also served as the Executive Vice President of Global Business Development for Takeda Pharmaceuticals where she was oversaw global acquisitions, partnering, licensing and venture investing. In this role, she led Takeda's $12 billion acquisition of Nycomed, a critical step in the company's globalization. Ms. Protopapas was a member of Takeda's executive committee and was elected a corporate officer in 2011. Earlier, Ms. Protopapas was an executive officer at Millennium Pharmaceuticals and served in various senior leadership positions, playing an integral role in the company's transformation from a genomics start-up to a fully integrated oncology leader. She was instrumental in the sale of Millennium to Takeda for $8.8 billion. Ms. Protopapas served on the board of directors of Ariad Pharmaceuticals from May 2015 to February 2017, when it was sold to Takeda for $5.2 billion. She also served on the board of Bioverativ from January 2017 to January 2018, when it was sold to Sanofi for $11.6 billion. She currently serves on the board of directors of Dicerna. She earned her bachelor's degree in science and engineering from Princeton University, a master's in chemical engineering practice from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and an M.B.A. from Stanford Graduate School of Business.

Brian C. DeSchuytner
Senior Vice President of Finance & Product Strategy

Mr. DeSchuytner joined Mersana in 2019, bringing significant biopharmaceutical business strategy, operational, finance, and product development and commercialization experience from leading oncology companies. Prior to Mersana, he served as Vice President responsible for the commercialization of ZEJULA® (niraparib) at TESARO.  Before that, he was Vice President responsible for the NINLARO® (ixazomib) global launch at Takeda Oncology. Earlier in his career, Mr. DeSchuytner held corporate development and strategy roles of increasing responsibility at Takeda Oncology and Novartis and was a leader in the life sciences practice of L.E.K. Consulting.  Mr. DeSchuytner holds an M.B.A from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and a B.A. from Dartmouth College.

Dirk Huebner, M.D.
Chief Medical Officer

Dr. Huebner joined Mersana in 2018, bringing 25 years of drug development experience within the biotech and pharmaceutical industries, including significant experience in the development and approval of ADCs. Prior to joining Mersana, Dr. Huebner served as Vice President, Head of Development, for Boston Biomedical where he built a robust clinical development team and oversaw the clinical development of several early stage compounds as well as of the napabucasin phase 3 program.  Prior to that, he spent six years at Millennium/Takeda Oncology as Executive Medical Director. During Dr. Huebner’s tenure at Takeda Oncology, he served as the global clinical lead for ADCETRIS® (brentuximab vedotin), an ADC that is indicated for the treatment of Hodgkin lymphoma and certain CD30 positive T-cell lymphomas. In that role, he led the regulatory approval of ADCETRIS in Europe and the design and implementation of the subsequent registration-enabling studies for the compound. Prior to Takeda, he held roles of increasing leadership and responsibility in global clinical drug development at Genzyme, Roche, and Bristol-Myers Squibb.  Dr. Huebner received his Medical Doctor degree from the Free University in Berlin, Germany and pursued a medical residency in the Department of Urology, University Hospital Eppendorf, Hamburg. 

Radha Iyengar
Vice President, Legal Operations

Radha Iyengar joined Mersana in 2010 as a consultant and became a full time employee in 2012 as Executive Director, Intellectual Property. Dr. Iyengar brings nearly 30 years of intellectual property, licensing and R&D experience to her current role as Vice President, Legal Operations.  Prior to Mersana, Dr. Iyengar held the position of Senior Director, Intellectual Property with Magen Biosciences, Inc., where she played a key role in the Eli Lilly in-licensing agreement. Dr. Iyengar also held a series of positions with increasing responsibility at Nitromed, Inc., including Senior Director, Intellectual Property and Technology Licensing. During the course of her tenure at Nitromed, Inc., Dr. Iyengar was responsible for a growing intellectual property portfolio of 360+ patents worldwide, as well as serving as a member of the company’s R&D Committee. Dr. Iyengar holds a Ph.D. in Chemistry from Brown University, an M.Sc. in Chemistry from the Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur, and a B.Sc (Hons)., in Chemistry from Lady Brabourne College, Kolkatta. She is also a U.S. Patent Agent. 

Eva M. Jack
Chief Business Officer

Ms. Jack joined Mersana in November 2013, bringing a wealth of business development and financial experience in the biotech industry. Prior to Mersana, she served as an advisor to biotech companies and investors on business and financing strategies. From 2010 to 2012, she served as Chief Business Officer of Pulmatrix. She also spent six years at MedImmune, the worldwide biologics unit of AstraZeneca, as Managing Director of MedImmune Ventures, overseeing investments in private biotechnology companies, and as a Director in MedImmune’s Business Development group. Earlier in her career, Ms. Jack held a variety of positions at Intel Corp. in venture investments, corporate strategy and public policy. Ms. Jack received a B.A. from the University of Virginia and a master’s in health sciences from The Johns Hopkins University.  Additionally, she is a volunteer puppy raiser for Canine Companions for Independence®, a non-profit organization that enhances the lives of people with disabilities by providing highly trained assistance dogs.

Donna Jarlenski
Vice President, Clinical Operations

Donna Jarlenski joined Mersana in July 2015, bringing over twenty years of clinical research, development and operations management experience. With a diverse background, Ms. Jarlenski broadens the capacity of Mersana bringing extensive experience in Ph 1 through 3 international clinical trial initiation and management, including data management, financial controls, and medical writing. She also brings extensive experience with GCP oversight, vendor management, and process development.   Immediately prior to joining Mersana Ms. Jarlenski served as Vice President, Clinical Operations and Program Management for Aileron Therapeutics. Additionally, she has held senior clinical management positions at Vertex Pharmaceuticals (Senior Director, Clinical Development Execution, Global Medicines Development & Affairs), Momenta Pharmaceuticals (Senior Director, Development Operations, Clinical), and TolerX, Inc. (Vice President, Clinical Development & Operations).  She has held directorships at Sepracor, Inc., and Purdue Pharmaceuticals, Ltd.  Before entering the drug development arena in the early 1990s, Ms. Jarlenski began her career as a bench scientist and subsequently underwent further training to work as a physical therapist.  She earned her bachelor’s degree in microbiology from The Pennsylvania State University and master degree from Quinnipiac University (Organizational Leadership).   Since 2011, Ms. Jarlenski has been a registered Project Management Professional.

Michael Kaufman
Senior Vice President of Chemistry, Manufacturing and Controls

Dr. Kaufman joined Mersana in February 2016, bringing more than two decades of experience in process development, scale-up, formulation and supply chain management across multiple therapeutic modalities, including immunoconjugates. Prior to Mersana, Dr. Kaufman served as Biogen’s Vice President, Technical Development, where he provided technical leadership for all products from preclinical to commercial stage. Dr. Kaufman also spent 10 years at Millennium Pharmaceuticals, most recently as Vice President, Pharmaceutical Sciences, leading all aspects of chemistry, manufacturing and controls. Dr. Kaufman began his pharmaceutical career at Merck and Co., Inc., spending 15 years in various roles of increasing responsibility. Dr. Kaufman holds a Ph.D. in Physical Organic Chemistry from the University of California, Berkeley, and a B.S. in Chemistry from State University of New York, Stony Brook. He was a post-doctoral fellow at Louisiana State University and an instructor at the University of California.


Timothy B. Lowinger
Chief Science and Technology Officer

Since joining Mersana when it was a nascent start-up, Dr. Lowinger has served as Chief Scientific Officer, and was named Chief Science and Technology Officer in 2019.  Over this period he has led all of Mersana’s discovery efforts, and is a co-inventor of our innovative ADC platforms and pipeline, including the development and optimization of the novel DolaflexinTM platform utilized in our clinical-stage program XMT-1536, our proprietary DolaLockTM auristatin payload with controlled bystander effect, as well as our next-generation, fully homogeneous ADC platform, DolasynthenTM.

Prior to joining Mersana, Tim had nearly 15 years of international scientific leadership and drug discovery experience in the pharmaceutical industry. Over the course of his career at Bayer Pharmaceuticals in the US, Japan and Germany, he contributed to the discovery of more than 15 preclinical and clinical drug candidates in the areas of oncology, asthma, inflammation, virology, obesity and diabetes. Most notably, Dr. Lowinger is a co-inventor and was the discovery project leader of the pioneering anti-angiogenic agent kinase inhibitor Nexavar (sorafenib), approved for the treatment of renal and hepatocellular cancer.  He was also involved in the discovery of Stivarga (regorafenib), approved for the treatment of metastatic colorectal cancer. While Head of Chemistry for Bayer in Japan he initiated and oversaw the discovery and optimization of PI3K inhibitors which resulted in the approved drug Aliqopa (copanlisib), a treatment for relapsed follicular lymphoma, and while Department Head, Medicinal Chemistry in Germany, he oversaw the optimization of the HCMV anti-viral program which resulted in the approved anti-viral drug Prevymis (letermovir), licensed to Merck US.  His role at Bayer prior to joining Mersana was as VP of Chemistry Research US, where he led a department of 150 scientists in the areas of medicinal, computational, process development and analytical chemistry focused on oncology drug discovery.

Dr. Lowinger has published and presented widely in the fields of synthetic and medicinal chemistry, polymer-drug conjugates and ADCs, and is a co-inventor on more than 50 patents. He holds a B.Sc. (Hons.) in Chemistry and a Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry from the University of British Columbia and was a Merck Postdoctoral Fellow at the Ohio State University in the labs of Professor Leo A. Paquette.

Ashish Mandelia
Vice President, Controller

Mr. Mandelia joined Mersana in 2019, bringing his significant experience in financial reporting, accounting, and operational activities in the pharmaceutical and life science sector. Before joining Mersana, he served as the Senior Director of Technical Accounting at Tesaro, where he was responsible for the implementation of global accounting policies and provided oversight across a complex of accounting matters during a period of significant growth with commercial product launches. Prior to that, he spent more than eleven years at PwC, providing audit services to various public and privately held pharmaceutical and biotechnological companies at offices located in both Boston and London. He has graduated from the University of Mumbai and has obtained his Master’s in Business Administration in Finance from Suffolk University. He is a Certified Public Accountant, licensed in the state of Massachusetts. 

David Mott
General Partner, New Enterprise Associates

Mr. Mott joined Mersana’s board as Chairman in July 2012. He is a General Partner at New Enterprise Associates, where he leads the healthcare investing practice. Before joining NEA, he spent 16 years at MedImmune in roles of increasing responsibility, including Chief Operating Officer, Chief Financial Officer and CEO, building the company from a venture-backed startup into one of the top five biotechnology companies in the world, He led the sale of MedImmune to AstraZeneca in 2007 for $15.6 billion, and at the time of his departure in 2008, MedImmune had annual revenues in excess of $1.5 billion, annual R&D in excess of $650 million and approximately 3,000 employees. Mr. Mott is also Chairman of 3-V Biosciences, Cydan, Prosensa, TESARO and Zyngenia and a director of Ardelyx, Edimer Pharmaceuticals and Epizyme. He received his B.A. from Dartmouth College.

Andrew Hack
M.D., Ph.D.
Managing Director, Bain Life Sciences

Andrew Hack is a Managing Director of Bain Capital Life Sciences, a private equity fund that invests in biopharmaceutical, specialty pharmaceutical, medical device, diagnostics, and enabling life science technology companies globally. Before joining Bain Capital, Dr. Hack was the Chief Financial Officer of Editas Medicine (Nasdaq: EDIT) from July 2015 through March 2019. Previously, Dr. Hack served as a portfolio manager at Millennium Management, where he ran a healthcare hedge fund focused on biotechnology, pharmaceutical and medical device companies from May 2011 to June 2015. Prior to Millennium, Andrew was an analyst at HealthCor Management from December 2008 to May 2011. Prior to HealthCor Management, Dr. Hack was an analyst Carlyle-Blue Wave Partners and a principal of the MPM BioEquities Fund. He started his investment career as an equity research analyst covering the biotechnology sector at Banc of America Securities after serving as Director of Life Sciences at Reify Corporation, a life science tools and drug discovery company. In addition, Dr. Hack is a member of the Board of Directors of Allena Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq: ALNA).

Dr. Hack received his B.A. in biology with special honors from the University of Chicago, where he also received his M.D. and Ph.D., was named the inaugural Frank Family Scholar, and received awards from the American Heart Association and the American Society for Cell Biology.

Kristen M. Hege
Corporate Vice President, Celgene

Dr. Hege is the Corporate Vice President, Translational Development, Hematology & Oncology, San Francisco Site Head, and an Executive Leader for the Immuno-Oncology Center of Excellence at Celgene. Prior to this, she served as Acting Chief Medical Officer for Aragon, Theraclone, Cellerant and the Cancer Vaccine Company and spent 14 years at Cell Genesys ultimately leading Clinical Research and Development. In addition to her industry roles, Dr. Hege holds an active clinical faculty appointment at UCSF as a Professor of Medicine in Hematology/Oncology. She serves on the Board of Directors of the Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer, the Strategic Advisory Group for the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy and was recognized by FierceBiotech as one of the top 12 women in Biopharma in 2015.  Dr. Hege received her BA summa cum laude from Dartmouth, MD from the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), internal medicine training at Harvard and subspecialty training in hematology/oncology from UCSF.

Lawrence Alleva
Retired Partner, PriceWaterhouseCoopers

Lawrence (Larry) M. Alleva was appointed to our Board of Directors in September 2017. Mr. Alleva is currently retired. Prior to his retirement in June 2010, Mr. Alleva was employed by PriceWaterhouseCoopers LLP, or PwC, for 39 years, 28 of which as a partner with the firm. Mr. Alleva served clients primarily in the technology sector, including pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies. Additionally, he served PwC in a variety of office and regional practice leadership roles, most recently as the U.S. ethics and compliance leader (assurance) for PwC from 2006 until his retirement. Mr. Alleva is a Certified Public Accountant (inactive). Mr. Alleva received a bachelor of science degree in accounting from Ithaca College and attended Columbia University's Executive MBA Program. Mr. Alleva also serves as a director for GlobalLogic, Inc. and for Bright Horizons Family Solutions, a NYSE registrant.

Willard H. Dere
Professor of Internal Medicine, University of Utah

Willard H. Dere, M.D. has served on our Board of Directors since March 2018, and is also a member of the Board of Directors of Radius Health, Inc., BioMarin Pharmaceutical Inc. and Seres Therapeutics, Inc. Dr. Dere has served as the Professor of Internal Medicine; B. Lue and Hope S. Bettilyon Presidential Endowed Chair in Internal Medicine for Diabetes Research, Executive Director of Personalized Health, and Co-Principal Investigator of the Center for Clinical and Translational Science at the University of Utah Health Sciences Center since November 2014. Prior to that, he served at Amgen Inc., a biopharmaceutical company, as the Senior Vice President, Global Development from December 2004 to June 2007, and from April 2014 to October 2014, and as International Chief Medical Officer from January 2007 to April 2014. Before he joined Amgen in 2003, Dr. Dere served as Vice President of Endocrine, Bone and General Medicine Research and Development at Eli Lilly and Company, a biopharmaceutical company, where he also held various other roles in clinical pharmacology, regulatory affairs, and both early-stage translational, and late-stage clinical research. Dr. Dere received B.A. degrees in history and zoology and a M.D. degree from the University of California, Davis.

Anna Protopapas
Chief Executive Officer

Ms. Protopapas joined Mersana in February 2015, bringing a substantial track record of executive leadership and business experience in the biotech industry. Prior to Mersana, Ms. Protopapas was President of Millennium, where she led Takeda Pharmaceutical Co.’s $1.3 billion oncology business, and a member of Takeda’s Executive Committee. In four years as an executive officer at Takeda, Ms. Protopapas served in various roles of increasing responsibility, including as the Executive Vice President of Global Business Development responsible for global acquisitions, partnering, licensing and venture investing. In this role, she was instrumental in developing and executing a business plan to globalize Takeda and led the company’s $12 billion acquisition of Nycomed. Prior to Takeda’s acquisition of Millennium in 2008, Ms. Protopapas was an executive officer at Millennium Pharmaceuticals and served in various senior leadership positions, playing an integral role in the company’s transformation from a genomics start-up to a fully integrated oncology leader. She earned her bachelor’s degree in science and engineering from Princeton University, a master’s in chemical engineering practice from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and an M.B.A. from Stanford Graduate School of Business.

Christoph Lengauer
Ph.D., MBA
Executive Vice President, Blueprint Medicines

Christoph Lengauer is executive vice president at Blueprint Medicines. He has a proven record in cancer drug discovery, including contributing to the development of more than 20 drugs that reached first-in-human clinical trials and three FDA-approved medicines. Christoph joined Blueprint Medicines from Sanofi, where he was vice president and global head of oncology drug discovery and preclinical development. Before joining Sanofi, he was executive director and senior unit head of oncology discovery at the Novartis Institutes for Biomedical Research (NIBR). Prior to Novartis, Christoph was an associate professor at the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. As part of his research, Christoph discovered that all cancers are genetically unstable and was involved in the identification of several cancer driver genes. He has authored more than one hundred scientific articles published in top-tier scientific journals, including Cell, Nature and Science.

In 2015, Christoph built the German Accelerator Life Sciences (GALS) in Boston, which provides high-end strategic consulting to young German biotechs so they can more easily succeed in becoming strong companies and introduce their products to the global market. Christoph joined Third Rock Ventures as a venture partner in 2016 and focuses on the formation of companies discovering and developing novel therapeutics.

Christoph studied human genetics in Salzburg, Austria, and received his Ph.D. from the University of Heidelberg in Germany, and his MBA with a focus on medical services management from the Johns Hopkins Carey Business School. Christoph holds adjunct associate professor positions at Johns Hopkins University and Harvard University. He has received numerous awards, including the Boveri Award in Cancer Genetics, the Benjamin Baker Scholar award and a V Foundation scholarship. Christoph was awarded the Novartis Oncology President’s Award for top innovator and has been elected to membership in the Johns Hopkins Society of Scholars.

Howard A "Skip" Burris III
President, Clinical Operations and Chief Medical Officer, Sarah Cannon

Howard A "Skip" Burris III, MD serves as chief medical officer and president of Sarah Cannon's clinical operations, HCA's global cancer institute.  In his roles, he leads clinical strategy and drug development initiatives, which includes the overseeing physician-led, patient-centric integrated cancer services. Additionally, Dr. Burris is an associate with Tennessee Oncology, PLLC.

In 1997, Dr. Burris established the first community-based phase 1 drug development program in Nashville which became Sarah Cannon Research Institute. Among his many notable accomplishments, he led the first-in-human studies for many now-approved drugs that have changed the standard of care for several types of cancers including docetaxel and ado-trastuzumab emtansine in breast cancer and everolimus in kidney cancer. Burris has also authored more than 300 publications and more than 450 abstracts. In 2014, he was named a Giant of Cancer Care during the ASCO annual meeting.

Dr. Burris received his medical degree from the University of South Alabama in 1985, and performed his residency and fellowship in hematology/oncology at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, Texas. While there, he served as director of clinical research at the Institute for Drug Development of The Cancer Therapy and Research Center, and was an associate professor at The University of Texas Health Science Center. He has served on the ASCO Board of Governors, ASCO Audit Committee, and chairman of one ASCO nominating committee.

Peter Kiener
Chief Scientific Officer, and Head of Research & Development, Sucampo Pharma Americs LLC

Dr. Peter A Kiener currently is a member of the Scientific Advisory Board of Mersana. He is currently the Chief Scientific Officer and Head of R&D at Sucampo Pharma Americs LLC.  Prior to joining Sucampo, he served as CSO of Ambrx Inc., a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on the development of antibody-drug conjugates.  From 2009 to 2013, Dr. Kiener was President and Co-founder of Zyngenia Inc., an early-stage biopharmaceutical company.  He also held leadership roles of increasing responsibility from 2001 to 2009 at MedImmune LLC, the global biologics arm of AstraZeneca, including Executive Vice President and Global Head of Biologics Research and Development, Senior Vice President and Head of Global Research, and Vice President of Research.  Dr. Kiener previously worked on biologics for Bristol-Myers Squibb from 1983 to 2001. Dr. Kiener began his career at the University of North Texas/Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine, where he was an Assistant Professor from 1982 to 1983, and the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, where he was a Research Associate from 1978 to 1982.  Dr. Kiener has served on the scientific advisory boards of KAI Pharmaceuticals Inc., Genocea Biosciences Inc., NKT Therapeutics Inc. and VLST Corporation. Dr. Kiener currently serves as Chairman of the Board of Managers of Resolve LLC, and is a member of the Board of Directors of Cue Pharma LLC and Tetragenetics Inc .  He has published more than 120 papers in peer-reviewed journals and is an inventor on more than 40 patents and patent applications. Dr. Kiener earned a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from the University of Lancaster and a doctorate of philosophy in biochemistry from the University of Oxford.

K. Dane Wittrup
Professor of Chemical Engineering and Biological Engineering, MIT and Associate Director, Koch Institute

Prof. Dane Wittrup attended the University of New Mexico as an undergraduate, graduating Summa Cum Laude with a Bachelor’s in Chemical Engineering in June, 1984. Wittrup went on to attend the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, where he worked with Prof. James Bailey on flow cytometry and segregated modeling of recombinant populations of Saccharomyces cerevisiae. After obtaining his Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering with a minor in Biology in 1988, he spent a brief time working at Amgen before becoming an Assistant Professor of Chemical Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1989. He moved to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in September of 1999, where he is now the C.P. Dubbs Professor of Chemical Engineering and Biological Engineering, in addition to working with the Koch Institute as the Associate Director for Engineering.

Peter Smith, Ph.D.
Senior Vice President Early Development, Alnylam Pharmaceuticals

Pete Smith currently is a member of the Scientific Advisory Board of Mersana. He is head of Early Development (SVP) at Alnylam, where he has led the team to bring the first RNAi drug to market.

He has spent over 30 years in pharmaceuticals across multiple companies including 13 years at Millennium with his last eight years as co-head of R&D. This role included management of all non-clinical groups and Pharmaceutical Sciences. Following his leadership role at Millennium/Takeda, he became SVP and head of R&D Non-Clinical at Moderna.  Pete has extensive experience in drug discovery and development across multiple therapeutic areas (CV, Oncology, Inflammation, Infectious disease, rare disease, and others) and therapeutic modalities (small molecules, antibodies, ADCs, nucleic acids [modified mRNA and siRNA]).  He has overseen the non-clinical development of multiple, currently marketed therapeutics including Celebrex, Inspra, Velcade, Entyvio, and has been deeply involved in numerous others (i.e. the first statins and A-II antagonists). 

In addition, Pete has been involved with portfolio management, in-licensing and project team/management and was a member of the management team (series 16 officer) at Millennium and participated in the acquisition process with Takeda.  He has global development and management experience (organizations have spanned multiple geographic areas including EU and Japan as well as multiple US sites) and has interacted with multiple regulatory agencies and alliance partners across multiple programs.