Board of Directors
Philip R. McKee
Although he was trained in mathematics and physics, Phil R. McKee has founded and built several successful companies, including TurboChef Technologies, Inc., which he led through the IPO process as president and CEO. He later founded Appliance Scientific and subsequently founded Appliance Innovation, Inc., serving both companies as chairman and CEO through their successful liquidity events. Mr. McKee’s inventions in heat transfer are used in more than 100,000 foodservice locations around the world. He holds more than 30 patents. In addition to product innovation, Mr. McKee has spent more than 25 years in all aspects of growing companies and as such serves as an advisor in capital formation, high capacity team building, product commercialization, product marketing, and domestic and international sales.
Following eradication of his own blood cancer, Mr. McKee became a benefactor of MD Anderson with an interest in natural killer (NK) cell therapy. This led to his investment in CytoSen Therapeutics, where he now leads the corporate development strategy with a zeal to bringing the benefits of both NK cell therapeutics and particle-based delivery systems to the global market and within a viable cost structure.
Mr. Crouch is an entrepreneur, investor, and CEO with more than 15 years of experience in the U.S and international life science and healthcare arena. In 2012, he founded Curative Ventures / ScienceSeed, a Dallas-based biotech investment group formed to invest, manage and advise large pools of capital. He currently serves as the Managing Partner of Curative Ventures, where his investments support category-defining companies developing new therapies to dramatically improve outcomes for patients and usher in healthcare transformation. His recent investments include Costim Pharmaceuticals and TCR2 Therapeutics.
Neil W. Gibson, Ph.D.
Neil Gibson, Ph.D., has more than 25 years of drug development experience and currently serves as chief scientific officer, biologics at COI Pharmaceuticals, where he is responsible for the creation of novel drug discovery companies based on innovative and disruptive technologies. Dr. Gibson has held various senior positions within the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industry including senior vice president, BioAtla; chief scientific officer, Regulus Therapeutics; chief scientific officer and oncology therapeutic area head, Pfizer Oncology; and chief scientific officer, OSI Pharmaceuticals. While at Pfizer, Dr. Gibson was also a member of the Pfizer Oncology Business Unit Executive team. Dr. Gibson has been involved in the successful discovery, development, and commercialization of four approved oncology drugs, including temozolomide, sorafenib, erlotinib, and crizotinib. While at Regulus, Dr. Gibson was responsible for leading all research and development efforts resulting in three distinct oligonucleotides being advanced into clinical development and the establishment of human proof of concept with the lead molecule RG-101. Dr. Gibson has also been involved in the growth of new biotechnology organizations and significant fund raising. This includes the initial public offering for Regulus Therapeutics, which raised an initial $80.9 million and subsequent follow on financings of about $105 million. He was also involved in the growth of OSI Pharmaceuticals from 100 full time employees (FTEs) to approximately 750 FTEs and an increased market cap of approximately $150 mil lion to greater than $4 billion. Dr. Gibson earned his Ph.D. in 1982 from the University of Aston in Birmingham, England.
Robert Igarashi, Ph.D.
President and Cofounder
Robert Igarashi, Ph.D. is the president and cofounder of CytoSen Therapeutics. Dr. Igarashi has a diverse background in life sciences and has played an instrumental role in the development of the particle based natural killer (NK) cell stimulating technology. He has brought his biochemical and physico-chemical expertise to combine with immunology for developing and refining the nanoparticle based method for NK cell stimulation that could be used for ex vivo expansion as well as in vivo stimulation of therapeutic NK cells.He has been crucial in understanding the biochemical aspects of the plasma membrane particles interacting with NK cells and how they can be further innovated to add novel therapeutic dimensions for adoptive NK cell therapy.
Dr. Igarashi joined the faculty at the University of Central Florida as an assistant professor in the Department of Chemistry with a joint appointment in the Burnett School of Biomedical Sciences. He is now a research scientist developing innovative methods for NK cell therapies. Dr. Igarashi achieved his B.S. and M.S. in biochemistry at California State University Fullerton and Ph.D. in biochemistry at Utah State University and was a postdoctoral scholar at University of California, Berkeley.
Dean Lee, M.D., Ph.D.
Vice President, Medical Director, Cofounder, and Chair of SAB
Dr. Lee has also developed genetic and non-genetic methods for improving tumor targeting and tissue homing of NK cells, leading to over a dozen invention disclosures, patents, and commercial licensing agreements.
In 2016, Dr. Lee joined Nationwide Children’s Hospital and The Ohio State University School of Medicine as professor of Pediatrics and director of the new joint Cellular Therapy and Cancer Immunotherapy Program. He serves as co-chair of the Cellular Therapy Working Group for the Pediatric Blood and Marrow Transplant Consortium, and is a member of the Cellular Therapy Steering Committee of the Children’s Oncology Group, the NIH Recombinant DNA Advisory Committee, and the NIH Gene Transfer Safety Assessment Board. Dr. Lee achieved his B.A. in Natural Sciences at Fresno Pacific College, his M.D. at Loma Linda University, and his Ph.D. in immunology at Loma Linda University.
Joe is the President and CEO of Bioventure Partners, a growth advisory and investment firm, serving high-impact, technology driven organizations. Previously, Joe was with KBI Biopharma, a biopharmaceutical CDMO from 2002 until 2016, having served as its President and CEO. During this period, KBI grew from a startup to a 500+ person organization, serving over 300 biopharmaceutical companies globally. In 2015, Joe lead the sale of KBI Biopharma to JSR Corporation, a Tokyo-based multinational company. In 2016, Joe also lead the sale of kSep Systems (a KBI Biopharma cell therapy technology spinout), to Sartorius AG. Prior to KBI, Joe was a Vice President with Covance Biotechnology Services (a biopharmaceutical CDMO) from 1996 until 2002, including the sale of Covance Biotechnology Services to Akzo Nobel in 2001. Previously, Joe lead the engineering and technical services groups for a large medical device company.