Board of Directors

Robert Igarashi, Ph.D.
President and Cofounder

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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.

Jak Knowles, M.D.

Chief Executive Officer

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Prior to joining CytoSen Therapeutics as CEO, Jak Knowles, M.D. served as managing director of CureDuchenne Ventures and vice president of Medical and Scientific Affairs for CureDuchenne. Previously, Jak has served on the board of directors for the biotech companies Myotherix and RASRx, and for TRiNDS, a neuromuscular focused contract research organization. In 2017 Jak helped found and launch Exonics Therapeutics, serving as president and interim CEO for a gene editing company focused on delivering therapies for neuromuscular diseases. Jak has had a career in healthcare spanning over a decade with the last five years focused in biotech venture capital and finance. Most recently, Jak was as an investment professional in the Boston office of MPM Capital ($2B AUM), where he worked within the BioVentures Asset Management team starting early-stage companies focused on developing curative therapeutics across a wide spectrum of indications. Prior to MPM, Jak worked in New York as a biotechnology equities analyst with JMP Securities, and in the health and life sciences consulting practice of Oliver Wyman. Jak has a M.D. from Stanford University, where he graduated with honors in biomedical research, and a B.S. in biology from Binghamton University. Jak has authored more than a dozen publications from research performed at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, Stanford University, and during a NIH post-doctoral surgical research fellowship.

Philip R. McKee
Board Chairman

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Initially trained in mathematics and physics, Phil R. McKee has founded and built several successful companies. Mr. McKee co-founded TurboChef Inc. in 1991, leading it through the IPO process in 1994 as president and CEO. He later founded Appliance Scientific and subsequently founded Appliance Innovation, serving both companies as chairman and CEO through their successful liquidity events. Mr. McKee’s inventions in heat transfer are used in over 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 – from capital formation to building high capacity teams, to 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 strategic development effort with an obsessive 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.