Our Story

At Rubius Therapeutics, we are ushering in a new era in cellular medicine—an era in which we aim to transform the treatment of cancer and autoimmune diseases. Built upon the discoveries of Professors Harvey Lodish and Hidde Ploegh of the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research at MIT and the research and findings of Flagship Pioneering’s VentureLabs, our innovations in genetic engineering and cell culture processes have made it possible to use red blood cells as a foundation for an entirely new class of cellular therapies called Red Cell TherapeuticsTM.

Leadership Team

+ Pablo J. Cagnoni, M.D.

Pablo J. Cagnoni, M.D.

Chief Executive Officer

+ Jose “Pepe” Carmona

Jose “Pepe” Carmona

Chief Financial Officer

+ Christina Coughlin, M.D., Ph.D.

Christina Coughlin, M.D., Ph.D.

Chief Medical Officer

+ Kris Elverum

Kris Elverum

Senior Vice President, Business Development and Strategy

+ Spencer Fisk

Spencer Fisk

Senior Vice President & Chief Technical Operations Officer

+ Bryan Gillis

Bryan Gillis

Vice President, Manufacturing

+ Maiken Keson-Brookes

Maiken Keson-Brookes

Chief Legal Officer and Corporate Secretary

+ Rashmi Kshirsagar, Ph.D.

Rashmi Kshirsagar, Ph.D.

Vice President, Technical Development

+ Lori Melançon

Lori Melançon

Vice President, Corporate Communications and Investor Relations

+ Joanne Protano

Joanne Protano

Senior Vice President, Finance & Operations

+ Theo Proukou

Theo Proukou

Senior Vice President and Chief People Officer

+ Jessica St. Peter

Jessica St. Peter

Vice President, Program Management and Strategic Operations

+ Tamyra Toole

Tamyra Toole

Vice President, Regulatory Affairs

+ Laurence Turka, M.D.

Laurence Turka, M.D.

Chief Scientific Officer

+ Greg Whitehead

Greg Whitehead

Senior Vice President and Chief Quality Officer

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Pablo J. Cagnoni, M.D.

Pablo J. Cagnoni, M.D.

Chief Executive Officer

Pablo Cagnoni joined Rubius Therapeutics as Chief Executive Officer in June 2018. Over the course of Pablo’s career as an oncologist and pharmaceutical executive, he has been committed to advancing the development of breakthrough treatments for people with cancer and other diseases. He has played a key role in the development, approval and commercialization of more than 20 life-changing treatments, including Afinitor®, Kyprolis® and Tarceva®.

Before joining Rubius, Pablo served as President and Chief Executive Officer of Tizona Therapeutics, a privately held biotech company focused on developing next generation immunotherapies for the treatment of cancer. He joined Tizona as the company’s first employee and grew the organization to support the filing of its first Investigational New Drug application. Prior to Tizona, he served as President of Onyx Pharmaceuticals (acquired by Amgen), where he had global strategic oversight and accountability of the business from early product development to commercialization of the Onyx portfolio. Pablo joined Onyx in March 2013, as Executive Vice President, Global Research and Development and Technical Operations, and was named President in October 2013, when Onyx became an Amgen subsidiary. Previously, he was Senior Vice President and Global Head of Clinical Development at Novartis Oncology, where he was responsible for all clinical development, clinical operations, clinical pharmacology, and correlative sciences activities for the oncology development pipeline. From 2007 to 2009, Pablo was Senior Vice President and Chief Medical Officer at Allos Therapeutics (acquired by Spectrum Pharmaceuticals) and, prior to that, Chief Medical Officer of OSI Pharmaceuticals (acquired by Astellas).

Earlier in his career, he served as Assistant Professor of Medicine, University of Colorado Bone Marrow Transplant Program, where he cared for patients undergoing stem cell transplants. Pablo earned his medical degree from University Buenos Aires School of Medicine, and he completed his fellowship in Hematology and Oncology at the Mount Sinai Medical Center, New York and a fellowship in Stem Cell Transplantation at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center.

He is a member of the Board of Directors for Fusion Pharmaceuticals, Repertoire Immune Medicines and Tizona Therapeutics. He serves on the Board of Trustees for the Bay Area Discovery Museum and is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. He previously served as a board member for CRISPR Therapeutics, Harpoon Therapeutics and Tango Therapeutics and was Executive Chairman of Blade Therapeutics.

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Jose “Pepe” Carmona

Jose “Pepe” Carmona

Chief Financial Officer

Pepe joined Rubius Therapeutics as Chief Financial Officer in September 2020. Pepe previously served as the Chief Financial Officer of Radius Health, a biopharmaceutical company developing and commercializing endocrine therapeutics. At Radius Health, he was responsible for all financial aspects of the business as well as investor relations, business development and other operational functions. Under Pepe’s leadership, Radius Health was transformed from a clinical-stage company to a fully commercial organization. Pepe was instrumental in financing the company’s commercialization and pipeline investments, executing several business development transactions and building the finance organization, processes and systems. Prior to joining Radius, Pepe was Chief Financial Officer of Innocoll Holdings PLC, acquired by Gurnet Point L.P. Previously, Pepe held numerous financial management positions with increasing responsibilities at Novartis AG, in various divisions, as chief financial officer in Europe, North America, Latin America and held other senior global financial roles.

Pepe received his B.S. in Industrial Civil Engineering from Universidad Tecnica Federico Santa Maria in Valparaiso, Chile, and his M.B.A. from Columbia Business School in New York City.

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Christina Coughlin, M.D., Ph.D.

Christina Coughlin, M.D., Ph.D.

Chief Medical Officer

Christina Coughlin joined Rubius Therapeutics as Chief Medical Officer in January 2020. She brings extensive experience leading clinical development and translational medicine teams and has a track record of building successful drug development organizations, with a particular focus in cellular therapy and oncology

A trained oncologist and immunologist, Dr. Coughlin joins Rubius from Tmunity Therapeutics, Inc., where she served as chief medical officer and was responsible for the development of Tmunity’s CAR-T and TCR-T cellular therapy pipeline across preclinical, regulatory and clinical development activities. Prior to Tmunity, Ltd., Dr. Coughlin served as chief medical officer at Immunocore, where she led the development of the preclinical and clinical pipeline of soluble T cell receptor product candidates recognizing multiple tumor targets, including advancing the lead program from Phase 1 to dual pivotal clinical trials. Earlier, she held positions at several pharmaceutical companies, including executive director of oncology clinical development at Novartis; international project team leader, early development at Morphotek, Inc.; and was an asset team leader in early clinical development at Pfizer’s Oncology Business Unit.

Before entering the pharmaceutical industry, Dr. Coughlin was an instructor in pediatrics at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine; completed her postdoctoral research fellowship in the Translational Research Group of the Abramson Family Cancer Research Institute under the direction of CAR-T cell therapy pioneer Carl June, M.D.; and was an attending physician and instructor in the Department of Pediatrics and Division of Oncology at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. She holds an M.D. and Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and a B.S. in mathematics and biology from Temple University.

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Kris Elverum

Kris Elverum

Senior Vice President, Business Development and Strategy

Kris Elverum joined Rubius as Senior Vice President of Business Development and Strategy in July 2019, to develop the Company’s corporate strategy and create and execute new business development opportunities. He brings to Rubius more than 15 years in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industry with expertise in business development, commercial, and corporate strategy. Kris joins Rubius from Turnstone Biologics, where he executed a collaboration with AbbVie, representing the largest oncolytic virus strategic partnership, and in-licensed multiple technologies. Prior to Turnstone, Kris was with SQZ Biotech and was integral to a research partnership with Roche. Earlier in his career, Kris worked at Novartis, where he held roles in CAR-T cell launch planning, neuroscience sales and marketing, and Sandoz global strategy and market intelligence. Kris began his career at McKinsey & Co., and authored a review in Nature on commercializing cell and gene therapies.

Kris holds an MBA and B.S. from the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management.

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Spencer Fisk

Spencer Fisk

Senior Vice President & Chief Technical Operations Officer

Spencer Fisk the Senior Vice President & Chief Technical Operations Officer of Rubius and brings more than 25 years of experience in Manufacturing and CMC product development. Prior to joining Rubius, Spencer served as VP & Global Head of Cell & Gene Technical Development and Manufacturing at Novartis where he led the CMC development and manufacturing organization to deliver the CAR-T portfolio. Under his leadership, the team successfully registered and launched the first CAR-T cellular therapy product, Kymriah, which has demonstrated transformative efficacy in patients with acute lymphoblastic leukemia. While at Novartis, Spencer also led the process development teams in support of the commercialization of Cosentyx® and the registration and approval of ErelziTM and Rixathon®. Prior to Novartis, he led manufacturing and CMC functions in support of Somavert®, Elonva®, Retavase® and Puregon® while at Merck, formerly Schering Plough, Organon and Covance. Prior to Merck, Spencer held various process development and manufacturing roles at Genentech, Genencor and Novo Nordisk.

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Bryan Gillis

Bryan Gillis

Vice President, Manufacturing

Bryan Gillis joined Rubius in August 2018 as the Site Head of our manufacturing facility in Smithfield, RI, and in August of 2019 was named Vice President of Manufacturing. He brings more than 22 years of experience in roles within biotechnology across Process Development, Industrial Affairs, Quality and Manufacturing. Prior to joining Rubius, Bryan held numerous roles of increasing responsibility at Amgen, Lonza, Sanofi and Alexion, where he served as Executive Director of Manufacturing. He has significant experience with the start-up and maturation of manufacturing facilities and organizations.

Bryan holds an MBA from Boston University and B.S. in Biology from Eastern Nazarene College.

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Maiken Keson-Brookes

Maiken Keson-Brookes

Chief Legal Officer and Corporate Secretary

Maiken Keson-Brookes joined Rubius as Chief Legal Officer and Corporate Secretary in November 2019, bringing more than 20 years of international legal experience and working biopharmaceutical companies from the discovery phase all the way through commercialization. She oversees Rubius’ legal and securities matters and intellectual property. Maiken joined Rubius from Synlogic, Inc., where she served as general counsel. Prior to Synlogic, she served as senior vice president and general counsel at uniQure, a gene therapy company. Before uniQure, she was senior vice president and general counsel at Forum Pharmaceuticals, where she established the company’s first legal department and built a legal team to support all aspects of the business. Earlier, Maiken held legal roles at Genzyme and Biogen. While with Biogen, she served as attorney for the ex-U.S. launch of several products and provided legal oversight for the company’s manufacturing group, including a large-scale manufacturing facility construction project.

Maiken holds master of laws and bachelor of laws degrees from Kings College University of London.

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Rashmi Kshirsagar, Ph.D.

Rashmi Kshirsagar, Ph.D.

Vice President, Technical Development

Rashmi Kshirsagar joined Rubius as Vice President, Technical Development in October 2019 and is responsible for leading the teams within Technical Operations that focus on process, product and analytical innovation to advance the RED PLATFORM®. She also oversees Chemistry, Manufacturing and Controls (CMC) development for Rubius’ Red Cell Therapeutic™ product candidates that transition from the discovery phase through clinical development.

Rashmi brings to Rubius more than 20 years of experience in Manufacturing and CMC Product Development. Prior to her role at Rubius, Rashmi spent 16 years at Biogen, most recently serving as Senior Director of Protein Development in Pharmaceutical Operations & Technology, where she was responsible for developing and supporting preclinical to post-commercialization manufacturing processes for internal and partnered biopharmaceutical programs. She has experience in CMC project management, led cell culture process development activities for biologics, influenced scientific endeavors for fundamental process understanding and led cross-functional teams in technical development. Rashmi began her career at Millennium Pharmaceuticals in Process Development Technology.

Rashmi has been active for more than 20 years in the scientific community by presenting at conferences, publishing scientific papers and book chapters as well as planning conferences, conference sessions and workshops, and participating in industrial forums and consortia. She holds a Bachelor of Chemical Engineering from the University Department of Chemical Technology, University of Bombay, Mumbai, India, and a Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota.

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Lori Melançon

Lori Melançon

Vice President, Corporate Communications and Investor Relations

Lori Melançon joined Rubius as Vice President of Corporate Communications and Investor Relations in June 2018. She brings 20 years of experience working with biotechnology companies to tell their stories to investors, media, patient advocacy organizations and employees.  Prior to her role at Rubius, she was the Head of Corporate Affairs at Onyx Pharmaceuticals, an Amgen subsidiary, where she served on the leadership team and led a high-performing team of communications professionals who managed corporate communications, global product communications, global patient advocacy, social/digital media and employee communications and provided investor relations support to Amgen for Onyx Pharmaceuticals.

Earlier in her career, she held corporate, product and marketing communications positions at WeissComm Partners, now W2O Group, a healthcare communications agency, Applied Biosystems, now Thermo Fischer Scientific, and ReGen Biologics, now Ivy Sports Medicine. She began her career working on political campaigns in her home state of California.

Lori holds an MBA from the University of San Francisco and a B.A. in Rhetoric and Communications from the University of California, Davis.

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Joanne Protano

Joanne Protano

Senior Vice President, Finance & Operations

Joanne Protano joined Rubius as Vice President of Finance in May 2017 and was promoted in October 2018, to Senior Vice President of Finance & Operations. Joanne brings to Rubius more than 25 years of experience in finance and accounting, including 18 years in senior management roles in publicly traded companies. Prior to joining Rubius, she served as the SVP Finance, New Ventures at Flagship Pioneering where she oversaw the financial and administrative operations of VentureLabs companies and provided guidance on financial planning, cash flow management, capital structure and financings, corporate governance, accounting and finance infrastructure and operations. From 2007 until joining Flagship, Joanne was the Vice President of Finance, Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer of Novelos Therapeutics, Inc. (now Cellectar Biosciences). Prior to Novelos, she held various senior management roles with Ascential Software, Inc. and predecessor companies until Ascential’s acquisition by IBM, including Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of the Ascential Software division of Informix Software and Corporate Controller of Ardent Software. Joanne began her career at Deloitte & Touche LLP where she was an audit manager serving technology and healthcare clients.

Joanne holds a B.S. in business administration from Bryant College.

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Theo Proukou

Theo Proukou

Senior Vice President and Chief People Officer

Theo Proukou joined Rubius as Vice President & Head of Human Resources in August 2017 and was promoted in February 2019, to Senior Vice President and Chief People Officer. Theo brings to Rubius more than 20 years of experience in the pharma, biotech and tech industries. He spent 16 years at Novartis Pharmaceuticals holding numerous roles with increasing responsibilities in Human Resources, Marketing and Sales. In 2014, Theo joined Vertex Pharmaceuticals leading the HR team for Commercial and G&A. In 2015, he was promoted to Vice President of Talent Acquisition and Development where he led efforts to recruit, retain and develop talent across the organization. In 2016, Theo joined TripAdvisor, where he led the global HR Business Partner organization until joining Rubius.

Theo holds a MBA in Marketing & Management, a M.S. in Education for Counseling & Psychology and a B.A. in Journalism & Mass Communication. All of his degrees are from St. Bonaventure University.

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Jessica St. Peter

Jessica St. Peter

Vice President, Program Management and Strategic Operations

Jessica St. Peter joined Rubius as Vice President of Program Management in July 2019, and in November 2019 was additionally named head of Strategic Operations. In her role, she is responsible for implementing and developing a strong program management function responsible for managing cross functional teams to ensure the alignment and execution of our development programs, including managing program scope, timelines, deliverable, risks, decisions and communications. Jessica brings to Rubius more than 18 years of extensive biotechnology and pharmaceutical industry experience in global drug development. Jessica spent more than a decade at Novartis Oncology, where she held numerous roles of increasing responsibility in clinical development and strategic development operations encompassing the entire oncology pipeline. In 2016, Jessica pursued her entrepreneurial interests and built both a network marketing business in health and wellness and her own consulting business providing start-up biotech companies with clinical development expertise until joining Rubius.

Jessica holds a B.S. in Biology from Western University.

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Tamyra Toole

Tamyra Toole

Vice President, Regulatory Affairs

Tamyra Toole joined Rubius as Vice President of Regulatory Affairs in June 2018. She brings to Rubius more than 20 years of regulatory affairs and quality assurance experience in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industry.

Prior to joining Rubius, she served as an independent regulatory affairs consultant to biotechnology companies. Prior to her role as a consultant, Tamyra was the Vice President of Regulatory Affairs and Quality Assurance at Infinity Pharmaceuticals, where she built the regulatory and quality teams and was responsible for the global regulatory strategy and the company’s compliance with quality regulations and standards. Previously, Tamyra held positions in regulatory affairs and quality assurance at NitroMed, Wyeth Pharmaceuticals, Millennium Pharmaceuticals and Organogenesis, Inc. She has experience in the development of drugs, biologics and early cell therapies across multiple therapeutic areas. Prior to working in drug development, Tamyra held various positions in the Department of Nursing at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

Tamyra holds a B.S. in nursing from Villanova University and a J.D. from the Catholic University of America.

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Laurence Turka, M.D.

Laurence Turka, M.D.

Chief Scientific Officer

Laurence Turka, M.D., joined Rubius as Chief Scientific Officer in January 2020. Larry is an internationally recognized, physician-scientist in autoimmunity and translational immunology with a distinguished career working in academia and, more recently, industry.

Larry joined Rubius from Rheos Medicines, where he was a co-founder and served as Chief Scientific Officer. During his time at Rheos, he built its portfolio of novel therapies targeting the metabolism of immune cells, made key leadership hires, and was instrumental in securing a strategic collaboration between Rheos and Roche. Prior to Rheos, he was an Entrepreneur-in-Residence at Third Rock Ventures, where he played a leading role in the creation of Rheos and provided immunology expertise in evaluating multiple company-building opportunities. Before joining venture capital, Larry spent 30 years working in academia, most recently serving as the Harold and Ellen Danser Professor of Surgery and Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital.

Among the notable discoveries of Larry’s laboratory were novel approaches to transplantation tolerance, the role of Toll-like receptors in T cells and pathways required for the maintenance of regulatory T cell function. Larry was also an early leader in the field of T cell costimulation and contributed to the development of abatacept and belatacept for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis and renal transplantation.

He is a former President of the American Society of Transplantation, Chair of the NIAID Board of Scientific Counselors and Editor in Chief of The Journal of Clinical Investigation. He is currently the Deputy Director of the Immune Tolerance Network, serves on the Scientific Steering Committee of the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy and is the Harold and Ellen Danser Professor of Surgery (part-time) at Harvard Medical School. He was elected to membership in the American Society for Clinical Investigation in 1995, and the Association of American Physicians in 2003.

Larry received his M.D. from the Yale University School of Medicine, trained in internal medicine at Yale-New Haven Hospital and in nephrology at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital/Harvard Medical School.

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Greg Whitehead

Greg Whitehead

Senior Vice President and Chief Quality Officer

Greg brings more than 25 years of quality related experience to Rubius. He joins the company from bluebird bio, Inc., where he most recently served as vice president, quality. During the four years he spent at the company, Greg oversaw a 10-fold expansion of the quality unit to support multiple gene therapy clinical trials and to prepare for commercial production in the U.S. and Europe. Under his leadership, he established a culture of quality dedicated to patient safety and data integrity. Prior to bluebird bio, Greg spent 10 years at Dendreon Pharmaceuticals, LLC, most recently serving as director, corporate quality. While there, he established the corporate quality vision and mission and the company’s strategic roadmap for continuous improvement in quality systems. He also led critical initiatives, including regulatory interactions and the successful transition from clinical to commercial production upon product approval. Earlier, Greg was a supervisor of bioanalytic chemistry at BioPort Corporation in Michigan and lead medical technologist in the toxicology testing center at Sparrow Health System in Michigan. Greg received his B.S. in forensic science from Michigan State University.

Our Vision

To create life-changing, allogeneic cellular therapies for patients with severe diseases.

Our Values We are proud of the passionate, high-performance culture we have built at Rubius Therapeutics—a culture based on a set of values that are the cornerstone of who we are and how we hold ourselves and each other accountable.
We Are Inventive + WE ARE INVENTIVE: We cultivate and nurture unconventional thinking, leading to our greatest inspirations and most profound discoveries.
We Have Integrity+ WE HAVE INTEGRITY: We are unwavering in our commitment to the highest standards of quality and ethical behavior.
We AreInclusive+ WE ARE INCLUSIVE: We believe that diverse backgrounds, experiences and perspectives result in greater ideas and better collaboration across our organization. None of us is as good as all of us working together.
We Have Courage+ WE HAVE COURAGE: We believe our challenges are our biggest opportunities. We are relentless, we take risks, and we never stop learning.
We Work WithUrgency+ WE WORK WITH URGENCY: We work with purpose and know that the speed in which we deliver our medicines matters. Patients are waiting.