Who We Are

Punit Dhillon

Punit Dhillon

Co-Founder, Director, President, & CEO

Mr. Dhillon is the Co-Founder and CEO of OncoSec Medical, Inc., a biopharmaceutical company developing its advanced-stage immunotherapy to treat solid tumors. He was formerly Vice President of Finance and Operations at Inovio Pharmaceuticals, Inc. In his management experience, Mr. Dhillon has raised over $160 million through multiple financings and several licensing deals including early stage deals with Merck and Wyeth. His management experience spans corporate finance, M&A, integration, successful in-licensing of key intellectual property, strategy implementation, corporate transactions and collaborations with leading universities and working with several key opinion leaders worldwide. Mr. Dhillon is also the founder of BeCancerPositive.org, an online community where people can share their experiences with cancer and inspire hope for others. Mr. Dhillon holds a Bachelor of Arts with Honors in Political Science and a minor in Business Administration from Simon Fraser University.

Avtar Dhillon

Avtar Dhillon, M.D.

Co-Founder / Chairman

As former president and CEO of Inovio Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (formerly Inovio Biomedical Corporation), Dr. Dhillon successfully created a vertically integrated DNA vaccine development company with one of the strongest development pipelines in the industry.  Dr. Dhillon also raised over $200 million and secured more than $200 million in licensing deals from global companies including Merck and Wyeth (now Pfizer). Dr. Dhillon was a founding board member of Protox Therapeutics, Inc. and currently sits on the Board of Directors of BC Advantage Funds, the largest venture capital corporation in British Columbia.

Anthony E. Maida

Anthony E. Maida, III, Ph.D., M.A., M.B.A.

Director

Dr. Maida is currently Senior Vice President – Clinical Research for Northwest Biotherapeutics, Inc., a cancer vaccine company focused on therapy for patients with glioblastoma multiforme and prostate cancer. Dr. Maida was formerly Vice President of Clinical Research and General Manager, Oncology, Worldwide for PharmaNet, Inc.  Prior to PharmaNet, Dr. Maida served as Chairman, Founder and Director of BioConsul Drug Development Corporation and Principal of Anthony Maida Consulting International, servicing pharmaceutical firms, venture capital, hedge funds and Wall Street, in the clinical development of therapeutic products and product/company acquisitions. Dr. Maida sits as a board member of Stevia First, Inc. and was elected to the board of directors of Spectrum Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Over recent years, Dr. Maida has raised or assisted in financings, in excess of $200 million for start-up and emerging biotechnology companies.

Jim DeMesa

Jim DeMesa, M.D., M.B.A.

Director

Dr. DeMesa has served as a senior executive with several international pharmaceutical and biotech companies in the areas of corporate management, regulatory affairs, and pre-clinical and clinical pharmaceutical and medical device product development. Most recently, Dr. DeMesa served as President, CEO, and Director of Migenix Inc., a public biotechnology company. Dr. DeMesa was also president, CEO and Director of GenSci Regeneration Sciences Inc., a public biotech company, Vice President of Medical and Regulatory Affairs at Biodynamics International, Inc., and Vice President of Medical and Regulatory Affairs at Bentley Pharmaceuticals. He has been a practicing physician and is a Co-Founder of CommGeniX, a medical communications company, and MedXcel, a medical education company.

Punit Dhillon

Punit Dhillon

Co-Founder, Director, President, & CEO

Mr. Dhillon is the Co-Founder and CEO of OncoSec Medical, Inc., a biopharmaceutical company developing its advanced-stage immunotherapy to treat solid tumors. He was formerly Vice President of Finance and Operations at Inovio Pharmaceuticals, Inc. In his management experience, Mr. Dhillon has raised over $160 million through multiple financings and several licensing deals including early stage deals with Merck and Wyeth. His management experience spans corporate finance, M&A, integration, successful in-licensing of key intellectual property, strategy implementation, corporate transactions and collaborations with leading universities and working with several key opinion leaders worldwide. Mr. Dhillon is also the founder of BeCancerPositive.org, an online community where people can share their experiences with cancer and inspire hope for others. Mr. Dhillon holds a Bachelor of Arts with Honors in Political Science and a minor in Business Administration from Simon Fraser University.

Richard B. Slansky

Richard B. Slansky

Chief Financial Officer

Mr. Slanksy brings more than 25 years of operational and financial leadership to OncoSec with a breadth of experience in both public and private life science, healthcare, and technology organizations. Prior to joining OncoSec, Richard was a financial and operational consultant for several companies. He was also the CFO of GenMark Diagnostics, Inc., an early stage molecular diagnostic company focused on infectious disease tests. He implemented strong financial controls, led the financial and due diligence teams that successfully raised over $130 million in the public market, directed cross functional changes to improve performance, and developed a new state-of-the-art manufacturing facility. Previously, Richard held presidential, financial, and operating positions at companies including: Digirad, SpaceDev, and Calbiochem.

Mr. Slanksy earned a bachelor’s of science degree in economics with a concentration in decision sciences from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business and a master’s degree from the University of Arizona’s Eller Graduate School of Management in business administration, with a concentration in finance and accounting.

Sheela Mohan-Peterson

Sheela Mohan-Peterson

Chief Legal and Compliance Officer

Ms. Mohan-Peterson has spent more than 27 years working in the pharmaceutical and biotech industries, most recently as a Senior Patent Counsel with Merck & Co., Inc. She received her bachelor’s degree in Biology from Washington University in St. Louis, and her master’s degree in Molecular Biology from Rutgers University.

In 1986, Ms. Mohan-Peterson joined Tumor Biology department of Schering-Plough Research Institute in Bloomfield, New Jersey, as a scientist.  In 1991, she transferred to the Human Immunology department at DNAX Research Institute, a subsidiary of Schering-Plough, located in Palo Alto, CA. After graduating from law school in 1997, she began her career as a patent attorney at Incyte Genomics in Palo Alto, and then as a patent counsel at Roche Bioscience, also in Palo Alto. In 2000, she returned to DNAX as a senior patent counsel and remained there for several years after a merger with Merck.

Robert H. Pierce

Robert H. Pierce, M.D.

Chief Scientific Strategist

Dr. Pierce joins OncoSec from Merck Research Labs where he was the Executive Director/Member of the Global Anti-PD-1 Development Team. Dr. Pierce is well regarded for his career-long research into mechanisms of immune tolerance. He is the co-author of over fifty peer-reviewed journal articles and book chapters.

Dr. Pierce received his post-doctoral training at the University of Washington in Seattle, WA, his graduate education and training at Brown University School of Medicine in Providence, RI, and received his undergraduate education at Yale University in New Haven, CT. As a Fulbright Award recipient, Dr. Pierce studied Philosophy at the Albert-Ludwigs-University in Freiburg, Germany.

Sharron Gargosky

Sharron Gargosky, Ph.D.

Chief Clinical and Regulatory Officer

Dr. Gargosky has over 20 years of experience in clinical development and operations in the field of pharmaceutical and biologic development having managed global programs from early research phase through the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) approval process. Recently, Dr. Gargosky was the Chief Technical and Operations Officer at Prima Biomed, Ltd., where she led the immuno-oncology program in ovarian and pancreatic cancer globally overseeing international manufacturing, regulatory approvals, and clinical execution. Prior to Prima Biomed, Dr. Gargosky served in positions of increasing clinical and scientific responsibility at biopharmaceutical companies including Pharmacia, Medicis, and Hyperion Therapeutics. In her career, she was involved in small molecule development attaining orphan drug approvals in rare diseases. Dr. Gargosky received her Ph.D. from the University of Adelaide, Australia and completed her postdoctoral fellowship at Stanford University.

Richard Heller

Richard Heller, Ph.D.

Biography

Dr. Heller has over 25 years of experience in evaluating effects of electric pulses on biological systems. He is recognized as a pioneer on the use of electrotransfer for drug and gene delivery.

His research group has developed new protocols or devices that are being tested for potential therapies for cancer, wound healing and vascular diseases (peripheral or coronary ischemia) as well as vaccine and immunotherapy protocols. His work in this gene therapy approach was translated into the clinic and represents the first-in-human study utilizing in vivo gene electrotransfer of a plasmid. Richard Heller is currently Director of the Frank Reidy Research Center for Bioelectrics (CBE) and Professor in the School of Medical Diagnostics and Translational Sciences in the College of Health Sciences at Old Dominion University (ODU).

Iacob Mathiesen

Iacob Mathiesen, Ph.D.

Biography

Dr. Mathiesen has a PhD from University of Oslo, Norway. He was a co-founder of Inovio AS, Norway and inventor on numerous electroporation related patents covering devices and methods for gene based immune therapy. After Inovio AS was acquired by Genetronics Biomedical in 2005 (now Inovio Pharmaceuticals), IM was director of gene delivery at Inovio in San Diego. Iacob has more than 10 years’ experience with IP, electroporation devices and methods and worked closely with University of Southampton to initiate the first human clinical trial using electroporation do delivery a gene based vaccine. Iacob is currently CEO of Otivio AS in Norway, a new startup developing methods and devices for wound healing and temperature management.

Soldano Ferrone

Soldano Ferrone, M.D., Ph.D.

Biography

Dr. Ferrone leads a research program focused on the characterization of escape mechanisms deployed by tumor cells to avoid immune-mediated recognition and destruction. He has also studied how combined immunotherapeutic strategies can counteract these tumor escape mechanisms. These studies are greatly facilitated by the large panel of HLA antigen- and human tumor antigen-specific monoclonal antibodies he has developed and shared with the scientific community over the years.

Dr. Ferrone received his M.D. and Ph.D. degrees in 1964 and in 1971, respectively, from the University of Milan, in Milan, Italy. He has held faculty positions at the University of Milan; Scripps Clinic and Research Foundation, La Jolla, CA; Columbia University, New York, NY; New York Medical College, Valhalla, NY; Roswell Park Cancer Institute, Buffalo, NY; and University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, PA. He was recently appointed Professor in Residence of Surgery at Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, in Boston, MA. For the last 30 years, he has been a member of many review committees including NIH Study Sections, and editorial boards of many scientific journals. Furthermore, he is a member of several external scientific advisory boards.

Dr. Ferrone has received numerous awards and honors. He has described the results of his studies in more than 600 papers published in peer-reviewed journals. Moreover, he has been the editor of 14 books and the guest editor of five special issues of oncology journals.

Axel Hauschild

Axel Hauschild, M.D., Ph.D.

Biography

Dr. Hauschild is Professor and Head of the “Interdisciplinary Skin Cancer Center” at the Department of Dermatology, University Hospital Schleswig-Holstein in Kiel, Germany. He is board certified in General Dermatology and Dermato-Oncology. From 2002 to 2010, he was the chairman of the Dermatologic Cooperative Oncology Group in Germany. Dr. Hauschild is a board member of the European Association of Dermato-Oncology and the co-chairman of the Global Melanoma Task Force.

Sanjiv S. Agarwala

Sanjiv S. Agarwala, M.D.

Biography

Dr. Agarwala is Chief of Medical Oncology & Hematology and Director of the Melanoma and Immunology Program at St. Luke’s Cancer Center, Bethlehem, PA. He is Professor of Medicine at Temple University School of Medicine, Philadelphia, PA. He is nationally and internationally recognized as an expert in the research and treatment of melanoma.

He has been Principal Investigator for several clinical trials involving immunotherapy and targeted therapy for melanoma and other malignancies. He has over 100 publications and book chapters written on melanoma and other research areas. He is board certified in Oncology, Hematology and Internal Medicine and is an active member of several professional and scientific societies including the American Association for Cancer Research, the American Society of Clinical Oncology and the European Society of Medical Oncology and the Society for Melanoma Research.

Vernon K. Sondak

Vernon K. Sondak, M.D.

Biography

Dr. Sondak is Chair of the Department of Cutaneous Oncology and Director of Surgical Education at the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institute in Tampa, FL. He is also a Professor in the Departments of Oncologic Sciences and Surgery at the University of South Florida Morsani College of Medicine.

Dr. Sondak has been a leader in studies of surgical treatment of melanoma and other cutaneous malignancies, particularly in the application of sentinel lymph node biopsy to the staging of melanoma and Merkel cell carcinoma. He is actively involved in ongoing analyses to determine which patients within melanoma are most likely to benefit from sentinel node biopsy, as well as which patients with sentinel node metastases are most likely to have further metastases identified in other regional lymph nodes.

Adil Daud

Adil Daud, M.D.

Biography

Dr. Daud is a Professor of Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco and a nationally recognized expert in early phase drug development in skin cancer and solid tumors. He earned a medical degree at the Government Medical College in Nagpur, India. He completed an internship and residency in internal medicine at Indiana University Medical Center, followed by a fellowship in hematology-oncology at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.

Prior to joining UCSF Medical Center, he was Associate Professor and Director of the Affiliate Network at the Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa, FL for seven years. Dr. Daud has won numerous awards, including the American Society for Clinical Oncology’s Young Investigator award and Castle Connolly’s Best Doctors in America award.

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