Who We Are

Who We Are We are committed to our vision of transforming lives and making hope a reality for patients with cancer.

Richard Heller, Ph.D.

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, Ph.D.

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, M.D., Ph.D.

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.