Anthony Sun, MD
Chairman & Chief Executive Officer
Anthony has played an active role across the life science industry since 2002 and currently serves as President and Chief Executive Officer for Zentalis Pharmaceuticals. From 2002 until 2015, he was at Aisling Capital and Perseus-Soros Biopharmaceutical Fund, private equity firm dedicated to the life sciences, during which he held multiple positions most recently as Partner. Dr. Sun holds a BS in Electrical Engineering from Cornell University, an MD from Temple University School of Medicine, an MBA from The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. He trained in internal medicine at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and was board certified in internal medicine.
Interesting Fact: Tony has paddled and totaled a canoe on a rock and lived to tell the tale.
Kevin Bunker, PhD
Chief Operating Officer
Kevin is a co-founder and Chief Operating Officer at Zentalis Pharmaceuticals. He leads our R&D team in San Diego. Prior to joining Zentalis, he was a co-founder of Kalyra Pharmaceuticals and currently serves on the board of directors of Kalyra and as its Chief Scientific/Operations Officer. Prior, he was in Pfizer’s drug discovery research group in La Jolla as part of the Medicinal Chemistry Department. He specialized in multiple therapeutic areas including Oncology, Diabetes, Antivirals, and Ophthalmology. Prior to Pfizer, Dr. Bunker carried out postdoctoral research at The Scripps Research Institute under the direction of Professor Dale Boger. He received his PhD in Organic Chemistry from the University of California, San Diego under the direction of Joseph O’Connor and his BS in Chemistry from Arizona State University. He is the inventor on multiple patents and an author of multiple articles in peer-reviewed journals.
Interesting Fact: Kevin sold precious metals from his late grandfather (Dr. Duane Brown) that were refined from eyeglass frames, circuit boards, and dental scraps to help kick-off Kalyra.
Melissa Epperly, MBA
Chief Financial Officer
Melissa is Chief Financial Officer at Zentalis Pharmaceuticals. She brings extensive experience as a senior financial executive in the life sciences industry. She most recently served as CFO at PsiOxus Therapeutics, a clinical-stage gene therapy cancer company, and prior to that, CFO and Head of Business Development at R-Pharm US, a commercial-stage oncology company. Previously, Melissa was a Director at Anchorage Capital Group, a credit-focused hedge fund; a Vice President at Goldman Sachs in equity research in New York and London where she built GS SUSTAIN; and a management consultant with Bain & Company focused on international and US based pharmaceutical clients and private equity. She began her career at Morgan Stanley in New York in healthcare investment banking. Melissa earned her MBA from Harvard Business School and BA in Biochemistry and Economics from the University of Virginia, where she graduated Phi Beta Kappa.
Interesting Fact: Melissa logged six hours towards her pilot’s license and twice attended NASA’s Space Camp before the age of 12.
Alexis Pinto, JD
Chief Legal Officer
Alexis is Chief Legal Officer of Zentalis Pharmaceuticals and brings over 20 years of legal and strategic business development experience in the healthcare industry. She most recently served as Corporate Vice President & Corporate Secretary at Celgene Corporation, where she transformed the legal support provided to the Business Development and Global Alliance Management groups, and served as lead counsel on critical, high-value transactions, including the acquisition of Celgene by Bristol Myers Squibb. Prior to joining Celgene, she was Managing Counsel of Corporate Transactions at Merck & Co., Inc., where she led, structured and managed complex sales, acquisitions, licensing and joint venture transactions. Over her 18-year tenure at Merck, Alexis held numerous positions of increasing responsibility and scope, starting out as a labor and employment attorney and progressing into licensing, vaccines, mergers and acquisitions and business development roles. She began her career as an Associate at Paul, Hastings, Janofsky & Walker LLP in the Corporate and Employment Law Departments. Alexis earned her JD from the University of Virginia School of Law and her BA from the University of Virginia, where she graduated magna cum laude. She is a member of both the New York State Bar and the New Jersey State Bar.
Interesting Fact: Alexis manages a non-profit foundation, with her brothers, which was established to keep their parents’ inspiration alive. The foundation provides support to a wide variety of organizations, with a focus on adolescent programs and educational purposes, and a special affinity for the underdog.
Dimitris Voliotis, MD
Sr. Vice President, Clinical Development
Dimitris is Senior Vice President of Clinical Development at Zentalis Pharmaceuticals and serves as Head of Global Clinical Development. Prior to joining Zentalis, he was CureVac AG’s Chief Development Officer overseeing preclinical and clinical development activities for oncology, rare diseases/molecular therapies and prophylactic vaccines. Previously, he was Global Head of Clinical Development Oncology at Eisai Inc. overseeing the early and late stage development pipeline in the Oncology Business Unit. He has worked on clinical development projects in all trial phases from preclinical-clinical transition through phases 1 to 3 and has overseen numerous regulatory filings for Nexavar®, Xofigo® as well as Halaven® and Lenvima®. Dimitris first joined the pharmaceutical industry with Bayer HealthCare in 2001 at the Institute of Clinical Pharmacology in Wuppertal, Germany. He was responsible for a number of oncology projects in early development stages and served as Medical Expert, Oncology Expert and Global Clinical Pharmacology Project Leader. As Global Clinical Leader Oncology at Bayer, he was responsible for numerous compounds in different stages and for multiple indications before becoming a Vice President and Oncology Group Head, coordinating the clinical development for Nexavar® and Xofigo®. He is board certified in Internal Medicine, Medical Oncology and Hematology and served as a Senior Consultant in Oncology and Head, Laboratory for Diagnostic Hematology and Immunohematology at the Medical Clinic, University of Cologne, Germany. Dimitris received his medical degree from Cologne University Medical School. He completed his doctoral thesis in experimental oncology research and undertook clinical training in Internal Medicine, Immunology, Oncology and Hematology at the Medical Clinic, University of Cologne, while continuing his clinical research in hematological and solid tumour malignancies as well as experimental and clinical cell cytometry.
Interesting Fact: Dimitris is half German, half Greek, speaks three languages (plus understands two dialects: Bavarian and Kölsch), and has lived in both Germany and Greece before moving to the US. Following this transatlantic relocation to New Jersey, he became a NY Jets fan, without initially realizing what exactly he was getting himself into. J-E-T-S!
Ahmed Samatar, PhD
Sr. Vice President, Oncology Research
Ahmed joined Zentalis Pharmaceuticals as its Founding Scientist and currently serves as Zentalis’ Senior Vice President for Oncology Research focusing on Drug Discovery and Development. At Zentalis, he built the Biology Group which focuses on drug discovery and translational sciences. Dr. Samatar started his career over 15 years ago at Schering Plough Research Institute, where he led the team that discovered and developed an ERK1/2 inhibitor from concept to clinical trials. At Merck, he was Discovery Oncology Team Lead and led the translational science efforts for the clinical development of the ERK inhibitor MK-8353. Dr. Samatar is the author of peer-reviewed papers, book chapters and issued US and foreign patents. He holds a PhD in Cellular and Developmental Biology from Stony Brook University in affiliation with Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory and a BA in Mathematics from Long Island University.
Interesting Fact: Ahmed is an avid soccer player and adventurous scuba diver who once had a close encounter with a shark while diving in the Blue Hole in Belize.
Peter Huang, PhD
Sr. Vice President of Chemistry
As Vice President of Chemistry at Zentalis Pharmaceuticals, Dr. Huang has led multiple programs from early discovery into the clinic and heads many key functions, such as overseeing Internal/External Discovery, Process Chemistry, intellectual property, and external collaborations. Previously, he worked at Pfizer as one of their lead oncology chemistry designers and focused on the discovery of small molecule drugs. Dr. Huang has published over 50 peer-reviewed papers and patents and was the key inventor of six clinical compounds including the 2nd generation ALK inhibitor lorlatinib approved in 2018. Dr. Huang received his BS in Chemistry from Nankai University, PhD in Organic Chemistry from Iowa State University and completed his postdoc training at University of Chicago. He is also the President of SABPA, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization with the mission of promoting science and innovation.
Interesting Fact: While driving a small fishing board at high speed, Peter once charmed a pod of dolphins into accompanying him.
Meena Rao, PhD
Vice President, Regulatory Affairs & Quality Assurance
Meena brings more than 20 years of global pharmaceutical development experience and serves as Zentalis Pharmaceuticals’ Vice President for Regulatory Affairs and Quality Assurance. Prior to Zentalis, Dr. Rao held various positions at IQVIA, Novo Nordisk and Bristol Myers Squibb, the more recent being Senior Director and Head of Regulatory Strategy at IQVIA, Singapore. Her regulatory affairs expertise spans global disciplines of clinical, non-clinical, CMC, advertising, promotion, and pre/post-marketing across multiple therapeutic areas including Oncology, Diabetes, Obesity, Infectious Diseases, Inflammation, Hemostasis and Women’s Health. Dr. Rao was decorated with three of the highest-ranking awards for her work on Metaglip, Abatacept and Carboplatin at Bristol-Myers Squibb and the President’s Award for approval of Vagifem at Novo Nordisk. A chemist by training, Dr. Rao holds a PhD in Chemistry from the University of Louisville, MS/BS in Chemistry from the University of Lagos, and a BS in Chemistry from the University of Madras.
Interesting Fact: Meena has lived, worked and studied in three continents, from high school in Dar-es-salaam, Tanzania to earning her Bachelor’s in Madras, India and her PhD in the US.
Orna Bornstein, PhD
Vice President, Clinical Operations
Orna has over 20 years of experience in pharmaceutical clinical trial operations and development specializing in strategic planning and serves as Zentalis Pharmaceuticals’ Vice President of Clinical Operations. Prior to Zentalis, Dr. Bornstein served as Global Trial Director at Novartis Oncology. Throughout her career, she has led the planning and execution of many global, multi-center, Phase II-IV studies and was responsible for the planning and execution of all Vaccines and Infectious Diseases studies in the emerging markets for Merck. Dr. Bornstein holds a PhD in Human Physiology from the Technion, Israel Institute of Technology’s Medical School and Bachelor’s degree in Pharmacy from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
Interesting Fact: Orna was an officer in the Israeli Air Force and provided weather forecasts for many secret missions.
Anthony Sun, MD
Chairman & Chief Executive Officer
Anthony has played an active role across the life science industry since 2002 and currently serves as Chief Executive Officer for Zentalis Pharmaceuticals. From 2002 until 2015, he was at Aisling Capital and Perseus-Soros Biopharmaceutical Fund, private equity firms dedicated to the life sciences, during which he held multiple positions most recently as Partner. Dr. Sun holds a BS in Electrical Engineering from Cornell University, an MD from Temple University School of Medicine, an MBA from The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. He trained in internal medicine at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and was board certified in internal medicine.
Kimberly Blackwell, MD
Dr. Blackwell currently serves as Chief Medical Officer and Senior Vice President, Oncology Clinical Development, at Tempus Labs. In this role, she oversees precision medicine initiatives to improve cancer care and guide therapeutic drug development and discovery. Prior to joining Tempus, she was VP of Early Phase Oncology and Immunology-oncology at Eli Lilly and Company, where she worked on early stage cancer therapeutics. During her time at Lilly, she was named as one of “Twenty extraordinary women in biopharma R&D who worked their way to the top” by Endpoints News. For 18 years, Dr. Blackwell was a faculty member at the Duke University Cancer Institute. While at Duke, she served as the principal or co-principal investigator for over 50 cancer clinical trials, co-founded the radiotherapeutics company-Cereius, and co-directed the Woman’s Cancer Program and Precision Medicine Initiative. As one of the nation’s leading breast cancer researchers, she played a role in developing therapies that represent revolutionary non-chemotherapy-based approaches for treating cancer. This work led to Dr. Blackwell’s inclusion in TIME Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People in the World for 2013, recognizing her accomplishments contributing to the development of lapatinib and T-DM1 for the treatment of HER2+ breast cancer. She holds a BA degree in Bioethics from Duke University and a MD degree from Mayo Clinic Medical School.
Cam Gallagher, MBA
Cam Gallagher has been a member of the board of directors since our founding. Mr. Gallagher has more than 27 years of experience with a focus on corporate development, marketing and early stage company formation and financing. In addition to Zentalis, he currently serves on the board of directors of VelosBIO, Ocuphire and SelectION. He is currently Chief Business Officer of Immusoft, a private company developing gene modified cell therapies for orphan diseases. Previously, Cam was a board member and Chief Business Officer at Retrosense Therapeutics, which was acquired by Allergan in 2016. He was the Managing Director of Nerveda, LLC, a life science seed fund he co-founded in June 2007. Prior to these roles he held leadership positions at Oncternal, Zavante, Verus Pharma, CV Therapeutics and Dura Pharma. Mr. Gallagher holds an MBA from the University of San Diego and a BS in Business Administration from Ohio University.
Interesting Fact: Cam attended the coldest game in NFL history, the Freezer Bowl (-59 degrees wind chill).
Dave Johnson has more than 25 years of experience in the biopharmaceutical industry, spanning pre-clinical through all phases of clinical development, regulatory approval and product launch. He is currently the CEO of VelosBio, a clinical-stage, oncology focused, venture backed biopharmaceutical company advancing novel antibody-drug-conjugate and bispecific antibody technologies. From 2013 to 2016, he was with Acerta Pharma, an oncology focused pharmaceutical company, where he rose to Chief Executive Officer leading the company through the required growth to advance acalabrutinib from early to late-stage global clinical development. His tenure at Acerta culminated in the execution of a strategic transaction with AstraZeneca valued at up to $7 billion.
He has held positions of increasing responsibility at Calistoga (acq. by Gilead), Gloucester (acq. by Celgene), Favrille, Millennium (acq. by Takeda), Immunex (acq. by Amgen), and Hoffman-La Roche. Dave is a co-author on numerous publications, including three NEJM publications, and has a bachelor’s degree from Indiana University.
Karan Takhar is a Managing Director and the head of Life Sciences investing at Matrix Capital Management, an investment fund focused on technology and life sciences. Mr. Takhar received a Bachelor of Science in Economics and Mathematics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Stephen Ansell, MD, PhD
Dr. Ansell’s clinical practice interests focus on non-Hodgkin lymphoma, Hodgkin’s disease, and Waldenstrom’s macroglobulinemia. His research focuses on the biology of these diseases and on developing new therapies. Dr. Ansell is Chair of the Mayo Clinic Lymphoma Group as well as Chair of the Faculty Development and Recruitment for Hematology at Mayo. He received his medical degree at the University of Pretoria, South Africa and subsequently completed his PhD at the same institution. He trained in medical oncology before coming to the United States. Dr. Ansell then completed a residency in internal medicine and a fellowship in Hematology-Oncology at Mayo Clinic.
Andrew Badley, MD
Dr. Andrew Badley is a Professor of Infectious Diseases, and Professor and Chair of the Department of Molecular Medicine at Mayo Clinic. Dr Badley’s research focuses on the regulation of cell death during disease, notably HIV infection, and creating novel means of impacting aberrant cell death.
He earned his MD degree in 1990 from Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and completed residency in internal medicine at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN, and further training at Mayo Clinic as a clinician investigator trainee in the Division of Infectious Diseases. Dr. Badley joined the staff of Ottawa Hospital in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, in 1997 as an assistant professor in the Division of Infectious Diseases. In 2002, Dr. Badley returned to Mayo Clinic in Rochester as a consultant in the Division of Infectious Diseases and he remains active in clinical practice, research, research administration and entrepreneurial activities.
Shaji Kumar, MD
Dr. Kumar’s research focuses on the development of novel drugs for the treatment of myeloma, and he has presented nationally and internationally. He is the principal investigator of several phase 1 and phase 2 clinical trials exploring new drugs and combinations for newly diagnosed and relapsed myeloma. His laboratory is focused on understanding the role of bone marrow microenvironment in the development and progression of myeloma.
Dr. Shaji Kumar received his medical degree from All India Institute of Medical Sciences in New Delhi, India. His postdoctoral training included a residency in internal medicine from the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, followed by a residency in internal medicine and a fellowship in hematology-oncology at the Mayo Graduate School of Medicine in Rochester, Minnesota. He is currently the Medical Director for the Cancer Center Clinical Research Office which oversees the development, activation, conduct, and monitoring of interventional trials across the three site Mayo Clinic Cancer Center.
Anthony Letai, MD, PhD
Harvard Medical School
Dr. Anthony Letai is Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. His research focuses on the mechanisms by which cancer cells evade death, and on the application of that knowledge to the selective killing of cancer cells. He joined the faculty of DFCI and Harvard Medical School in 2004. He received his MD and PhD from the University of Chicago. He completed his residency in internal medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and a fellowship in hematology and oncology at DFCI. He did his postdoctoral research training in the laboratory of Dr. Stanley Korsmeyer.
Ross Levine, MD
Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
Dr. Ross Levine is the Director of the Memorial Sloan Kettering Center for Hematologic Malignancies, Laurence Joseph Dineen Chair in Leukemia Research, Member of the Human Oncology and Pathogenesis Program, and Attending Physician at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. Dr. Levine’s pioneering research has illuminated the genetic basis of myeloid malignancies, including studies that delineated the role of the JAK-STAT pathway and other oncogenic drivers in the pathogenesis of myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPN) and acute myeloid leukemia (AML). His current efforts focus on the role of mutations in epigenetic modifiers in MPN and AML pathogenesis and therapeutic response, investigation of the role of different signaling pathways in hematopoietic transformation, and mechanisms of resistance to targeted therapies in MPN/AML. He received his MD degree from Johns Hopkins University and his BS from Harvard University.
Donald McDonnell, PhD
Dr. Donald McDonnell is Professor and Chairman at the Department of Pharmacology and Cancer Biology at Duke University, Glaxo-Wellcome Professor of Molecular Cancer Biology in the School of Medicine. His research focuses on the development and application of mechanism-based approaches to identify novel therapeutics for use in the treatment and prevention of hormonally responsive cancers. Specifically, the pharmaceutical exploitation of the estrogen and androgen receptors as therapeutic targets in breast and prostate cancers and in defining how these receptors influence the pathogenesis of these diseases. From these studies have emerged several drugs that are at various stages of clinical development. He received his PhD from Baylor College of Medicine, and his BSc in Biochemistry at the National University of Ireland, Galway. He is a member of the National Academy of Medicine.
Jun Qi, PhD
Harvard Medical School
Dr. Jun Qi is an Assistant Professor in Medicine at Cancer Biology Department in Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Department of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Qi received his BS from Fudan University in China, obtained his Ph.D. in Chemistry from University of Michigan in 2006, and completed his postdoctoral training at MIT in 2009. Both his Ph.D. and postdoctoral studies have been focused on the total synthesis of natural compounds and the novel synthetic methodology development. Dr. Qi joined Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Dr. Bradner’s lab in 2009 and started his own research lab in 2016. His research is focused his research on design and synthesis small molecule inhibitors targeting the gene regulation pathway for cancer therapy. Dr. Qi has discovered a small molecule JQ1 that inhibits one of the bromodomain subfamily, BET bromodomain. This discovery has been utilized to understand the role of epigenetic reader in variety of diseases, such as cancer, heart failure.
Kwok-Kin Wong, MD, PhD
NYU Langone Health
Dr. Kwok-Kin Wong is a Director, Division of Hematology and Medical Oncology, Anne Murnick Cogan and David H. Cogan Professor of Oncology, Department of Medicine at Laura and Isaac Perlmutter Cancer Center, NYU Langone Health. Dr. Wong obtained his MD, PhD degree at the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. He was trained in internal medicine at the Massachusetts General Hospital, and hematology and oncology at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, both at Harvard Medical School. He was previously the Scientific Director of the Belfer Institute for Applied Cancer Science at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute (DFCI)/ Harvard Medical School. He has authored more than 250 papers and has various patents on the molecular biology of cancer and aging. He is a member of the American Society of Clinical Investigation Association of American Physicians, the nation’s oldest honor society for physician-scientists. He also co-founded G1 Therapeutics.
Rob Glassman, MD
Robert Glassman, MD, is a Managing Director in Global Healthcare Investment Banking at Credit Suisse. He joined Credit Suisse from Bank of America Merrill Lynch (BAML) where he spent a decade in their investment banking group (first at Merrill Lynch and then at BAML), most recently as a Managing Director focused on life sciences. His stint at Merrill Lynch and BAML was interrupted during 2009-2010 when he worked as a private equity partner at OrbiMed Advisors, one of the world’s largest healthcare-dedicated investment firm. Earlier in his career, Dr. Glassman was with Merrill Lynch Global Private Equity where he oversaw a very successful healthcare portfolio and at McKinsey & Company for four years, where he consulted for a wide range of healthcare clients in the U.S. and Europe.
Dr. Glassman is a board certified hematologist-oncologist and Clinical Assistant Professor at Weill-Cornell University Medical College and New York Presbyterian Hospital. He has co-authored numerous articles in peer-reviewed journals and spoken in industry and academic forums on drug commercialization, biotechnology innovation, oncology clinical development, biomarker utility, drug value, and pharmaceutical research and development. Dr. Glassman has an AB from Harvard College and an MD from Harvard Medical School. He completed his residency in internal medicine at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, and his fellowship in hematology and oncology at Cornell. He also spent several years as a basic science investigator at Rockefeller University, where he received Howard Hughes Medical Institute and American Cancer Society awards.
Chad Robins, MBA
Chad Robins is the co-founder and CEO of Adaptive Biotechnologies, a commercial-stage biotech company that aims to translate the genetics of the adaptive immune system into diagnostics and therapeutics to improve patients’ lives. Prior to co-founding Adaptive, Chad held numerous executive-level positions in medical technology, investment and real estate companies. Chad holds an MBA from The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and a BS in Managerial Economics from Cornell University.