Meet the people of Xilio

We are a team of dedicated, skilled scientists, professionals, and leaders with deep expertise across all aspects of drug development, manufacturing, and commercialization.

Our Leadership Team

Dr. Russo is an accomplished biotechnology CEO with over 20 years of experience leading R&D and commercialization in the biopharmaceutical industry. As an executive leader, Dr. Russo has held positions of increasing responsibility ranging from early preclinical research through all phases of clinical development, registration, and commercialization of many successful therapies in the US and EU. She is currently the CEO of Xilio Therapeutics, a privately held immuno-oncology company focused on the development of tumor-selective, potent IO therapeutics. Prior to Xilio, Dr. Russo was the President and CEO of Arsanis (NASDAQ: ASNS), a company developing monoclonal antibodies to prevent and treat serious infectious diseases, merged with X4 Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: XFOR) in 2018. Prior to Arsanis, Dr. Russo spent 12 years at Cubist Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: CBST), a leading global anti-infective company (acquired by Merck for $9.6B). At Cubist, she contributed to the successful launch and commercialization of Cubicin (reaching over $1B in sales annually worldwide) and played a key role in the successful integration of two public companies, Optimer Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: OPTR) and Trius Therapeutics (NASDAQ: TSRX). Prior to Cubist, Dr. Russo held R&D roles at Bristol-Myers Squibb (NYSE: BMY) contributing to the successful development and global commercialization of several therapies including Reyataz and Baraclude. Dr. Russo serves on the boards of Xilio Therapeutics, X4 Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: XFOR), Celsius Therapeutics, Adagio Therapeutics and Life Science Cares. Dr. Russo holds a B.S. in pharmacy and a Doctor of Pharmacy degree from Rutgers University and completed a post-doctoral fellowship in infectious diseases with Bristol-Myers Squibb.

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Dr. Clackson is President of Xilio and Chief Technology Officer. Prior to Xilio, he was President of R&D and Chief Scientific Officer at ARIAD Pharmaceuticals, an integrated oncology company acquired by Takeda Pharmaceuticals in 2017. During his 22-year tenure at ARIAD, he led the multi-disciplinary R&D team that internally discovered and developed five product candidates, including Iclusig (ponatinib), approved for the treatment of resistant CML/Ph+ALL, and Alunbrig (brigatinib), approved for ALK+ NSCLC. Earlier in his career, Dr. Clackson was a postdoctoral fellow with Dr. James A. Wells in the Department of Protein Engineering at Genentech, where his studies on growth hormone receptor defined the now-established “hot spot” paradigm for how proteins interact. He received his Ph.D. in Biology from Cambridge University for research conducted under Dr. Greg Winter at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology into antibody engineering and the development of antibody phage display technology, subsequently commercialized by Cambridge Antibody Technology. He received his B.A. degree in Biochemistry from Oxford University. Dr. Clackson serves as a member of the boards of directors of Forma Therapeutics, Spring Bank Pharmaceuticals, and the Massachusetts Biotechnology Council (MassBio).

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Mr. Farmer is a seasoned biopharma executive with more than 20 years of experience working with companies at all stages of development, through commercialization. Prior to joining Xilio, he served as Senior Vice President, General Counsel, and Corporate Secretary at Tesaro (NASDAQ: TSRO), a publicly-traded global oncology-focused biopharmaceutical company, where he helped lead the growth of the company’s operations from a development stage company to a multi-product, international commercial organization. At Tesaro, he also led the negotiation and closing of numerous financing and business development transactions, including over $1.3 billion in equity and debt financing transactions, several license and collaboration transactions with large global pharmaceutical companies, and the ultimate sale of Tesaro to GlaxoSmithKline for over $5 billion in January 2019. Prior to Tesaro, Mr. Farmer was Chief Corporate Counsel and Assistant Secretary at Cubist Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ: CBST), a public pharmaceutical company, focused on the development and commercialization of anti-infective therapeutics. At Cubist, he led the negotiation and execution of several major multi-million- and multi-billion-dollar business development and financing transactions, including the $9.6 billion sale of Cubist to Merck in 2015. Prior to Cubist, he was the Chief Administrative Officer and General Counsel at AMAG Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (Nasdaq: AMAG).

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Dr. Huber has over 20 years of academic, biotechnology, and pharmaceutical drug development experience, most recently serving as Senior Vice President and Chief Medical Officer at Tesaro, Inc. before its acquisition by GSK. While at Tesaro, he drove the expansion of the niraparib program and advanced the company’s immuno-oncology agents into the clinic. Prior to that, he was Vice President, Oncology Clinical Research at Merck Research Laboratories where he was instrumental in the advancement of Merck’s oncology programs, serving as program lead for pembrolizumab in non-small cell lung cancer. Prior to Merck, he served in roles of increasing responsibility at Schering-Plough, Hoffmann-La Roche and Rhone-Poulenc Rorer, where he led teams in the areas of oncology clinical development, drug safety and pharmacovigilance. He previously served as an Assistant Professor of Oncology at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. Dr. Huber holds an M.D. from the Baylor College of Medicine.

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Dr. O’Hagan is Senior Vice President, Research and Translational Sciences at Xilio. Prior to Xilio, he led the oncology discovery program at Merck with a particular emphasis on approaches to enable and enhance immune-modulatory therapies in cancer. Earlier at Merck Dr. O’Hagan led target identification and validation for oncology and generated an early-discovery pipeline including both biologics and small-molecule programs. Prior to Merck, he held positions of increasing responsibility in biotech companies, working on early target discovery, small-molecule and biologics drug discovery, and translational research. He has helped to bring multiple small-molecule and biologics programs into clinical development during his time in industry. Dr. O’Hagan’s academic career included undergraduate and graduate work in Canada followed by post-doctoral work at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute. In Dr. Ron DePinho’s laboratory at DFCI, he focused on genetically engineered mouse models of cancer and novel approaches to target discovery.

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Our Board

Mr. Clancy has more than 30 years of experience in corporate and financial leadership and strategic business planning. He currently serves on the boards of Agios Pharmaceuticals and Incyte Corporation. Mr. Clancy was Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer for Alexion Pharmaceuticals from July 2017 to October 2019. Prior to that, Mr. Clancy was Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Biogen. While at Biogen, he successfully led the financial strategy of the company over a ten-year period of growth. Mr. Clancy joined Biogen in 2001, where he also served in several other senior executive positions, including Senior Vice President of Finance, Vice President of Business Planning, Vice President of Portfolio Management, and Vice President of Marketing. Prior to Biogen, he spent thirteen years at PepsiCo in a range of finance, strategy, and general management positions. Mr. Clancy received his B.S. in Finance from Babson College and M.B.A. from Columbia University.

Peter has over 10 years of experience in the life science industry extending across research, consulting, corporate venture and traditional venture capital. He is currently Partner at MRLV. He has been involved in investments across a broad range of life science companies including: Middle Peak Medical [sold to Symetis/Boston Scientific], Atopix [sold to Chiesi], Optinose [NASDAQ:OPTN], Prosonix [sold to Circassia], iOmx, Imevax, Oxagen and Vasopharm. He is currently responsible for MRLV investments in Carisma, HotSpot, Imago, Kymera and Xilio. Prior to MRLV, he was a Principal with Wellington Partners, a Munich and London based European venture fund with more than $1B under management. Before this he held roles at Entrepreneurs Fund and at the corporate venture arm of Novartis. He also consulted for several European venture-backed biotechnology startups. In his prior life as a scientist, Peter was a post-doc at the University of Oxford, obtained his Ph.D. from the University of Geneva and a B.Sc. (Hons) from the University of British Columbia, and conducted research at the BC Centre for Disease Control.

David is a partner at Atlas Venture and focuses on investments in novel therapeutics, often those that are near to first in human clinical testing. Since joining Atlas in 2010, David has co-founded and served as chief executive officer of numerous companies including Arteaus Therapeutics acquired by Eli Lilly in 2014, Annovation Biopharma acquired by The Medicines Company in 2015, and was a founding board member of Delinia acquired by Celgene in 2017. David is a co-founder, founding chairmen, and board member of Surface Oncology (NASDAQ: SURF), Cadent Therapeutics, and Q32 Bio. David also sits on the boards of Xilio Therapeutics and Affinia Therapeutics, and is a board observer at Day One Biopharmaceuticals. David serves as an advisor to several organizations including Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center’s (MSKCC) Technology Development Fund, the American Heart Association’s One Brave Idea, and is on the Scientific Advisory Board of the Tri-TDI that includes Rockefeller University, MSKCC, and Cornell. He earned his B.A. from Stanford University, an M.D. from Harvard Medical School, and completed his internship and residency training in internal medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital. He also serves on the board of Acera: The Massachusetts School for Science, Creativity, and Leadership, a STEM focused K-8 school, which his wife Courtney founded in 2009.

Nancy joined RiverVest in 2016 and focuses on both biopharmaceutical and medical device opportunities, contributing to the formation, development and strategic direction of RiverVest portfolio companies. Currently, Nancy is a member of the Board of Directors at Scout Bio, Inc. and Xilio Therapeutics, Inc. Previously, Nancy was a principal with BioMed Ventures, where she originated and managed successful investments in therapeutics, diagnostics and medical devices. Prior to BioMed, she was an investment professional at Forward Ventures and served as an advisor to biotech and pharmaceutical companies entering new areas of research. Nancy started her career as a scientist at Phenomix, a venture-backed discovery biotech company in San Diego. Trained in the areas of immunology and oncology, Nancy earned a B.S. with honors in Biology from the California Institute of Technology and a Ph.D. in Molecular and Cell Biology from the University of California, Berkeley. She conducted postdoctoral training at the University of California, San Francisco, as a fellow of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

Rachel Humphrey is a medical oncologist, who most recently served as the Chief Medical Officer of CytomX, a biotech company based in South San Francisco where she supervised the clinical development of ProbodyTM Therapeutics for the development of cancer. Prior to this, she held various senior level roles in cancer drug development including at Cytomx (Board of Directors), AstraZeneca (SVP, Head of the Immuno-oncology department), and Bristol Myers Squibb (VP, Clinical Development). Dr. Humphrey’s career is notable for, among other things, overall supervision of the (early and late-stage) clinical development of ipilimumab (Yervoy) at BMS and sorafenib (Nexavar) at Bayer. She is also the lead singer and one of the co-founders of the band, The Checkpoints, a blues band made up of luminaries in immuno-oncology, including the Nobel Laureate, Jim Allison, and is featured in the movie Jim Allison: Breakthrough, which was released in 2019.

Daniel S. Lynch is the Chair of the Board of Directors at Xilio Therapeutics and a strategic advisor at Third Rock Ventures. He brings more than 25 years of experience in biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies and has active board roles in several companies including chairman at bluebird bio, Blueprint Medicines, and Translate Bio (formerly RaNA Therapeutics). Mr. Lynch served as chief executive and chief financial officer of ImClone Systems Corp. While at ImClone, he negotiated a major partnership with Bristol-Myers Squibb and helped secure FDA approval of its novel cancer treatment, ERBITUX. He has served as executive chair or board member for a number of private biopharmaceutical companies, including Stromedix, until its acquisition by Biogen Idec in February 2012, and Avila Therapeutics Inc., until its acquisition by Celgene in February 2012. Earlier in his career, Mr. Lynch served in various financial positions at Bristol-Myers Squibb over a 15-year tenure. He served on the board of directors and the audit committee of U.S. Oncology Inc., for five years until December 2010 when it was acquired by McKesson. Mr. Lynch received his bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Wesleyan University and his master’s degree in business administration from the Darden Graduate School of Business Administration at the University of Virginia.

Mike joined SV Health Investors as a Venture Partner in 2001 and became Managing Partner in 2002. He is responsible for biotech investments and activities in the US and serves on the boards of companies in the US and UK. His career spans over 19 years in venture capital, which followed 21 years in senior operating executive roles for leading biotechnology companies. At SV, Mike has been involved from the beginning with the Dementia Discovery Fund (DDF) and serves on the DDF Investment Committee. He has been the seed investor in a number of startup biotech companies and has invested in platform companies, small molecule, antibody and cell therapy therapeutic companies. Prior to joining SV, Mike was the tenth employee at Genentech, where he worked for 13 years. He served as Genentech team leader for Humulin® (human insulin-Lilly), Roferon® (Interferon alpha-Roche), Protropin® (hGH), Vice President of Development during the development of Activase®, Nutropin® and Pulmozyme®. He then started Genentech’s protein engineering and small molecule discovery effort as Vice President of Medicinal and Biomolecular Chemistry. Mike was also the Founding CEO of Arris Pharmaceutical, MetaXen, ExSAR and CyThera (now Viacyte). Outside of SV, Mike serves on the Board of the Thayer School of Engineering (Dartmouth College). Academic credentials: AB, Dartmouth College; PhD, Chemistry, Caltech; NIH Post-Doctoral Fellowship, Molecular Biology, Harvard.

Dr. Russo has more than 20 years of experience leading all aspects of R&D and commercialization in the biopharmaceutical industry. She is currently the CEO of Xilio Therapeutics, a privately held immuno-oncology company focused on tumor-selective activation of potent IO therapeutics. Prior to Xilio, Dr. Russo was the President and CEO of Arsanis (NASDAQ: ASNS), a company developing monoclonal antibodies to prevent and treat serious infectious diseases, which merged with X4 Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: XFOR) in 2018. Prior to Arsanis, Dr. Russo spent 12 years at Cubist Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: CBST), a leading global anti-infective company (acquired by Merck for $9.6B). Prior to Cubist, Dr. Russo held R&D roles at Bristol-Myers Squibb (NYSE: BMY) contributing to the development and global commercialization of several successful products, including Reyataz and Baraclude. Dr. Russo is also Chair of the Board of Adagio Therapeutics and serves on the boards of Xilio Therapeutics, X4 Pharmaceuticals, Celsius Therapeutics, and Life Science Cares. Dr. Russo holds a B.S. in pharmacy and a Doctor of Pharmacy degree from Rutgers University, and completed a postdoctoral fellowship in infectious diseases with Bristol-Myers Squibb.

Robert, a partner at F-Prime Capital, has worked extensively in academia and industry for more than 25 years. Prior to F-Prime Capital, he held various senior roles in pharmaceutical and medical device companies and had been a professor at Harvard Medical School, where he worked at the intersection of basic research, medical technology development and clinical research in a variety of areas. He is the author of over 100 peer-reviewed scientific papers and an inventor on six U.S. patents. Robert serves on the Board of Directors of Caribou Biosciences, CORE Diagnostics, Farapulse, Plasmagen Biosciences, ShouTi, Tempest Therapeutics, Trivitron Healthcare, and Zenflow, Inc. Robert has served on the boards of Accuri Cytometers (acquired by Becton Dickenson), Amphora Medical, Bioconnect Systems, Ikano Therapeutics (acquired by Upsher-Smith), Laurus Labs, Tetraphase (NASDAQ:TTP), Topaz, Trivitron Healthcare, Transave (NASDAQ:INSM), ViewRay, Xcyton Diagnostics and FORUM Pharmaceuticals. He holds physics degrees from MIT and Harvard, and an M.B.A. from Columbia.

Scientific Advisors

Dr. Deborah Charych has held scientific leadership positions in both academia and biotech. At Nektar Therapeutics, she led the strategic development of the Immuno-Oncology pipeline and designed NKTR-214, an IL-2 receptor agonist, currently in Phase 3. Alternative engineering of the IL-2 pathway led to clinical development of NKTR-358 for autoimmune disease. Follow-on cytokine and small molecule immune modulators include an IL-15 receptor agonist and a TLR 7/8 agonist. At FivePrime Therapeutics, Dr. Charych led a team that contributed to the clinical development of FP-1039, a pan-FGF inhibitor for oncology. While at Chiron Corporation she initiated and led a large proteomics effort to guide oncology target discovery. At Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, she assumed an academic leadership role as tenured Principal Investigator, focusing on new materials. Dr. Charych’s formal education is in Chemistry, earning a Ph.D. from University of California at Berkeley and a B.S. in Chemistry from Carnegie-Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA.
Michael Gladstone is a Board Member at Xilio and Parter at Atlas Venture. Michael was a member of the founding teams of several Atlas Venture-originated companies, including Padlock Therapeutics (acquired by BMS), Surface Oncology (NASDAQ: SURF), and IFM Therapeutics Inc. (acquired by BMS). He serves as a board member of Obsidian Therapeutics and as a board observer for IFM Therapeutics LLC, Kyn Therapeutics, Replimune (NASDAQ: REPL), and AvroBio (NASDAQ: AVRO); he was previously a board observer for Delinia (acquired by Celgene). He has also been closely involved with Atlas’s immuno-oncology investments CoStim Pharmaceuticals (acquired by Novartis) and Unum Therapeutics (NADSAQ: UMRX). Prior to joining Atlas in 2012, Michael was a senior associate consultant in the life sciences practice at L.E.K. Consulting, where he focused on business development and corporate strategy for biopharma clients. Prior to that, Michael was a Massachusetts Life Sciences Center Fellow at Eutropics, a Dana Farber Cancer Institute spin out, where he helped develop BH3 domain focused therapeutics and companion diagnostics for multiple myeloma and other malignancies. Previously, Michael worked in the Viral Pathogenesis department of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center where he led research on cellular HIV vaccines with Harvard Medical School Professor Norman Letvin. His research focused on elucidating the role of interleukin-21 in CD8+ T cell memory response to viral antigens. Michael received an AB in biochemical sciences with highest honors from Harvard College, where he graduated magna cum laude and was awarded the Harvard College Scholarship. While at Harvard, he received a Herchel Smith Undergraduate Fellowship, among other grants, for his undergraduate immunology research. Michael is on the Corporate Advisory Committee for National Tay-Sachs and Allied Diseases, a national organization focused on funding research, promoting awareness, and supporting families affected by Tay-Sachs and related genetic diseases.
Dr. Christopher A. Hunter is currently the Mindy Halikman Heyer President’s Distinguished Chair in the Department of Pathobiology at the University of Pennsylvania and a leading expert in cytokines and immunology. Over three decades, Dr. Hunter’s research has focused on key aspects of host-pathogen interactions, specifically on understanding the role of the cytokine networks in responding to immune insults and regulating protective and pathological immune responses. Dr. Hunter earned a B.Sc. and a Ph.D. in Zoology from the University of Glasgow, with a post-doctoral fellowship at Stanford University.
Margaret was previously Senior Vice President of Preclinical Development at Xilio Therapeutics. Prior to Xilio, she was an Executive Director at Amgen for 10 years where she held multiple roles in drug development. These included Executive Director in the Biosimilars Business Unit as the lead for Biosimilars Process Development, and as an Executive Director in Discovery Research leading the Biologics Optimization organization, Protein Sciences at the Thousand Oaks campus, and the site head for the Burnaby, Canada research site where XenoMouse antibody development is based. Prior to Amgen, Margaret was a Vice President at Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, where in a 10 year tenure she was closely involved with the development of the Traps technology in addition to driving numerous target identification and discovery initiatives. She was also the co-lead for the development of the VelocImmune mouse platform for the production of human antibodies. Margaret completed her post-doctoral work at Temple Medical School and her Ph.D. at the the University of Utah. She holds a BA in MCD Biology from the University of Colorado.
Dr. Andrew Luster currently serves as Chief for the Division of Rheumatology, Allergy and Immunology at Massachusetts General Hospital. He is also a Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Luster’s laboratory research focuses on understanding the role of chemokines and lipid chemoattractants and their receptors in controlling the migratory behavior, cellular interactions, and trafficking of leukocytes in vivo. Dr. Luster earned a Ph.D. from Rockefeller University and an M.D. from Cornell University.
Dr. Anthony J. O’Donoghue is an assistant professor at Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences at University of California San Diego. He has nearly two decades of experience studying proteases and focused his academic research on understanding the functional role of these enzymes in cancer and infectious disease. He received the Bioanalysis Young Investigator Award in 2013 for development of a global and unbiased protease substrate profiling method and has utilized this technology to develop diagnostic assays for pancreatic cancer and peptide inhibitors that target pathogen proteases. Dr. O’Donoghue earned a Ph.D. in Biochemistry and Fungal Biotechnology from the National University of Ireland and a B.S. in Biochemistry and Microbiology from the National University of Ireland.
Dr. John C. Williams is a professor in the Department of Molecular Medicine at City of Hope, a world-renowned independent research and treatment center for cancer, diabetes and other life-threatening diseases, and a scientific co-founder of Xilio Therapeutics. Dr. Williams’ areas of scientific research and expertise include structural biology, with a focus on x-ray crystallography and NMR, biophysics and protein engineering. Xilio’s proprietary technology is licensed from City of Hope and Thomas Jefferson University. Additionally, he is a member of the Cancer Immunotherapeutics Program and co-director of the Drug Discovery and Structural Biology Core at City of Hope, a National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center. Dr. Williams earned a Ph.D. in Chemistry from Columbia University and a B.S. in Chemistry from the University of California Santa Cruz.