Garo H. Armen, PhDChairman and CEO
Garo serves as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Agenus Inc., which he co-founded in 1994. Under his leadership Agenus has been advancing breakthrough scientific technologies and immunotherapeutic products for 20 years. In addition to his responsibilities at Agenus, Garo oversaw the successful restructuring of the biopharmaceutical company Elan Corporation, plc, when he served as Chairman of the Board of Directors from 2002 through 2004. Garo currently acts as non-executive Chairman of the Board of Protagenic Therapeutics, a biotechnology company focusing on human brain hormones for the treatment of neurological and metabolic disorders. He also serves as Founder and Chairman of the Children of Armenia Fund (COAF), a philanthropic organization he founded in 2000, which is dedicated to the development of children and youth in rural Armenia. He received his PhD in physical chemistry from the City University of New York.
Jennifer Buell, PhDPresident and Chief Operating Officer
Dr. Buell serves as the President and Chief Operating Officer and is responsible for organizational operations, including Research, Clinical Development, Manufacturing, Commercial Operations, Communications, Investor Relations and External Affairs. Since joining Agenus in 2013, Dr. Buell has served as the Head of Global R&D operations, Head of Research, and Chief Communications and External Affairs Officer. During her tenure, she helped advance the expansion of Agenus from a neoantigen vaccine company to a global, fully-integrated platform company with a unique pipeline of immune modulating antibodies, cancer vaccines, adjuvants, and adoptive cell therapies. With 20 years of biopharmaceutical R&D experience, Jennifer has extensive knowledge in advancing discovery candidates through development and experience communicating with external stakeholders including regulators, investors, and collaborators. She has a proven record of success in R&D leadership, most recently at Agenus, where she led high performing teams in advancing candidates into the clinic and delivered on key alliance collaborations. Prior to joining Agenus, Jennifer held leadership positions in R&D operations at Bristol-Myers Squibb and later was responsible for Program and Alliance Management at Harvard Clinical Research Institute (Baim), where she was involved in the development strategy and operations for a portfolio of industry and government sponsored clinical programs. Jennifer obtained her PhD in Cellular, Biochemical, and Molecular Biochemistry with an MS in Biostatistics from Tufts University in Boston.
Marc van Dijk, PhDChief Technology Officer
Dr. van Dijk serves as Chief Technology Officer for Agenus and AgenTus and leads our discovery and innovation center in Cambridge, UK. Dr. van Dijk is a molecular biologist and technologist with an outstanding track record of delivering effective therapies in immune oncology for well over 20 years. Dr. van Dijk was instrumental in designing the drug discovery platforms at Agenus (Retrocyte Display ™) which gave rise to more than 13 clinical stage antibodies in Agenus’ pipeline and our partnered pipeline with INCY, MRK, and GILD. Prior to Agenus, Dr. van Dijk held senior research roles at Medarex, was Vice President of Antibody technology at Genmab, Head of Applied Research at Innogenetics (now Fujirebio) and led the antibody discovery programs in the alliance with the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research, NY. During his tenure, Dr. van Dijk led the antibody design of the most active agents in immune oncology, such as Arzerra™, and more recently, balstilimab™, zalifrelimab™ and multiple clinical stage antibodies (next gen CTLA-4, CD137, multiple bispecifics, GITR, OX40, TIM-3, LAG-3, ILT4, and other undisclosed molecules). Dr. van Dijk has also designed the CAR and TCR discovery platforms at AgenTus, which is generating a pipeline of candidates for allogenic cell therapy.
Dr. van Dijk held a tenure track position in the Department of Immunology at the University Medical Center in Utrecht and completed his postdoctoral fellowship in Molecular Biology at the University of California, San Diego. He obtained his Ph.D. in Molecular Biology from Utrecht University in 1992.
Julie DeSanderVice President, Business Development and Alliance Management
Julie serves as the VP of Business Development and Alliance Management. At Agenus, Julie led the closure of $1.8B transaction with Gilead, $210M transaction with UroGen, $135M transaction with Betta Pharmaceuticals, as well as multiple research collaborations, including partnerships with Amgen and UCB. She also oversees Agenus’ strategic alliances, including Gilead, Incyte, Betta, UroGen, Merck and GSK. Prior to Agenus, Julie has more than 10 years of cross-functional experience in the biopharmaceutical industry with leadership roles in business development, corporate strategy, finance, and program management at Baxalta, Amgen, Siamab Therapeutics, McKinsey & Company and the Frankel Group. Julie holds a Master’s of Business Administration from MIT Sloan and a Master’s degree in Biomedical Enterprise from the Harvard/MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology.
Evan Kearns, J.D.Vice President & General Counsel
Evan heads Agenus’ legal and compliance functions. Evan joined Agenus in 2014 and previously served as Vice President, Associate General Counsel. Prior to joining Agenus, Evan was with the law firm of Goodwin Procter LLP in Boston, MA, where he advised public and private companies in domestic and international transactions on corporate and securities law matters, merger, acquisition and financing transactions, corporate governance, and other general corporate matters. Evan holds a B.A. in Economics from Colby College and a J.D. from the University of Toledo College of Law.
Donald VidicVice President, Head of Commercial
Don Vidic is the Vice President, Head of Commercial for Agenus. Don has 30 years of expertise in pharma distribution, managed care, and physician and pharmacy services. For the majority of that time, he has been committed to commercial endeavors that provide access to all patients who require complex medications that are difficult to obtain. Before joining Agenus Don served as the Chief Pharmacy and Growth Officer at Alliance Rx Walgreens Prime (a division of Walgreens Boots Alliance), where he was responsible for pharmacy and manufacturer services, clinical services, regulatory compliance, and marketing and sales. Preceding his 10 years at Walgreens, he acted as the Vice President and General Manager of McKesson Specialty Pharmacy. Don is a registered pharmacist with a B.S. in Pharmacy from the University of Pittsburgh. Don also attained his Masters in Business Administration from Waynesburg University.
Alfred DadsonChief Manufacturing Officer
Al serves as the Chief Manufacturing Officer, Global Biologics Operations and is responsible for process development and manufacturing of our antibodies, vaccine and Cell Therapy manufacturing through commercialization. Al is an industry veteran with 38 years of broad expertise in process development, process engineering, manufacturing from early stage to commercial and facilities engineering. Before assuming this role, Al was Vice President of Antibody Manufacturing Operations and Site Head of Agenus West. Under his leadership, a record number of 8 antibody programs have been developed and manufactured through successful IND acceptance in less than 2 years. Prior to joining Agenus, Al spent 15 years at XOMA as Vice President, Manufacturing Operations and Facilities Engineering and holds a patent on state-of-the-art modular facility design. He was part of senior management where his team worked on over 20 antibody programs into the clinic. Among his key achievements at XOMA was the successful development of XOMA/Servier Gevokizumab antibody to CMC BLA readiness in 2 years. While at XOMA, Al led several successful CMC collaborations with companies like Chiron, Novartis, Pfizer, Aveo Pharmaceuticals, Alexion, Department of Defense and Servier to name a few for antibody process development and manufacturing by XOMA. Prior to joining XOMA, Al spent 20 years at Bayer Healthcare site in Berkeley as Senior Principal Scientist and was responsible for all upstream clinical process development and manufacturing programs. He led the CMC team at Bayer for the development and commercialization of Bayer’s first biotechnology drug Kogante®. Al is a lifetime member of Who is Who in Industry leaders selected by his peers.
Christine KlaskinVice President, Finance & Principal Accounting Officer
Christine leads Agenus’ finance, accounting, and corporate treasury functions. Christine joined Agenus in 1996 as Finance Manager and has held several positions of increasing responsibility within our accounting and finance departments. Before her time at Agenus Christine served as an audit manager at Arthur Andersen since 1987. Ms. Klaskin received her Bachelor of Accountancy from The George Washington University.