Innovative Non-Viral DNA-based In Vivo Gene Therapy
At NanoCell, we envision a future where cell engineering is transformed by pioneering vectors, adept at safely and precisely modifying target cells right within the patient’s body. Our ambition is distinct and audacious. While many in the field focus on viral or RNA-based methods, we uniquely harness the lasting potential of DNA, delivered through our advanced non-viral vector technology. Our goal is to revolutionize current cell and gene therapy practices by eliminating the need for ex-vivo cell manipulations. With the power of DNA and cell-directed lipid nanoparticles (LNPs) – a combination that sets us apart from others – we’re trailblazing a path to durably modify immune-effector cells, such as T cells, directly within patients. This isn’t just innovation—it’s a leap forward, paving the way for cell and gene therapies that are more affordable, scalable, and accessible to individuals across the globe.
At NanoCell, we unite top talent and experts deeply anchored in science, spanning from multidisciplinary research to drug development, as well as corporate and business leadership. Our Scientific Advisory Board features distinguished thought leaders from academia and the biotech industry, each equipped with the critical experience necessary to champion transformative therapies.
Board of Directors
Mr. Wodak is Venture Partner at Horizonte Venture Management, a private equity and corporate finance firm with a track record spanning more than three decades in Europe.
Leveraging his extensive experience, Mr. Wodak excels as an experienced Managing Director, having cultivated a notable career within the investment management industry. His proficiencies encompass diverse areas such as Business Planning, M&A, Corporate Finance, Valuation, and Due Diligence, underpinned by a strong background in business development.
He studied business administration at the Vienna University of Economics and Business Administration and qualified as a Chartered Public Accountant (CPA) in Manchester (NH, USA). Commencing his professional journey, Mr. Wodak embarked on a rewarding tenure at Head Tyrolia Mares (HTM) Sports Group, where he assumed various financial roles, contributing to the company's financial success.
With a profound understanding of corporate strategy and sales, Mr. Wodak has established himself as a highly sought-after management consultant, at times in interim management positions. Over the years, he has provided guidance to organizations, offering strategic insights and implementing sales optimization initiatives.
Mr. Lodder is a highly accomplished executive who currently holds the position of Chief Executive Officer at 20Med Therapeutics. Before joining 20Med, Dr. Lodder was responsible for corporate and business development at Lanthio Pharma, which was acquired by MorphoSys AG in 2015.
Prior to his tenure at Lanthio Pharma, Dr. Lodder served as the Chief Business Officer at Pepscan Therapeutics, where he was instrumental in driving business growth and forging strategic partnerships. From 2006 to 2009, he held the position of Managing Director at OctoPlus Inc, the Boston-based subsidiary of OctoPlus NV, responsible for international operations.
Dr. Lodder's holds a PhD in Bioorganic Chemistry from the prestigious University of Virginia and holds a Master's degree from Leiden University.
Mr. Callahan is the founding executive director of Botanix Pharmaceuticals, a publicly traded dermatology company with operations in the United States and Australia. With a strong presence in the life sciences and health tech industries, Mr. Callahan, based in Philadelphia, USA, brings extensive knowledge and expertise to his role in Nanocell.
Mr. Callahan has been the founding CEO or Executive Director of several organizations that have developed innovative pharmaceutical products and health tech solutions. These include iCeutica Inc, Churchill Pharma Inc, Dimerix Biosciences, Emerald Clinics, and Orthocell. His leadership has enabled these companies to make remarkable progress in their fields.
Mr. Callahan's visionary leadership is evident in his successful development of four FDA approved products. His expertise spans over 25 years, encompassing legal matters, intellectual property, and investment management. Furthermore, Mr. Callahan has served as an investment director for two venture capital firms specializing in life sciences and technology. He also held the position of general manager at ipernica, a technology and licensing company listed on the Australian stock exchange (Nearmap ASX:NEA), where he spearheaded successful licensing programs generating over $120M in revenue.
As the founding executive director of Botanix Pharmaceuticals, Mr. Callahan continues to shape the future of dermatology by leveraging his vast experience and knowledge to bring novel therapies to the forefront of medical advancements.
Mr. Giuliano serves as the Chairman of the Board of Nanocell. He is also the CEO and Managing Partner of Innogest Capital, a prominent venture capital firm specializing in investments within the medtech and digital sectors. In addition to his leadership position at Innogest Capital, Mr. Giuliano serves on the board as for a range of portfolio companies under the firm's umbrella.
Recognized for his contributions to the venture capital landscape, Mr. Giuliano is the visionary behind the Italian VC Hub, an influential platform fostering collaboration and innovation within the industry. Furthermore, he serves as a valued Board Member of AIFI, the Italian association of private equity, venture capital, and private debt, where he contributes to shaping the industry's direction and best practices. Prior to his current roles, Mr. Giuliano honed his expertise at renowned organizations including The Carlyle Group, Bain & Co and HP. His strategic vision, extensive network, and deep industry knowledge position him as a valuable asset to Nanocells.
Dr. Kalos is an internationally recognized expert in T cell and immuno therapy, bringing over 25 years of experience and expertise in the fields of cell therapy, oncology vaccines, and immune-oncology. With a strong background in academia and the biopharmaceutical sector, Dr. Kalos has made significant contributions to the development of cell therapy and immunotherapy industries.
During his tenure in academia, Dr. Kalos dedicated 10 years to pioneering the development of integral biomarker programs that supported the advance of cell therapy and immunotherapy. As the founder and director of the laboratory at the University of Pennsylvania, he played a pivotal role in the success of the clinical cell therapy program at Penn. Notably, his contributions were instrumental in the development of the CTL019 program, which was licensed to Novartis and resulted in the groundbreaking approval of Kymriah, the first CART cell therapy product.
Dr. Kalos obtained his PhD from the University of Minnesota and completed post-doctoral training in the laboratory of Phil Greenberg at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. His extensive research has resulted in the co-authorship of over 85 peer-reviewed manuscripts, along with several book chapters in the field of cancer immunotherapy. Furthermore, he holds an impressive portfolio of over 26 issued patents in the areas of cell therapy, immunotherapy and vaccines.
Lucio C. Rovati, MD, is Chief Executive Officer and Chief Scientific Officer at Rottapharm Biotech S.r.l. Under his leadership, Rottapharm Biotech has emerged as a prominent biotechnology company dedicated to research and development of innovative therapeutics, encompassing both chemical and biological domains.
As CEO and CSO, Dr. Rovati oversees all scientific and R&D activities of the company, providing strategic direction and guidance to various operational functions. These include medicinal chemistry, antibody discovery and protein engineering, pharmacology and toxicology, translational sciences and pharmacokinetics, pharmaceutical technology, biostatistics, clinical research, regulatory and quality, business development, scientific liaison, and drug safety.
Dr. Rovati currently serves as a Visiting Professor of Clinical Pharmacology at the University of Milano-Bicocca School of Medicine since 2003. He has authored or co-authored over 188 full papers published in peer-reviewed international scientific journals and has contributed to 15 book chapters. Additionally, his scientific achievements encompass the presentation of over 400 abstracts and selected or invited lectures at international congresses. Dr. Rovati holds a degree in Medicine and Surgery from the University of Milano, where he specialized in Clinical Pharmacology.
Dr. Geerlings is an experienced executive and serial entrepreneur who has co-founded and led multiple successful biotech companies . In 2000, he co-founded Actinium Pharmaceuticals Inc., a company listed on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE: ATNM). In 2010, he established Formula Pharmaceuticals Inc., which was subsequently sold in 2020. In 2017, he co-founded Mirata Pharmaceuticals and launched NanoCell Therapeutics in 2021, both companies securing venture capital funding.
Dr. Geerlings played a key role as the Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer in Actinium Pharmaceuticals Inc., From 2002 to 2010, he has been actively involved in business development for Alexion Pharmaceuticals Inc., Cephalon, Inc., Prism Pharmaceuticals, and Infinity Pharmaceuticals.
Throughout his career, he has successfully navigated complex negotiations and spearheaded strategic partnerships. With extensive expertise in deal making, Dr. Geerlings has established alliances through out-licensing, in-licensing, M&A, plus co-development initiatives, spanning both domestic and international markets, including the USA and Europe.
Dr. Geerlings earned his MD from the University of Utrecht in The Netherlands and obtained his Executive MBA from the George Washington University, Washington, DC.
Scientific Advisory Board
Dr. Gianpietro Dotti is a renowned Professor of Microbiology and Immunology, specializing in the fields of hematology and immunology. With a distinguished career spanning over two decades, Dr. Dotti has made significant contributions to the field of cancer research and treatment using gene-modified T lymphocytes. He is recognized for his expertise in developing innovative strategies to redirect the antigen specificity of T lymphocytes and overcome tumor inhibitory mechanisms.
Throughout his career, Dr. Dotti has been at the forefront of gene-modified T-cell therapy for malignancies. He has successfully facilitated the development and implementation of over 15 cell therapy trials, focusing on hematologic malignancies and solid tumors. Notably, his work has been published in esteemed scientific journals, including Science Translational Medicine, Cancer Cell, Nature Biotechnologies, Nature Cancer, Journal of Clinical Oncology, and Blood.
In addition to his significant contributions in CAR-based immunotherapy approaches for various cancers such as Neuroblastoma, Glioblastoma, Pancreatic Cancer, and Ovarian Cancer, Dr. Dotti has also played a pivotal role in the gene modification of NKT cells with CARs. As a Principal Investigator for more than 20 years, he has mentored numerous postgraduate fellows, graduate students, and undergraduate students, many of whom have gone on to pursue successful careers in academia and research.
Dr. Dotti currently serves as the Director of the UNC Lineberger Cellular Immunotherapy Program at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. He holds the position of Professor with tenure in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at the same institution. Previously, he served as a Professor with tenure at the Center for Cell and Gene Therapy, Department of Medicine, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX.
Dr. Dotti's expertise and leadership in the field of immunotherapy have earned him several honors and recognition. He has served on the Editorial Board of Molecular Therapy and is an active member of the American Society of Cell and Gene Therapy. Notably, he received the Outstanding New Investigator Award from the American Society of Gene Therapy at their 10th Annual Meeting.
Dr. Dotti received his medical education at the University of Milan, Italy, where he obtained his MD in Medicine and Surgery in 1989. He further pursued his studies at the University of Parma, Italy, and completed his MD in Hematology in 1995.
Perry Hackett is a professor at the University of Minnesota in the Department of Genetics, Cell Biology, and Development since 1980. As a co-founder of the Center for Genome Engineering and a member of the University of Minnesota Masonic Cancer Center, he has made significant contributions to the field of genetics and molecular biology.
The invention of the Sleeping Beauty Transposon System, a groundbreaking non-viral gene therapy tool was developed in his lab. This pioneering technology has revolutionized the field of gene therapy and opened new avenues for treating genetic disorders.
In addition to his academic career, Prof. Hackett is also an accomplished entrepreneur, co-founding three biotech companies. Discovery Genomics, acquired by Immusoft, focuses on innovative genetic research. Recombinetics specializes in genome editing in large animals, offering promising solutions for various applications. Furthermore, NovoClade, another venture co-founded by Prof. Hackett, specializes in synthetic speciation for environmentally friendly pest control.
With over 50 years of experience in molecular genetics and genome engineering, Prof. Hackett brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to NanoCell Therapeutics. His educational background includes an undergraduate degree in Physics from Stanford University, and a Ph.D. in Biophysics and Genetics from the University of Colorado. He further honed his skills through postdoctoral research at the Max Planck Institute for Cell Biology in Germany and the University of California in San Francisco.
Dr. Marlene Haffner is a highly accomplished expert and advisor with a remarkable career dedicated to advancing the field of orphan therapy development. With over 20 years as the Director of the Office of Orphan Products Development at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), she played an instrumental role in establishing the program as the global leader in orphan products.
Under Dr. Haffner's visionary leadership, the program thrived, contributing to the development of over 300 products in the United States. Her impact extended far beyond national borders, as she actively collaborated with international stakeholders to establish similar programs in Japan, the European Union, Australia, and other regions, solidifying her reputation as a respected authority in the field. She propelled the term "orphan products" into the forefront of the pharmaceutical world, raising awareness and fostering dialogue on this critical area of medical research and development.
Dr. Haffner founded Haffner Associates in 2009 through with which she leverages her experience in orphan product development to collaborate with biotech and pharmaceutical companies of all sizes, patient advocacy groups, and government agencies. In addition to her role at Haffner Associates, Dr. Haffner serves as an expert advisor and board member for companies worldwide, where her insights and regulatory expertise guide strategic decision-making and promote innovation.
Dr. Haffner is trained as an internist and hematologist, graduating from the George Washington University School of Medicine, with further training at the Columbia University School of Medicine and the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City. She holds a Masters of Public Health from the prestigious Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore.
Dan Peer is a distinguished Professor and the Director of the Laboratory of Precision NanoMedicine at Tel Aviv University (TAU), where he also serves as the Vice President for Research and Development. Prof.Peer leads a dynamic research team focused on developing innovative genetic medicines to address inflammatory diseases, rare genetic disorders, and cancers. His lab is at the forefront of designing highly targeted and selective nanocarriers that enhance the ability to reprogram cells with precision. Their cutting-edge research aims to translate these findings into practical clinical applications, revolutionizing the way diseases are treated.
In 2017, he co-founded and currently serves as the Managing Director of SPARK Tel Aviv, Center for Translational Medicine, further exemplifying his commitment to bridging the gap between scientific discoveries and real-world healthcare solutions. He also served as the chair of the TAU Cancer Biology Research Center, Tel Aviv, from 2016 to 2020.
In recognition of his contributions, Prof. Peer was elected as a member of the Israel Young Academy of Science in 2014 and later, in 2023, he was honored with election to the US National Academy of Engineering.Prof. Peer holds advisory roles in more than 15 companies and serves on the scientific advisory board of 20 prestigious journals.
Dr. Molly Stevens is a renowned academic and leading expert in the field of Biomedical Materials and Regenerative Medicine. As a Professor at Imperial College London, she holds positions in both the Department of Materials and the Department of Bioengineering. Additionally, Dr. Stevens serves as the Research Director for Biomedical Material Sciences at the Institute of Biomedical Engineering.
Dr. Stevens' expertise expands beyond her primary institution. She also holds a part-time appointment as a Professor at the renowned Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, contributing to global medical research and innovation.
Recognized for her outstanding contributions to academia, Dr. Stevens is a distinguished Fellow of eight UK Societies, including the prestigious Royal Society and the Royal Academy of Engineering. In 2019, she was elected as a Foreign Member of the National Academy of Engineering in the United States, solidifying her global reputation as a leader in her field.
With a focus on collaborative and interdisciplinary research, Dr. Stevens has held various leadership positions throughout her career. She currently serves as the Director of the UK Regenerative Medicine Platform "Smart Materials" Hub, driving innovation and breakthroughs in regenerative medicine. Additionally, she holds the position of Deputy Director of the Kavli Institute for Nanoscience Discovery at the University of Oxford, where she joined as the John Black Professor of Bionanoscience in April 2023.
As an Associate Director of the British Heart Foundation Centre of Research Excellence, Dr. Stevens demonstrates her commitment to tackling cardiovascular diseases and improving patient outcomes. Her influence also extends beyond academia and research. She serves as a Scientist Trustee of the National Gallery in London, UK, where she contributes her expertise to the intersection of science and art. Furthermore, her role as an Associate Editor of ACS Nano showcases her dedication to fostering scientific discourse and publishing impactful research.
We cherish the scientific dialogue, expertise, and integrity our partners bring to the vibrant field of in-vivo cell engineering. With a commitment to driving innovation and advancing the frontiers of biotechnology, we welcome discussions on forging a mutually beneficial and impactful collaboration.