Senior Leadership Team

Dr. Russo is an accomplished biotechnology CEO with over 20 years of experience leading R&D and commercialization in the biopharmaceutical industry across a range of therapeutic areas, including oncology. As an executive leader, Dr. Russo has led successful teams from early preclinical research through all phases of clinical development, registration, and commercialization to bring innovative therapies to patients across the United States and Europe. Before Xilio, Dr. Russo was the President and CEO of Arsanis, a company developing monoclonal antibodies to prevent and treat serious infectious diseases, merged with X4 Pharmaceuticals in 2018. Prior to Arsanis, Dr. Russo spent 12 years at Cubist Pharmaceuticals, a leading global anti-infective company that Merck acquired. Before Cubist, Dr. Russo held R&D roles at Bristol-Myers Squibb, contributing to the successful development and global commercialization of multiple therapeutics. Dr. Russo serves on the boards of Xilio Therapeutics, Adagio Therapeutics, Celsius Therapeutics, and the non-profit 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 with Bristol-Myers Squibb.

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Martin Huber, M.D., a medical oncologist by training, brings more than 30 years of experience in clinical research and oncology drug development. Prior to becoming president of Xilio, Dr. Huber served as the company’s president of R&D and chief medical officer. Before Xilio, he served as senior vice president and chief medical officer at Tesaro, Inc. before its acquisition by GlaxoSmithKline plc. Prior to Tesaro, he served as vice president, oncology clinical research at Merck where he was instrumental in the advancement of Merck’s oncology programs, serving as program lead for pembrolizumab in non-small cell lung cancer. Earlier, Dr. Huber served in various roles of increasing responsibility at Schering-Plough, Hoffman-La Roche, and Rhone-Poulenc Rorer. Dr. Huber serves as a member of the board of directors of Mersana Therapeutics, Inc. and Syndax Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Dr. Huber received a B.S. in biology from Texas Lutheran College and an M.D. from Baylor College of Medicine. He completed his medical oncology training at U.T. M.D. Anderson Cancer Center.

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Ms. Davis brings 25 years of entrepreneurial experience building teams and leading corporate and portfolio strategy to her role at Xilio, where she focuses on furthering the company’s corporate and business development strategy. Prior to Xilio, Ms. Davis held multiple commercial leadership roles at Novartis Oncology and was responsible for building and growing Novartis’ footprint in lung cancer and immuno-oncology. Prior to Novartis, Ms. Davis was the senior vice president and general manager of Prominex, a start-up incubated through Roka Biosciences. She also held roles of increasing responsibility at several Johnson & Johnson businesses including Janssen Immunology, Ortho Clinical Diagnostics, and Johnson & Johnson Development Corp. Before joining Johnson & Johnson, Ms. Davis worked in strategic consulting at The Carson Group and in investment banking at Merrill Lynch. Ms. Davis received her B.S.E. in biomedical engineering from Duke University.

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Dr. Bialucha is a passionate life science leader with more than 15 years of experience in oncology/immuno-oncology drug discovery and preclinical development. Dr. Bialucha has served as Xilio’s chief scientific officer since August 2022 and joined Xilio as the senior vice president of research in April 2021. He joined Xilio from Immunitas Therapeutics where, as vice president of drug discovery, he led the development of a single cell genomics-based discovery platform and immuno-oncology focused therapeutic pipeline. Prior to joining Immunitas, Dr. Bialucha held roles of increasing responsibility at the Novartis Institutes for Biomedical Research, most recently leading the oncology biotherapeutics group, where he directed multiple programs towards successful entry into clinical development across a variety of modalities. Dr. Bialucha serves on the scientific advisory board for the Terri Brodeur Breast Cancer Foundation. Dr. Bialucha received his B.S. in molecular genetics from the University of Sussex and his Ph.D. in molecular cell biology from the MRC Laboratory for Molecular Cell Biology, University College London. He completed his postdoctoral training in Professor Scott Lowe’s laboratory at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, studying tumor suppressor gene networks using genetic mouse models of cancer.

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Mr. Frankenfield is an accomplished biotechnology professional with 15 years of experience guiding companies on complex legal issues, transactions, and corporate strategy. Mr. Frankenfield previously served as Xilio’s General Counsel from March 2021 to August 2022. Prior to Xilio, Mr. Frankenfield served as vice president of corporate legal affairs at Blueprint Medicines and as a member of its management team. At Blueprint Medicines, he led public company reporting activities, advised on capital markets strategies, supported multiple successful equity offerings, and executed collaborations and partnerships with Roche and Genentech, CStone Pharmaceuticals, and Clementia Pharmaceuticals, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Ipsen. Prior to Blueprint Medicines, Mr. Frankenfield was a senior associate at Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP, with a focus on strategic transactions, securities regulations and compliance, and corporate governance. Mr. Frankenfield began his career at PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP where he advised clients on complex commercial disputes and investigations. He received his B.A. in economics from the College of William & Mary and his J.D. from the University of Virginia School of Law.

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Board of Directors

Paul Clancy has served on Xilio’s board of directors since July 2020 and brings more than 35 years of experience in financial management and strategic business planning. Mr. Clancy most recently served as executive vice president, senior advisor of Alexion Pharmaceuticals, Inc., and earlier served as chief financial officer of Alexion. Prior to Alexion, Mr. Clancy served as the executive vice president and chief financial officer at Biogen Inc. Before Biogen, Mr. Clancy spent 13 years at PepsiCo Inc., serving in a variety of finance, strategy, and general management positions. Mr. Clancy serves as a member of the board of directors of Agios Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Incyte Corporation, Exact Sciences Corporation and Sionna Therapeutics. Mr. Clancy is a senior visiting lecturer of finance at Cornell University’s Graduate School of Business. Mr. Clancy received his B.S. in business administration from Babson College and an MBA from Columbia Business School.

Sara Bonstein has served as a member of our board of directors since August 2021. Ms. Bonstein has approximately 20 years of experience in the life sciences industry and has served as chief financial officer of Insmed since January 2020. Prior to joining Insmed, she served as chief financial officer and chief operating officer of OncoSec Medical Incorporated from May 2018 to January 2020 and as the chief financial officer, treasurer and executive vice president at Advaxis, Inc. (Advaxis) from February 2014 to April 2018. In these roles, she led multiple capital markets and licensing transactions, established strong financial controls, streamlined business operations, and was responsible for the overall leadership and management of operations, including corporate finance, investor relations and business development. Prior to Advaxis, Ms. Bonstein served in various finance roles of increasing responsibility at Eli Lilly & Company (Eli Lilly), ImClone Systems and Johnson & Johnson, including as a Six Sigma Champion and Black Belt, a program implemented at Eli Lilly to enable more efficient financial growth while increasing customer satisfaction. Ms. Bonstein has served as a member of the board of directors of scPharmaceuticals Inc. since July 2020. She holds a B.S. in finance from The College of New Jersey and an M.B.A. from Rider University.

Daniel Curran, M.D. has served as a member of our board of directors since December 2020. He has more than 20 years of pharmaceutical experience in strategy, business development, project leadership and development roles. Since October 2012, Dr. Curran has held roles of increasing responsibility at Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Ltd., or Takeda, a pharmaceutical company, and most recently serves as a senior vice president and the head of the rare genetics and hematology therapeutic area unit. Prior to Takeda, he served as vice president, corporate development at Millennium Pharmaceuticals, Inc., or Millennium, a wholly owned subsidiary of Takeda, from June 1999 to October 2012. Prior to Millennium, Dr. Curran held a business development role in the product planning and acquisition group at DuPont Merck Pharmaceuticals, a pharmaceutical company. Dr. Curran received an M.D. from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, an MBA from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and a B.S. in chemistry from King’s College.

Tomas Heyman has been a member of our board of directors since September 2022. Mr. Heyman is a biopharmaceutical veteran with significant leadership and management expertise in corporate strategy, business development, venture capital, as well as R&D, legal and operational management, from his 37-year tenure with Johnson & Johnson (J&J). Mr. Heyman most recently served as president of JJDC, J&J’s corporate venture capital group, from April 2015 to September 2019, where he managed approximately $1.5 billion in capital and oversaw investments in more than 120 companies. Prior to leading JJDC, he led business development for J&J’s pharmaceutical group, Janssen, for twenty-three years, completing hundreds of licensing and M&A transactions. He also served as the managing director of Janssen Pharmaceutica, Belgium, J&J’s largest subsidiary outside the U.S., and vice president of licensing at Ortho Pharmaceutical, a J&J affiliate. Mr. Heyman serves as a member of the boards of directors of Legend Biotech, Akero Therapeutics, OptiNose, and Invivyd (formerly Adagio Therapeutics). Mr. Heyman received his Master of Law from K.U. Leuven in Belgium and completed post-graduate studies in international law in Geneva, Switzerland, and post-graduate studies in business management at the University of Antwerp in Belgium.

Michael Ross, Ph.D. has served as a member of our board of directors since February 2020. Since 2002, Dr. Ross has served as managing partner at SV Health Investors LLC, or SV Health, an investment firm focused on healthcare investing. Prior to joining SV Health, Mike held various positions including serving as Vice President, Medicinal and Biomolecular Chemistry at Genentech, Inc., a biotechnology company, from1978 to 1990. Dr. Ross received a Ph.D. from Caltech.

Robert Ross, M.D., is the chief executive officer and a member of the board of directors of Surface Oncology, Inc. Dr. Ross previously served as Surface’s chief medical officer. Before Surface, Dr. Ross served as the head of oncology at bluebird bio, Inc. and earlier served in roles as senior vice president of clinical development and pharmacovigilance and vice president of clinical development. Prior to bluebird bio, Dr. Ross worked at Genentech and Infinity Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Dr. Ross was a Fellow in Medical Oncology and a faculty member at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute (DFCI) from 2003 to 2007, and then he maintained a clinical practice at DFCI until 2015. Dr. Ross currently serves on the board of directors of Obsidian Therapeutics, Inc., a private biotechnology company. Dr. Ross received a B.S. in biological sciences and a B.A. in philosophy from Stanford University, an M.S. in medical science from Harvard Medical School and an M.D. from Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. He completed his residency training in Internal Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco.

Christina Rossi has served as a member of our board of directors since April 2021. Since October 2018, Ms. Rossi has served as chief commercial officer of Blueprint. From January 2015 to October 2018, Ms. Rossi served as the Multiple Sclerosis business unit head, North America, at Sanofi Genzyme, or Sanofi, a biotechnology company. Previously, Ms. Rossi served as vice president, Multiple Sclerosis Sales at Sanofiform May 2014 to December 2015 and vice president, Multiple Sclerosis Patient and Provider Services at Sanofi from June 2012 to May 2014. Prior to joining Sanofi, Ms. Rossi served in various roles at Biogen, including head, commercial strategy for Eidetica Biopharma GmbH, Biogen’s biosimilar-focused venture, and U.S. brand leader for TYSABRI®(natalizumab). In addition, Ms. Rossi consulted in the healthcare practice at the Boston Consulting Group. Ms. Rossi holds a B.S. in biology, cum laude, from Duke University and an MBA from Harvard Business School.

René Russo, Pharm.D., is an accomplished biotechnology CEO with over 20 years of experience leading R&D and commercialization in the biopharmaceutical industry across a range of therapeutic areas, including oncology. As an executive leader, Dr. Russo has led successful teams from early preclinical research through all phases of clinical development, registration, and commercialization to bring innovative therapies to patients across the United States and Europe. Before Xilio, Dr. Russo was the President and CEO of Arsanis, a company developing monoclonal antibodies to prevent and treat serious infectious diseases, merged with X4 Pharmaceuticals in 2018. Prior to Arsanis, Dr. Russo spent 12 years at Cubist Pharmaceuticals, a leading global anti-infective company that Merck acquired. Before Cubist, Dr. Russo held R&D roles at Bristol-Myers Squibb, contributing to the successful development and global commercialization of multiple therapeutics. Dr. Russo serves on the boards of Xilio Therapeutics, Adagio Therapeutics, Celsius Therapeutics, and the non-profit 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 with Bristol-Myers Squibb.

Yuan Xu, Ph.D. has served as a member of our board of directors since January 2022. Dr. Xu is a biopharmaceutical executive with more than 25 years of experience, most recently serving as chief executive officer of Legend Biotech Corporation (Legend Biotech) from March 2018 until August 2020. In this capacity, she played a leading role in Legend Biotech’s initial public offering, clinical development of Legend Biotech’s autologous CAR T-cell therapy cilta-cel, and a strategic partnership with Janssen Biotech, Inc. Prior to Legend Biotech, Dr. Xu served as senior vice president at Merck & Co., Inc. (Merck), where she led discovery, preclinical and technical development, and manufacturing for Merck’s biologics and vaccines subdivision. Dr. Xu also served as general manager and vice president of biologics at Gilead Sciences, Inc. (Gilead), where she led biologics and vaccines development and oversaw all operational aspects of Gilead’s Oceanside manufacturing facility as site head. Prior to Gilead, Dr. Xu served as vice president at Novartis and led several functions in the U.S. and Europe, including the biotherapeutics development unit focusing on innovative medicines. Earlier in her career, Dr. Xu held positions of increasing responsibility at Amgen Inc., Chiron, Inc., GlaxoSmithKline PLC and Genentech Inc. Dr. Xu currently serves as a member of the boards of directors of Fate Therapeutics, Inc. and Akero Therapeutics, Inc., as well as a scientific advisory board member and manufacturing advisory board member of Resilience. Dr. Xu received a B.S. in biochemistry from Nanjing University, a Ph.D. in biochemistry from the University of Maryland and completed her post-doctoral training in virology and gene therapy at the University of California, San Diego.

Scientific Advisors

Deborah Charych, Ph.D. is a founder and the chief technology officer of RayzeBio, Inc, an oncology company focused on targeted delivery of radionuclides. Dr. Charych led the scientific strategy for RayzeBio leading to successful Series A financing and launch in August 2020 and Series B round in October 2020. Prior to launching RayzeBio, Dr. Charych held a number of scientific leadership positions in biotech, focused on translational drug development. At Nektar Therapeutics, she conceived and led the preclinical and early clinical development of an immuno-oncology pipeline, starting with NKTR-214, a next-generation IL-2 receptor agonist, currently in several pivotal Phase 3 oncology trials and later an IL-15 receptor agonist and TLR 7/8 agonist. At FivePrime Therapeutics, she led a team that contributed to the clinical development of novel biologics for pan-FGF and CSF1 inhibition for oncology. While at Chiron Corporation she initiated and led a large proteomics effort to guide oncology target discovery, including the discovery of peptide-mimetic binders (‘peptoids’). At Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, she assumed an academic leadership role as a tenured Principal Investigator, focusing on new biomaterials. Dr. Charych’s formal education is in chemistry, and she holds a Ph.D. from University of California at Berkeley and a B.S. in chemistry from Carnegie-Mellon University, Pittsburgh, where she also learned to fly small airplanes.
Chris Hunter, Ph.D., is recognized as an international leader in the role of cytokines in the induction of innate and adaptive immunity to infection, as well as their role in the resolution of inflammatory processes. He is currently the Mindy Halikman Heyer President’s Distinguished Chair and chair of the Department of Pathobiology, and was previously, Chair of the Department of Pathobiology and Director of the Center for Host-Microbial Interactions at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine. Dr. Hunter obtained his Ph.D. at the University of Glasgow, Britain and a post-doctoral fellowship at Glasgow developed his interest in the role of cytokines in immunity to African Trypanosomes in the CNS. He subsequently completed a postdoctoral fellowship at Stanford University working on toxoplasma, where his research group continues to study the cytokines that influence innate and adaptive immunity to toxoplasma and cryptosporidium. Dr. Hunter has served as a journal editor and on the editorial boards of several peer reviewed journals and was a reviewer for the NIH.
Jason J. Luke, M.D. is director of the UPMC Hillman Cancer Center (HCC) – Cancer Immunotherapeutics Center and an associate professor of medicine at the University of Pittsburgh. Dr. Luke specializes in early phase drug development for solid tumors, particularly novel immunotherapeutics and biomarkers of immunotherapy activity, as well as the management of cutaneous oncology and melanoma. Dr. Luke directs the Translational Immuno-Informatics Laboratory which investigates large scale informatic approaches to advance cancer immunotherapy. Dr. Luke is an active internationally recognized translational investigator leveraging work from his laboratory into more than 10 investigator-initiated, NCI CTEP and/or cooperative group clinical trials and acting as the international PI on registration intent industry studies. Some of these studies have changed the standard of care and are cited in the National Comprehensive Cancer Network guidelines. Dr. Luke has received numerous awards including the Melanoma Research Foundation Humanitarian Award, Crain’s 40 under 40, Department of Defense Career Development Award, Paul Calabresi Career Development in Clinical Oncology Award (K12), ASCO Merit Award as well as Young Investigator Awards from the Melanoma Research Alliance, the Cancer Research Foundation and the Conquer Cancer Foundation of ASCO. Dr Luke has been a review panel member for the NIH R21 and DOD immunotherapy/melanoma grant review panels and has been the ASCO Scientific Committee chair for melanoma. Dr. Luke is currently a senior editor at Clinical Cancer Research, melanoma and skin cancer editor at Cancer as well as the social media (@jasonlukemd) and an associate section editor at the Journal for Immunotherapy of Cancer. Dr. Luke received his M.D. from Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science in Chicago and trained at Boston University Medical Center (Medicine) as well as Weill Cornell Medical College and Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City (Medical Oncology). Dr. Luke has held prior tenure-track faculty positions at Harvard Medical School and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute as well as the University of Chicago.
Andy Minn, Ph.D. is a professor in the Department of Radiation Oncology and an investigator in the Abramson Family Cancer Research Institute at the University of Pennsylvania. He is also director of the Mark Foundation Center for Immunotherapy, Immune Signaling and Radiation, and a project member in the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy. His research seeks to understand key mechanisms of cancer immunotherapy resistance. Specifically, his work focuses on the role of pattern recognition receptors and interferon signaling pathways, which are pathways that are typically activated when normal cells become infected with a virus. Surprisingly, cancers and many cancer therapies can also activate these pathways, prompting an interest in understanding how this happens, the impact on anti-tumor immunity and its clinical significance. An overarching goal is to translate this understanding to better inform the design of clinical trials. Dr. Minn’s work has been published in prestigious scientific journals such as Cell and Nature. He is also a member of the American Society for Clinical Investigators (ASCI). He received his M.D. and Ph.D. from the University of Chicago and finished his residency in radiation oncology along with his post-doctoral training at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.
Anthony J. O’Donoghue, Ph.D. is an associate professor at Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences at University of California San Diego. He has two decades of experience studying proteases and has 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 B.Sc and a Ph.D. in biochemistry from the National University of Ireland, Galway.
Jamie Spangler, Ph.D. is an esteemed researcher whose work has focused on engineering immune molecules such as cytokines, growth factors, and antibodies for targeted treatment of diseases such as cancer and autoimmune disorders. After completing a postdoctoral fellowship at Stanford University School of Medicine, Dr. Spangler launched her independent research group at Johns Hopkins University in July 2017, jointly between the departments of Biomedical Engineering and Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering. Her lab, located in the Translational Tissue Engineering Center at the School of Medicine, applies structural and mechanistic insights to re-engineer existing proteins and design new proteins that therapeutically modulate the immune response. She holds a B.S. in biomedical engineering from Johns Hopkins University and a Ph.D. in biological engineering from MIT.
Kwok-Kin Wong, M.D., Ph.D.’s research, teaching and clinical activities focus on understanding the genetic alterations driving lung tumor formation and the testing of new targeted and immune lung cancer therapies. His laboratory integrates human cancer genomic studies, the generation of new mouse models of cancers, and novel drug treatment studies. The unique models used in Dr. Wong’s laboratory allow scientists to investigate the efficacy of new targeted therapeutics and immunotherapeutics. Furthermore, these “mouse clinical trials” will help uncover the molecular mechanisms and genetic underpinnings of sensitivity and resistance to targeted therapies and immunotherapy. Insights into these processes gained by Dr. Wong and his team continue to lead us closer to curative treatments for patients with advanced lung cancer. Dr. Wong is currently a professor of medicine and director of medical hematology and oncology at the Laura & Isaac Perlmutter Cancer Center at New York Langone Health. He has authored more than 300 peer reviewed publications and is a member of The American Society for Clinical Investigation/The American Association of Physicians (ASCI/AAP).