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About Us

Comanche Biopharma was founded by an experienced group of physicians, researchers, biologists, chemists, ethicists, and pharmaceutical professionals determined to tackle the problem of preeclampsia.

We recognize the challenge of drug development for mothers and babies and are committed to the women and their families who have been disproportionately underserved by the drug industry for decades.

Comanche believes every mother has the right to choose evidence-based therapies that have been appropriately studied to determine their risk:benefit and solve life-threatening conditions of pregnancy.

Our Inspiration

The company is named in honor and appreciation of the innovations achieved by the Numunuu people which allowed them to become a global power on the North American continent for over two hundred years.

In particular, these American Indians controlled an empire encompassing much of the Southwestern United States and northern Mexico (referred to as Comancheria, hence the name Comanche).

Their adoption of the horse as a disruptive technology along with innovations in animal husbandry, training and utilization reshaped worldwide politics, economics, markets, and cultures.

We are inspired by this example of purposeful innovation and recognize that new technologies alone are not enough to affect meaningful change.

Our Company Values

Quality

Demonstrating that we care greatly throughout all we do

Trust

Continually building competency, consistency, transparency, mutuality

Beneficence

Duty to help others

Non-malfeasance

Intent to do no harm

Scientific method

A process for ensuring the integrity of our work

Kindness

Respect for others by listening and acting with empathy

Leadership

‘How’ is as important as ‘what’ and more important than ‘who’

Fair and equal access globally

Delivering therapies that create measurable value for society, are cost-effective, and accessible

Meaning of the 3 Layers

1
Core layer, representative of the baby and pregnancy
2
Surrounding the core layer, representative of mother
3
Outer ring, surrounding both mother and baby, representative of the community, extended family, providers, and Comanche Biopharma

Our goal is to design development and commercialization processes that create affordable solutions that solve real needs and in the process deliver meaningful value to society that is measurable.

Comanche Biopharma is committed to the ethical representation of all people of color and economic status in our clinical development programs.

We prioritize ensuring access to our solutions by those who need them most.

Learn About Our Science

Our Team

Scott Johnson, M.D.

Chief Executive Officer & Co-Founder

Scott is our CEO and co-founder of Comanche Biopharma. Prior to Comanche, Scott was a co-founder of The Medicines Company where he served as director (1996-2009) until he joined the management team as Chief Medical Advisor (2009-2021). In that role, he was responsible for evaluating the company’s long-range global strategy and for the licensing or acquisition of innovative products, including inclisiran, for which the company was purchased by Novartis. Previously, Scott was a founding General Partner at JSB Partners, L.P., an investment bank with a focus on mergers and acquisitions, private financings and corporate alliances within the healthcare sector. From September 1991 to July 1999, Scott served as a founder and managing director of MPM Capital, LLC, a venture capital firm.

Scott holds a B.S. in chemistry (Phi Beta Kappa) and an M.D. (Alpha Omega Alpha) from the University of Alabama. His academic career included faculty positions at Harvard Medical School, the University of Colorado Medical School, and the University of South Alabama. He has been Board Certified in Internal Medicine, Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine and Sleep Disorders Medicine. He currently is a Board member at Atalanta Therapeutics, a biopharmaceutical company focused on the application of RNA interference to diseases of neurodegeneration.

Mike Young

President & Co-Founder

Mike is Co-Founder and President of Comanche Biopharma where he is responsible for leading operations and building the company. Previous to Comanche, Mike was Vice President of Commercial Planning and Healthcare Provider Strategy at The Medicines Company (MDCO) where he was responsible for the global pre-commercialization, go to market planning, lifecycle, and competitive intelligence strategy for Leqvio (Inclisiran) through to its acquisition by Novartis in 2020. Mike held various other positions of leadership in his more than 11 years at MDCO, including Chief Learning Officer and Head of Marketing for the post-operative business unit. Mike has played a leadership role in the development, approval and launch of new therapeutics in the areas of acute cardiovascular, surgery, infectious disease, and anesthetics. Previously, Mike worked for Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) and the Center for Integration of Medicine and Innovative Technology (CIMIT). Mike grew up in northern New Mexico.

Allison August, M.D.

Chief Medical Officer

Allison is Chief Medical Officer at Comanche Biopharma. Allison is responsible for the strategy, direction and execution of the company’s clinical development plans. In addition to leading and supervising the Clinical Research Department, she has responsibility for Clinical Operations, Patient Advocacy, Medical Affairs and Pharmacovigilance.

Previous to Comanche, Allison was Vice President of Clinical Development, Infectious Diseases at Moderna and spent over five years in various roles with increasing responsibility for the development of mRNA-based vaccines and the first mRNA-encoded monoclonal antibody. Allison has led multidisciplinary teams on the successful execution of clinical programs from Phase 1 through Phase 3, including serving as the clinical lead for the Phase 3 pivotal efficacy trial for the COVID-19 mRNA vaccine.

During her tenure at Moderna, she was the clinical lead responsible for advancing several vaccines including RSV, hMPV-PIV, Zika and Chikungunya and led the Medical Affairs team for CMV and other latent virus vaccines. Prior to Moderna, Allison headed the global clinical team for the RSV maternal immunization vaccine program at Novavax. Prior to Novavax, Allison worked in translational medicine, early and exploratory clinical development, and Phase 1 through Phase 3 vaccine trials, including maternal immunization, for Novartis Vaccines and Diagnostics.

Before moving to the biopharma industry, Allison was an academic and private practice obstetrician-gynecologist. Her academic career included faculty positions at the Brown University Medical School and adjunctive faculty at the Harvard Medical School affiliated hospitals. Allison holds a B.A. in the History of Religion from Bryn Mawr College and an M.D. from the University of Chicago, Pritzker School of Medicine. She was Board Certified in Obstetrics and Gynecology after completing her residency training at Brown University.

Paul Antinori

Senior Vice President, General Counsel

Paul Antinori is General Counsel to Comanche Biopharma.

Previously, Mr. Antinori was Senior Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary of The Medicines Company, a publicly traded pharmaceutical company. During his tenure, the company grew from $15 million in revenue generated from one product in one country to over $700 million from multiple products sold globally.

Prior to The Medicines Company, Mr. Antinori was General Counsel at Physician Computer Network, Inc., a publicly traded healthcare information technology company. Prior to his in-house positions, Mr. Antinori was a partner at the Gibbons law firm in Newark, NJ and, before Gibbons, at other major law firms in New York and New Jersey.

Mr. Antinori received his J.D. from the University of Virginia School of Law and his B.A. from Boston College (Summa Cum Laude; Phi Beta Kappa).

Belen Vicente Blazquez

Program Director

Belen Vicente is Program Director and founding employee of Comanche Biopharma, where she is responsible for the operational management of the CMC and business development strategy. Previous to Comanche, she worked at AskBio, where she negotiated gene therapy development partnerships, led valuation strategy for its R&D portfolio and was part of the recent $4Bn acquisition by Bayer. Belen combines a solid bioengineering background with her experience in life sciences strategy and has acted as venture creation advisor to several life science startups at the Harvard Blavatnik Biomedical Accelerator and as Leader of the Healthcare Entrepreneurship Sector at MIT. Belen started her career as a bioengineer in Spain and then moved to consulting (McKinsey & Company) and industry (ISDIN), contributing to numerous deals and initiatives in corporate strategy, competitive intelligence, and market entry. She holds a B.S. in Biotechnology at the University of Salamanca and an MBA with a certificate in Entrepreneurship and Innovation from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. At MIT she focused on new business models to advance therapies for rare diseases.

Adel Rafai Far

Global Head of Chemical Development

Adel Rafai Far, PhD is Global Head of Chemical Development at Comanche Biopharma, where he is responsible for developing and executing CMC strategies for drug substance and drug product development. He has over 20 years of industry experience in drug discovery and development and broad expertise including medicinal, analytical, bioanalytical and process chemistry; early stage formulation and pharmaceutical development. Dr. Rafai Far was most recently Principal Fellow, chemical and analytical development at Novartis and prior to this Senior Director, drug substance development at The Medicines Company, where, in particular, he has contributed to the development, regulatory approval and commercialization of Orbactiv® , a long-acting lypoglycopeptide for the treatment of gram positive infections and Leqvio®, a small interfering RNA for the treatment of hypercholesterolemia. Adel holds a PhD from the University of Toronto in organic chemistry and has conducted postdoctoral research at the Scripps Research Institute. He has over 20 published articles in peer-reviewed journals and over 13 patents and patent applications. He is a member of the American Chemical Society and of the Ordre des Chimistes du Quebec.

Michael Ferencik

Creative Director

Michael is Creative Director, responsible for designing and maintaining the brand identity and overseeing the effectiveness of all communication platforms. Prior to working for Comanche Biopharma, Michael led his own design agency where he created numerous brands and helped to reenvision many others.

Michael has worked as a designer at startups and at a large consulting firm, using his designs and innovation to help companies secure multimillion-dollar contracts and connect with their audiences.

Michael also has a background in IT, marketing, and sales, all of which inform his designs and awareness of user interface and experience. He attended Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California.

Mandy Gervasio

Head of Global Quality Assurance

Mandy Gervasio joined Comanche in December 2021 bringing 20+ years of global Life Sciences industry experience. Mandy is an experienced Quality & Compliance leader with a demonstrated history of building, implementing and remediating Quality Systems. Mandy also shares a depth of expertise and practical experience in GxP cloud software technology & data analytics. Most recently, Mandy has led the charge for new start up ventures heading up the QA & QC organizational functions. Mandy has a passion for building, leading, and managing GxP programs that are fit for purpose and operationally effective. Mandy's experience spans a variety of technical niches including but not limited to sterile biologics, combination products and medical device software applications.

Mandy's fundamental belief is that a robust Quality Culture begins and ends with the People and an uncompromising focus on patient health. An effective Quality program must be founded upon a combination of applicable technical expertise, a passion for innovation & compassion for the patients in need. Mandy holds a MS Degree in Leadership from Northeastern University, a Bachelor's degree in Biology from UMASS and Post Grad professional certifications Six Sigma Lean, Risk Management & Data Analytics from Stanford University & MIT.

Vignesh Hariharan

Director of Biology

Vignesh (Viggy) is a molecular biologist with expertise in siRNA discovery and pre-clinical pharmacology from the Khvorova Lab at the University of Massachusetts Chan Medical School. The focus of his work is the exploration of chemical space of siRNA conjugates for the purpose of characterization and improvement of extra-hepatic delivery. His contributions include optimization of siRNA chemistry for several clinically relevant organs, modulation of siRNA potency through backbone chemical modifications and the discovery of clinical quality lead sequences for novel siRNA targets. Viggy received his PhD from the Saini Lab at the Indian Institute of Science where he discovered a novel mechanism by which the Tuberculosis bacterium responds to stress and nutrient availability. He currently works as a post-doctoral research associate at the RNA Therapeutics Institute and is the Director of Biology at Comanche Biopharma.

Laura Hitchings

Clinical Project Director

Laura Hitchings joins Comanche as the Clinical Project Director responsible for the clinical scope of work for all Comanche trials, focusing on site success and leading collaboration with CRO’s, CRA’s, Investigators and Coordinators. Originally from Dublin, Ireland, she studied midwifery at Trinity College and the Rotunda Hospital, an inner-city obstetric hospital supporting over 10,000 deliveries a year. Since moving to America in 2013 she has worked in bedside clinical research at UNC, DUKE, Childrens National Hospital (DC) and Inova Health System where her indications of experience include Maternal/fetal medicine, pediatrics, neurology and Neuro oncology. With over 10 years in research, she has experience leading NIH, PI initiated and large scale, multi-site research trials. In these roles Laura built successful research collaborations across institutions, supporting research naïve sites and creating and nurturing a fundamental research identity at those institutions. In her most recent role at Advarra she incorporated her clinical and tech experience to help sponsors create and implement online research platforms designed to support the site, sponsor and participant. She is passionate about site and patient centricity to streamline trials and ultimately be able to offer patients more treatment options.

Jim Joffrion

Global Head of Clinical Operations

Jim Joffrion serves as Global Head of Clinical Operations for Comanche Biopharma. He has over 35 years of experience in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industry developing robust clinical trial strategies and the creation and management of highly effective global clinical trial programs. He has directed or participated in the successful completion of over 400 Phase I, II, III and IV clinical trials in multiple indications including oncology, respiratory infections, asthma/allergy, cardiovascular, women's health, dermatology, ultra-rare indications, autoimmune disorders, hematology, critical care and gastro-enterology. He has been responsible for the strategic management of multi-million-dollar projects including domestic and international regulatory submissions resulting in the successful filing of over 20 INDs, 10 CTAs, numerous ANDAs and 2 NDAs which were ultimately approved. Jim has experience executing clinical trials in North, Central and South America, Eastern and Western Europe and the Asia/Pacific region. Jim has developed solid working relationships with world experts, key opinion leaders, and respected principal investigators throughout the world and leverages these relationships to ensure the proper design, staffing, implementation, and execution of various clinical programs in multiple indications. He has led teams of over 100 clinical research professionals. He is an expert in GCP guidelines as well as FDA and ICH rules and regulations. He has co-authored 18 research papers and presentations. Jim received a BS in biology at Lamar University, Beaumont, Texas and has been a certified Project Management Professional (PMP) since 2000.

Maximilian Meanwell

Office & Operations Manager

Max serves as Comanche’s Operations Manager, managing business operations including budget, office management, vendor relations, real estate, and all other tangible assets as well as organizing and facilitating the in-person and virtual events. Before joining Comanche, Max had interned at the Senate Foreign Relations Committee for Chairman Robert Menendez and at DLA Piper’s government affairs department in Washington D.C.

Max has a BA in Government & Law from Lafayette College.

Rajeshwar Motheram

Global Head of Drug Product Development

Dr. Motheram is presently Global Head of Drug Product Development at Comanche Biopharma located in Concord, Massachusetts. He previously held research and management positions at Scynexis Inc., The Medicines Company, Bristol-Myers Squibb, DuPont Pharmaceuticals and Baxter International. He received his Ph.D. in Pharmaceutics from the University of Sciences, Philadelphia College of Pharmacy, Master of Science in Pharmaceutics, from the University of Mississippi; and Bachelor of Pharmacy from Kakatiya University, India.

Dr. Motheram has 27 years of diversified professional experience in pharmaceutical R&D in various aspects of pharmaceutical development ranging from development of early phase clinical products to commercial dosage forms, scale-up and technology transfer. Dr. Motheram has extensive CMC expertise in both small and large molecules leading to the development of several commercial products in a range of therapeutic areas including HIV, Oncology, Cardiovascular, Anti-infective and Critical Care medicine.

Dr. Motheram’s Ph.D. dissertation work involved characterizing the adsorption of proteins at solid/liquid interfaces and the structural changes of adsorbed proteins. His research interests include design, development, and optimization of oral and parenteral dosage formulations, and designing novel drug delivery systems for small molecules as well as biologics. Dr. Motheram is a co-inventor on patents concerning novel pharmaceutical compositions and co-authored manuscripts published in peer reviewed journals.

John Richards

Chief Scientific Advisor

John read Chemistry at St John’s College Oxford prior to completing a DPhil in Peptide Chemistry also at Oxford. Following his doctorate, John carried out post-doctoral research at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge, working as a part of the team which developed the now almost universally utilised Fmoc-solid-phase synthesis methodology. Subsequent to further research as a staff scientist into neuro-transmitter peptides in the MRC Neurochemical Pharmacology Unit in Cambridge, John moved into industry, initially as a part of a start-up company formed by alumni of The Laboratory of Molecular Biology. Aside from his role at Comanche John is currently a Non Executive Director of Aptamer Group. Previously John was Senior Vice President at The Medicines Company, of which John had been a founding member in 1997 and led CMC drug development activities since the company’s inception.

Leah Stidsen

Principal Quality Assurance Engineer

Leah joined Comanche Biopharma in January 2023 as the Principal Quality Assurance Engineer. She brings 20+ years of Life Sciences industry experience, in both Plant and Process Engineering roles, as well as Quality and Compliance roles. She has demonstrated history of leading teams in support of both Clinical and Commercial products. Leah is passionate about building strong, effective and collaborative relationships with internal and external stakeholders. She has extensive experience in the start-up and qualification of new manufacturing facilities, equipment and utilities. She is equally experienced in supporting and executing all aspects of the Quality Management System. Leah holds a BS Degree in Chemical Engineering from Northeastern University.

David Stocker

Global Head of Commercial Operations and Planning

David currently serves as the Global Head of Commercial Operations and Planning, chiefly responsible for the commercial go-to-market plan and launch execution of CBP4888. He brings to this role over 28 years of commercial and medical pharmaceutical and device development experience within the US market place, experience applied in both the healthcare provider and industry settings. Previous to Comanche, David was Chief Operating Officer at Vero Biotech where he was responsible for the development and launch of GENOSYL DS (Nitric Oxide for Inhalation-combination drug/device). David held Senior Commercial Operations and Medical Affairs positions at The Medicines Company and Bayer Pharma where was played instrumental roles in the development and launch of new therapies with the areas of Acute Cardiovascular, Surgery, Infectious Disease, Hematology, Oncology, and Rare Diseases. Previous to joining Industry, David held Clinical Pharmacy Leadership positions within Hospital, Specialty and Primary health care organizations in the Puget Sound area of Washington State.

Valerie Thomas

Head of Patient Advocacy and Alliances

Valerie is the Head of Patient Advocacy and Alliances at Comanche Biopharma where she is responsible for engaging advocacy groups and professional societies as well as cultivating strategic collaborations with key stakeholders. As a survivor of preeclampsia, Valerie is passionate about helping patients impacted by this condition and ensuring that the patient perspective is integrated into business decisions. With over 20 years of experience as a biopharmaceutical leader, Valerie has a breadth of experience in patient advocacy, alliance management, medical affairs, commercial operations, sales, and product launch excellence. She is recognized as a trusted collaborator with a record of cultivating strong relationships among key internal and external stakeholders across organizational levels to deliver solutions. Prior to joining Comanche Biopharma, Valerie held positions at Novartis, The Medicines Company, and Pfizer. Valerie holds a B.A. in Psychology from The College of Wooster and an M.A. in Higher Education Administration from Bowling Green State University.

Our Scientific Advisory Board

Craig Mello, Ph.D., Chair

Craig is the Blais University Chair in Molecular Medicine at the University of Massachusetts Medical School (UMMS). He was also designated an Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute in 2000, the third HHMI researcher selected at UMMS. HHMI is a $13 billion medical research organization that employs more than 350 eminent researchers at 72 medical schools, universities and research institutes worldwide. Craig and his colleague Andrew Fire, Ph.D., formerly of the Carnegie Institution of Washington, received the 2006 Nobel Prize in Medicine for their discovery of RNA interference (RNAi). They demonstrated that a certain form of RNA had the unanticipated property of silencing — or interfering with — the expression of a gene, ultimately halting the progression of the invading viral infection. Atalanta’s science is founded on this award-winning RNAi mechanism. Craig holds his B.S. in biochemistry from Brown University and his Ph.D. in cellular and developmental biology from Harvard University. He was a postdoctoral fellow at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center before coming to UMMS in 1995. He is also a 1995 Pew Scholar in the biomedical sciences.

Melissa J. Moore, Ph.D.

Moore is a biochemist and molecular biologist recognized for her work in eukaryotic RNA processing and metabolism. Moore was born and raised in New Market, Virginia. She graduated from the College of William and Mary in 1984 with a BS in Chemistry and Biology, and earned her PhD in Biological Chemistry from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 1989. Following a Helen Hay Whitney Postdoctoral Fellowship at the MIT Center for Cancer Research, Moore joined the Brandeis University faculty in 1994, where she was named a Searle Scholar and Packard Fellow. In 2007, Moore moved to the University of Massachusetts Medical School (UMMS), where she served as a founding co-director of the RNA Therapeutics Institute and held the Eleanor Eustis Farrington Chair of Cancer Research. In 2011, Moore received the ASBMB William C. Rose Award for distinguished mentorship. Following a nineteen-year run as an HHMI Investigator (1997-2016), Moore resigned from HHMI to become the Chief Scientific Officer of the mRNA Research Platform at Moderna Therapeutics in Cambridge, MA. Moore maintains her academic affiliation with UMMS as a part-time faculty member.

Ananth Karumanchi, M.D.

Dr. Ananth Karumanchi, Medallion Chair in Vascular Biology, is Director of Renovascular Research in the Department of Medicine at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles. He completed his medical degree from Kilpauk Medical College, University of Madras, India (1992). He then completed his residency in Internal Medicine at the Henry Ford Hospital, Detroit (1996) and fellowship in Nephrology at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School Boston (1999). His laboratory is focused on discovering pathogenic pathways and bringing therapies to patients in the areas of hypertensive disorders of pregnancy and chronic kidney diseases. Dr. Karumanchi’s research activities are vertically integrated, ranging from molecular and cell biological studies to animal models to first-in-class human clinical trials. Dr. Karumanchi has published >300 papers (with several publications in NEJM, Circulation, Nature, Nature Medicine, and JCI with H index = 110). For his work on pregnancy hypertension, he has received prestigious awards such as the American Heart Association – Established Investigator Award (2008), the International Society for the Study of Hypertension in Pregnancy – Chesley Award (2010), Outstanding Investigator Award from the American Federation for Medical Research (2010), and the Gregory Pincus Memorial Medal from Worcester Foundation for Biomedical Research (2021). He was also elected to the American Society for Clinical Investigation (ASCI) in 2007 and to Association of American Physicians (AAP) in 2015. Dr. Karumanchi’s research has been funded by the NIH, AHA, Howard Hughes Medical Institute and the Gates Foundation.

Anastasia Khvorova, Ph.D.

Anastasia Khvorova, Ph.D., has more than 20 years of experience developing oligonucleotide technology and therapeutics. She is the Remondi Family Chair in Biomedical Sciences and professor in the RNA Therapeutics Institute and Program in Molecular Medicine at the University of Massachusetts (UMass) Chan Medical School. Her lab brings together hardcore organic and oligonucleotide chemists with RNA biologists and pharmacologists to develop novel approaches and solutions to understanding natural and therapeutic RNA trafficking and delivery. Dr. Khvorova founded the UMass Nucleic Acid Chemistry Center, the only nonprofit facility in North America capable of gram-scale synthesis of modified oligonucleotides.

Prior to UMass Chan Medical School, Dr. Khvorova spent 12 years in industry in different executive positions. She has co-founded several biotechnology companies.

Dr. Khvorova is named as inventor on more than 150 patents and 300 patent applications and has authored more than 100 peer-reviewed publications, including seminal articles in Cell, Nature, and Nature Biotechnology, defining the field of RNAi drug design and development. She has served as a director of the Oligonucleotide Therapeutics Society and currently is Director-at-Large and Scientific & Research Council Chair of the American Society of Gene and Cell Therapy.

Ravi Thadhani, M.D.

Ravi I. Thadhani, M.D., MPH, is Chief Academic Officer at Mass General Brigham. He is a Professor of Medicine and Academic Dean at Harvard Medical School. Previously, he served as Vice Dean of Research and Graduate Research Education at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles (2017-2019), Associate Director of Research at Mass General Brigham (2012-2017), and Chief of Nephrology at Massachusetts General Hospital (2013-2017).

In his role as Chief Academic Officer, Dr. Thadhani oversees a ~$1.8B research enterprise, graduate medical education, and continuing professional development for Mass General Brigham. Dr. Thadhani is a member of the Mass General Brigham executive leadership team under the direction of Anne Klibanski, M.D., President and Chief Executive Officer. Dr. Thadhani works with senior leadership across the Mass General Brigham system on a number of system strategic initiatives.

Dr. Thadhani also managed a successful research laboratory for approximately 25 years with continuous federal funding and employing data managers, operations directors, statisticians, nurses, research assistants, and laboratorians. He has published more than 300 manuscripts, including in the top Medical and Nephrology journals – New England Journal of Medicine, Journal of the American Medical Association, and Journal of the American Society of Nephrology. Dr. Thadhani has been inducted to several honor societies, including the American Society for Clinical Investigation, Association of American Physicians, American Epidemiological Society, and the American Clinical and Climatological Association. He has also received several distinguished national awards, including the Harold Amos Faculty Diversity Award from Harvard Medical School – the highest award for Fostering Diversity at Harvard Medical School; Alumni Award from the Harvard School of Public Health – a significant achievement, and the John P. Peters Award from the American Society of Nephrology – for Mentorship and Scientific Achievements.

Our Patient Advisory Board

Kara Boeldt

Kara Boeldt is an internationally recognized patient advocate and peer educator, a certified trauma-informed professional, and the founder & director of EndPreeclampsia.org, a charitable maternal health organization with a global reach. After suffering a traumatic pregnancy in which she developed severe preeclampsia, HELLP syndrome, and a silent placental abruption at 31 weeks gestation, Kara began seeking out people with similar experiences. She realized that limited support was available where women could share their experiences and get evidence-based information. It was then that she began her 16-year journey of patient advocacy.

Utilizing the reach of the internet and social media to provide support and information, one of EndPreeclampsia’s programs, Preeclampsia, Eclampsia & HELLP Syndrome Survivors Global Support Network, has grown to over 37,000 members in 115 countries. This volunteer-run, evidence-based online community gains 1,000 new members per month seeking support and information about pregnancy health. Another program, Butterfly Brigade, is a group of women with lived maternal health complication experience who visit hospitalized antepartum mothers experiencing complications and extended hospital stays to deliver support and essential personal care supplies.

Kara is also a Patient Advisor for several organizations and research studies, including the Illinois Perinatal Quality Collaborative, the Iowa Maternal Quality Care Collaborative, and a member of several other state PQC’s. She runs an independent forum for patient advocates of PQCs to streamline communication, share ideas, and engage people in advocacy and advisory work. She is the Patient Advisor for the $10 Million HRSA Grant partnership between the University of Iowa Health Care and the Iowa Department of Public Health to improve maternal outcomes and a Stakeholder Advisory Board member of the Institute of Clinical and Translational Science at the University of Iowa.

Kara was the HOPE Award Recipient for Maternal Health Volunteer of the Year in 2009 and the Champions for Change Maternal Health Champion of the Year award recipient in 2019. She has led charitable giving initiatives raising hundreds of thousands of dollars for Maternal Health causes.

Jennifer Carney

Jennifer Carney has a B.A. in English from Northwestern University, an M.A. in English from Penn State University, and more recently an M.P.H. in Community Health from UCLA. She has worked as an editor for a medical journal and administrator at UCLA for the past nine years. Prior to UCLA, she worked as an editor in educational publishing for McGraw-Hill and Wolters Kluwer. She has experience in writing, editing, indexing, and quality assurance for print and online educational materials and professional guides. She has volunteered with the March of Dimes, Preeclampsia Foundation, and currently serves as an Advisor for EndPreeclampsia, which provides an online support group to over 37,000 members from over 100 countries on Facebook. Ms. Carney experienced eclampsia, HELLP syndrome, sepsis, and ARDS with the birth of her second child in 2006.

Cindy Dinella

Dr. Cindy Dinella is a founding partner and holds the position of President and Managing Partner of Advyzom. Advyzom is a leading boutique consulting company specializing in highly strategic regulatory and development advice and services for our partners in the pharmaceutical and healthcare industry. She is committed to providing experienced, scientific and proven successful leaders to advise and deliver on regulatory strategy, medical writing and regulatory intelligence. Cindy specializes in leading, guiding, and assisting biopharmaceutical companies with global and US drug development programs to meet and influence health authority requirements. She has strong leadership, strategic thinking, influence management and cross-functional teamwork skills, gained over many years of experience working across therapeutic areas, throughout phases of development including commercialization, with Senior Corporate Management and Boards, and with the Food & Drug Administration (FDA). She has led numerous FDA meetings across divisions, centers and with FDA senior management.

Nicole Miles

Nicole Miles is a Chicago native, Smith College alumna ’12, and public health worker. From a very young age, she knew that helping mothers and babies was her calling. She helped out at her mother’s home daycare and nannied throughout college. As the eldest of three girls, she understood the importance of caring for the child and the family. Her family was the model for village-centered support and she grew up surrounded by extended family in addition to a host of family friends. Nicole was trained as a birth doula during her time at Smith by Warm Welcome Birth Services. As a full-spectrum doula, International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC), and Newborn Care Specialist, Nicole is a dedicated birthworker who takes an integrative approach to birth and parenthood. After graduating from Smith, Nicole returned to the Windy City to work in community health at Advocate Trinity Hospital and to build community resources for families of color.

With over 10 years of childcare and birthwork experience, Nicole brings a wealth of knowledge and believes all families should have access to evidence-based information and resources about birth and parenthood. She is a valuable resource and is committed to collaborating with community members and practitioners to compile much-needed resources for families. Nicole wants families to feel excited and empowered about this life-changing event. Having a village is essential to positive maternal and infant mortality rates, and parents should have access to the providers, services, and support groups that will help them along their journey. Nicole is a member of Chicago Birthworks Collective, Breastfeed Chicago board member and Wisconsin Association of Lactation Consultants board member. She is currently the Birth Outcomes Made Better (BOMB) Doula Program Manager at the City of Milwaukee Health Department.

Melissa J. Moore

Moore is a biochemist and molecular biologist recognized for her work in eukaryotic RNA processing and metabolism. Moore was born and raised in New Market, Virginia. She graduated from the College of William and Mary in 1984 with a BS in Chemistry and Biology, and earned her PhD in Biological Chemistry from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 1989. Following a Helen Hay Whitney Postdoctoral Fellowship at the MIT Center for Cancer Research, Moore joined the Brandeis University faculty in 1994, where she was named a Searle Scholar and Packard Fellow. In 2007, Moore moved to the University of Massachusetts Medical School (UMMS), where she served as a founding co-director of the RNA Therapeutics Institute and held the Eleanor Eustis Farrington Chair of Cancer Research. In 2011, Moore received the ASBMB William C. Rose Award for distinguished mentorship. Following a nineteen-year run as an HHMI Investigator (1997-2016), Moore resigned from HHMI to become the Chief Scientific Officer of the mRNA Research Platform at Moderna Therapeutics in Cambridge, MA. Moore maintains her academic affiliation with UMMS as a part-time faculty member.

Dr. Moore’s research at UMMS and HHMI encompassed a broad array of topics related to the role of RNA and RNA-protein (RNP) complexes in gene expression. She is particularly known for her mechanistic and structural analyses of spliceosomes and mRNPs, co-discovery of the exon junction complex (EJC), and studies of intracellular RNA transport and quality control pathways. She was also instrumental in developing multiple enabling technologies for the field, including methods for introducing site-specific modifications into long RNA molecules and single molecule methods for observing the dynamics of RNP complex assembly and disassembly. At Moderna Therapeutics, Moore directs research into novel delivery mechanisms for therapeutic mRNAs and how to increase their functional and longevity.

Rina Paladino

Originally, I am from the San Diego area until age 9 when my mother moved us to Northwest PA to a small town called Cambridge Springs. I attended Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania where I received a BS in Geography/ Environmental Planning before moving to MA. I currently live and work in Worcester, MA. I have two children, Sabrina who is 19 and attending Lesley University in Cambridge, MA and Dante who is a Junior in high school. I am a Grant & Contract Specialist in the RNA Therapeutics Institutes at the University of Massachusetts Chan Medical School. I love watching college softball, NFL football on Sundays, reading, and playing sand/indoor volleyball on my free time. I am also President of the Central MA Alumni Chapter of Sigma Sigma Sigma.

I am a two-time survivor of HELLP/Preeclampsia. My daughter, Sabrina, was delivered via emergency c-section at 27 weeks due to HELLP Syndrome. Thankfully my second pregnancy lasted 34 weeks until symptoms were presented and my son, Dante, was delivered healthy.

Nasia Smith

Nasia is a determined and resourceful individual who thrives in connecting people and building strong relationships. As an accomplished operations manager with extensive experience, she has proven her ability to drive projects and ensure all elements are seamlessly integrated and moving forward.

Nasia is not only a successful professional but also a dedicated mother, raising a beautiful family of six alongside her fiancé. Together, they have four energetic boys and a playful soon-to-be one-year-old mini/ doodle dog, all of whom she adores deeply.

Having faced the challenges of preeclampsia during three pregnancies, Nasia knows firsthand the immense impact this condition can have on a family. She is now committed to sharing her heartfelt story with others, both to educate and to help individuals plan a life that fights against the odds of being diagnosed with
preeclampsia.

As a member of the patient advisory board, Nasia brings valuable insights from her personal experiences, as well as her exceptional skills in organization and communication. Her passion for connecting people and her determination to make a difference will undoubtedly contribute to Comanche’s mission of raising awareness and improving outcomes for those affected by preeclampsia.

Valerie Thomas

Valerie is Comanche Biopharma’s Head of Patient Advocacy and Engagement, where she ensures that the patient voice is heard in corporate decision-making and strategy. She is a biopharmaceutical leader with over 20 years of experience in patient advocacy, strategic alliances, medical affairs, commercial operations, sales, and product launch excellence. Valerie is known as a reliable collaborator who has a track record of cultivating strong relationships with key internal and external stakeholders at all organizational levels to deliver solutions. Valerie is deeply committed to helping patients by developing therapies that save and improve lives.

Valerie lives in Indianapolis with her husband of 27 years, and they have twin daughters who are in their sophomore year at the University of Alabama. She began to show signs of preeclampsia at 28 weeks pregnant and was admitted to the hospital at 33 weeks when she developed HELLP syndrome. Madeline and Molly were born at 34 weeks and spent two weeks in the NICU, while Valerie spent one week in the hospital recovering. She is determined to create a future free of this disease.

Megan Woods

Megan Woods is a senior associate at the Arterial Fund, a life science and healthcare investment fund with SVB Capital at Silicon Valley Bank. Megan joined the Arterial team as an associate in 2021, focusing on supporting investment-making decisions for biotechnology, tools, and diagnostics companies.

Prior to joining Silicon Valley Bank, Megan was a Blavatnik Fellow at Yale University. She worked at the intersection of venture creation and development of life science start-ups at various stages within the Yale ecosystem.

Prior to becoming a Blavatnik Fellow, Megan worked at Mayo Clinic Ventures. During her two years with the MCV team, she collaborated with business development colleagues to bridge the technology development and funding gap between academia and industry.

Megan earned a Ph.D. in Molecular Medicine at Hofstra School of Medicine in a translational research lab, and she studied the regulation of autoimmune B Cells in lupus nephritis. In addition to her Ph.D., Megan holds a B.S. in Biology at Prairie View A&M University.

Our Board of Directors

Muz Mansuri, Chair

Muz Mansuri joined F-Prime Capital in January 2020 as a Venture Partner and is based in the Boston office. Muz has more than 35 years of experience in various R&D roles as a senior executive within the global biopharmaceutical industry. Prior to joining F-Prime, Muz was a member of the Executive Committee at Sanofi, as Executive Vice President, Strategy, Business Development, and Licensing. Among other responsibilities, Muz headed the Strategy, Business Development, Alliance Management and the Venture Group for Sanofi. Before this, he was at Gilead Sciences as Senior Vice President, Research and Development Strategy and Business Development. In that capacity he led the R&D Strategy, Business Development, and M&A activities for the company. Muz has served as Chief Executive Officer of several biotech companies and as a General Partner at Flagship Ventures (now Flagship Pioneering). He began his career in the pharmaceutical industry as a bench medicinal chemist with Bristol Myers. Muz received his B.Sc. and Ph.D. in Chemistry from the University College London. He conducted postdoctoral research at UCLA and Columbia University.

Allyson Felix

Allyson Felix reigns as the most decorated American Track & Field Olympian of all time. She officially retired from her competitive running career in the summer of 2022, with a mind-blowing, thirty-one global medals at the Olympics and World Championships, and titles as both a World Record Holder and a Master’s World Record Holder.

In 2020, Felix broke records after winning her bronze and gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics - her fifth and final Olympic games. She continued to make history during the games, by sporting racing spikes created by her company – lifestyle and footwear brand, Saysh – becoming the first Track & Field athlete to do so. Publicly launched post Games in June 2021, Saysh not only aims to create an encouraging and supportive community for women, but it also designs and manufactures athletic-inspired footwear made for and by women, unlike most brands, whose shoes are created based off of men’s feet and footwear. Running in her own spikes on the largest stage in the world, Felix exemplified that she is about more than just medals – she was running for change, equity and acceptance for women and girls everywhere.  In keeping with its mission to empower and serve women, Saysh sought out women-led, women-funded partners for the brand’s recent Series A fundraising round, which brought in $8 million and included the Gap Inc.-owned Athleta brand. Current products include the Saysh One, the Saysh Two and the Scarf by Saysh.

Off the track, Felix is a fierce advocate for maternity rights for all women. In 2019, she wrote an opinion piece for The New York Times that called out Nike, her former sponsor, for not providing guaranteed protections for pregnant athletes and new moms. (Felix gave birth to her daughter Camryn in 2018.) The public reaction to the piece put pregnancy discrimination in athletics in the spotlight, and the practice was heavily criticized. More female athletes came to Felix’s side, offering up their stories. During the 2020 Olympics, Felix alongside her new sponsor Athleta, created the Power of She Fund: Child Care Grant – a fund to assist mom-athletes with childcare while competing at the games.

Ann Taylor

Dr Ann Taylor served as Chief Medical Officer at AstraZeneca from 2019-2021. In this role, she was responsible for AstraZeneca’s Patient Safety, Quality Assurance, and Regulatory Policy organizations, and the overall Benefit Risk assessment of our medicines. Prior to joining AstraZeneca in 2018, Ann was Vice President and Global Head of the Program Office for the Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research (NIBR), responsible for portfolio management, strategy, and project management. She also previously served as Global Head, Translational Medicine at NIBR, after having positions of increasing responsibility in early clinical development at Pfizer Global Research and Development.

Ann received her M.D. from Harvard Medical School, after receiving her B.A. in Biology magna cum laude from the University of California, San Diego. She completed her internship and residency in Internal Medicine, and her fellowship in Endocrinology and Metabolism at Massachusetts General Hospital, before joining the faculty there.

She is passionate about bringing the patient voice to everything she does and has a particular interest in health equity and women’s health.

In addition to Comanche, she serves on the Boards of Terns Pharmaceuticals and UnLearn AI, as well as two non-profits, the New England Advisory Board of the Trust for Public Land and the Yleana Leadership foundation, which is improving the racial wealth gap by getting underserved kids into better colleges, with better financial aid packages, higher graduation rates, and better paying jobs. She also serves as Co-Chair of the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine Forum on Drug Discovery, Development, and Translation.

Ketan Patel

Ketan Patel is a Partner with F-Prime Capital and has worked in the healthcare sector as an investor, consultant, and physician. Prior to joining F-Prime Capital in 2007, Dr. Patel advised biopharmaceutical and medical device companies on brand strategy, clinical development plans, and business development activities in the corporate consulting division of Leerink Swann & Company. Dr. Patel served as a physician at the VA Boston Healthcare System and at Weill Cornell Medical Center-New York Presbyterian Hospital and Memorial-Sloan Kettering Cancer Center where he completed his internal medicine training.

Dr. Patel focuses on investing in therapeutics and medical device companies and has served on the Board of Directors of ABK Biomedical, Aclaris Therapeutics (NASDAQ:ACRS), Avalyn Pharma, Caplin Steriles, Comanche Biopharma, Eywa Pharma, Ivenix (acquired by Fresenius Kabi), Laurus Labs (NSE:LAURUSLABS), Medwell Ventures, Menlo Therapeutics (NASDAQ:MNLO), NextWave Pharmaceuticals (acquired by Pfizer), NFlection Therapeutics, Pediatrix Therapeutics, Rallybio (NASDAQ:RLYB), and Vicept Therapeutics (acquired by Allergan).

Dr. Patel is a graduate of Tufts University School of Medicine, where he received both his MD and MBA as part of that institution’s Healthcare Management Program and was elected to the Alpha Omega Alpha Medical Honor Society. He completed his undergraduate studies in biology and economics with highest honors at Rutgers University.

Brendan Bulik-Sulivan

Brendan Bulik-Sullivan is a general partner at GV, where he focuses on life sciences investments.

Before GV, Brendan’s career focused on applied statistics and machine learning research in genetics and biotechnology. He designed machine learning models for personalized immuno-oncology therapeutics at Gritstone Oncology and developed methods for statistical genetics research at the Broad Institute. Brendan’s work has been published in journals including Nature, Science, Nature Biotechnology, and Nature Genetics. In his free time, Brendan enjoys reviewing data and reading scientific journals. Brendan is interested in innovative therapeutic biotechnology and diagnostics across all stages and therapeutic areas.

Brendan has a B.A. in mathematics from the University of California, Berkeley, and a Ph.D. in statistical genetics from Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam.

Clive Meanwell

Clive Meanwell founded Population Health Partners in 2020 and has served as the Executive Chairman and a Managing Partner since its inception.

Clive was deeply involved in the development and commercialization of many biopharmaceutical products – including Neupogen®, a leading oncology product; Angiomax®, the top-selling anticoagulant for cardiac procedures in US hospitals; and Leqvio® for cholesterol lowering – throughout a career spanning four decades.

Clive is also Vice Chairman of BB Biotech, a listed investment corporation which invests in mainly public biotech firms, and a director of Fractyl Health, Comanche Biopharma, EQRx, and Hugo Health.

After a series of senior executive positions with Roche in Switzerland and the US in product development, regulatory affairs, and marketing, he founded, built, and led The Medicines Company, a biopharmaceutical company focused on acute hospital care, before pivoting the firm to the population health challenges of cardiovascular disease. The Medicines Company was sold to Novartis for $9.7 billion in January 2020.

Clive trained in medicine, with post-graduate specialization in cancer research, clinical trials, statistics, and epidemiology. He holds MB ChB and MD cum laude degrees from the University of Birmingham, UK.

Art Levin

Arthur A. Levin is a key opinion leader in the field of RNA therapeutics, who has significantly contributed to the development of numerous oligonucleotides, including the first approved antisense drugs and the first microRNA-targeted therapeutic in clinical trials. Dr. Levin is a founding member of Avidity Biosciences and served as Chief Scientific Officer. He is currently a Distinguished Scientist and a member of Avidity’s Board of Directors. In addition to serving on the Board of Directors for Avidity Biosciences and Comanche Biopharma, Dr. Levin also is on Boards of Directors at Stoke Therapeutics and Ascidian Therapeutics.

Dr. Levin has also held senior drug development roles at miRagen Therapeutics, Santaris Pharma, and Ionis Pharmaceuticals (formerly Isis). He has four decades of experience in all aspects of drug development from discovery through drug registration, both in large pharma and biotech companies. Dr. Levin has published over 100 scientific articles and several of the most cited reviews in the field. He received a doctorate in toxicology from the University of Rochester, and a bachelor’s degree in biology from Muhlenberg College.

Scott Johnson, M.D.

Scott is our CEO and co-founder of Comanche Biopharma. Prior to Comanche, Scott was a co-founder of The Medicines Company where he served as director (1996-2009) until he joined the management team as Chief Medical Advisor (2009-2021). In that role, he was responsible for evaluating the company’s long-range global strategy and for the licensing or acquisition of innovative products, including inclisiran, for which the company was purchased by Novartis. Previously, Scott was a founding General Partner at JSB Partners, L.P., an investment bank with a focus on mergers and acquisitions, private financings and corporate alliances within the healthcare sector. From September 1991 to July 1999, Scott served as a founder and managing director of MPM Capital, LLC, a venture capital firm.

Scott holds a B.S. in chemistry (Phi Beta Kappa) and an M.D. (Alpha Omega Alpha) from the University of Alabama. His academic career included faculty positions at Harvard Medical School, the University of Colorado Medical School, and the University of South Alabama. He has been Board Certified in Internal Medicine, Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine and Sleep Disorders Medicine. He currently is a Board member at Atalanta Therapeutics, a biopharmaceutical company focused on the application of RNA interference to diseases of neurodegeneration.

Contact Us

50 Beharrell St, Unit B
Concord, MA 01742

Contact Us

Comanche is a biopharmaceutical company developing a novel siRNA therapy for the treatment of preeclampsia. Our purpose is to lower the risks of pregnancy and prematurity worldwide by safely sustaining pregnancy. We envision a world where all pregnant women have access to safe and effective therapies that are evidence-based, cost-effective and sustainable.

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