Advisory Board

Debasish Roychowdhury, MD

Debasish Roychowdhury, MD is a medical oncologist with over 15 years of comprehensive pharmaceutical industry and senior management experience and over 14 years of patient care, academic research and teaching experience. Dr. Roychowdhury is a leader in the pharmaceutical industry across multiple functional and cross-functional areas, regions and matrices, including – all stages of R&D, regulatory, commercial operations and medical affairs, market access, business development and alliance management. Dr. Roychowdhury was involved in nine new drug approvals in the US and EU and other markets and numerous supplemental approvals.

Dr. Roychowdhury is currently the Chief Medical Officer for Partner Therapeutics, Inc., a biotechnology company focused on cancer treatments. He was one of the founding members of the Seragon Clinical and Scientific Advisory Board and was the company’s Chief Medical Officer where he played a key role in the development and advancement of Seragon’s selective estrogen receptor degrader (SERD) platform for breast cancer and other hormone-driven cancers until the company was acquired by Roche in August 2014.

Prior to Seragon, Dr. Roychowdhury was the Senior Vice President and Head of the Global Oncology Division at Sanofi until November 2013. Prior to that, he served as the Vice President for Clinical Development at GlaxoSmithKline and directed the Oncology global regulatory group at Eli Lilly and Company. Prior to his role in industry, he served as faculty member at the University of Cincinnati. He trained at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences and University of California, San Francisco. He is a member of the Board of Directors for Partner Therapeutics, Lytix Biopharma AS, Celyad S.A., and Fund+, a life sciences investment fund.

Professor Joachim Fensterle, PhD

Prof. Fensterle began his studies in biotechnology at the Technical University of Braunschweig. After his undergraduate studies, he moved to a French “Grand Ecole”, the École Supérieure de Biotechnologie (ESBS) in Strasbourg. He completed his immunology / infection biology thesis in the research department of Chiron-Biocine in Siena / Italy.

His passion for the molecular interaction of microbial pathogens with the host organism and the resulting targeted attacks by the immune system then led him to a doctorate at the Max Planck Institute for Infection Biology in Berlin. There he worked among others with various bacterial pathogens such as Salmonella, Listeria or the tuberculosis pathogen Mycobacterium tuberculosis.

Shortly after receiving his doctorate in 2000, Prof. Fensterle moved to the Institute for Medical Radiation Science and Cell Research at the University of Würzburg as head of the working group “Bacterial Tumor Therapy.” The aim here was to exploit the infection biological arsenal of microorganisms specifically for tumor therapy. Among other things, the team succeeded in modifying a salmonella strain in such a way that it can in principle be used as a vaccine against prostate cancer. This work culminated in the spin-off of a GmbH, which led Prof. Fensterle as a managing partner, in addition to his activity as an assistant at the university, temporarily led. The international, publicly traded pharmaceutical company Æterna Zentaris became aware in 2005 and took over the project. He also joined the company as Head of Vaccine Development / Business Development. In addition to his work in business development, he was responsible for developing the clinical maturity project there, which included in particular the establishment of industrial testing and production processes.

Prof. Fensterle teaches biotechnology and bioengineering at Rhine-Waal University of Applied Sciences in Kleve, Germany.

Anna Ferrari, MD

Dr. Ferrari is a medical oncologist and clinical researcher dedicated to prostate cancer research. Her experience includes clinical practice and basic laboratory science investigations geared towards preclinical testing for clinical trial development in Prostate Cancer. Dr. Ferrari joined Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey as the Director of the Genitourinary (GU) Cancer Program and Professor of Medicine. Previously, she served as Co-Director of Genitourinary (GU) Program for NYU Perlmutter Cancer Center, and prior to that spent several years at Mount Sinai School of Medicine, serving as Director of the Genitourinary Cancer Program.

As a member of the Genitourinary Committee and Prostate Cancer Clinical Trials Consortium, Dr. Ferrari helps develop clinical trials for prostate cancer on a national level. For many years she played a major role in the clinical trials that lead to the approval of Provenge®, the first FDA approved vaccine for treatment of prostate cancer. Dr. Ferrari also currently active in the development of new agents and vaccines that are highly promising for prostate cancer patients.

As part of the collaborate care offered at Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey, Dr. Ferrari works with multi-discipline experts in the Prostate Cancer and Urology Oncology Programs, which include radiation and surgical oncologists, nurses and social workers. Dr. Ferrari provides patients with a comprehensive evaluation, educating them about their disease and treatment options so they can make informed decisions about their care.  Additionally, she is a strong supporter of patient support groups and lectures regularly to help men understand the prostate cancer spectrum of treatment options and choices.

Marcela F. Pasetti, PhD

Dr. Pasetti is a Professor at the University of Maryland School of Medicine in the Center for Vaccine Development. Dr. Pasetti researches vaccines and immunology to understand how protective immunity can be induced in animal models and in humans following infection and vaccination, and the mechanisms involved. Her primary areas of interests are pediatric vaccines, neonatal and infant immunology, and maternal immunization. She investigates novel vaccine strategies, antigen delivery systems, adjuvants, and immunization regimens for protection against pathogens that affect young children, as well as the influence of maternal immunity on infant immune responses to vaccines, and the impact of vaccine combination on long-term health and protection. Such knowledge is critical for successful pediatric immunization and to inform effective public health interventions.

Dr. Pasetti is particularly interested in vaccines that include live attenuated Salmonella and Shigella (alone or encoding foreign antigens), protein subunit vaccines, and polysaccharide conjugates. She is working in a new concept for a broadly protective pediatric vaccine against Salmonella, Shigella, and Yersinia based on conserved Type III secretion proteins, evaluating immunogenicity and protective efficacy in adult, neonatal, and maternal-infant animal models.

James E. Galen, PhD

Dr. Galen has focused on the construction of attenuated bacterial vaccines and their use as live vectors to deliver foreign antigens to the immune system. His work has had broad applications to the development and pre-clinical testing of a variety of live vaccines against both eukaryotic and prokaryotic pathogens, including the etiological agents for malaria, SARS, plague, anthrax, tetanus, enteric fever, and most recently infections caused by Clostridium difficile and Acinetobacter baumannii.

Dr. Galen has been involved in instrumental research on the development of plasmid-based expression systems for delivery of foreign antigens from both prokaryotic and eukaryotic organisms.

He has invented three novel systems: (1) Plasmid stabilization and selection system that removes the need for plasmid selection using antibiotics and guarantees plasmid retention in vivo after introduction into live vector strains, (2) Antigen transport system for export of antigens out to the surface of attenuated S. typhi, and (3) An inducible antigen export system that releases surface antigens into the extracellular milieu via outer membrane vesicles.

Dr. Galen’s work has resulted in multiple patents issued in both the United States and abroad.