Leadership Team

Developing next-generation
CAR T-cell therapies to outsmart
cancer and deliver more cures

CARGO will be moving its Corporate Headquarters to 835 Industrial Road, Suite 400, San Carlos, CA 94070 on April 1, 2024

CARGO’s leadership team has the experience and success in developing, manufacturing, launching and commercializing oncology and cell therapy products necessary to achieve our goal of becoming a fully integrated, leading cell therapy.

Executive Team

Gina Chapman

President and Chief Executive Officer

Gina Chapman is the President and CEO of CARGO Therapeutics. She brings over 30 years of biopharma executive, operational, and commercial experience with a track record of success shaping strategy, building strong teams, raising capital, and driving results.

Before joining CARGO, Gina served as SVP and Business Unit Head at Genentech, a member of Roche Group. During Gina’s 15 years at Genentech, she oversaw the development and execution of business unit and therapeutic area strategies including accountability for P&Ls across Oncology, Neurology, Immunology, Ophthalmology, Respiratory and Rare Diseases. She influenced global pipeline and development decisions and led or oversaw launch planning and execution in the U.S. for several novel, life-changing new medicines. Gina began her biopharma career with Syntex Laboratories, then joined Gilead Sciences during its rapid growth from clinical stage start-up to commercial enterprise where she led the launch of their first commercial medicine.

Anup Radhakrishnan

Chief Financial Officer/Chief Business Officer

Anup Radhakrishnan joined CARGO Therapeutics as CFO in August 2022. He brings over 20 years of experience in the biopharmaceutical sector providing strategic financial leadership across both R&D and commercial stage organizations.

Most recently, Anup served as Chief Financial Officer at Dascena, where he was responsible for pre-IPO readiness, capital formation and scaling the Finance, Information Technology and Procurement organizations, ultimately leading the company through a successful acquisition. Prior to Dascena, Anup was CFO for the Genentech Patient Foundation and Head of Finance for the U.S. Breast and Skin cancer franchises. During his 11 year career at Genentech, he gained broad financial responsibility across the U.S. commercial organization supporting products in various therapeutic areas and lifecycle stages, Managed Care and Government Affairs. He was actively involved in business development assessments and partnerships which helped shape the future of the commercial portfolio. Before Genentech, Anup held R&D Finance roles of increasing responsibility at Elan Pharmaceuticals (acquired by Perrigo), CV Therapeutics (acquired by Gilead) and University of California San Francisco (UCSF).   

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Ginna Laport, MD

Chief Medical Officer

Prior to joining CARGO, Dr. Laport served as Vice President of Clinical Development, Global  Head of NHL/CLL Franchise, at Genentech/Roche where she was responsible for strategic development of late-stage pipeline for NHL/CLL. During her time in this role, she played a critical role in the development and acceleration of pivotal trials and directed successful BLA filings and rest of world regulatory filings for NME (new molecular entity) first-in-class CD20xCD3 bispecific antibodies Lunsumio® (mosunetuzumab) and Columvi® (glofitamab) for indolent and aggressive B-cell lymphomas. Previously, Dr. Laport was Chief Medical Officer at Tempest Therapeutics, where she directed the clinical development of small molecules that combine both tumor-targeted and immune-mediated mechanisms, including several IND submissions. Prior to Tempest, she was Vice President of Clinical Development at Corvus Pharmaceuticals, where she led the clinical development of small molecules and antibodies targeting the adenosine pathway to treat advanced solid tumors. Before Corvus, Dr. Laport was a professor of medicine in the Division of Blood and Marrow Transplantation (BMT) at Stanford University School of Medicine where her research focused on adoptive immunotherapies for malignant diseases. She also served as Director of Clinical Research in the BMT Division and as an associate director of the Stanford Cancer Institute. Prior to Stanford, Dr. Laport was an assistant professor in hematology/oncology at the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Laport served on the FDA’s Oncologic Drugs Advisory Committee, was national chair of the NIH-sponsored BMT Clinical Trials Network that directs multicenter clinical trials and has co-authored over 80 publications. 

Dr. Laport received her MD from the University of Texas-Houston and a BA from Baylor University. She completed her internal medicine residency and fellowship in hematology/oncology at the University of Chicago.

Shishir Gadam, PhD

Chief Technical Officer

Dr. Shishir Gadam joined CARGO Therapeutics as CTO in January 2022. He is a seasoned biotechnology leader with over 25 years of experience and brings a wealth of CMC experience across vaccines, biologics and cell therapy modalities. Shishir is passionate about building strong technical teams and accelerating development and commercialization of new products and technology.

Most recently, Shishir was Vice President of Global Cell Therapy Manufacturing Science and Technology at BMS (acquired Celgene, which acquired Juno Therapeutics, his previous company). He played an instrumental role in the global licensure and launch of the CAR T-cell products Breyanzi® (lisocabtagene maraleucel) and Abecma® (idecabtagene vicleucel) and built a global technical organization responsible for product life cycle management, commercialization, technology transfers and support of internal and external manufacturing. Prior to BMS, Shishir spent 12 years at Genentech/Roche in various global leadership roles in Biologics Technical Development and Operations focused on CMC life cycle management, manufacturing science, new facility startup, technology transfers and Site Operations. Shishir established technical teams in multiple countries and interacted with global health authorities to support Roche’s Biologics portfolio, including critical new launches of Actemra® (tocilizumab), Perjeta® (pertuzumab), Ocrevus® (ocrelizumab) and Tecentriq® (atezolizumab). Prior to Genentech, he was at Merck and Company’s Vaccine/Bioprocess Technical Development Organization and played a key role in the development and approval of critical vaccines including Gardasil® (Human Papillomavirus Quadrivalent Vaccine, Recombinant).

Shishir earned a PhD in Chemical Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, a Masters in Chemical Engineering from West Virginia University and a BS in Chemical Engineering from the Institute of Chemical Technology in India. In 2017, he was inducted to the AIMBE College of Fellows for his outstanding contributions in developing, scaling up, designing and starting up manufacturing processes and factories, along with defining the product technology lifecycle strategy for multiple products.

Michael Ports, PhD

Chief Scientific Officer

Dr. Michael Ports joined CARGO as Chief Scientific Officer in August 2023.  He brings extensive scientific leadership expertise to his role at CARGO with multi-company cell therapy drug development experience spanning early discovery initiatives through late-stage development. 

Prior to joining CARGO, Michael was the Vice President and Head of Cell Therapy Discovery at Janssen Pharmaceuticals, overseeing the strategy and management of teams to advance both autologous and allogeneic cell therapy development candidates. Before joining Janssen, Michael held roles of increasing responsibility at Juno Therapeutics (acquired by Celgene Corporation) and Celgene (acquired by Bristol-Myers Squibb) where he served as head of late-stage research. In this role, he led pre-clinical efforts that enabled two investigational new drug (IND) applications in multiple myeloma for the anti-BCMA CAR T, JCARH125, and five IND/IND amendments and documentation for a BLA filing in support of the anti-CD19 CAR T, Breyanzi®. Breyanzi® is a CAR T-cell therapy approved in the U.S. and the European Union to treat certain types of lymphoma including large B cell lymphoma (LBCL). Michael began his industry career at Gilead Sciences where he explored the use of Zydelig® and other small molecules as immuno-oncology agents for use in solid tumors. 

Michael was a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Netherlands Cancer Institute and Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. He received his PhD in Cancer Biology from the University of Arizona and his BS in Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology from University of California, Santa Barbara. 

Kari Leetch

Chief People Officer

Kari Leetch joined CARGO as Chief People Officer (CPO) in July 2023.   

Kari is a seasoned people leader with 25 years of experience building and scaling strong and effective teams and organizations from early stage through commercialization. Prior to joining CARGO, Kari was Senior Vice President, Human Resources at ChemoCentryx, Inc. where she scaled the company through commercialization and was instrumental in its acquisition by Amgen. Prior to ChemoCentryx, Inc., she held leadership roles at Risk Management Solutions, Thermo Fisher Scientific and Cepheid where she developed and delivered the organizational and people strategies to support growing global footprints. 

Kari earned a BS in Business Administration from the University of San Diego.  

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Halley Gilbert, JD

Chief Legal Officer

Halley Gilbert joined CARGO Therapeutics as Chief Legal Officer in September of 2023. She brings to the role over 20 years of biotechnology industry management and operations expertise, including launching new medicines and managing the private to public company transformation.

Most recently, Halley served as the Chief Legal Officer of NeoGenomics, Inc., a premier cancer diagnostic, pharma services and informatics company. Prior to NeoGenomics, she served as Chief Operating Officer of Adagio Therapeutics, Inc., (now Invivyd, Inc.), a company focused on developing broadly neutralizing antibodies for the prevention and treatment of COVID-19 and future coronavirus outbreaks. In just over one year as an operating company, her contributions supported the seamless transition of Adagio to public company status, significant financings, advancing the pipeline and building the team. Previously, Halley spent 12 years in various roles of increasing scope and responsibility at Ironwood Pharmaceuticals, Inc., including Senior Vice President of Corporate Development and Chief Administrative Officer with oversight of corporate and business development, legal, compliance and government affairs. Prior to joining Ironwood, she was Vice President, Deputy General Counsel at Cubist Pharmaceuticals, Inc. and participated in the launch of Cubist’s blockbuster antibiotic.  Halley also served as a corporate counsel at Genzyme Corp., prior to its acquisition by Sanofi. She began her career at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP, where she specialized in mergers and acquisitions and securities law. Halley currently serves on the boards of directors of Arcutis Biotherapeutics, Inc., CytomX Therapeutics, Inc. and Vaxcyte, Inc.  

Halley holds a BA from Tufts University and a JD from Northwestern University School of Law.

Bethany Rogers

SVP, Product Strategy and Commercialization

Bethany Rogers joined CARGO Therapeutics as SVP, Product Strategy and Commercialization in February 2023 from Atara Biotherapeutics, where she most recently was Vice President, Program Team Lead, Hematologic CAR-T therapies. She brings over 25 years of broad biotechnology experience within cell therapy, hematology-oncology, and immunology, spanning process development and clinical manufacturing, R&D, and commercialization. During her five years at Atara, she also served as Vice President, Marketing where she drove commercialization strategy and marketing for EBVALLOTM (tabelecleucel), the first ever approved allogeneic T-cell immunotherapy. Prior to Atara, Bethany held commercial positions of increasing responsibility at AbbVie/Abbott Laboratories in both US, Regional, and Global roles. During her 14 years with AbbVie, she was responsible for multiple HUMIRA® (adalimumab) launches, the HUMIRA Franchise in Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa, and Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma Marketing for IMBRUVICA®(ibrutinib) in the US. Bethany began her career as a Bioprocess Engineer at Merck and Company, responsible for cell culture process development, technology transfer, and contract manufacturing for various live virus vaccine candidates.

Bethany earned Bachelor of Science degrees in Chemical Engineering and Biology from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a Master of Business Administration from the Graduate School of Business at Stanford University.

Leadership Team

Faisal Shawwa

SVP, Finance

Faisal Shawwa joined CARGO Therapeutics as SVP, Finance & Accounting in August 2023. Faisal has over 25 years of experience and an established track record of building and leading Finance, Accounting, IT, Facilities, External Reporting, and Compliance functions. Most recently he was CFO at Engine Room, an outsourced Finance and Accounting service provider where he supported several early, late stage, and public companies as a CFO. Prior to Engine Room, Faisal was SVP of Finance and Administration at Tranquis Therapeutics, a clinical stage immuno-neurology company developing medicines for neurodegenerative and aging-related diseases. Faisal joined Tranquis to lead their IPO readiness initiatives, build out G&A functions, and support cross-over financing efforts.  Prior to Tranquis, he was VP of Finance and Principal Compliance Officer for Catalyst Biosciences, a publicly traded biopharmaceutical company focused on protease therapeutics to address unmet medical needs in disorders of the coagulation systems. Faisal was responsible for guiding the financial transformation of the company and led Catalyst’s successful initial public offering, follow-on financing, strategic collaborations with major pharma partners, and in-licensing/out-licensing transactions.  Prior to his role at Catalyst Biosciences, he held finance leadership positions of Head of Finance and Principal Accounting Officer for two Commercial banks, Preferred Financial Group and Provident Funding.  

Faisal received his MBA in finance and BS degree in business administration from Notre Dame de Namur, Graduate School of Business.  

Michael Bethune, PhD

Head of Discovery Research

Dr. Michael T Bethune, PhD is Head of Discovery Research at CARGO Therapeutics. He has worked in the fields of immuno-oncology and immune cell therapy for 12 years, beginning as a post-doctoral fellow at Caltech. His post-doctoral work on engineering T-cell receptors for cell therapy and discovering the antigens and immune receptors that mediate anti-tumor immunity led to the founding of PACT Pharma. At PACT, Michael invented the core technology for neoepitope-specific T-cell receptor discovery and led their scientific and technical development of personalized TCR-T therapy from concept to clinic. Thereafter, and just prior to joining CARGO, Michael worked with Allogene Therapeutics to develop technologies that enhance the performance and persistence of allogeneic CAR T therapies.

Michael obtained his B.S. in Biochemistry from The University of California in Davis and his M.S. in Forensic Molecular Biology from The George Washington University in Washington D.C. He obtained his PhD from Stanford University, working on mechanisms of antigenic peptide transport across the intestinal epithelium and oral protease therapies for celiac sprue.

Michael has co-authored 25 scientific publications and is an inventor on 15 issued or submitted patents.

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Tonia J. Buchholz, PhD

Head of Clinical Science

Dr. Tonia J. Buchholz, PhD, is Senior Director, Clinical Science at CARGO Therapeutics. Prior to joining CARGO, she most recently worked on the nula-cel phase I program at Graphite Bio, with a vision of bringing gene correction to sickle cell disease. Prior to that, Tonia managed a team of clinical scientists advancing protein degradation-based therapeutics, immune-cell engagers, and cellular therapies for hematologic malignancies in early clinical development at Celgene/BMS. In this role, she participated in study and development activities that led to multiple successful IND applications and amendments in acute myeloid leukemia, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, multiple myeloma and chronic lymphocytic leukemia through direct study conduct, program strategy, and study execution process initiative work. Tonia was an early biochemist at Proteolix (Onyx/Amgen) where she focused on developing proteasome inhibitors for multiple myeloma, supporting non-clinical and biomarker assays for carfilzomib (Kyprolis) and next generation molecules at various stages of development. Her biotech career began at Rigel Pharmaceuticals screening and profiling Syk kinase inhibitors for use in immune disorders.

Tonia obtained her BA in Biochemistry from Ohio Wesleyan University, MS in biochemistry from the University of Wisconsin – Madison, and  PhD in Chemical Biology from the University of Michigan – Ann Arbor. Tonia has co-authored 20 scientific publications and is an inventor on eight issued or submitted patents.

Kanika Chawla, PhD

Head of Process Sciences

Dr. Kanika Chawla joined CARGO Therapeutics as Vice President of Process Sciences in January 2022. She is a proven and strategic CMC leader and technical expert with over 15 years of experience in CAR T-cell and gene therapy and biologics.

Most recently, as Head of Technical Operations and Process Sciences at Arsenal Bio, Kanika played an instrumental role in building the Technical Operations organization and establishing ArsenalBio’s first non-viral, CRISPR-mediated manufacturing process, along with associated analytical methods, for CAR-T therapies targeting solid tumor cancers. Prior to ArsenalBio, while at VIR Biotechnology, she led analytical development and played a key role in the submission of multiple INDs for antibody therapeutics for influenza A, Hepatitis B and COVID-19. In particular, she supported the co-development and commercialization of sotrovimab, an antibody therapeutic for COVID-19, with GSK. Prior to VIR Bio, Kanika was at Cellerant Therapeutics where she held multiple roles within Process Sciences, developing a stem cell therapy for treatment of neutropenia due to radiation treatment.

Kanika earned a PhD and MS in Bioengineering from the University of California, San Diego and completed post-doctoral fellowships in biomaterials and regenerative medicine at Northwestern University and the University of California, Irvine. In 2019, she was awarded the Distinguished Young Alumnus award from the University of New Mexico, from where she obtained a BS in Chemical Engineering.

Sandra Chen

Head of Clinical Quality and Risk Management

Sandra Chen joined CARGO Therapeutics as Head of Clinical Quality Assurance and Risk Management in June 2023.  She brings over 25 years of experience in Clinical Operations and Quality Assurance in the biopharmaceutical sector providing strategic compliance and quality leadership across all functional departments. 

Most recently, Sandra served as Head of Internal Quality Assurance at InClin, Inc., where she was responsible for promoting a culture of partnership across all departments to ensure GCP compliance and risk identification and mitigation strategies.  During her 15 years at InClin, she developed and implemented Quality Management Systems in addition to supporting clients targeting multiple disease indications from Phase I-IV through Regulatory Inspections. 

Sandra obtained her BS degree in Biology from the University of California at Davis and is a Registered Quality Assurance Professional in Good Clinical Practices (RQAP-GCP).

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Michelle Gray

Head of Clinical Operations

Michelle Gray joined CARGO in January 2024 as Head of Clinical Operations with over 25 years of experience in the biotechnology/pharmaceutical industry that includes strategic input for development programs, clinical operations, vendor management, infrastructure development and project management. She is a proven leader in Clinical Operations known to build high functioning, effective and collaborative teams and has experience with all phases of international clinical trials for drugs, biologics, devices and combinations. Michelle has worked at various companies including BeiGene, Proclara Biosciences, KAI Pharmaceuticals and Rinat Neurosciences (acquired by Pfizer) and across the therapeutic areas of Oncology, Neurology and Cardiovascular. Earlier in her career, she also served as Faculty Advisor and Adjunct Faculty at San Francisco State University for 13 years where she focused on development of their Clinical Trials program.

Michelle earned her BS from the University of Vermont and MS in Health Science from Johns Hopkins University, Bloomberg School of Public Health.

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Adam Haskett

Head of External Manufacturing

Adam Haskett joined CARGO Therapeutics as Head of External Manufacturing in April 2022. He is an experienced operational and matrix team leader with over 13 years of experience in biopharma including seven years of experience in the cell and gene therapy space. 

Prior to joining CARGO, Adam most recently led the build out of the technical operations team at Metagenomi where he was responsible for external manufacturing, program and alliance management for the gene editing portfolio. Prior to that, he served in multiple roles at Kite Pharma spanning quality and external manufacturing organizations, most recently as the Head of External Quality Operations. In his external facing roles, Adam was a key contributor in assuring global viral vector supply and CDMO commercial readiness in support of global launches for both Yescarta® and Tecartus®.  Additional prior experience includes quality and manufacturing roles at multiple startup organizations focused on biologics and biosimilars.

 Adam earned his BS degree in Biological Sciences from University of Illinois Chicago.

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David Hoffman, JD

Head of Intellectual Property & Transactions

David Hoffman joined CARGO in January 2023 and serves as Vice President, Intellectual Property & Transactions.  His legal experience spans the corporate and non-profit sectors.  Prior to joining CARGO, David was Head of Intellectual Property at Bit Bio Ltd., a spinout from Cambridge University.  Before Bit Bio Ltd., he held a number of senior legal roles at the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy, Cartography Biosciences, Meatable BV, Immunai, Genomic Health, and Bavarian Nordic where hesupported the development of Prostvac™.

David earned his BA in Biology from Transylvania University in Lexington, Kentucky, PhD in Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology from University of Colorado, Boulder and JD at Cornell Law School in Ithaca, NY.

Anissa Irwin

Head of Quality Assurance and Systems

Anissa Irwin joined CARGO Therapeutics as Head of Quality Operations and Systems in January 2023.  Anissa has over 25 years of Quality, Compliance and Regulatory experience in the biotechnology industry working for leading edge companies such as Amgen, Genentech, Biogen IDEC, Juno Therapeutics (a BMS Company), and Seattle Genetics. 

Prior to joining CARGO, Anissa led the External Supplier Quality Team in the Cell Therapy Division of Juno Therapeutics.  In this role, Anissa and her team established Quality oversight processes for CDMO management as well as performed batch release for starting materials to Cell Therapy Drug Product Manufacturing.  In this role, Anissa was also a key contributor to the global licensure and launch of the CAR T-cell products Breayanzi® (lisocabtagene maraleucel) and Abecma® (idecabtagene vicleucel) with a particular focus on regulatory filing support and CDMO inspection readiness.  Prior to Juno Therapeutics, Anissa held Site Quality, Global Quality, and Regulatory Affairs roles at Genentech over the course of a 14-year tenure.  At the time of the Roche acquisition of Genentech in 2009, Anissa joined the newly formed Global Quality Team to provide leadership to the program for creation of a single Pharmaceutical Quality System (PQS), successfully bringing all Biologic Drug Substance and Drug Product Sites together on a single Quality System. 

Anissa holds a BA degree from University of California at Santa Cruz and a MBA with a focus on Healthcare Management from the University of LaVerne). 

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Brett Masterson

Head of Marketing

Brett Masterson, MBA, joined CARGO as Head of Marketing in October 2023.  Brett brings over 15 years of commercial experience with extensive oncology experience, focusing on cell therapy for the last 5 years.  His experience spans marketing, marketing analytics, and sales across US and Global roles in both large companies and startups.  Prior to joining CARGO, Brett was the Marketing Lead for YESCARTA® LBCL at Kite Pharma where he led optimization of the YESCARTA brand strategy and execution and helped lead omnichannel capability development for the enterprise.  Prior to Kite, Brett led strategy and promotions for EBVALLO at Atara Biotherapeutics, the first approved allogeneic T-cell therapy, currently approved in Europe.  Earlier in his career, Brett held roles of increasing responsibility at Lilly, Genentech, and Ultragenyx where he led teams supporting key brands including Rituxan® Heme, Rituxan® Immunology, and Gazyva®.

Brett obtained his BS in Biochemistry and his MBA from the University of Texas at Austin. 

Rob McCombie

Head of CMC Regulatory

Rob McCombie joined CARGO Therapeutics as Executive Director of CMC Regulatory in March 2022. He has over 17 years of experience in developing biologics and cell therapy products.

Most recently, as Head of Regulatory Affairs at Orca Bio, Rob played a pivotal role in developing the CMC and clinical regulatory strategy to prepare the company’s lead cell therapy program for registrational clinical studies. Previously, at Sangamo Therapeutics, Rob led Regulatory and CMC providing technical guidance and leadership for the development of a broad variety of cell and gene therapeutic modalities. Prior to Sangamo, Rob held roles of increasing responsibility at Genentech, Amgen and UCB in the technical development and CMC regulatory affairs functions.

Rob earned an MSc in Biochemical Engineering from University College London (UCL). He obtained a BEng in Chemical Engineering from The University of Edinburgh.

Frank McDonald

Head of Clinical Data Management

Frank McDonald joined CARGO Therapeutics as Head of Clinical Data Management at in April 2022. He has worked over 23 years in the oncology therapeutic area with experience in solid tumors and hematology including T-cell therapies.  Frank has been involved in many NDA filings and helped build out the Avastin portfolio at Genentech. He has led teams to build out end-to-end oncology data standards and data dashboards to track company, vendor, and study level Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and Key Risk Indicators.  Prior to CARGO, he was the Head of Clinical Data Management at PACT Pharma working on personalized TCR-T therapy studies.  

Frank obtained his degree in Biomedical Sciences from Sheffield Hallam University in Sheffield, UK.   

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Priya Parameswaran

Head of Corporate Strategy and Business Operations

Priya Parameswaran joined CARGO Therapeutics as Head of Corporate Strategy and Business Operations in October 2023. Priya brings more than 20 years of leadership experience across drug development, commercial and corporate development. Most recently, Priya developed the commercial strategy to support the investment case for a Third Rock Ventures incubated NewCo. Prior to that, Priya built and led corporate development teams at Dascena and Aiolos Bio. At Dascena, Priya managed a commercial partnership with a top-tier Diagnostic company. At Aiolos, her team led business development efforts to in-license their lead asset. Priya started her career at Roche/Genentech in biostatistics and later transitioned to the US commercial organization. During this time, Priya worked on the Actemra® launch in rheumatoid arthritis and Esbriet® launch in idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. After her commercial tenure, Priya led the global strategy and operations for Roche’s Personalized Healthcare effort. This included integrating technologies like genomics (Foundation Medicine) and real-world data (Flatiron) to accelerate discovery, development, and delivery of personalized medicines to patients.

Priya earned her MBA from NYU Stern School of Business and MS in Computer Engineering from University of Kansas.

Shabnum Patel, PHD

Head of MSAT

Dr. Shabnum Patel joined CARGO Therapeutics as Head of Manufacturing Science & Technology (MSAT) in July 2022. She is a strategic technical operations and CMC leader with over 14 years of experience in immuno-oncology, cell therapy, and infectious diseases.  

Most recently, as Director of CMC & Technical Operations in the Center for Cancer Cell Therapy at Stanford University, Shabnum oversaw the process development, manufacturing, and CMC operations teams. She played a key role in the submission of multiple INDs to support Phase I/II CAR T clinical trials in leukemia, lymphoma, DIPG, and glioblastoma, for both adult and pediatric populations. Prior to Stanford, while at the Children’s National Hospital, Shabnum played an instrumental role in developing virus-specific T cell and NK cell therapies for infectious diseases (HIV, Zika), post-transplant viral infections (EBV, CMV, AdV), and cancer, to support multiple clinical trials.  

Shabnum earned her BS in Microbiology, Immunology, and Molecular Genetics from the University of California, Los Angeles and her PhD in Immunology from The George Washington University in Washington D.C. Shabnum has co-authored over 25 scientific publications in journals such as Nature, Nature Medicine, and Blood covering immunotherapy for cancer and infectious diseases. 

Mary Rodley

Head of CMC Strategy and Operations

Mary Rodley joined CARGO Therapeutics as Head of CMC Strategy & Operations in June 2023. Mary is an experienced CMC strategy and matrix team leader with over 13 years of experience in biopharma including 7 years of experience in cell therapy. 

Most recently, Mary led the Cell Therapy CMC team leadership and technical writing organization at Juno/Celgene/Bristol Myers Squibb where she supported the entire cell therapy portfolio and had a focus on improving the interface between Research and CMC to accelerate the pipeline. Prior to that, she served as the CMC team leader for BREYANZI®, playing a critical role in the success of the US, EU, and JP registrational submissions and approvals. 

Mary earned her BS degree in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering from Johns Hopkins University. In 2019, she received the HBA Rising Star award from Celgene in recognition of her significant contributions to the organization and proven attention to furthering her career. 

John Rossi

Head of Translational Medicine

John Rossi joined CARGO Therapeutics as Vice President of Translational Medicine in April 2022. John is an experienced Cell Therapy and Biotechnology leader with over 22 years of experience building robust clinical pharmacology, predictive biomarker and correlative science processes to support oncology drug development.

Most recently, as Senior Vice President of Research and Head of Translational Medicine at CERo Therapeutics, John guided Research, Process Development and Vector Sciences teams to advance preclinical initiatives. Prior to CERo, John was Senior Director and Head of Clinical Pharmacology at Kite (a Gilead company) where he supported global approvals of Yescarta® (axicabtagene ciloleucel) and Tecartus® (brexucabtagene autoleucel) as well as INDs to advance investigational autologous T-cell therapy products (KITE-363 and KITE-222) into the clinic. John represented Kite through numerous external scientific presentations and collaborative manuscripts with leading academic researchers in the cell therapy field. John discovered novel metrics to characterize CAR T cells based on functionality and fitness, novel biomarker knowledge helping to elucidate CAR T-cell mechanism of action in humans, mechanistic information on CAR-related toxicities, novel insights into the biology of the tumor immune microenvironment, and the pivotal role of IL-15 in the context of CAR T-cell function. John’s early experience included clinical pharmacology and biomarker development at Amgen, leadership of global biomarker development for Phase 3 registrational trials in oncology (trebananib, AMG386), and preclinical through Phase 2 clinical trials of various liquid and solid tumor product candidates.

John earned an MS in Molecular Biology from Portland State University. He obtained a BS in Biology from Pitzer College.

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Abhijeet Sarvaiya

Head of Statistical Programming

Abhijeet Sarvaiya joined CARGO Therapeutics as Head of Statistical Programming and Analysis in October 2023. He brings more than 20 years of pharmaceutical and biotech industry experience providing strategic leadership in statistical programming and analytics for drugs in oncology/hematology, neurology, and rare diseases areas.

Prior to joining CARGO, Abhijeet was the head of Statistical Programming at Kartos Therapeutics, building a dedicated team to support clinical trials focusing on heme malignancies. Before Kartos, he spent nearly five years at BeiGene, where he spearheaded statistical programming activities of BTK and BCL-2 inhibitors. At BeiGene, he led and oversaw statistical programming activities of successful s/NDAs for various indications such as Mantle Cell Lymphoma (MCL), Waldenström’s Macroglobulinemia (WM), Marginal Zone Lymphoma (MZL), and Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (CLL), on Brukinsa® (Zanubrutinib).

Abhijeet earned his BS in Electronics. He has certifications in SAS and Microsoft technologies for data science applications in clinical trials and biotechnology.

Brian Schoelkopf

Head of FP&A

Brian Schoelkopf joined CARGO as Head of Financial Planning and Analysis (FP&A) at CARGO Therapeutics in June 2023 He has held finance positions with several clinical to commercial stage biotechnology companies developing therapeutics across multiple disease areas and employing multiple modalities.  Brian joined CARGO from NGM Biopharmaceuticals where he was Head of FP&A and Investor Relations.  Prior to NGM Bio, he worked at Atara Biotherapeutics, an allogeneic cell therapy company, where he held roles in both FP&A and Investor Relations. Brian started his career in biotech at Amgen where he held positions in Corporate Finance, Corporate Strategy, Treasury and Operations Finance.  

Brian earned a BA degree and a MBA from The University of California, Los Angeles. 

Matt Siegel, PhD

Head of Translational Research

Dr. Matthew Siegel joined CARGO Therapeutics as Head of Translational Research in June 2021. He has two decades of drug discovery experience including expertise in biochemistry, enzymology, cell biology and immunology. He has contributed to drug development from early stage discovery through a successful Phase 2 clinical program.

Most recently, as Vice President of Research at Anwita Biosciences, Matthew worked on the discovery and development of multi-functional antibody/cytokine fusion proteins in the fields of oncology and autoimmunity. At Ardelyx, as Director of Molecular and Cellular Pharmacology, he helped elucidate the mechanism of action of tenapanor, an investigational first-in-class treatment for hyperphosphatemia, and discovered a novel combination therapy for the treatment of hyperkalemia as biology lead of the RDX013 program.

Matthew earned a PhD in Chemical Engineering from Stanford University and a BS in Chemical Engineering from the University of Notre Dame.

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Christophe Suchet 

Head of IT

Christophe Suchet joined CARGO Therapeutics as Head of IT in July 2023. Christophe t is a seasoned executive with over 25 years of experience in IT leadership positions mostly in the biotech and pharmaceutical industry and consulting.  His various leadership positions contributed to developing key strengths such as establishing and executing on robust IT strategies, working in a global environment, and enabling fast business growth. As VP of IT, Christophe has built and led teams at fast growing biotech startups, most recently at InstilBio.  Prior to InstilBio, he led IT at Kite Pharma and Pharmacyclics. Christophe also previously worked at Genentech where he held various senior leadership IT positions. He has managed large and global applications groups including ERP, Enterprise, R&D and Commercial applications. Earlier in his career, Christophe worked in consulting at KPMG Consulting and PricewaterhouseCoopers.  

Christophe holds a MS degree from Agro Paris Tech, and a BS in accounting. He has completed various executive development programs including the CIO Pocket MBA from Boston University.  

Beth Vasievich

Beth Vasievich, PhD

Head of Commercial Planning

Beth Vasievich joined CARGO Therapeutics as Head of Commercial Planning in June 2023. She brings extensive cell therapy commercialization experience through multiple launches as well as deep oncology expertise and a strong strategic mindset to her role at CARGO 

Mostly recently, Beth was Vice President, Portfolio Strategy and Commercial Operations at Gamida Cell leading commercial planning and commercial operations for the launch of OMISIRGE (omidubicel-onlv), an advanced cell therapy for patients in need of an allogenic stem cell transplant and overseeing pipeline strategy for their NK cell therapies.  Previously, Beth worked at Atara Biotherapeutics where she led commercial planning for the portfolio including the company’s first allogenic T cell therapy, EBVALLO (tabelecleucel) and pipeline of autologous and allogeneic CAR Ts.  Beth also spent eight years at Genentech/Roche in roles of increasing responsibility in global product strategy, portfolio management, and business development. 

Beth earned BS degrees in Biomedical Engineering, and Mechanical Engineering and Material Science, from Duke University and a PhD in Pharmaceutical Sciences from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. 

jun-wang

Jun Wang

Head of Procurement

Jun Wang joined CARGO Therapeutics as Head of Procurement in August 2023.  Jun brings over 15 years of procurement leadership experience in the life sciences industry.  Before joining CARGO, she was the Global Head of Procurement at 10x Genomics, where she oversaw indirect and direct procurement, NPI (New Product Introduction) sourcing, as well as relationships with critical external contract manufacturers.  During her six years at 10x Genomics, she built and scaled a global procurement organization and supported 10x Genomics to successfully transform from a pre-IPO startup to a multibillion-dollar public company.  Prior to 10x Genomics, Jun worked in various procurement leadership roles at MilliporeSigma and GEP.

Jun graduated from Cornell University with a dual MS in Genetics and Operations Research.

Jing Yi, PHD

Head of Data Sciences

Dr. Jing Yi joined CARGO Therapeutics as Head of Data Science, Global Development Team Leader for CRG-022 in May of 2023. Jing has over 17 years of industry experience with a proven record in oncology clinical development and medical affairs, and in functional and cross-functional leadership. 

Jing has been involved in many successful global regulatory interactions and approvals, including e g Tecentriq and Avastin across various tumor types. She has built and led multiple high performing cross-functional teams and initiatives. Prior to joining CARGO, Jing spent more than 2 years at Erasca as the senior VP of Data Science and PTL of ERAS-601 program. Jing was the Global Development Team Leader at Roche/Genentech prior to joining Erasca, where she led a cross functional team and was accountable for the overarching strategy, development and implementation of cancer immunotherapy in Lung and Head/Neck Cancers. She also managed a group of medical directors and clinical scientists. Prior to her cross-functional leadership role, she was the biometrics lead of multiple molecules and managed a group of statisticians who supported many pivotal studies at Roche/Genentech. 

For her many contributions, Jing received the Roche Product Development Breakthrough Award and ReThinkD Innovation Awards twice, as well as multiple Recognition Awards and Key Contributor Awards. 

Jing received her PhD. in Statistics from the University of California, Berkeley.