At Neoleukin Therapeutics, we are dedicated to developing medicines that transform lives.
We believe that there is an urgent need for a paradigm shift in therapeutic protein discovery that overcomes a reliance on the building blocks that nature has provided.
Our innovative computational platform allows us to design entirely new – de novo – proteins from the ground up to treat serious diseases, including cancer, inflammatory, and autoimmune disorders.
We are a team of physicians, scientists, and innovators with a visionary focus to improve on nature and enable a truly customized approach to medicine.
We are leading the protein design revolution. We invite you to join us on this journey.
An experienced team of distinguished innovators, scientists and industry leaders.
Jonathan Drachman, MD
Chief Executive Officer & President
Jonathan is a seasoned clinician, researcher, and biopharmaceutical executive who joined Neoleukin at the company’s founding in 2018. For 14 years prior, he was at Seattle Genetics, where he most recently served as Chief Medical Officer and Executive Vice President of Research and Development. From 1998 to 2004, Dr. Drachman was a faculty member of the Division of Hematology at the University of Washington in Seattle, and a Senior Investigator in the Division of Research and Education at Puget Sound Blood Center. He currently serves on the board of directors for Calithera Biosciences and Harpoon Therapeutics. Dr. Drachman received a BA in Biochemistry from Harvard University and an MD from Harvard Medical School. He completed his residency in internal medicine and fellowship in medical oncology at the University of Washington.
Vice President of Legal Affairs & Intellectual Property
Leslie brings over 18 years of law firm and biopharmaceutical experience. She previously served as Associate General Counsel for the Infectious Disease Research Institute and provided intellectual property guidance at Seattle Genetics from 2007 to 2015, most recently as Senior Director, Intellecutal Property. She previously served in the life sciences practice group at Woodcock Washburn, LLP and Kilpatrick Townsend and Stockton, LLP. Leslie received a J.D. from Columbia University School of Law and a B.S. in Biochemistry from Brown University. In addition, Leslie is a mediator with the Dispute Resolution Center of King County.
Interim Chief Financial Officer
Kamran has over 15 years’ experience in the pharmaceutical industry and brings a demonstrated ability to finance and identify strategic opportunities for biotechnology companies. Since 2011, he was CFO and VP Finance for Aquinox Pharmaceuticals, guiding the company from a VC-backed private company through its IPO and subsequent follow-on financings and strategic transactions. Previously, he has held senior business roles at Sirius Genomics, the Centre for Drug Research and Development (CDRD), Angiotech Pharmaceuticals, and AnorMED. Kamran started his career as a Chartered Accountant with PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PwC) as a member of their Life Sciences Practice and gained valuable experience in the financing, auditing, and tax structuring of a number of biotechnology and technology companies. In addition to his CPA, CA designation, Kamran possesses an MBA in International Business and Strategy from the University of Victoria as well as a BSc in Cell Biology and Genetics from the University of British Columbia.
Daniel-Adriano Silva, PhD
Vice President Head of Research
Daniel is a leader in the fields of protein folding, structure, dynamics, and function and is the primary architect of the Neoleukin Platform. Prior to joining Neoleukin, he served as a Translational Investigator in the Department of Biochemistry at the University of Washington. In 2013, Dr. Silva received a Pew Latin American postdoctoral fellowship to train with David Baker at the University of Washington, where he developed state-of-the-art de novo protein design algorithms. Dr. Silva has co-authored over 20 published research articles, including three in Science, and two in Nature. He graduated from the National Autonomous University of Mexico and completed his initial postdoctoral training at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, where he developed tools to study protein-ligand binding dynamics.
Umut Ulge, MD, PhD
Vice President of Translational Medicine
Umut has unique expertise at the intersection of clinical medicine and computational protein design. Since 2014, he has focused on the application of protein design technologies to solve unmet therapeutic challenges in clinical medicine. In addition to authoring multiple publications and patents in the field of computational protein design, Dr. Ulge has received research funding from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases and the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. He is a diplomate of the American Board of Internal Medicine and works part time as an attending physician at Providence Regional Medical Center in Everett, Washington. He completed his PhD in Computational Protein Design at the University of Washington, his MD at the University of Washington School of Medicine, and his clinical residency in internal medicine at Indiana University.
Carl Walkey, PhD
Vice President of Corporate Development
Carl brings scientific, product, and business development experience spanning multiple industries. Prior to joining Neoleukin Therapeutics, he served as a Senior Fellow at the Institute for Protein Design, where he led projects focused on the application of computational protein design to address unmet needs in oncology and autoimmunity. In 2014, he co-founded Ansible Marketing, which develops machine learning tools to automate omni-channel communications for small and medium businesses. Over the past decade, Dr. Walkey has co-authored over a dozen research works and received numerous prestigious scholarships and awards, including the Alexander Graham Bell Canada Graduate Scholarship and NSERC Postdoctoral Fellowship. Dr. Walkey received his PhD from the University of Toronto, where he applied machine learning to develop enhanced nanomedicines for drug delivery and vaccine development.
Vice President, People
Samantha brings over 20 years of human resources experience spanning the hospitality, hi-tech and biotech industries. This includes roles at Limeade, a Bellevue-based technology company, Seattle Genetics, and Microsoft. In addition, Willing has operated an executive coaching business for 10 years and studied Business and Human Resources at Washington State University.
Ms. Boyd serves as a Managing Director of Baker Bros. Advisors LP, a registered investment adviser focused on long-term investments in life-sciences companies. Prior to joining Baker Bros. Advisors LP in 2005, she was an Analyst in the Health Care Investment Banking Group of Deutsche Bank Securities from 2002 to 2004. Ms. Boyd graduated with an AB in business-economics from Brown University.
Jonathan Drachman, MD
Dr. Drachman is a seasoned clinician, researcher, and biopharmaceutical executive who joined Neoleukin at the company’s founding in 2018. For 14 years prior, he was at Seattle Genetics, where he most recently served as Chief Medical Officer and Executive Vice President of Research and Development. From 1998 to 2004, Dr. Drachman was a faculty member of the Division of Hematology at the University of Washington in Seattle, and a Senior Investigator in the Division of Research and Education at Puget Sound Blood Center. He currently serves on the board of directors for Calithera Biosciences and Harpoon Therapeutics. Dr. Drachman received a BA in Biochemistry from Harvard University and an MD from Harvard Medical School. He completed his residency in internal medicine and fellowship in medical oncology at the University of Washington.
Until its acquisition in 2018 by Novartis, Mr. Nolan served as chief executive officer and member of the board of directors of AveXis, Inc., a gene therapy company dedicated to development of novel treatments for patients suffering from rare and life-threatening neurological diseases. While at AveXis, Mr. Nolan took the company through an IPO and built it into a fully integrated global organization with research, clinical, regulatory, manufacturing and commercial capabilities. Prior to joining AveXis, Mr. Nolan was the chief business officer of InterMune, Inc., a company focused on development of therapies for fibrotic disease. He led the successful scale up, commercialization of the first drug for Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis and successful acquisition by Roche, Inc. Mr. Nolan’s previous experiences include chief commercial officer of Reata and Ovation Pharmaceuticals, Inc. as well as president of Lundbeck, Inc.’s U.S. affiliate after acquiring Ovation in 2009. Mr. Nolan holds a B.A. in Biology from John Carroll University.
Sarah Noonberg, MD, PhD
Dr. Noonberg has more than 15 years of industry experience leading development programs from discovery to commercialization across a range of indications. Most recently she was Chief Medical Officer at Nohla Therapeutics from May 2018 to May 2019, leading development of a universal cell therapy for hematologic malignancies. Prior to joining Nohla, she held multiple executive leadership roles including Global Head of Clinical Development at BioMarin where she advanced a broad portfolio of development programs including cerliponase alfa (Brineura™) for CLN2 disease, pegvaliase (Palynziq™) for phenylketonuria, and gene therapy for hemophilia A. Prior to BioMarin, she was Senior Vice President at Medivation where she was responsible for translational and early development activities as well as led late stage development of enzalutamide (XTANDI™) for advanced prostate cancer. Dr. Noonberg currently serves on the Board of Directors at Protagonist Therapeutics and is a member of the audit committee. She trained in internal medicine residency at Johns Hopkins, received an MD from the University of California, San Francisco, a PhD in bioengineering from the University of California, Berkeley, and a BS in engineering science from Dartmouth College.
Mr. Simpson has held executive management positions across a range of biotechnology companies and brings more than 35 years of experience to the board driving growth and transformation. Since October 2005, he has served as the Chief Financial Officer of Seattle Genetics, Inc., a global, multi-product oncology company. Previously, he served from October 2001 to October 2005 as Vice President, Finance & Administration and Chief Financial Officer of Targeted Genetics Corporation. From January 1996 to October 2001, Mr. Simpson served as Vice President, Finance & Administration and Chief Financial Officer of Aastrom Biosciences, Inc. From August 1995 to December 1995, he served as Treasurer of Integra LifeSciences Corporation, which acquired Telios Pharmaceuticals, Inc., in August 1995. From 1992 until its acquisition by Integra, he served as Vice President of Finance and Chief Financial Officer of Telios and in various other finance-related positions. Mr. Simpson is a certified public accountant, and from 1983 to 1992 he practiced public accounting with the firm of Ernst & Young LLP. Mr. Simpson received a BS in accounting and computer science from Oregon State University.
Lewis “Rusty” Williams, MD, PhD
Dr. Williams is co-founder, Chairman and CEO of Walking Fish Therapeutics, a private early stage cell therapy company, and is a venture partner of Quan Capital, LLC. Prior to Walking Fish, Dr Williams was Founder of Five Prime Therapeutics. He served as a Director since 2002 and was President and Chief Executive Officer from April 2011 to December 2017. Previously, Dr. Williams spent seven years at Chiron Corporation, a biopharmaceutical company now known as Novartis Vaccines and Diagnostics, Inc., most recently as its Chief Scientific Officer. He also served on Chiron’s board of directors from 1999 to 2001. Prior to joining Chiron, Dr Williams was a co-founder of COR Therapeutics, Inc, a public biotechnology company focused on Cardiovascular Disease. Dr. Williams was a professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, and served as Director of the University’s Cardiovascular Research Institution and Daiichi Research Center. Dr. Williams also has served on the faculties of Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital where he practiced cardiology. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Dr. Williams was previously a member of the board of directors of COR Therapeutics, Inc., and Beckman Coulter, Inc., each of which was a public company during his service as a director. Dr. Williams received a B.S. from Rice University and an M.D. and a Ph.D. from Duke University.
David Baker, PhD
Dr. Baker is the Henrietta and Aubrey Davis Endowed Professor in Biochemistry, Director of the Institute for Protein Design, Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, and adjunct professor of Genome Sciences, Bioengineering, Chemical Engineering, Computer Science, and Physics at the University of Washington. His research group is a world leader in computational protein design and protein structure prediction. Dr. Baker received young investigator awards from the National Science Foundation and the Beckman Foundation, and the Packard Foundation fellowship in Science and Engineering. He has also received the Irving Sigal Young Investigator award from the Protein Society and the Overton Prize from the International Society of Computational Biology. He is a recipient of the Feynman Prize from the Foresight Institute, the AAAS Newcomb Cleveland prize, the Sackler prize in biophysics, and the Centenary award from the Biochemical society. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Sciences. He received his PhD degree in Biochemistry with Randy Schekman at the University of California, Berkeley and did postdoctoral work in Biophysics with David Agard at UCSF.
Michael Levitt, PhD
Dr. Levitt is a professor of structural biology at the Stanford University School of Medicine. Levitt is a recipient of the 2013 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, together with Martin Karplus and Arieh Warshel, for "the development of multiscale models for complex chemical systems.” Levitt joined the Department of Structural Biology at Stanford in 1987 and he has a courtesy appointment in computer science. He is also a member of the Scientific Leadership Council of Bio-X, a Stanford initiative that unites experts in biology, medicine, chemistry, physics and engineering. Dr. Levitt received his BScs from King’s College London and his PhD from the University of Cambridge.
Michael Dougan, MD, PhD
Dr. Dougan serves as an instructor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and an assistant in Medicine, Division of gastroenterology at Massachusetts General Hospital. As an independent investigator, Dr. Dougan has focused his research efforts on understanding the etiology and immune mechanisms underlying the immune-related adverse events (irAEs) resulting from cancer immunotherapy. Dr. Dougan received his MD and PhD from Harvard Medical School.
Marion Pepper, PhD
Dr. Pepper serves as Associate Professor, Immunology in the Department of Immunology at the University of Washington. Dr. Pepper’s research focuses on adaptive immune responses. She graduated with a Bachelor’s in Biology and English from Williams College and received her PhD in Immunology in 2006 from the University of Pennsylvania. She completed postdoctoral training at the University of Minnesota and joined the Department of Immunology as an Assistant Professor in 2011.
Gonçalo Bernandes, PhD
Dr. Bernardes is a Group Leader at the Department of Chemistry, University of Cambridge, U.K. He is also the Director of the Chemical Biology and Pharmaceutical Biotechnology Unit at the Instituto de Medicina Molecular, Portugal. After completing his D.Phil. degree in 2008 at the University of Oxford, U.K., he undertook postdoctoral work at the Max-Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces, Germany, and the ETH Zürich, Switzerland, and worked as a Group Leader at Alfama Lda in Portugal. He started his independent research career in 2013, and his research group tackles a range of biological problems of fundamental importance to understand and fight human disease primarily through the use of chemistry principles. He is a Royal Society University Research Fellow and the awardee of a Starting Grant from the European Research Council (TagIt).
Ingrid Swanson Paultz, PhD
Ingrid Swanson Pultz, Ph.D. is Chief Scientific Officer and a Founder at PvP Biologics, Inc. She received her Ph.D. degree in microbiology with Dr. Samuel Miller at the University of Washington (UW) in Seattle and performed her postdoctoral work in computational enzyme design with Dr. David Baker at the UW, before accepting a faculty position as a Translational Investigator at the Institute for Protein Design (IPD). At the IPD, Dr. Pultz’s lab developed Kuma062, an enzyme meant as a therapeutic for celiac disease, that was based on a prototype molecule initially generated for the iGEM undergraduate competition for which Dr. Pultz was an advisor. PvP Biologics was founded to pursue the clinical development of Kuma062, and led by Dr. Pultz until spinout from the UW in late 2016. She now acts as head of the PvP Laboratory based in Seattle, and works with the PvP Development Team located in San Diego. Dr. Pultz has received several awards including an Innovator of the Year award from the Seattle Health Innovation Forum.