We use our science to reinvent how therapies are created with a goal to meaningfully improve patients’ lives.

Neoleukin is a pioneer in de novo protein development, leveraging computational methods to create new therapies. This new approach has unlimited potential to treat human disease by improving on nature, designing for life. We are building a company with a vibrant and inclusive culture that we believe will make a meaningful impact for patients, our people and our community.

An experienced team of distinguished innovators, scientists and industry leaders.


Donna Cochener

Interim Chief Executive Officer and General Counsel

Donna Cochener photoDonna joined Neoleukin in March 2022 as General Counsel, Senior Vice President, Legal, and took on the role of Interim Chief Executive Officer in March 2023. Donna brings a wealth of legal experience in corporate governance, and securities law and corporate transactions, and has held a variety of leadership positions in the community. Prior to joining Neoleukin, Donna was Senior Vice President, Deputy General Counsel at HomeStreet, Inc., the parent company of HomeStreet Bank, where she was primarily responsible for corporate governance, securities reporting and compliance matters, and also served as lead attorney on a range of corporate transactions, including mergers and acquisitions and debt and equity financings. Prior to her position with HomeStreet, Donna was a partner at Davis Wright Tremaine, LLP in Seattle. She is a past president of the Mother Attorney Mentoring Association of Seattle, serves on the board of non-profit organizations in Seattle and is the Chairman of the Board of Cochener Garvey Capital Partners and its affiliated companies.

Sean Smith

Interim Chief Financial Officer

Sean Smith photoSean is a leader with a broad skill set in finance and business operations. He joined Neoleukin in 2019 and prior to becoming Interim Chief Financial Officer in March 2023, he most recently served as our Vice President, Finance. He also previously held the role of Controller. Prior to joining Neoleukin, Sean served as the Director of Accounting at Aptevo Therapeutics and has held various leadership roles at publicly traded companies and at KPMG. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Accounting and a Master of Science in Accounting, both from the University of North Texas, and a Master of Business Administration from the University of Washington. Sean is also a Certified Public Accountant.

Board of Directors

Martin Babler

Board Member

Mr. Babler is President and Chief Executive Officer of Alumis Inc., a privately held biopharmaceutical company, a position he has held since September 2021. Prior to joining Alumis, Mr. Babler was President and Chief Executive Officer at Principia Biopharma, Inc., which merged with Sanofi in 2020, and previously served as President and Chief Executive Officer of Talima Therapeutics from 2007 to 2011. Prior to this, Mr. Babler was a senior executive at Genentech including Vice President, Immunology Sales and Marketing. During his time at Genentech, he oversaw the Commercial Development organization and led the Cardiovascular Marketing organization. Mr. Babler began his pharmaceutical industry career at Eli Lilly and Company. He holds a Swiss Federal Diploma in Pharmacy from the Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich. Mr. Babler graduated from the Executive Development Program at the Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University.

Cantey Boyd

Board Member

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.

Erin Lavelle

Board Member

Ms. Lavelle has more than 20 years of strategic and operational leadership experience in the biopharmaceutical industry. She served as the Chief Operating Officer and Chief Financial Officer of Eliem Therapeutics, a Seattle-based neurology therapeutics company, from October 2020 until March 2023. Prior to that, Ms. Lavelle served as Chief Operating Officer for Alder Biopharmaceuticals, Inc. from April of 2018 until February 2020, shortly after its $2.3bn acquisition by H. Lundbeck. Before joining Alder, she held a variety of roles during 15 years at Amgen Inc. In her last role at Amgen, she served as General Manager of Amgen’s Taiwan affiliate. Prior to that role, Ms. Lavelle was based in Hong Kong as an Executive Director for the Japan Asia-Pacific region, leading Commercial Excellence and Digital Health. Before her time in Asia, she held roles as an Executive Director in the areas of Global Marketing, Global Commercial Finance, and Strategy & Corporate Development. Ms. Lavelle began her career in 1998 as an investment banker in the healthcare group at Merrill Lynch & Co. Ms. Lavelle holds a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from Yale University.

Sarah Noonberg, MD, PhD

Board Member

Dr. Noonberg has more than 20 years of industry experience leading development programs from discovery to commercialization across a range of indications. Dr. Noonberg currently serves as the Chief Medical Officer of Metagenomi, a privately held genomics company, where she is advancing its gene editing technology platform toward the clinic. She previously served as Chief Medical Officer of Maze Therapeutics, Nohla Therapeutics and Prothena Biosciences and prior to that, held clinical development executive leadership roles at BioMarin and at Medivation. Her industry experience is complemented by more than 10 years of experience treating patients as a hospitalist physician. Dr. Noonberg currently serves on the Board of Directors at Marinus Ther­a­peu­tics and previously served on the Board at Pro­tag­o­nist Ther­a­peu­tics. She trained in inter­nal med­i­cine at Johns Hop­kins Hos­pi­tal, received an M.D. from the Uni­ver­si­ty of Cal­i­for­nia, San Fran­cis­co, a Ph.D. in bio­engi­neer­ing from the Uni­ver­si­ty of Cal­i­for­nia, Berke­ley, and a bachelor’s degree in engi­neer­ing sci­ence from Dart­mouth College.

Rohan Palekar

Board Member

Mr. Palekar’s career in the biopharmaceuticals industry spans more than 30 years. He joined 89Bio in 2018 as the company’s first Chief Executive Officer. Prior to that, he served as president and CEO of Avanir Pharmaceuticals after a series of leadership roles in commercial and operations. Prior to Avanir, Rohan served as the Chief Commercial Officer of Medivation. Earlier in his career, Rohan spent 16 years at Johnson & Johnson in various senior commercial and strategic management roles including worldwide VP of immunology. Mr. Rohan holds an MBA from the Amos Tuck School of Business Administration at Dartmouth College, a Chartered Accountant certification and degrees in law and accounting from the University of Bombay.

Todd Simpson

Board Member

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 (inactive), 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.

Corporate Responsibility

At Neoleukin, we are committed to developing therapeutics that will have a meaningful impact on patients. We strive to do this in a sustainable way by establishing a value-based culture with a focus on our people and our community.

Read more about our commitment to Corporate Responsibility


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Neoleukin Therapeutics, Inc.

188 East Blaine, Suite 450
Seattle WA 98102
(855) 226-6447

photo of the lobby of the Neoleukin offices