A calm and blue sea with very small waves.
Inflammation is our way to defend and heal.
We want to make it work for everyone.

Meet the team

We are entrepreneurs, scientists and drug discovery professionals.

Katerina Chatzi, Ph.D.
Bio

Katerina Chatzi, Ph.D.

Chief Executive Officer, President and Co-founder

Katerina Chatzi, Ph.D.

Postdoc, Molecular and Cellular Biology
Harvard University

Postdoc, Biophysics
KU Leuven

PhD., Biochemistry and Microbiology
Institute of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology

Katerina Chatzi, Ph.D.

Chief Executive Officer, President and Co-founder

Katerina Chatzi serves as the Chief Executive Officer and President of Promakhos Therapeutics. Katerina is a distinguished scientist-entrepreneur with expertise in immunology, protein secretion, biochemistry, bacteriology, cell biology and business development. She has performed biomedical research for over 15 years across four different countries, uncovering fundamental principles underlying bacterial secretion, protein folding, antibiotic resistance, and cell cycle regulation.

Katerina’s scientific journey started at the University of Crete, where she studied mechanisms underlying tolerogenic immunosuppression during pregnancy in mice. She then received an Erasmus fellowship to study antibiotic resistance at Uppsala University in Sweden. Returning to Greece, she received the Excellent Academic Performance Award and started her Ph.D. training to study and reconstitute bacterial secretion systems. For her work, she was awarded the prestigious Heraclitus II fellowship from the National Strategic Innovation Program. Katerina then continued her research on bacterial secretion and protein folding as a Research fellow at the KU Leuven in Belgium.

Katerina arrived in the United States of America to work as a postdoctoral researcher at Harvard University. Recognizing her passion for translational research, she engaged in various business development programs across the Harvard and Massachusetts ecosystems. Through her exposure to different scientific fields as well as clinical and business environments, Katerina realized how her skills can help in the development of novel immunomodulatory therapeutics. She assembled a team and founded Promakhos Therapeutics to carry out her vision.

Jasper E. Neggers, Ph.D.
Bio

Jasper E. Neggers, Ph.D.

Chief Scientific Officer, Co-Founder

Jasper E. Neggers, Ph.D.

Postdoc, Medical Oncology
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

Postdoc, Target Identification & Validation
Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard

PhD., Functional Genomics & Chemical Biology
KU Leuven

Jasper E. Neggers, Ph.D.

Chief Scientific Officer, Co-Founder

Jasper Edgar Neggers is the Chief Scientific Officer and Co-Founder of Promakhos Therapeutics. Jasper is an entrepreneurial, pioneering and innovative scientist with a background in microbiology, immunology, cell biology, target identification and validation, drug discovery and functional genomics. His commitment to entrepreneurship, scientific inquiry and translational research stems from his natural curiosity for biology and biotechnology, which manifested as he grew up in the Netherlands.

Jasper performed his Ph.D. studies at the Rega Institute for Medical Research at the KU Leuven, Belgium. He was among the first scientists to apply CRISPR/Cas to genetically engineer human cells. Jasper collaborated with Karyopharm Therapeutics to validate the mechanism of action of the now marketed anticancer drug Selinexor (XPOVIO®) and the clinical stage drug KPT-9274. In Belgium, Jasper also invented a CRISPR-based genetic screening approach for identification of the cellular target of new candidate drugs.

Jasper arrived in the USA as a postdoctoral fellow at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard to spearhead a team of researchers to identify and validate new therapeutic targets for cancer. He quickly distinguished himself and was awarded a Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation fellowship. As a fellow, Jasper developed an updated compendium of synthetic lethal interactions in cancer, helped identify new metabolic vulnerabilities in pancreatic cancer and continued developing new CRISPR/Cas applications. His work has nominated several new high-priority therapeutic targets for cancer and has led to the initiation of new drug discovery campaigns. As a rising scientific leader, Jasper was on his way to become an assistant professor after receiving the National Cancer Institute Pathway to Independence Award for Outstanding Early-Stage Postdoctoral Researchers. However, ultimately, Jasper wants his research to translate into patient impact and felt that an academic career would not provide the right environment to pursue his vision. So, he handed back his million-dollar grant money and joined Katerina to co-found Promakhos Therapeutics.

Tomi K. Sawyer, Ph.D.
Bio

Tomi K. Sawyer, Ph.D.

Drug Hunter

Tomi K. Sawyer, Ph.D.

PhD., Chemical Biology
University of Arizona

BS., Chemistry
Minnesota State University Moorhead

Tomi K. Sawyer, Ph.D.

Drug Hunter

Tomi Sawyer serves as the drug discovery and development expert at Promakhos Therapeutics. Tomi is an accomplished and entrepreneurial drug hunter, medicinal chemist and chemical biologist with a track record of developing both peptide and small molecule drugs. Tomi has over four decades of industrial experience in both pharma and biotech and is well known for his contributions to GPCR, kinase, protease and protein-protein interaction drug discovery. He is the inventor of the marketed drugs Afamelanotide (Scenesse®, Clinuvel) and Ponatinib (Iclusig®, Ariad Pharmaceuticals [now Takeda]) and is credited with over 600 scientific publications, patents, and presentations.

Tomi is currently also the Chief Drug Hunter and President of Maestro Therapeutics, a consulting/advisory enterprise that supports peptide drug discovery in academia, biotech and pharma. Tomi Sawyer has recently retired from his position as Distinguished Scientist, Global Chemistry at Merck Research Laboratories. In this role, he provided leadership to the Peptide Drug Hunter Network and several peptide R&D programs as well as innovative core capabilities and knowledge engine. He previously also served as the Chief Scientific Officer of Aileron, Senior Vice President, Drug Discovery at Ariad Pharmaceuticals, Senior Director, Chemical Sciences at Pfizer and was a past President of the American Peptide Society.

Tomi is an Adjunct Professor at the University of Massachusetts and the Northeastern University Center for Drug Discovery. In addition, he is a Distinguished Alumni Entrepreneur from his undergraduate alma mater, Minnesota State University at Moorhead, and previously served as a member of the MSUM Alumni Foundation Board of Directors. At his graduate alma mater, the University of Arizona, Tomi is a Distinguished Alumni Entrepreneur and has received a Professional Achievement Award from the Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry and the College of Science.

News

July 15, 2021

Promakhos Therapeutics joins Y Combinator for the Summer 2021 Batch

Mountain View, California, United States of America

News

Announcement

Mountain View, California, United States of America

July 15, 2021

Promakhos Therapeutics joins Y Combinator for the Summer 2021 Batch

Promakhos Therapeutics is excited to announce that the company has received backing by the world-renowned startup accelerator Y Combinator.

As part of the Y Combinator program, Promakhos Therapeutics joins an impressive network of innovators, entrepreneurs and companies, including well-known companies such as Reddit, Airbnb, Stripe, Dropbox, Ginkgo Bioworks and Benchling. Moreover, Promakhos Therapeutics will participate in the Y Combinator S21 acceleration program to continue its mission to develop new therapeutics for inflammatory disorders. The S21 acceleration program offers unique access to key resources and tailored mentoring over the summer and culminates into Demo Day, a virtual event at the end of August in which Y Combinator's latest batch of companies will present their vision to potential investors.

About Y Combinator
Y Combinator (YC) is an American seed money startup accelerator founded in 2005. It is located in the heart of Silicon Valley (Mountain View, California) and is considered as one of the most successful startup incubators in the Valley. The program has helped launch over 3,000 companies since its inception. These companies currently hold a combined valuation of over $300B.

July 14, 2021

Promakhos Therapeutics engages with the AstraZeneca Exchange program

Allston, Massachusetts, United States of America

News

Announcement

Allston, Massachusetts, United States of America

July 14, 2021

Promakhos Therapeutics engages with the AstraZeneca Exchange program

Promakhos Therapeutics is excited to announce that it has been selected to engage with AstraZeneca through their Exchange Mentoring program.

The AstraZeneca Exchange Mentoring program leverages AstraZeneca's scientific and commercial expertise in a business-to-business advisory model to encourage and support life sciences entrepreneurs and start-ups to innovate. It is based on the idea that innovation does not happen in isolation - if the sector grows, all companies, and most importantly, patients benefit.

Through the program, Promakhos Therapeutics will establish additional relationships with leading industry partners and will further refine its innovative ideas into long-term success.

About AstraZeneca
AstraZeneca is a British-Swedish multinational, science-led biopharmaceutical company. Its medicines are used by millions of patients across the world and includes medicines in disease areas involving oncology, cardiovascular, gastrointestinal, infection, neuroscience, respiratory, and inflammation. AstraZeneca is perhaps best known for developing the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine.

June 15, 2021

Promakhos Therapeutics interviewed by the Massachusetts Biotechnology Council

Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States of America

News

Thought Leadership

Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States of America

June 15, 2021

Promakhos Therapeutics interviewed by the Massachusetts Biotechnology Council

This is an extract of the original article published by the Massachusetts Biotechnology Council (MassBio). To learn more about their MassCONNECT program and how MassBio supports early-stage startups, visit: https://www.massbio.org/innovation-services/.

Why did you choose to apply for MassCONNECT?

We applied for the MassCONNECT program because it offers direct access to a large network of industry experts in the world of life sciences. We are first-time entrepreneurs, and we were eager to explore the life sciences world outside of academia. As seasoned scientists with experience in performing translational research, we felt that we were poised to utilize the MassCONNECT program and the support available through its expert network to its fullest to translate our scientific ideas into a compelling business case. Moreover, as the business was just starting out, we felt that MassCONNECT would provide a great way for us to expand our network and connect with the local life sciences and biotech industry, in addition to providing guidance on the process of fundraising and securing laboratory space in Massachusetts.

How does your idea/technology/product improve patient outcomes?

Promakhos Therapeutics is developing new drugs for inflammatory disorders. Current therapies are immunosuppressive, do not work very well, often require injection and can cause significant side effects. Instead of immunosuppression, we focus on local and controlled modulation of specific elements of the immune system to restore homeostasis. We use our expertise in immunology, cell biology, bacteriology, and drug discovery to develop oral immunomodulatory small molecules with limited side effects.

What are the biggest challenges you face as an emerging startup? How did MassCONNECT seek to address those?

The biggest challenge as an emerging therapeutics startup is no doubt the continuous need to secure financing. As a therapeutics company, the high upfront costs of starting laboratory operations and obtaining the required equipment as well as the limited ways to generate revenue can be especially prohibitive. Managing and establishing a plan to tackle this challenge is an intimidating task and often requires an integrated approach incorporating unique facets of an individual company. MassCONNECT is specifically focused on life sciences and provided us with key insights on fundraising that helped us break down our unique goals and needs. The in-depth discussions with our MassCONNECT mentors then provided us with clarity to plan and ultimately develop a solid fundraising strategy. Furthermore, the program significantly expanded our network.

The second biggest challenge as an emerging therapeutics company is translating the scientific vision and expertise into a compelling and clear business case. With its large network of leading industry experts of diverse backgrounds, MassCONNECT is perfectly poised to help founders develop their story with real-life feedback. The intense nature of the meetings and the background of the mentors helped us to communicate our scientific vision. As a result, the mentors were able to provide tailored business advice and perspectives. At the end of the program, we significantly refined our investor pitch, business strategy and our ability to tell our story to a diverse audience.

How has the Massachusetts ecosystem supported your efforts as a startup? What separates Massachusetts from other leading life sciences clusters across the United States?

The Massachusetts ecosystem is excellent for starting a biotech. As founders of Promakhos Therapeutics, we are both from different European countries and have had the privilege to carry out biomedical science in many different places. The quality, amount, depth, concentration, and resourcefulness of the scientific industry in Massachusetts is unparalleled. We cannot imagine a better environment to start a life sciences company. The high density of highly qualified industry experts, life science companies and translational and highly innovative research and medical institutes provides an astonishing breeding ground for scientific innovation and collaboration. On top of these resources, Massachusetts also has a rich history of industrial development, innovation, and initiatives and has a rich tradition in supporting its businesses and entrepreneurs through its open-minded vision and its focus on scientific rigor and discipline.

May 7, 2021

Promakhos Therapeutics engages with Morrison & Foerster LLP through the selective emerging growth company program

Boston, Massachusetts, United States of America

News

Announcement

Boston, Massachusetts, United States of America

May 7, 2021

Promakhos Therapeutics engages with Morrison & Foerster LLP through the selective emerging growth company program

Promakhos Therapeutics is excited to announce that it has been selected to engage with Morrison & Foerster LLP through their selective and exclusive emerging growth company program.

Morrison & Foerster LLP is a globally renowned, international law firm specialized in representing large corporations as well as leading technology and life sciences corporations. Its clients include some of the largest financial institutions, Fortune 100 companies, investment funds and high potential startup companies. Over the years, Morrison & Foerster LLP has supported the growth and development of many companies into leading industry players and household brands.

April 26, 2021

Join Promakhos Therapeutics at the final showcase event of the MassBIO® MassCONNECT® program Cycle I 2021

Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States of America

News

Announcement

Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States of America

April 26, 2021

Join Promakhos Therapeutics at the final showcase event of the MassBIO® MassCONNECT® program Cycle I 2021

Promakhos Therapeutics would like to invite you to our first public showcase event!
The event will be hosted by MassBio® as a virtual webinar on May 5, 2021, 12:00~1:30 PM EST.

Register here.

Participating Startups
Advanced Silicon Group
Promakhos Therapeutics
Unravel Biosciences

Agenda
12:00 PM Welcome
           Introductions from MassBio® & MassCONNECT® Sponsors
12:15 PM Company Presentations
           Advanced Silicon Group
           Promakhos Therapeutics
           Unravel Biosciences
12:45 PM Q&A and Networking
01:30 PM Close

About
MassCONNECT® is MassBio®'s flagship Innovation Services program. Innovation Services convenes, connects, and catalyzes innovation in the life sciences ecosystem, serving as a platform to source, accelerate, partner and fund innovation. MassCONNECT® is an entrepreneur mentorship program that matches entrepreneurs and founders with seasoned life sciences professionals as they seek to commercialize their technologies.

April 20, 2021

Promakhos Therapeutics starts laboratory operations at the Pagliuca Harvard Life Lab

Allston, Massachusetts, United States of America

News

Announcement

Allston, Massachusetts, United States of America

April 20, 2021

Promakhos Therapeutics starts laboratory operations at the Pagliuca Harvard Life Lab

Promakhos Therapeutics is excited to announce that its scientists have been selected to join the Harvard Pagliuca Life Lab for Spring 2021, with the option to extend its stay through an official application process in the summer.

The Pagliuca Harvard Life Lab is a fully equipped, shared wet laboratory space accompanied by a collaborative co-working office space for early-stage biotech and life science start-ups founded by Harvard students, alumni, faculty, and postdoctoral fellows. The Pagliuca Harvard Life Lab is part of the Harvard Innovation Labs and is located at Harvard's Allston Campus in Massachusetts, near the Harvard Business School. As part of the Harvard Innovation Labs ecosystem, ventures at the Harvard Pagliuca Life Lab have continued access to the business-building and industry-specific programming and the mentors and advisors available at the Harvard Innovation Labs.

The Pagliuca Harvard Life Lab was made possible by the support and generosity of Judy and Stephen Pagliuca and is operated in partnership with LabCentral.

March 13, 2021

Promakhos Therapeutics receives early seed investment from the Allston Venture Fund

Allston, Massachusetts, United States of America

News

Announcement

Allston, Massachusetts, United States of America

March 13, 2021

Promakhos Therapeutics receives early seed investment from the Allston Venture Fund

Promakhos Therapeutics is excited to announce today that the company will receive an early seed investment from the Allston Venture Fund.

Early March, the company presented its vision and scientific mission to the Allston Venture Fund Committee, which is made up of 6 partners from different venture firms operating in Massachusetts. Afterwards, the company received an unanimous decision by the Commitee to fund the company.

Although companies can present to the Allston Venture Fund through the Harvard Innovation Labs Venture Program, the fund operates independently from Harvard University and its independent committee is solely responsible for all investment decisions. No Harvard employee, faculty member or student serves on the Allston Venture Fund Committee.

February 26, 2021

Promakhos Therapeutics selected to participate in the First 2021 MassBio® MassCONNECT® Mentorship Program

Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States of America

News

Announcement

Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States of America

February 26, 2021

Promakhos Therapeutics selected to participate in the First 2021 MassBio® MassCONNECT® Mentorship Program

This week, Promakhos Therapeutics presented its scientific vision to a closed group of experienced biotech and business experts for the first time as part of a virtual showcase event for the MassBio® MassCONNECT® program.

The MassBio® MassCONNECT® program is a premier mentoring program in Massachusetts that is solely dedicated to serving the needs of early-stage entrepreneurs in the life sciences. During the virtual event, Promakhos Therapeutics, as well as two other early life science ventures, showcased its scientific concept to a group of ~30 industry experts for early feedback. After the event, each of the three ventures will be paired with a tailored group of mentors selected from the group of experts for an intense eight-week mentoring program to develop business plans, launch the company, and raise capital. At the end of the eight-week program, the teams will present in front of potential investors and partners during a public virtual event on May 5, 2021.

For more information please visit:

https://www.massbio.org/news/recent-news/massbio-launches-first-massconnect-mentorship-cycle-of-2021-with-three-life-sciences-startups/

January 27, 2021

Promakhos Therapeutics selected as semi-finalist for the Harvard President's Innovation Challenge

Allston, Massachusetts, United States of America

News

Announcement

Allston, Massachusetts, United States of America

January 27, 2021

Promakhos Therapeutics selected as semi-finalist for the Harvard President's Innovation Challenge

As a participant in the Harvard Innovation Labs Venture Program Spring 2021, Promakhos Therapeutics has been selected as a semi-finalist for the Harvard President's Innovation Challenge - Health & Life Sciences track. The Innovation challenge is a call to action, innovation and entrepreneurship – and an opportunity to win up to $75,000 (Grand Prize) or $25,000 (Runner-up) in non-dilutive funding. In March, a second evaluation round will be held in which semi-finalists update the program with their company's progress. In this second round, 15 teams are ultimately selected to enter a final pitching competition hosted at the end of April.

January 27, 2021

Promakhos Therapeutics joins the Harvard Venture Program for Spring 2021

Allston, Massachusetts, United States of America

News

Announcement

Allston, Massachusetts, United States of America

January 27, 2021

Promakhos Therapeutics joins the Harvard Venture Program for Spring 2021

Promakhos Therapeutics is excited to announce it will participate as a new Venture Team for the Spring 2021 season in the Harvard Innovation Labs Venture Program, a 3 month pre-accelerator program offered by Harvard University through the Harvard Business School. Promakhos Therapeutics will be part of the Build It track for Health & Sciences. The Harvard Venture Program provides Promakhos Therapeutics with a supportive community of business experts, mentors and advisors through the Harvard Innovation Labs ecosystem.

The program also offers access to key resources and competitive, non-dilutive funding opportunities. Most importantly, the program sets up the trajectory for Promakhos Therapeutics to compete in the Harvard Innovation Labs Spring 2021 President's Innovation Challenge and the Harvard Allston Venture Fund.

For more information about the Harvard Venture program-associated funding opportunities please visit:

https://innovationlabs.harvard.edu/funding-opportunities

Scientific advisory board

Joshua R. Korzenik, MD
Bio

Joshua R. Korzenik, MD

Brigham and Women's Hospital

Director of Crohn's and Colitis Center

Fred Mermelstein, PhD
Bio

Fred Mermelstein, PhD

Raqia Therapeutics, Inc.

CEO and President

Greg Erman, MBA
Bio

Greg Erman, MBA

EmpiraMed

CEO and President

Support

Partners & Memberships

Y CombinatorThe Allston Venture FundHarvard Innovation LabsMorrison FoersterMassBio

Network

Harvard UniversityBrigham and Women's HospitalIMBB-FORTH logo.
AstraZeneca Logo
Dana-Farber Cancer InstituteBroad InstituteKU Leuven logo.

Contact us

Thank you for your interest in Promakhos Therapeutics. You can submit an enquiry through the form below. Simply leave your name, email address and message. Once the form is submitted, we will review your enquiry and reach out using the listed email address or by following any special instructions described in your enquiry.
Fields marked with an asterisk (*) are required.
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
founders@promakhos.com
Pagliuca Harvard Life Lab
127 Western Avenue, Allston, MA 02134-1008
United States of America