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.

Scientific advisory board

Joshua R. Korzenik, M.D.
Bio

Joshua R. Korzenik, M.D.

Brigham and Women's Hospital

Joshua R. Korzenik, M.D.

Assistant Professor of Medicine
Harvard Medical School

Director of the Crohn's and Colitis Center
Brigham and Women's Hospital

Director of the Resnek Family Center for Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis Research
Brigham and Women's Hospital

Joshua R. Korzenik, M.D.

Dr. Korzenik is a specialist in Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Endoscopy that focuses on developing new therapies for inflammatory bowel disease and primary sclerosing cholangitis. He is also well recognized for his compassion and dedication to his patients and for his integrative team approach to patient care. He is an Assistant Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, the Director of the Crohn's and Colitis Center at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and the Director of the Resnek Family Center for Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis Research at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

Dr. Korzenik has been involved in inflammatory bowel disease research and patient care for almost 25 years. His insights in Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis have opened new avenues of research and possible therapies, and he was among the first investigators to research the intestinal microbiome for clues about the role it may play in the development of inflammatory bowel disease as well as in its management through nutrition and therapeutics. Dr. Korzenik is an author of over 100 peer-reviewed articles and research papers and frequently speaks at professional meetings. He was named Humanitarian of the Year in 2013 by the New England Chapter of the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America and was awarded the Torch of Friendship in 1999 by the Mid-America Chapter in St. Louis. Moreover, he has sequentially been selected as a Top Doctor by Boston Magazine in 2016, 2017, 2019, 2020 and 2021.

Dr. Korzenik has led and was involved in many major clinical trials of new therapies for inflammatory bowel disease. For example, he has initiated a different therapeutic approach to Crohn’s disease through a set of multi-center clinical studies utilizing granulocyte colony stimulating factor (G-CSF) and granulocyte macrophagecolony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF) as therapeutic agents. In addition, based on an understanding of ulcerative colitis as a vascular disease and under-appreciated properties of heparin, he has previously developed clinical trials using heparin for the treatment of ulcerative colitis. His research has also focused on uncovering better biomarkers that can guide drug development and determine which interventions tested in clinical trials may be most effective and on understanding what initiates and perpetuates inflammation.

Jean-Frédéric Colombel, M.D.
Bio

Jean-Frédéric Colombel, M.D.

Mount Sinai

Jean-Frédéric Colombel, M.D.

Professor of Medicine
Icahn School of Medicine, Mount Sinai

Director of the Susan and Leonard Feinstein Inflammatory Bowel Disease Clinical Center
Mount Sinai

Director of the Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Inflammatory Bowel Disease Research Center
Mount Sinai

Jean-Frédéric Colombel, M.D.

Dr. Colombel is a world-renowned specialist in gastroenterology and immunology and a leading authority in inflammatory bowel disease. He is a Professor of Medicine at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, the Director of the Susan and Leonard Feinstein Inflammatory Bowel Disease Clinical Center and the Director of the Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Inflammatory Bowel Disease Research Center.

Dr. Colombel started as a gastroenterologist in Lille, France. He has been leading inflammatory bowel disease research for over 35 years and was previously the President of the European Crohn’s and Colitis Organization (ECCO) (2008–2010) and Chair of the International Organization for the Study of Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IOIBD) (2010–2012). He has been awarded the United European Gastroenterology Federation (UEGF) Research Prize in 2009, the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation (CCF) Clinical Research Award in 2014 and the Sherman Prize in 2018. His research is perhaps most well-known for his contributions to the identification of major susceptibility genes for the development of Crohn's disease, the identification of a new subtype of Escherichia coli associated with Crohn's disease, as well as the development of the Anti-Saccharomyces Cerevisiae Antibody (ASCA) test. Dr. Colombel has authored over 980 peer-reviewed papers, is a current associate editor of Gastroenterology and has also been an associate editor of other major gastroenterology journals including Gut and Alimentary Pharmacology and Therapeutics.

Dr. Colombel has proven to be an adept builder of multidisciplinary teams who think creatively about developing new solutions and is a strong supporter of national and international collaborative research. As a clinician and researcher, he focuses on advancing the understanding of inflammatory bowel disease and on supporting the development of effective treatments through multi-disciplinary research efforts as well as public-private consortia. He implements and leads major clinical trials and he is dedicated to provide comprehensive care to all inflammatory bowel diseases patients.

News

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

Support

Partners & Memberships

Y CombinatorThe Allston Venture FundHarvard Innovation LabsMorrison FoersterMassBio

Network

Harvard UniversityBrigham and Women's HospitalIMBB-FORTH 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.
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founders@promakhos.com
Pagliuca Harvard Life Lab
127 Western Avenue, Allston, MA 02134-1008
United States of America