Gregg Sando

Founder and CEO

After a successful, 22-year-long career in investment banking based in London and New York, Gregg completed his MSc degree in immunology at Imperial College School of Medicine, London.

Recognizing the significant progress taking place in the field of cellular immunotherapy, Gregg formed Cell Medica in collaboration with a small group of leading clinicians and immunologists who were pioneering this new type of medical treatment.

Gregg holds an MSc in immunology from Imperial College School of Medicine in London, as well as an MBA from the University of Chicago and a BA in biochemistry from Harvard University.

Karen Hodgkin

COO, Chief Operating Officer

Karen has over 30 years of experience in planning and running clinical trials, which has been invaluable in the creation of Cell Medica’s highly-efficient clinical operations and regulatory function. After working as SVP, Clinical Operations, Karen has moved to become Cell Medica’s COO in September 2016.

In the past, Karen has worked for Boehringer Ingelheim (UK), ICN Pharmaceuticals (UK) and British Biotech (UK/US) and as a clinical operations consultant in the US. Her experience spans a range of therapeutic applications and has been acquired whilst running single and multicenter studies globally.

Karen has a Diploma in Clinical Science from the University of Wales Institute of Science & Technology, an MSc in Bio pharmacy from King’s College London and a BSc in pharmacology from Leeds University in the UK.

Dr Holger Müller

SVP, Commercial Operations

Holger leads Cell Medica’s commercial activities, drawing on 15 years of experience in the pharmaceutical industry.

Holger was a consultant at Bain & Company, a leading global management consultancy, where his clients were predominantly pharmaceutical and private equity companies. Prior to joining Cell Medica, Holger held various commercial positions of increasing responsibility at Novartis Pharma, mainly in the areas of specialty drugs.

Holger is a Chartered Financial Analyst, a qualification he gained from the CFA Institute in the US. He has a PhD from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology and a Diploma in Chemistry from Leibniz University of Hanover.

Lynn Lester

SVP, Human Resources

When joining Cell Medica, Lynn brought over a decade of senior HR experience at leading UK biotechnology companies with her.

Prior to joining Cell Medica, Lynn held the position of Vice President of Human Resources at ApaTech, a UK-based orthobiologics firm. Before this, Lynn held the position of Senior Vice President of Human Resources and Business Operations at Cambridge Antibody Technology, one of the UK’s leading biotechnology companies. While at Cambridge Antibody Technology, Lynn was responsible for doubling the headcount and facilities following a takeover by AstraZeneca.

Lynn has an MBA and Diploma in Management from the Open Business School and a Certificate in Education from the University of Leeds in the UK.

Dr Ross Durland

SVP, Development

Ross has over 25 years of experience in the development of innovative therapeutic products and technologies and is responsible for spearheading the product development process at Cell Medica.

His experience includes eight years developing human gene therapies at Valentis, where he became Senior Director Preclinical Development. In this role, he led multisite, multidisciplinary product development teams, advancing two new gene therapy products from animal proof-of-concept to human clinical testing, and supported development of five additional clinical stage products through Phase IIb testing. He was also responsible for Valentis’ manufacturing and quality control functions in manufacturing products for preclinical and clinical testing. Ross also served as Vice President of Product Development at Altea Therapeutics, where he led preclinical and clinical development of two novel human transdermal therapeutic products.

Ross has a PhD in molecular biology from the University of California San Diego and a BS in biology from Texas A&M University.

Dr Kurt Gunter

Chief Medical Officer

Kurt has devoted his career to the development of cell and gene therapies and brings significant commercial experience to Cell Medica from his previous positions at Hospira, ViaCell, and Transkaryotic Therapies. At Cell Medica, Kurt is in charge of Clinical Operations, Medical and Scientific Affairs and Regulatory Affairs.

As past President of the International Society for Cellular Therapy (ISCT), Kurt played a worldwide leadership role in promoting understanding of the clinical, regulatory, manufacturing, and marketing requirements for the successful development of cell and gene therapies. Prior to his biotech career, he worked at the United States Food and Drug Administration as a Medical Officer in the Center for Biologics and was appointed Acting Deputy Director of the Division of Cell and Gene Therapy within the Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research.

Kurt earned his MD from the University of Kansas and also has a BS in biological sciences, with distinction, from Stanford University. His postdoctoral training included Johns Hopkins and the US National Institutes of Health.

Dr Alain Pralong

SVP, Manufacturing Operations

Alain has joined Cell Medica and brought 15 years of experience in manufacturing, process development and life cycle management with him.

After almost 10 years in manufacturing and process transfer of various therapies, Alain joined Crucell (Johnson & Johnson) as Vice President of Global Process Development. Subsequently, Alain joined GSK in the vaccine division as Vice President for New Product Introduction & Technical Life Cycle Management. Before joining Cell Medica, Alain was listed in the 100 most influential people in biopharmaceutical industry issued by The Medicine Maker.

Alain has obtained his PhD in molecular and cellular biology and Diploma in microbiology both at the University of Bern.

Dr Stefanos Theoharis

SVP, Corporate Development and Partnering

Stefanos joined Cell Medica to lead our partnering activities, bringing a combination of academic, business development, project management and finance skills.

Following his PhD, Stefanos worked as a post-doctoral researcher at Imperial College, whilst also working for six years in parallel as a paid consultant to the London Technology Network, a government-funded organization bridging the gap between industry and academia. Subsequently, Stefanos joined Lazard, the investment bank, as a member of the life science M&A team and then Roche Partnering, as Director of Emerging Technologies, where he participated in multiple licensing deals, with a focus on novel innovative technologies. He then joined Antisense Pharma as Head of BD. Prior to joining Cell Medica, Stefanos was CBO for apceth in Munich, where he was responsible for business development on the company’s first-in-man engineered cell therapy platform and its GMP manufacturing business, as well as project management, and communications.

Stefanos holds a PhD in gene therapy and immunology and a MSc in Molecular Medicine both from Imperial College.

Dr Thomas Hecht


Thomas is Chairman of the Supervisory Board since 2012. He was previously Vice President Marketing at Amgen Europe, Lucerne, Switzerland. Following his academic career, he held various positions of increasing responsibility in clinical development, medical affairs and marketing at Amgen between 1989 and 2002. Prior to joining the biopharmaceutical industry, he served as Co-Head of the Program for Bone Marrow Transplantation, University of Freiburg, Germany.

Today, he provides services to the pharmaceutical industry in clinical development/ marketing and licensing strategies.

He also serves as Chairman of Affimed N.V., Vaximm AG and as Member of the Board of Humabs BioMed AG. In 2009, with the acquisition by Alcon, he stepped down from the Chairmanship of ESBATech AG; and in 2015, with the acquisition by Baxter International Inc., from his post as Chairman of the Supervisory Council of SuppreMol GmbH.

Thomas earned his MD at the University of Freiburg.

Maina Bhaman

Non-Executive Director

Maina is Director of Healthcare Investments for Imperial Innovations and has extensive start-up experience gained through working at biotechnology ventures for over 10 years, both in the United States and the UK.

She has served as a board member for Molecular Vision and was previously a Senior Scientist at Celltech (formerly Oxford Glyco Sciences), where she was responsible for the successful management of several drug discovery projects.

Her experience in the United States includes Chimeric Therapies, a cell therapy start-up based in Philadelphia.

Maina has an MBA from the Tanaka Business School, Imperial College London and a BSc in biochemistry from the University of Texas.

Dr Nigel Burns

Non-Executive Director

Nigel has extensive experience in product and company management and has held a series of leadership roles, one of which was Senior Vice President at Cambridge Antibody Technology. Nigel has also held a number of Board level positions in companies such as Glythera and currently at Cell Medica. Additionally, he was formerly non-executive Director of Navion, Director and Founder of Nascient and, most recently, CEO and Founder of SweetSpot Therapeutics Ltd. Furthermore, he was an entrepreneur-in-residence for Imperial Innovations and has served on multiple national and international scientific and industry advisory boards and committees.

Nigel has a PhD in biophysics from King’s College, London and a BSc in biochemistry from Imperial College London.

Andrea Ponti

Non-Executive Director

Andrea is a Founder and Managing Partner of GHO Capital, a specialist investor in healthcare. He has three decades of investment banking experience, which has focused on healthcare since 1996.

Andrea created the European investment banking healthcare franchises of both JP Morgan and Goldman Sachs, advising on some of the most significant mergers and acquisitions for leading pharmaceutical, medical device, and hospital companies. He also advised emerging companies and private equity on mergers and acquisitions and debt or equity financing.

Prior to his role at GHO, Andrea was Vice Chairman of European Investment Banking and Global Co-head of Healthcare at JP Morgan. Previously, Andrea held the position of Partner, Managing Director at Goldman Sachs, and was responsible for a variety of roles, including membership of the company-wide Commitments Committee.

Andrea has a BA in economics from the University of North Carolina.

Gregg Sando

Founder and CEO

After a successful, 22-year-long career in investment banking based in London and New York, Gregg completed his MSc degree in immunology at Imperial College School of Medicine, London.

Recognizing the significant progress taking place in the field of cellular immunotherapy, Gregg formed Cell Medica in collaboration with a small group of leading clinicians and immunologists who were pioneering this new type of medical treatment.

Gregg holds an MSc in immunology from Imperial College School of Medicine in London, as well as an MBA from the University of Chicago and a BA in biochemistry from Harvard University.

Prof M. Lowdell

Prof. Lowdell is a Professor of Cell & Tissue Therapy and the Director of Cellular & Biobanking at the Royal Free Hospital, London. He is a member of the Cancer Biology and Translational Research Group, the Institute of Biomedical Engineering, and the University College London Centre for Stem Cells & Regenerative Medicine.

Prof S. Mackinnon

Prof. Mackinnon is a Professor of Hematology at University College London and heads the Bone Marrow and Stem Cell Program at University College Hospital, London.

Prof P. Moss

As professor of Hematology, Head of the Cancer Research UK Centre at the University of Birmingham, Chairman of the Cancer Research UK Clinical and Translational Research Committee, and Deputy Chairman of the Medical Research Council Infection and Immunity Board, Prof. Moss is a leading figure in the field of T-cell immunotherapy.

Prof C. Pusey

Prof. Pusey is the Head of both the Renal Section in the Department of Medicine and the Postgraduate Medicine Program at Imperial College London. He is also a Consultant Physician and the Lead Clinician in the Renal Directorate as well as holding a professorship in Medicine.

Prof S. Riddell

Prof. Riddell is a Professor of Medicine and Assistant Program Head of the Program in Immunology at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center. He has extensive knowledge in the fields of T cell immunotherapy and medical oncology.

Prof C. Rooney

Prof. Rooney is a Professor in the Department of Pediatrics, in the sections of Hematology-Oncology and Pathology & Immunology at the Baylor College of Medicine in Texas. T cell immunotherapy is her specialty.

Prof G. Screaton

Prof. Screaton holds the Chair in Medicine at Imperial College London and heads a department of over 900 research and support staff while continuing to perform ground-breaking T cell immunotherapy research.

His expertise in the fields of T cell biology and human immune responses to viruses allows Cell Medica to provide truly innovative therapies to patients.

Prof H. Stauss

Prof. Stauss is Professor of Tumor Immunology in the Division of Infection & Immunity of the Research Department of Immunology of the Faculty of Medical Sciences at University College Hospital, London.