Developing precision imaging products that determine patient response

Cytosite Bio is developing precision imaging products that determine patient response to immuno-oncology therapy very early in the treatment cycle. Our products detect active Granzyme B, the primary element responsible for the killing of tumor cells by the immune system. Our products enable individually-optimized treatments for patients, and more rapid evaluation of new drugs and drug combinations, using non-invasive, whole-body PET imaging.

 
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About Us

Immunotherapy has already been transformative in cancer care, yet between 60 and 85% of patients receiving these therapies do not respond to their treatments. They often suffer severely toxic side effects, while their cancer continues to progress. A different drug, or combination of drugs, might help them, but it takes months to see whether or not their immunotherapy regimen is working.

At Cytosite Bio, we are developing important new precision imaging products that determine early in the treatment process whether a patient’s immunotherapy regimen is working for them. In clinical practice, our products will enable doctors and patients to optimize treatment and save lives. In industry, our products will enable drug developers to rapidly evaluate new drugs and drug combinations.

Learn more about our science and the role of Granzyme B

 

Leadership 

TEAM

CytoSite Bio’s founders bring success in biotechnology, world leadership in science and unique access to top clinical and research thought leaders in immuno-oncology. Click to learn more about our team:

  • JIM JENSON, PhD, Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer

    • Dr. Jenson is a life-science entrepreneur and executive with over 30 years’ experience in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries.

      Previously, Jim was CEO and co-Founder of Dicerna Pharmaceuticals, Inc. in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Dicerna (DRNA) is now a public company following a highly successful IPO, and is developing novel therapeutics for multiple indications based on ‘Dicer Substrate’ technology, which makes use of the RNA interference mechanism (RNAi).

      Prior to Dicerna, Jim was CEO and co-Founder of Zapaq Inc., which later merged with another company to form CoMentis. The Company’s brain-accessible beta-secretase enzyme inhibitor was licensed to Astellas in one of the largest deals of its kind. Earlier in his career Jim served in a variety of roles at Procept (VP, Chief Scientific Officer); Triton Biosciences (Director of Protein Chemistry and Chairman Scientific Advisory Board), acquired by Schering A.G.; and Hoffmann-LaRoche, Nutley NJ (Head Molecular Immunology).

      Jim holds a PhD in Biology and Biochemistry from Cornell University and a BA in Biology from Macalester College.

  • UMAR MAHMOOD, MD, PhD, Co-founder

    • Dr. Mahmood is a world-renowned expert in application of nuclear medicine to tumor imaging and leading researcher of the application of Granzyme B as a predictor of immunotherapy response. He is a co-founder of CytoSite and co-inventor of the CytoSite technology.

      Umar is vice chair for precision imaging in the Department of Radiology at Massachusetts General Hospital and professor of radiology at Harvard Medical School. He has received more than $20 million in grant funding as principal investigator, and has focused on translational efforts to better understand drivers of cancer, including the tumor microenvironment, cancer signaling pathways, changes in cancer metabolism, and the interaction of the immune system with tumors. He has received the Distinguished Investigator award from the Academy for Radiology & Biomedical Imaging Research and has delivered the SNMMI Henry N. Wagner Jr., M.D., Highlights Lecture in Oncology. He is a Fellow of the American College of Radiology and a Fellow of the Society of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging.

      Umar earned his bachelor's degree from the California Institute of Technology, and his medical degree and doctorate in biophysics and physiology from Cornell University. His doctoral and postdoctoral work at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center focused on tumor energetics and membrane physiology. He performed his radiology residency at MGH, and has served on the Radiology faculty at MGH for more than 15 years.

  • BENJAMIN LARIMER, PhD, Co-founder

    • Dr. Larimer is an expert in T cell imaging and Assistant Professor of Radiology at the University of Alabama Birmingham. Ben received his PhD in biochemistry from the University of Missouri in May 2014. Following completion of his degree, he held a postdoctoral fellowship at Massachusetts General Hospital with the Harvard School of Medicine in the laboratory of Dr. Umar Mahmood. His research has focused on the discovery of novel cancer targeting peptides for molecular imaging using phage display technology. He is a co-founder of CytoSite and a co-inventor of the CytoSite technology.

  • ERIC P. WEHRENGERG-KLEE, MD, Co-founder

    • Dr. Wehrenberg-Klee is a interventional radiologist and molecular imaging researcher at Massachusetts General Hospital and an expert in molecular imaging of cancer surface receptors. He is a co-inventor of the Granzyme B PET imaging probe and a co-founder of CytoSite.

      Eric completed his radiology residency and interventional radiology fellowship at Massachusetts General Hospital. He received his medical education at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine after earning his undergraduate degree in Chemistry at Harvard University.

  • JAMES KRONAUGE, PhD, Pharmaceutical Development

    • Dr. Kronauge has thirty years of experience developing radiopharmaceuticals for medical imaging, most recently as Senior Director at InviCRO, a contract research organization preeminent in the use of imaging for translational drug discovery and development. Prior to InviCRO, Jim was at Molecular Insight Pharmaceuticals, first as Director of Research and Development and later specializing in chemical process development for pre-clinical and clinical studies. Earlier in his career, Jim was Assistant Professor of Radiology at the Harvard Medical School for 13 years. He earned an PhD in inorganic chemistry from MIT.

  • GEOFFREY BILCER, PhD, Medicinal Chemistry

    • Dr. Bilcer has more than 20 years experience working in the aspartic protease field with more than a decade in the pharmaceutical industry. In 2003, as a founding member of Zapaq, Inc., a predecessor to CoMentis and Alpharmagen, Geoff directed the medicinal chemistry group in its discovery of BACE inhibitors for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease, resulting in the first BACE inhibitor to enter human clinical trials. During this process, he managed the medicinal chemistry efforts in the US and, from 2008, with partners in Japan. In addition to the BACE program, he also managed the discovery efforts for the Alpharmagen α7 nicotinic acetylcholine receptor projects. Throughout his medicinal chemistry career, Geoff has also been responsible for maintaining the company’s extensive patent portfolio.

      Geoff completed his BA degree in chemistry at Northwestern University and his Ph.D. at the University of Illinois at Chicago. He is a co-author of more than 15 scientific publications as well as an inventor on numerous patents in the US and worldwide.

  • TERENCE A. KELLY, PhD, Medicinal Chemistry

    • Dr. Kelly is a scientific leader with both Pharma and Biotech experience and a track record of delivering high quality compounds into advanced clinical studies. He is expert in chemistry, disease biology and the enabling technologies needed for innovative and efficient drug discovery from lead identification through clinical development.

      Between 1990 and 2009, Terry served in various scientific and executive positions at Boehringer Ingelheim, where after a successful early career developing LFA-1 antagonists, he led its US-based medicinal chemistry department comprising 145 scientists. From 2010 – 2016 he was the CEO and CSO of CoMentis, Inc, a venture-backed biotech focusing on treating cognitive disorders. He is a founder of Kelly Pharma Research Consulting, LLC and has served as a director of Cardax, Inc. since June 2014.

      Terry holds a B.S. degree in Chemistry from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and a Ph.D. degree in Chemistry from the University of Texas at Austin. He completed postdoctoral work in natural products synthesis at Yale University and holds an MBA from New York University. He is the co-author of over 25 scientific publications and served on the College of Natural Sciences Advisory Council for the University of Texas.

 

BOARD OF DIRECTORS

 

CytoSite Bio’s Board of Directors support our team with deep knowledge of the science and business of innovation in life sciences.

  • MICHEL CHU

    • Michel Chu is General Partner of Acorn Campus Taiwan, a venture fund focusing on early-stage life science opportunities. He is a serial entrepreneur with deep domain expertise in drug development and medical devices, as well as in diverse fields from mobile internet to cloud computing. 

    • Prior to his fifteen years financing early stage ventures, Michel founded GigaMedia (NASDAQ: GIGM).  He led the company through a $4.5 billion IPO in 2000, the largest non-US Internet IPO at that time. Michel also serves as the Chief Innovation Officer of BioMedTW, the Taiwan government’s task force to oversee, facilitate and accelerate Taiwan’s life science industry.  Michel is on the adjunct faculty of National Taiwan University, where he teaches courses on BioDesign for Medical Devices, Multi-sided Platforms, Entrepreneurship, Group Dynamics and Leadership.

  • ROBERT GAILUS

    • Bob Gailus is a venture investor with 35 years of venture investing experience. In 1983 he was a founding member of Schroder Ventures/U.S., the venture affiliate of Schroders, London. Bob has invested in 80 early-stage companies; in the biotech sector, investments have included the Seed and/or A Round in Celgene, Cell Therapeutics, Incyte Pharmaceuticals, and Neurogen; and more recently Cognition Therapeutics, TetraGenetics and Thrive Bioscience.  He has served on the boards of numerous companies at all stages of development.  Bob earned a BA from Columbia College, where he was an Academic All-American, and an MBA from the Columbia University Business School.

  • MARK MINTUN

    • Dr. Mark Mintun is President of Avid Radiopharmaceuticals, a subsidiary of Eli Lilly and Company.   He oversees the implementation of the overall corporate strategy and leads the development process for all of Avid’s imaging agents. Previously, he joined the company as Chief Medical Officer to lead clinical development programs for PET tracers for detecting and localizing tau deposits, beta-amyloid plaques, VMAT2 visualization, and other biomarker targets.

    • Mark has been involved in PET research for the past 35 years. He earned a B.S. in chemical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, received his medical degree at Washington University School of Medicine, and completed a research fellowship in neurology and residency training in nuclear medicine. Prior to Avid, Dr. Mintun was Professor and Vice-Chair of radiology at the Mallinckrodt Institute of Radiology at the Washington University School of Medicine, with joint appointments in the Psychiatry, Neurology, Bioengineering, and Anatomy and Neurobiology Departments. In addition to his own NIH-funded research projects, he was Director of the Center for Clinical Imaging Research, Principal Investigator of the NINDS Center Core for Brain Imaging, and Director of the Neuroimaging Core of the Human Aging and Senile Dementia Program Project with Washington University's Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center.

  • STEPHEN SANDS

    • Stephen Sands is Vice Chairman of Investment Banking and Chairman of the Global Healthcare Group at Lazard, the world’s largest independent investment bank.  He has provided strategic and financial advice to senior executives and boards of directors at leading healthcare and life sciences companies for over 25 years. Prior to joining Lazard, Stephen was a Partner in the health care practice of McKinsey & Company. During his career, he has co-founded two life sciences companies: Enzytech (acquired by Alkermes) and Opta Food Ingredients (acquired by Stake Technology). Stephen has also served as director on the boards of several life sciences companies, including National Imaging Associates, Inc. (Acquired by Magellan Health Services company), Isogen LLC (acquired by Monsanto), and Cognition Therapeutics (Alzheimer’s disease).  He has served as board member or advisor to numerous non-profits, academic and professional counsels, and advisory committees.  He earned a B.A. in Biology from Oberlin College, a B.S. and M.S. in Chemical Engineering from Washington University in St. Louis, and a M.B.A. in Finance from New York University

  • JIM JENSON

    • Dr. Jenson is a life-science entrepreneur and executive with over 30 years’ experience in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries. 

    • Previously, Jim was CEO and co-Founder of Dicerna Pharmaceuticals, Inc. in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Dicerna (DRNA) is now a public company following a highly successful IPO, and is developing novel therapeutics for multiple indications based on ‘Dicer Substrate’ technology, which makes use of the RNA interference mechanism (RNAi).

    • Prior to Dicerna, Jim was CEO and co-Founder of Zapaq Inc., which later merged with another company to form CoMentis. The Company’s brain-accessible beta-secretase enzyme inhibitor was licensed to Astellas in one of the largest deals of its kind.  Earlier in his career Jim served in a variety of roles at Procept (VP, Chief Scientific Officer); Triton Biosciences (Director of Protein Chemistry and Chairman Scientific Advisory Board), acquired by Schering A.G.; and Hoffmann-LaRoche, Nutley NJ (Head Molecular Immunology).

    • Jim holds a PhD in Biology and Biochemistry from Cornell University and a BA in Biology from Macalester College.

 
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Science

At CytoSite Bio, we are pioneering the development of products that detect active Granzyme B, the primary element responsible for the killing of tumor cells by the immune system. By visualizing Granzyme B in a PET scan, we are able to detect active T-cell or NK cell activity.

Granzyme B is a downstream effector of tumoral cytotoxic T cells that is released by CD8+ T cells and natural killer cells during the cellular immune response. It is the primary mechanism used by T cells to “kill” cancerous cells. Peer-reviewed research indicates that if Granzyme B is found in the tumor’s microenvironment, immunotherapy treatment is working. If Granzyme B is not present, then the patient will not respond to the course of treatment. By gaining this knowledge quickly, clinicians can avoid subjecting the patient to a futile treatment with toxic side effects and may move them to a different regimen that might be more effective.