President & CEO, Director and Co-Founder
Grant has nearly 30 years of experience in the pharmaceutical and biotech arena having responsibility for multiple vaccine and immunotherapeutic drug approvals and the formation and financing of multiple successful platform companies. Prior to starting SutroVax, Mr. Pickering was the CEO of Mymetics Corporation, a public European-based vaccine company developing a prophylactic RSV vaccine, based on a virosomal platform technology. Prior to that he was an executive-in-residence at Kleiner, Perkins, Caufield & Byers, while serving as the CEO at Juvaris BioTherapeutics, whose immunotherapeutic and vaccine adjuvant platform yielded multiple animal health products launched by its alliance partner Bayer HealthCare, including Zelnate® and Victrio®. Prior to Juvaris, Mr. Pickering spent many years at Dendreon Corporation where he played a prominent role in the company’s IPO and led clinical development, operations and business development culminating in the launch of the therapeutic prostate cancer vaccine, Provenge®. He also led marketing and business development for the pain management platform company, Algos Pharmaceutical Corporation, which was acquired by Endo Pharmaceuticals. Mr. Pickering began his career at Glaxo and Johnson & Johnson in sales, marketing and clinical research roles culminating in the launches of Flonase® and Floxin®. Mr. Pickering earned his BS degree in marketing from The Pennsylvania State University and his MBA from Georgetown University with high honors. Outside of SutroVax, Grant enjoys spending time with his wife and kids, living vicariously through their soccer triumphs, and gives back through mentoring and supporting education both domestically and in developing countries. His loyalty was finally rewarded when his hometown team, the Kansas City Royals, won the World Series.
Jeff Fairman, PhD
Vice President of Research and Co-Founder
Jeff has over 20 years of experience in the biotech arena having led research at multiple platform companies he’s co-founded resulting in multiple clinical candidates and approved vaccines and immunotherapeutics. Prior to SutroVax, Jeff was the founder and Vice President of Research at Juvaris BioTherapeutics, whose immunotherapeutic & vaccine adjuvant platform yielded multiple animal health products launched by its alliance partner Bayer HealthCare, including Zelnate® and Victrio®. While at Juvaris, Jeff was the recipient of major grant funding from multiple sources, including NIH and NCI, supporting substantial pre-clinical programs and multiple clinical studies. He was responsible for research activities resulting in multiple clinical candidates and the approved animal health products. Prior to Juvaris, Jeff was the Director of Pharmacogenomics at Clingenix and Senior Scientist at Valentis. Dr. Fairman has a PhD in Chemistry and his postdoctoral training was in the genetics of leukemia at MD Anderson Cancer Center. Jeff enjoys spending time with his wife and daughter and has put his amateur taekwondo career on hold, for the time being, to be courtside rooting for his daughter’s school and club volleyball teams.
Durga P Bobba, MBA
Chief Business Officer
Durga has over 25 years of global commercial biopharma experience with leading roles in marketing, product development, alliance management and business development at major pharmaceutical companies including Merck & Co., Inc., Genentech, Inc. (now Roche) and Amgen Inc. During his 15 years at Merck, he held U.S. and global leadership roles that included U.S. brand management, business development and emerging markets with increasing responsibility. As Senior Director of International Commercial Operations, the first head of Alliance Management and later Executive Director for the Eastern Europe Middle East and Africa region, Mr. Bobba had P&L responsibility for the full Merck vaccine portfolio in over 80 markets. Mr. Bobba supported the ex-US launches of Gardasil®, RotaTeq® and Pneumovax 23® (the pneumococcal vaccine recommended for use with Prevnar 13 in adults in the U.S.) and helped Merck Vaccines quadruple annual sales to $4 billion to become the world’s number one vaccine company. In addition to his vaccine experience, Mr. Bobba held leadership positions at Genentech and Amgen, with responsibility for brand decision support and global marketing for products with revenues totaling over $25 billion. Prior to joining SutroVax, Mr. Bobba was most recently the head of marketing for MyoKardia and Vice President, Project Team Leader for Mavacamten, a Phase II orphan drug for hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. Mr. Bobba received a B.B.A. in international business from the George Washington University and an M.B.A. from Georgetown University. Durga is an athletic booster for his children’s high school and enjoys CrossFit.
Alan Kimura, MD, PhD
Chief Medical Officer
Alan has extensive experience from a 28-year drug development career in both large pharmaceutical organizations and small biotech companies. He is a veteran in the development and execution of clinical development programs for vaccines and rare disease therapeutics. Dr. Kimura had a prominent role in the development of Prevnar® (the 7-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine) at Wyeth Vaccines and Bexsero® at Novartis Vaccines, and Elaprase® for the treatment of Hunter syndrome at Transkaryotic Therapies (now Shire). Prior to joining SutroVax, Dr. Kimura served as Vice President, Clinical Development at Translate Bio and then Senior Medical Director of Global Clinical Development at Shire and Novartis Vaccines. Prior to Novartis, Dr. Kimura served as Vice President, Clinical Development and Medical Affairs at Altus Pharmaceuticals, and also held various positions in clinical research and medical affairs at Transkaryotic Therapies, Biochem Pharma, SmithKline Beecham Biologicals and Wyeth Vaccines. He has authored more than 30 publications and book chapters on vaccines and rare diseases. Dr. Kimura received his M.D. from the University of Miami School of Medicine; an M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of California at Davis; and a B.A. from the University of California at Berkeley.
Elaine D Sun, MBA
Chief Financial Officer
Ms. Sun is a veteran strategic financial and business advisor with more than two decades of experience in the life sciences industry. Prior to joining SutroVax, she served as Managing Director and head of West Coast health care for Evercore Partners, a leading independent investment banking advisory firm, where she led biotechnology coverage. Prior to Evercore, Ms. Sun was a Managing Director at Merrill Lynch and Co. in the Healthcare Investment Banking Group, advising large-cap pharmaceutical, biotechnology and specialty pharmaceutical companies on a range of strategic and financing transactions. During her investment banking tenure, Ms. Sun advised on M&A and financing transactions representing over $50 billion in aggregate transaction value. Most recently, Ms. Sun built a successful consulting practice, advising venture-backed companies on a range of strategic, financing, partnering and M&A decisions. Ms. Sun received a B.A. in Economics and Japanese Studies from Wellesley College and an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School.
Paul W Sauer, MBA
Vice President, Process Development & Manufacturing
Paul has over 30 years of experience industrializing biologics for numerous biotechnology companies. Prior to joining SutroVax, Paul was VP of Process Sciences & Manufacturing at Igenica Biotherapeutics, where he initiated the company’s development activities and built its supply chain network for GMP manufacturing of its antibody drug conjugates. Prior to that, Paul was Senior Director of Process Development at OncoMed Pharmaceuticals, where he contributed to multiple IND filings for the company’s antibody-based oncology therapies. He also held various process, engineering, scale-up, and manufacturing positions at Protein Design Labs, Scios, and Genentech. Through the years, Paul has contributed to numerous approved biologics, including Genentech’s Activase® and Pulmozyme®. He also contributed significantly to the development of the patented high-yield process that formed the basis for production of Abbvie and Biogen’s ZinbrytaTM, a humanized antibody approved for the treatment of Multiple Sclerosis. Paul earned an MBA at Santa Clara University and a BS in Genetics from the University of California, Davis. Paul enjoys spending quality time with his family and helping his wife with her non-profit organization focused on transforming health through diet.
Aron Stein, PhD
Vice President, Regulatory Affairs and Quality Assurance
Aron has 30 years of product development experience in pharmaceutical and biotechnology having responsibility for multiple drug approvals in both large and small companies. Prior to starting at SutroVax, Dr. Stein was the Vice President of Regulatory Affairs of Bavarian Nordic, a public Danish-based vaccine company developing viral-vector vaccines for use in infectious disease and immune-oncology. While at Bavarian, Dr. Stein established the global regulatory function in the US and EU, successfully negotiation with Health Authorities on the registration requirements for Imvamune, a smallpox vaccine and for Prostvac, an immunotherapy for prostate cancer, and the commissioning of a new manufacturing suite. Prior to Bavarian Nordic, Dr. Stein has served in Vice President roles in Regulatory Affairs and Quality Assurance at Ionis Pharmaceuticals (formerly Isis), Abbott Laboratories, and Sequus Pharmaceuticals. Prior to that, he was the director of Regulatory Affairs at Pfizer Pharmaceuticals and a manager of Regulatory Affairs with DuPont-Merck Pharmaceuticals. Aron joined DuPont as a toxicologist in 1986. Strategic FDA initiatives involved partnering with FDA to develop CDER Guidance and reintroduction of marketed products (Abbokinase®). Project specific regulatory strategies have led to rapid registration for multiple drug products including Doxil®, Viagra®, Tikosyn®, and supplements for Diflucan®, Zoloft®, and Zithromax®. Aron earned his B.S. and PhD at Texas A&M University. Outside of SutroVax, Aron enjoys gardening and travel with his wife.