Press Releases

TScan Therapeutics Adds to Executive Leadership Team and Board of Directors

May 27, 2021

Bill Desmarais, Ph.D., MBA, named Chief Business Officer, bringing more than 20 years of business development and partnering experience

Oncology drug development veteran Gabriela Gruia, M.D., appointed to Board of Directors

Timothy Barberich named Chair of Board of Directors

WALTHAM, Mass., May 27, 2021 – TScan Therapeutics, Inc. (TScan), a biopharmaceutical company focused on the development of T-cell receptor (TCR) engineered T cell therapies (TCR-T) for the treatment of patients with cancer, today announced the appointments of Bill Desmarais, Ph.D., MBA, as Chief Business Officer, and Gabriela Gruia, M.D., to its Board of Directors. Dr. Desmarais brings more than 20 years of business development, partnering, and research experience to TScan, including his most recent role as Vice President of Business Development of Momenta Pharmaceuticals, where he spearheaded the Company’s partnering strategy that led to Momenta’s $6.5 billion acquisition by Johnson & Johnson. Dr. Gruia is a seasoned oncology drug development executive with more than 25 years of global regulatory and research experience, including at Novartis as Global Head of Drug Regulatory, Oncology. The Company also named Timothy Barberich, the founder and former Chair and CEO of Sepracor Inc. and member of TScan’s Board, as Chair of the Board of Directors.

“We are thrilled to welcome Bill and Gabriela to the TScan team as we continue to advance our pipeline of TCR-T therapies to the clinic for cancers with significant unmet need,” said David Southwell, Chief Executive Officer and President at TScan. “Bill’s proven track record of securing key corporate partnerships and licensing collaborations throughout his 20-year career at leading biopharmaceutical companies will be invaluable to TScan as we look to maximize the full potential of our discovery platform in oncology and in other therapeutic areas, including autoimmune disorders and infectious diseases. Gabriela is an accomplished oncology drug developer that spearheaded the worldwide regulatory approval of 12 novel therapeutics throughout her 16-year career at Novartis. We look forward to working with her on our Board. Additionally, we are pleased to have Tim Barberich’s leadership as Chair of TScan’s Board as we continue to progress our programs.”

“I look forward to leading TScan’s efforts to work with strategic partners to further unlock the potential of our target discovery platform across the domains of oncology, autoimmune and infectious disease,” said Dr. Desmarais.

“TScan has a strong commitment to improving the lives of cancer patients. I am honored to join TScan’s Board of Directors and believe my oncology drug development and regulatory expertise will be beneficial in helping advance TScan’s pipeline of TCR-T therapies through the clinic,” said Dr. Gruia.

Prior to joining TScan, Dr. Desmarais served as Vice President of Business Development of Momenta Pharmaceuticals. Before Momenta, Dr. Desmarais spent 11 years in roles of increasing responsibility within business development and research and development at Eli Lilly & Co. At Lilly, Dr. Desmarais oversaw regional licensing, promotion and distribution, and co-marketing deals in South Korea, Latin America, Russia, and Japan, assisted in drug repositioning efforts and academic collaborations, and managed the scientific pre-due diligence process for potential partnering opportunities. He received his Ph.D. in Biophysics and Structural Biology from Brandeis University, an MBA from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a B.S. in Cell and Developmental Biology from Purdue University. 

Dr. Gruia most recently served as Chief Development Officer at Ichnos Sciences, where she oversaw regulatory sciences, clinical operations, drug safety, clinical pharmacology, biostatistics and clinical outsourcing. Prior to joining Ichnos, Dr. Gruia spent 16 years at Novartis where she served in several senior roles of increasing responsibility, including Senior Vice President and Global Head of Drug Regulatory Affairs Oncology and Head of Medical Writing and Submissions. At Novartis, Dr. Gruia led the world class oncology regulatory affairs organization of approximately 120 associates and managed all regulatory activities in close partnership with research collaborators, preclinical development, the development organization and senior management. Previously, Dr. Gruia held oncology research and development roles at Pfizer, Pharmacia, Aventis and Rhone Poulenc Rorer. Dr. Gruia received her doctorate in medicine from Bucharest Medical School in Romania and a Masters in Breast Pathology and Mammography from Rene Huguenin/Curie Institute Cancer Center in Paris, France. She received her training in oncology and hematology from Rene Descartes University in Paris, France.

Mr. Barberich is founder and former Chair and CEO of Sepracor Inc., a research-based pharmaceutical company which was acquired by Dainippon Sumitomo Pharma Co., Ltd. in 2009 and is now known as Sunovion Pharmaceuticals. Mr. Barberich served as CEO of Sepracor from 1984 to 2007 and as Chair of the Board from 1990 to 2009. Prior to founding Sepracor, Mr. Barberich spent 10 years as a senior executive at Millipore Corporation. He holds a B.S. in chemistry from Kings College.

About TScan Therapeutics

TScan is a biopharmaceutical company focused on the development of T-cell receptor (TCR) engineered T cell therapies (TCR-T) for the treatment of patients with cancer. The company’s lead liquid tumor TCR-T therapy candidates, TSC-100 and TSC-101, are in development for the treatment of patients with hematologic malignancies to eliminate residual leukemia and prevent relapse after hematopoietic stem cell transplantation. The company is also developing multiplexed TCR-T therapy candidates for the treatment of various solid tumors.   

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David Rosen
Argot Partners

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Sherri Spear
Argot Partners