Hafiz Ahmed, Ph.D.
Founder, President & CEO
Dr. Ahmed is an experienced scientist and prior faculty member at the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB). He is an expert in protein chemistry, oncology/onco-immunology, and glycobiology, particularly protein-carbohydrate interactions in cancer and metabolic disease. At the UMB, he implemented both short and long-term strategic R&D programs which led to the identification of a high-affinity glycopeptide – a promising anti-metastatic agent for the treatment of various cancers, including prostate adenocarcinoma. He founded GlycoMantra, Inc. based on this technology and has continued the discovery and pre-clinical development program on a commercial pathway. He is passionate about this technology and remains the driving force behind the program. So far, he successfully led cancer and fibrosis programs that achieved preclinical validation. He participated in the NIH I-CORPS and NCI Investor Initiative programs, and TEDCO Executive Roundtables. Dr. Ahmed has published 90 peer-reviewed original articles in high impact journals including PNAS, Biomaterials, Journal of Immunology, JBC, and Oncotarget. He authored a book on protein techniques, edited “Glycobiology of Cancer”, and co-edited a book on animal lectins. He is a lead inventor of 5 US patents and is currently serving as an editorial board member of 5 journals and reviewer of many reputed journals. He has served as PI of ten grants (federal and state) and secured $1.7 Million for GlycoMantra totaling over $5 Million as PI/Co-PI.
Elizabeth Smith, Ph.D., MBA
Executive Director of Partnering and Strategy
Dr. Smith has over 20 years experience assisting biotech companies in corporate business development activities. At Celsion, an oncology therapeutics company, she led the ThermoDox®+ MRgHIFU non-clinical program for metastatic bone pain palliation in partnership with Philips Healthcare. This was the first ever non-approved Drug-Device combination to receive phase II IND clearance from the FDA. At Celsion, she also strategically managed the intellectual property portfolio, grants programs, the scientific advisory board and in-licensing opportunities. Before Celsion, she worked for 5 years in The University of Chicago technology transfer office where she managed out-licensing and start-up efforts for over 30 patent portfolios from The Division of Biological Sciences. Through SoMax Consulting, she currently works with many start-ups in the Maryland biotechnology incubator system and is a preferred provider at the Germantown Innovation Center, the Frederick Innovative Technology Center and bwtech@UMBC Research & Technology Park. She is a member of the TEDCO Maryland Entrepreneurial Resource List, and grant reviewer for NIH SBIR/STTR Commercialization Readiness Pilot (CRP) and previous corporate partner and reviewer for the Invest Maryland Challenge. She is a mentor for the Freedom from Cancer Startup Challenge. Dr. Smith has written over two-dozen pharmaceutical and biotechnology commercialization plans and has helped to secure over $10 Million in non-dilutive funding.
Khairul Anam, Ph.D.
Chief Operating Officer
Dr. Anam has extensive expertise in immunology and stem cell therapy, and over 18 years of research experience with a focus on vaccine development, stem cell mediated immunomodulation and wound healing. In his prior position at the Navy Medical Research Center, he successfully wrote grants and secured $1.5 Million as a Co-PI. He has mentored several research projects involving immunomodulation and produced over 25 peer-reviewed publications. At GlycoMantra, he successfully completed an NIH-NCI funded SBIR project and participated the NIH I-CORPS program with Dr. Ahmed. He manages GlycoMantra’s drug development programs in cancer and fibrosis.
Rakesh Dixit, Ph.D., DABT
Advisor, Toxicology and Regulatory Affairs
Dr. Dixit is a board-certified in toxicology from the American Board of Toxicology since 1992 and an accomplished executive, inventor, and scientist with over 30 years of pharmaceutical success with Merck, Johnson & Johnson, Medimmune, and AstraZeneca. Rakesh was selected by pharmaceutical peers as the 100 Most Inspiring People in the Pharmaceutical Industry by Pharma Voice in 2015. He is a key opinion leader in translational sciences, safety and toxicology sciences, pharmacology, and all key aspects of biopharmaceuticals drug development with outstanding knowledge and experience in the entire biologics drug development pathway from discovery through approval. He has published more than 80 peer-reviewed papers and has delivered over 140 invited lectures/presentations/workshops in biopharma in various national and international meetings. Dr. Dixit was a key contributor to successful marketing approval of 10 different marketed biopharmaceuticals, including for Medimmune (AstraZeneca Biologics): Imfinzi (anti-PD-L1 mab), Fasenra (anti-IL-5R afucsolytated mab), Brodalumab (anti-IL-17) in collaboration with Amgen, Moxetumomab (anti-CD22-PEA immunotoxin), multiple flu vaccines and for Merck: MAXALT (Anti-migraine)-1998, SINGULAIR (Anti-Asthma)-1998; CRIXIVAN (Anti-AIDS)-1998; VIOXX (COX-2 Inhibitor)- 2000, EMEND- 2003. He was a key player of successful submissions and approvals of over 100 INDs and over 15 BLAs/NDAs. Currently Rakesh is serving as an advisor/consultant and in the Board of Directors of nearly 15 biopharmaceutical companies worldwide.
Arif Hussain, M.D.
Chief Medical Advisor
Dr. Hussain serves as co-leader of the Hormone-Responsive Cancers (HRC) Program and director of genitourinary oncology at the University of Maryland Marlene and Stewart Greenebaum Comprehensive Cancer Center (UMGCCC) and the Baltimore VA Medical Center (BVAMC). Dr. Hussain has extensive expertise in genito-urinary malignancies and clinical trials in prostate and bladder cancers. After completing the medical degree and training in medicine and clinical oncology, he obtained additional training in molecular biology—studying multidrug resistance and antifolate resistance—in the RNA Synthesis and Regulation laboratory at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and the University of Maryland under a National Cancer Institute K08 Award. He established an independent laboratory at the UMGCCC where he continued studies on resistance to cytotoxic agents, including inhibitors of intracellular calcium transport ATPases and chemotherapeutic agents. Some of his pre-clinical work, including in mouse models has been directly translated into clinical trials in recurrent and high-risk prostate cancer at the UMGCCC and the BVAMC. His research has been supported by a VA Career Development Award, a VA Research Advisory Group Award, 6 VA Merit Review Awards, 2 American Cancer Society grants, and a P01 grant. Dr. Hussain has conducted more than 50 clinical trials, including 10 investigator-initiated trials and cooperative group and industry-sponsored trials. He has also been studying population-based datasets to understand treatment utilization and physician referral patterns, health disparities and economic burden in the real-world setting in prostate and urothelial cancer patients.
Dr. Gerardo R. Vasta, Ph.D.
Professor of Microbiology and Immunology
University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore and
Institute of Marine and Environmental Technology, Baltimore
Expert in protein-carbohydrate interactions of infection, immunity and early development. [see Profile]
Dr. Dhan V. Kalvakolanu, Ph.D.
Professor of Microbiology and Immunology
Greenebaum Cancer Center
University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore
Expert in signal transduction by cytokines, tumor cell growth control and apoptosis. [see Profile]
Dr. Charles Bieberich, Ph.D.
Professor of Biological Sciences
University of Maryland, Baltimore County
Expert in developmental biology, tumor suppressor, and mouse models of metastatic prostate cancer. [see Profile]
Dr. Saranya Chumsri, M.D.
Associate Professor of Medicine
Department of Internal Medicine
Mayo Clinic, Jacksonville
Expert in translational research and clinical trial of breast cancer. [see Profile]
Dr. Channing J. Paller, M.D.
Associate Professor of Oncology
Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center
Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore
Expert in translational research and clinical trials of developmental therapeutics in prostate and other solid tumors. [see Profile]
Dr. Eduardo Davila, Ph.D.
Professor of Medicine
University of Colorado School of Medicine, Denver
Expert in tumor immunology including T cell survival and apoptosis. [see Profile]
Dr. Larry Loomis, Ph.D.
New Horizons Diagnostics, Baltimore
Expert in infectious diseases and in the development of rapid detection of bacteria and toxins in human, environmental, surface, food, and water samples. [see Profile]
Dr. Melissa Palmer, M.D.
Liver Consulting LLC
Expert in innovative trial designs for NASH and other liver diseases, all aspects of liver disease drug development from pre-IND to NDA and regulatory interactions. [see Profile]