Meet the Team

Executives

Christoph Pittius, Ph.D.
Senior Vice President, Research Business Development
[email protected] Christoph Pittius, Ph.D., Senior Vice President, Research Business Development at City of Hope in Duarte, CA, is leading a team of Business Development professionals in charge of licensing early innovative assets of City of Hope’s research labs to pharma and biotech. He also leads City of Hope’s preclinical development effort with a team of drug development professionals, moving early assets that originated in the labs of City of Hope’s Principal Investigators, further along the drug development pipeline to enable commercialization of novel medicines for patients. Prior to joining City of Hope, he was VP and Head of Transactions, AstraZeneca Business Development in Gothenburg, Sweden, where he and his team focused on negotiating global strategic in- and out-licensing deals of clinical-stage and on-the-market product opportunities as well as M&A in AstraZeneca’s core indications of interest. Prior to AstraZeneca, Dr. Pittius was in Senior Business Development roles of increasing responsibility at Novartis Oncology, Boehringer Ingelheim and Hoechst (now Sanofi) in the US and Germany, and earlier in his career also worked at a New York City based Investment Bank. His original training was as a biochemist and molecular biologist, obtained at the Max-Planck Institute for Psychiatry, Munich, Germany.
George Megaw, Ph.D.
Vice President, Business Innovation
[email protected] Dr. George Megaw is Vice President, Business Innovation, at City of Hope. Dr. Megaw joined City of Hope’s Office of Technology Licensing (OTL) as Associate Director in 2010, subsequently serving as Director and Senior Director. Dr. Megaw directs the OTL staff and core functions. As such he has broad responsibility for matters relating to intellectual property (IP) protection and IP commercialization at COH. Prior to joining City of Hope, Dr. Megaw worked in the technology commercialization industry for several years. In the role of Assistant Technology Diversification Manager with QinetiQ PLC under secondment to the United Kingdom Ministry of Defense, he was involved in the transfer of military technologies for commercial civilian use. As a Licensing Associate with the UAB Research Foundation at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB), Dr. Megaw managed the protection and commercialization of medical inventions. Dr. Megaw is a member of the Association of University Technology Managers and the Licensing Executives Society. Before embarking on a career in technology commercialization, Dr. Megaw earned a B.Sc. (Hons) in Biological Sciences from the University of Ulster (1991), subsequently held the position of Clinical Scientist with the N. Ireland Tissue Typing Service, was granted a Ph.D. in Virology from the MRC Virology Unit, University of Glasgow (1998), and completed two Post-Doctoral Fellowships in Virology at UAB. He is an author and inventor of multiple peer review publications and patents.

Senior Directors

Manal Beshay, M.Sc.
Senior Director of Operations Commercial R&D
[email protected] Manal Beshay, M.Sc, Senior Director of Operations, Commercial Research and Development at City of Hope in Duarte, CA, is leading the office of technology license operations team in management of IP-related agreements and diligence. Her role has direct interaction with various verticals to connect progress and development on ongoing programs. Prior to COH, she served as Operational and Scientific Officer in small business with focus on life and biological science technologies development and marketing possibilities that evolved in startup companies, joint ventures, seed, and acquisition program management. Ms. Beshay had successful track records of inventions such as chemical weapon sensor platforms and salivary biomarkers diagnostic devices. Her management skills focused on improved processes, inter- and intra-team communications and visibility of revenue and program tracking. As a leader and motivator of disparate teams composed of various professional disciplines, she used creativity and unconventional approaches toward problem solving. Her original training in analytical chemistry and biochemistry, obtained at the University of Alexandria, Egypt.
Xin "Ginnie" Xu, Ph.D.
Executive Director, Business Innovation
[email protected] Ginnie Xu, Ph.D., Executive Director, Business Innovation, Office of Technology Licensing at City of Hope in Duarte, California leads a team of intellectual property and licensing professionals supporting VP, Business Innovation, and SVP, Research Business Development in licensing early-stage technologies developed by City of Hope’s researchers. She joined City of Hope in 2015. Previously she worked in licensing, business development, and new venture support in other research institutions and the private sector. She earned her Ph.D. in Molecular Biology and Neuroscience from Princeton University, and her B.A. in Life Sciences from Fudan University in China. She is passionate about early-stage technology commercialization and is honored to serve innovators at City of Hope.

Directors

Graham Cole, Ph.D., J.D.
Director, Intellectual Property
[email protected] Graham Cole, J.D., Ph.D., is the Director, Intellectual Property, at City of Hope. Together with the team of professionals in the Office of Technology Licensing, Graham provides a broad spectrum of intellectual property and contract related strategic advice and services in support of City of Hope’s efforts to license its early-stage technologies. Graham maintains internal subject matter expertise in patent, trade secret, copyright, and trademark law, and ultimately oversees an international portfolio of patents and patent applications covering the broad spectrum of research discoveries that come out of the Beckman Research Institute. Prior to joining City of Hope in 2020, Graham worked in the patent litigation group at several nationally recognized law firms representing clients primarily in the life science industry. Graham earned his Master’s and Ph.D. in Biomedical Physics from the University of California, Los Angeles, and a B.S. in Biomedical Engineering from University of California, San Diego. Outside of work, Graham enjoys spending time with his family, and is an avid mountain biker and runner.
Walter David, M.B.A., M.S.
Director, Research Business Development
[email protected] Walter David is the Director, Research Business Development at City of Hope in Duarte, CA. He supports business development activities through search and evaluation efforts for the enterprise helping to license early innovative assets of City of Hope’s research labs to pharma and biotech. He also assists City of Hope’s preclinical development effort by conducting commercial assessments supporting investment decisions to move early assets that originated in the labs of City of Hope’s Principal Investigators further along the drug development pipeline to enable commercialization of novel medicines for patients. Prior to joining City of Hope, he was the Director of Pipeline and Program Management Operations at Vertex Pharmaceuticals, where he supported pipeline prioritization across pre-clinical and clinical portfolios. Prior to Vertex he held commercial, business development, and portfolio strategy roles of increasing responsibility at Amgen, St. Jude Medical, and Bayer Healthcare. He holds an MBA from Georgetown University and was trained as a chemical biologist at Stevens Institute of Technology.
Lucy Ghoda, Ph.D.
Director, Drug Development
[email protected] Lucy Ghoda, Ph.D., Director of Drug Development, Research Business Development and the Gehr Family Center for Leukemia Research at City of Hope, Duarte, CA, manages a portfolio of research projects that are funded through the Integrated Drug Development Venture pipeline. These projects range in maturity from late discovery phase to others in later phases of development, initiating their GLP toxicology studies for IND filing. Her areas of expertise include the pharmacology of antibody and cell-based therapeutics in the disease areas of leukemia, brain cancer and lung diseases. Dr. Ghoda received her undergraduate degree in Biochemistry and Ph.D. in Pharmacology from Brown University (Providence, RI) and trained as a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Microbiology & Immunology at the University of California San Francisco.
Janani Krishnamurthy, Ph.D.
Director, Drug and Development
[email protected] An expert in the fields of immunology and adoptive immunotherapy, Dr. Janani Krishnamurthy received her PhD at MD Anderson Cancer Center, enjoyed pre-clinical and translational research work at Bluebird Bio, TCR2 Therapeutics and Atara Biotherapeutics before taking on her current role as Director to lead drug development initiatives at City of Hope.
Nina Paciotti, M.B.A.
Director, Alliances
[email protected] Nina Paciotti, MBA, Director, Alliance Partnerships, facilitates OTL’s business relationships with licensees and related individuals and departments within City of Hope. Her career focus is new product planning, with experience in biopharmaceuticals, medical devices, and in vitro diagnostics. She has worked with City of Hope since 2013 both as a consultant and employee, including projects focused on strategy, identifying, and advancing innovative product candidates, and program administrative management for a $54M gift supporting translational innovation in type one diabetes treatment. Former roles include Principal at Giles & Associates Consulting, Associate Director, Commercial Development at University of Chicago Technology Licensing Office, Director, Global Marketing Renal Pharmaceuticals at Baxter Healthcare, Director of Marketing at Miravant Medical Technologies, Product Manager at McGhan Medical. She holds an MBA from California Lutheran University and a BA from University of California Santa Barbara, with a double major in Microbiology with Biomedical Emphasis and English, Phi Beta Kappa.
Yuriy Shostak, Ph.D.
Director of Drug Development
[email protected] Yuriy Shostak, Ph.D., is a Director of Drug Development at City of Hope (COH) in Duarte, California. As part of the Integrated Drug Development Venture (IDDV) within Research Business Development (RBD), Dr. Shostak oversees a portfolio of drug discovery and development projects in diabetes, infectious diseases, and oncology therapeutic areas covering various therapeutics modalities, including biologics, small molecules, virus/cell therapies, and prophylactic vaccines. Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic until successful licensing for subsequent development and commercialization, Dr. Shostak oversaw and co-led, from discovery into the Phase 2 clinical investigation, development of the synthetic MVA-based dual-antigen SARS-CoV-2 vaccine COH04S1. Dr. Shostak received his graduate degree and academic training in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), after completing his undergraduate studies in Cell and Molecular Biology at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). Dr. Shostak’s research focused on mechanisms of transcriptional regulation by nuclear hormone receptors in the context on carcinogenesis and organismal development and biology. Following his postdoctoral fellowship at UCSF, where he investigated the impact of gene regulation and signaling pathways integration by steroid hormones and TGF-beta signaling on normal physiology and disease progression, with emphasis on carcinogenesis, Dr. Shostak joined Astellas Pharma, where he spent more than a decade discovering and developing cancer immuno-therapeutics. At Astellas, Dr. Shostak led projects, teams, and functional groups, contributing to target discovery, translational research activities, and discovery and development of multiple therapeutic drug candidates, including an FDA-approved and marketed nectin-4-targeted antibody-drug conjugate (ADC) PADCEV (enfortumab vedotin-ejfv) for the treatment of urothelial cancer.
Mauricio Vargas, M.B.A.
Director, Research Business and Development
[email protected] Mauricio is the Business Director Commercial R&D and has been with City of Hope since January 2022. Mauricio is a strategy focused finance executive with global senior level experience in business development, R&D portfolio valuations, long term planning, mergers & acquisitions, and internal consulting. He has a background in international markets working for biotech and two of the largest food and beverage companies in the world. Mauricio holds an MBA (SDA Bocconi and UCLA Anderson School of Management) and speaks Spanish, Italian and articulate French.
Mingyue Zhou, Ph.D.
Director of Drug Development
[email protected] Mingyue Zhou serves as Director of Drug Development and provides scientific and operational leadership to the Integrated Drug Development Venture (IDDV), a key function module of Strategic Initiative R&D Hybrid at City of Hope. He brings deep expertise in the discovery and development of novel therapeutics across a broad range of modalities. Mingyue oversees more than a dozen IDDV projects in immuno-oncology and diabetes areas and steers advance of drug R&D programs from inception, preclinical to clinical development and commercialization. Prior to joining COH, Mingyue worked at Amgen Inc. for more than 15 years with emphases in cardiovascular and metabolic therapeutic areas. As Principal Scientist and cross-functional Project Team Leader of Amgen, Mingyue spearheaded advance of numerous projects from target validation, lead identification to various stages of drug R&D cycle, contributed to the success of developing PCSK9 inhibitors and HDL modulators, and participated in several phase 2/3 clinical programs as well as multiple licensing and M&A business activities. Mingyue received his Ph.D. from Columbia University in the study of lipid metabolism and atherosclerosis. He completed postdoctoral training in Molecular and Cell Biology with NIH/NSRA fellowship at University of California at Berkeley. Mingyue holds inventorship on multiple patents and co-authorship of 30+ scientific publications.

Managers

Afua Kwarteng, M.P.A.
Licensing Compliance Manager
[email protected] Afua Kwarteng, MPA, is a seasoned Compliance Specialist with more than 12 years of extensive management and leadership experience across diverse sectors, spanning emergency preparedness, B2B & B2C wellness, and public health. Her strengths lie in regulatory monitoring, research, project management, auditing, and training, covering local, state, and federal domains. Ms. Kwarteng has spearheaded the development of comprehensive operational and compliance programs, offered invaluable regulatory counsel to both public and private entities, overseen training and exercises, and assumed pivotal roles as a project manager in a multitude of initiatives.
Symone Lowery-Hughes
Symone Lowery-Hughes, B.S.
Technology Licensing Manager
[email protected] Symone Lowery-Hughes, Technology Licensing Manager at City of Hope in Duarte, CA, prepares and negotiates agreements, manages Intellectual Property portfolios, and establishes relationships with companies to foster research collaborations, licensing, and partnership. Prior to City of Hope, she was an Associate in The Lundquist Institute’s Business Development and Technology Transfer office where she negotiated agreements, marketed assets to potential partners and organized events. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Molecular and Cellular Biology from UC Merced and a certificate in Biotechnology from CSULA. Her previous research projects were focused on antibiotic resistance, and maternal and childhood obesity.
Ruben Rivas
Manager, Intellectual Property
[email protected] Ruben Rivas joined City of Hope’s Office of Technology Licensing in May 2021 and currently serves as Manager, Intellectual Property. He brings over 17 years of experience in intellectual property management and prosecution. He brings to City of Hope skills and expertise in patent record maintenance, Government reporting, and Invention Intake diligence. Prior to City of Hope, he worked for a Southern California law firm as an IP Docket Manager for 8 years, managing all aspects of Intellectual Property.
Robert Takara, J.D.
Technology Licensing Manager
[email protected] Robert is a Technology Licensing Manager at the Office of Technology Licensing. He previously held positions in the field of University Technology Commercialization, where he managed patent prosecution and intellectual property licensing activities. He holds a J.D. from Michigan State University, College of Law and a B.S. in Human Biology from the University of California, San Diego. He is a member of the California State Bar and is registered to practice before the USPTO.
Karthika Thangaraj, M.S.
Manager, Research Business Development
[email protected] Karthika Thangaraj is the Manager, Research Business Development at City of Hope in Duarte, CA. She supports the department by helping to license early innovative assets of City of Hope’s research labs to pharma and biotech. She also assists COH’s preclinical development effort by making commercial assessments to move early assets that originated in City of Hope’s labs to enable commercialization of novel medicines for patients. Prior to joining City of Hope, she was the consulting analyst at Decisive where she performed competitive intelligence for her clients, including Big Pharma. She holds an MBS from Keck Graduate Institute and was trained as a neuroscientist at University of California, Riverside.

Administrative Team

Diana Delgado, M.H.A., M.B.A.
Executive Assistant
[email protected] Diana Delgado joined our department as an Executive Assistant with over 38 years of experience at City of Hope. She has held multiple administrative support and supervisory positions while at City of Hope until 2022 when she joined our department. She holds a Masters in Healthcare Administration (MHA) as well as Masters in Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Phoenix. Diana’s hobbies are sewing and puzzle assembly which she enjoys very much.
Efleda Meadows, B.S.S.
Executive Assistant
[email protected] Efleda Meadows is a seasoned executive assistant with over 16 years of experience at City of Hope. She has held administrative support positions at the Chief Nursing and Human Resources departments until 2019 when she joined the Research Business Development Department reporting directly to the SVP, Research Business Development. Prior to joining City of Hope, she held similar positions at The Los Angeles Times, Deluxe Laboratories, and ARCO Products Company. Efleda earned her Bachelor of Science in Secretarial Administration degree with emphasis in Office Management at the University of the East in Manila, Philippines
Chanel Parrish
Senior Administrative Analyst
[email protected] Chanel began working at City of Hope in 2004 in the Office of Technology Licensing as an Administrative Assistant and has since been promoted to Sr. Administrative Analyst. With just under 20 years of experience in the department she is known as the “Gate Keeper” and is responsible for day-to-day operations of a department/program/function, which can include new hire training, database management, payroll time-keeping, reimbursements, purchasing, building operations, producing, improving, and redesigning existing processes to facilitate efficient and timely reporting, assist the Sr. Director of Operations with tracking royalty allocations and licensing income. Along with supporting the Office of Technology Licensing department Chanel assists with the business development team with monitoring IDDV accounts, create and review requisitions based on signature hierarchy process between Finance and Accounting departments. Prior to joining City of Hope Chanel worked in Human Resources where she supported full cycle recruiting.