About | Cartesian Therapeutics 2018-04-26T11:02:56+00:00

About Us

Cartesian Therapeutics is a clinical-stage biotechnology company developing novel cellular immunotherapies to cure cancer.  The Company’s proprietary technology was developed by researchers at the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

The company’s lead product, Descartes-08, is a novel chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) – based cell therapy to cure multiple myeloma, a cancer of plasma cells that claims over 80,000 lives each year.  Although treatment has improved significantly over the past 20 years, nearly all patients eventually relapse, and the disease remains incurable.

Leadership Team

Cartesian’s founding members, Dr. Murat Kalayoglu (CEO) and Dr. Michael Singer (CSO), are MD/PhD scientists and serial healthcare executives.  Their most recent venture, Topokine Therapeutics, was acquired by Allergan in April, 2016.  Cartesian’s leadership includes the former Director of the National Cancer Institute (NCI) (Dr. John Niederhuber), the former President of Pfizer R&D (Dr. John LaMattina), and three prominent physician-scientists recognized for their work in immunotherapy of multiple myeloma (Drs. Ken Anderson, Ola Landgren and Ivan Borrello).

Murat Kalayoglu, MD, PhD, MBA
Murat Kalayoglu, MD, PhD, MBA
Dr. Kalayoglu is the company’s President and CEO. Prior to Cartesian, Dr. Kalayoglu was co-founder and CEO of Topokine, which he led from concept to late-stage clinical trials, followed by a successful sale to Allergan (NYSE:AGN). Dr. Kalayoglu was also co-founder and COO of HealthHonors Corporation, which he led from concept to commercialization, followed by a successful sale to Healthways (NASDAQ:HWAY). Dr. Kalayoglu is a board-certified ophthalmologist who completed his residency and research Fellowship at Harvard, MD/PhD in immunology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and MBA from the MIT Sloan School of Management.
Michael Singer, MD, PhD
Michael Singer, MD, PhD
Dr. Singer is the company’s Chief Scientific Officer. He led clinical development for several monoclonal antibodies at Novartis. His research spans over 20 years in the basic and clinical sciences, with award of competitive grants and publications in journals such as Nature and PNAS. Prior to Cartesian, Dr. Singer was co-founder and CSO of Topokine and HealthHonors Corporation. Dr. Singer is a board-certified ophthalmologist and admitted to practice patent law. He has served as a Surgeon in the Veterans Health Administration and teaches at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Singer completed residency at Harvard and holds a BS, MD, and PhD from Yale University.
Metin Kurtoglu, MD, PhD
Metin Kurtoglu, MD, PhD
Dr. Kurtoglu is the company’s Chief Medical Officer. His clinical and basic science research career spans over 20 years and has focused on developing novel targets for drug-resistant cancer cells and cancer stem cells, including multiple myeloma. He has also been an investigator in various cancer immunotherapy trials. Dr. Kurtoglu is a medical oncologist board certified in internal medicine and completed his residency and graduate training at the University of Miami, and clinical and research fellowship at the NCI / NIH.
Ted Henderson
Ted Henderson
Mr. Ted Henderson, a member of the Board of Directors at Cartesian, has served as a Managing Director at Schooner Capital since 2004. He currently serves as a director at a number of other healthcare portfolio companies, including 4G Clinical, Millstone Medical Outsourcing, SRS Medical, and Velakine Therapeutics. He previously led Schooner’s investment in Mimetogen (sold to Allergan), and served as a director at Topokine Therapeutics (sold to Allergan) and Best Doctors (sold to a private equity firm). Ted is a cum laude graduate of Dartmouth College with an MBA from Harvard Business School.
John LaMattina, PhD
John LaMattina, PhD
Dr. LaMattina is a Senior Advisor to Cartesian. As the former Senior Vice President, Pfizer Inc and President, Pfizer Global Research and Development, Dr. LaMattina oversaw the drug discovery and development efforts of over 12,000 colleagues in the United States, Europe and Asia. Dr. LaMattina is a 30 year veteran of Pifzer Inc, having joined as a medicinal chemist in 1977. He is currently a Senior Partner at PureTech Health.
John E. Niederhuber, MD
John E. Niederhuber, MD
Dr. Niederhuber is a Senior Advisor to Cartesian. As the former Director of the NCI at the National Institutes of Health, Dr. Niederhuber oversaw the cancer research efforts of more than 5,000 NCI employees and managed a budget of over 5 billion dollars. He is currently Executive Vice President and CEO of the Inova Translational Medicine Institute, where he directs highly sophisticated genomic analyses with the goal of delivering excellence in personalized healthcare, research and education. Dr. Niederhuber is an internationally recognized oncologic surgeon who has given over 350 professional presentations, 250 peer-reviewed articles, and edited or co-edited 9 books.
Kenneth Anderson, MD
Kenneth Anderson, MD
Dr. Anderson is a Senior Advisor to Cartesian and an internationally recognized researcher on multiple myeloma, the focus of his laboratory and clinical research studies over the last three decades. He has developed laboratory and animal models of the tumor in its microenvironment which have allowed for both identification of novel targets and validation of novel targeted therapies, and has then rapidly translated these studies to clinical trials culminating in FDA approval of novel targeted therapies. His paradigm for identifying and validating targets in the tumor cell and its milieu has transformed myeloma therapy and markedly improved patient outcome. He is a recipient of many scientific and humanitarian awards including: the International Myeloma Workshop Waldenstrom’s Award; the International Myeloma Foundation Robert A. Kyle Lifetime Achievement Award; the American Association for Cancer Research Joseph H. Burchenal Award; and the American Cancer Society Medal of Honor in Science. He is a member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences, served as President of the International Myeloma Society, and is President-elect of the American Society of Hematology. Dr. Anderson is the Kraft Family Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School as well as Director of the Jerome Lipper Multiple Myeloma Center and Lebow Institute for Myeloma Therapeutics at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. He is a Doris Duke Distinguished Clinical Research Scientist and American Cancer Society Clinical Research Professor.
Ola Landgren, MD, PhD
Ola Landgren, MD, PhD
Dr. Landgren is a Senior Advisor to Cartesian. Dr. Landgren is one of the world leaders in the field of early treatment strategies and molecular- and cell-based monitoring of minimal residual disease (MRD) detection in multiple myeloma and its precursor states. He leads a translational research program at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC) designed to discover new treatment paradigms integrating modern therapy and novel MRD assays. Dr. Landgren has designed and led the definitive study showing that all multiple myeloma patients are preceded by a precursor stage. As part of his ongoing research program, he is studying molecular mechanisms underlying the trajectory from precursor to full-blown multiple myeloma with the goal to develop treatment strategies aiming to delay, prevent, and ultimately define a cure for multiple myeloma. Dr. Landgren has published over 250 peer-reviewed publications and he is a frequently invited speaker at national and international hematology conferences. He serves on several research committees and editorial boards for scientific journals. Dr. Landgren is Professor of Medicine and Chief Attending Physician of the Myeloma Service at MSKCC.
Ivan Borrello, MD
Ivan Borrello, MD
Ivan Borrello is a Senior Advisor to Cartesian and internationally recognized expert on immunotherapy for multiple myeloma. His group was the first to describe the use of marrow infiltrating lymphocytes (MILs) as a source of highly tumor specific T cells for adoptive T cell therapy. This work has led to several clinical trials in which his group showed the ability of activated MILs to impart measurable tumor specific immunity. His group is also exploring various approaches to enhance the use MILs in a variety of different settings and in diseases other than myeloma. Dr. Borrello is an Associate Professor at the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins in the divisions of Tumor Immunology and Hematologic Malignancies. He received his MD degree from the Medical College of Virginia. Completed his Residency in Internal Medicine at the University of Chicago and his Fellowship in Oncology at Johns Hopkins where he then has continued as a faculty member. He also serves as the medical director of the Cell Therapy Lab.