An experienced team developing innovative treatments

Our leadership team is well-positioned to deliver on the promise of engineered macrophages as a transformative approach to the treatment of cancer.

With decades of experience to lean upon, working in concert with a team of passionate scientists, our goal is to develop the next generation of cell therapies to change the lives of cancer patients.

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Steven Kelly

President & CEO

Steven Kelly

Steven Kelly joined Carisma Therapeutics in February 2018 bringing nearly thirty years of experience in Pharma/Biotech at all phases of the business across multiple therapeutic categories. Prior to joining Carisma, Mr. Kelly held a number of leadership positions in the biotechnology industry including: CEO, Pinteon Therapeutics; CEO, Theracrine; CCO, BioVex; CEO, Innovive Pharmaceuticals; as well as various commercial and manufacturing roles at Sanofi, IDEC Pharmaceuticals and Amgen.

Steve holds a BS from the University of Oregon and an MBA from Cornell University.

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Michael Klichinsky, PhD

Co-Founder and Chief Scientific Officer

Michael Klichinsky, PhD

Mike is a co-inventor of the CAR-Macrophage technology and a scientific co-founder of Carisma Therapeutics Inc. In his role as Chief Scientific Officer, he oversees the research & discovery efforts of the company.

Mike developed CAR-Macrophages during his doctoral thesis under the co-mentorship of Saar Gill and Carl June at the University of Pennsylvania. Michael’s scientific expertise is in the intersection of immunology, synthetic biology, cancer immunotherapy, and translational pharmacology.

Mike previously earned a Doctor of Pharmacy degree from the University of Sciences in Philadelphia, and a PhD in Pharmacology from the University of Pennsylvania.

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Sascha Abramson, PhD

Vice President of Scientific Operations

Sascha Abramson, PhD

Sascha joined Carisma Therapeutics in March 2019 bringing more than 20 years of pharmaceutical and biotechnology experience including laboratory experience in biomaterials, stem cells, and immune-oncology, project and alliance management experience, and project leadership experience in early phase development. In her current role as Vice President of Scientific Operations she develops and implements the scientific operational strategy for Carisma’s continued growth and success.

Previously she led a patient-specific neoepitope oncology program for Advaxis developing a personalized neoantigen targeted therapy from research concept through Phase I clinical trial while managing Advaxis’s strategic alliances. Prior to Advaxis, she worked for Celgene’s Cellular Therapeutics Division performing research and later project management for Celgene’s placenta derived cells and materials.

She holds a PhD in Biomedical Engineering from Rutgers University and a BA in English from University of Pennsylvania.

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Daniel Cushing, PhD

Chief Technology & Development Officer

Daniel Cushing, PhD

Dan is responsible for product development at Carisma Therapeutics. He has over 25 years of pharmaceutical and biotechnology industry experience, including discovery research, drug development, medical affairs, and regulatory affairs. Over his career, Dan has led the development and registration of several products and launched multiple products that still enjoy success in the market.

Previously, Dan served as Chief Scientific Officer and Senior Vice President, Research and Development of Nuron Biotech Inc. and as Chief Scientific Officer and Vice President, Drug Development, Medical and Regulatory Affairs of Prism Pharmaceuticals. Earlier in his career, Dan worked at Pfizer, Merck, and Astra Merck and AstraZeneca, where he held senior positions in medical and regulatory affairs.

Dan holds a Ph.D. in Pharmacology and is a Fellow of the American College of Clinical Pharmacology.

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Kenneth Locke

Vice President, Manufacturing & Supply Chain

Kenneth Locke

Ken Locke joined Carisma Therapeutics in June 2020. He has over 25 years of pharmaceutical and biotechnology experience including discovery, laboratory automation, sourcing/contracting strategy, supply chain and manufacturing. Prior to joining Carisma, Ken served as Global Head of Cell Therapy External Manufacturing and Strategic Sourcing at Bristol Myers Squibb (formerly Celgene/Juno Therapeutics) where he was responsible for all external manufacturing operations for plasmid, viral vector and cell processing. Prior to BMS, Ken was Executive Director at Novartis supporting global materials and services sourcing for all Technical R&D as well as Cell and Gene Therapies. He started his pharmaceutical career as a discovery researcher at 3-Dimensional Pharmaceuticals and held research roles of increasing responsibility at Rhône-Poulenc Rorer, DuPont Pharmaceuticals and Bristol Myers Squibb.

Ken holds a BS from Millersville University of Pennsylvania and an MS from Lehigh University.

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Richard Morris

Chief Financial Officer

Richard Morris

Richard Morris joined Carisma Therapeutics in June 2021 bringing more than 25 years of experience in building and growing successful biotech organizations with a track record of delivering corporate value through capital fundraising (including IPOs), financial strategy and operations execution, and business development efforts.

Mr. Morris previously served as the CFO at Passage Bio, where he was instrumental in transforming the genetic medicines company from a private start-up to a public development stage company. Before that, he was the Executive Vice President and CFO for Context Therapeutics; he also was CFO for Vitae Pharmaceuticals, acquired by Allergan in 2016, and held several senior financial roles at ViroPharma, acquired by Shire in 2013.

Richard holds a BS in Accounting from Saint Joseph’s University and is a certified public accountant.

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Ramona Swaby, MD

Vice President, Clinical Development

Ramona Swaby, MD

Dr. Swaby joined Carisma Therapeutics in December 2021. She brings over 10 years of pharmaceutical and biotechnology industry experience in oncology R&D roles.

Dr. Swaby most recently served as the Vice President of Clinical Research for Prelude Therapeutics. Prior to Prelude Therapeutics, she was the Executive Director for late stage clinical development of head and neck cancers at Merck. In this role, she led the product development team in the submission strategy and global approvals of pembrolizumab for the 2nd and 1st line recurrent or metastatic head and neck cancer. Additionally, she led the clinical development and expansion for cutaneous squamous cell skin cancer, resulting in the submissions and approvals of pembrolizumab for recurrent or metastatic and locally advanced cutaneous squamous cell skin cancer. Before that, she held several late-stage oncology roles at Merck and GlaxoSmithKline. Ahead of transitioning to the biopharma industry in 2011, Dr. Swaby was an Assistant Professor and Clinical Investigator for close to 10 years at the University of South Florida Moffitt Cancer Center and the Fox Chase Cancer Center.

Dr. Swaby earned her undergraduate and medical degree from the University of Maryland. She completed her internal medicine residency at the University of Maryland Medical Systems in Baltimore, Maryland, and fellowship in medical oncology at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas. She is a member of the American Society of Clinical Oncology as well as the American Association for Cancer Research and the European Society for Medical Oncology.

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Tom Wilton

Chief Business Officer

Tom Wilton

Tom joined Carisma Therapeutics in September 2019. He brings over 20 years of pharmaceutical and biotechnology industry experience, including corporate strategy, business development, R&D operations and marketing. Tom most recently served as the Chief Business Officer for LogicBio Therapeutics, Inc., a genome editing company, where he was responsible for leading strategy, business development and intellectual property, and supported a successful initial public offering. Prior to LogicBio, Tom was the Chief Business Officer for The University of Pennsylvania’s Gene Therapy Program, where he completed multiple partnerships that enabled the group to grow to over 250 employees. Tom began his career at GlaxoSmithKline, where he was instrumental in establishing the Rare Disease Business Unit and served in various leadership positions in the US and Europe.

Tom holds a BS from the University of London, an MA from the University of Leeds, and an MS from Brunel University.