Anne (Annie) S. De Groot, M.D.
Founder, CEO & CSO, EpiVax, Inc.
Dr. Anne De Groot is internationally known for her research on the human immune system’s response to vaccines and therapeutics. She graduated from Smith College in 1978 and earned her medical degree at University of Chicago in 1983. After internal medical residency, she obtained advanced training in immunoinformatics and vaccinology with Michael Good, Russell Howard and Jay Berzofsky at the National Institutes of Health, and then returned for a fellowship in ID at New England Medical Center. She then moved to Brown University, establishing the TB/HIV Research Lab as an emerging center for immune-informatics driven Vaccine design. EpiVax spun out from that laboratory in 1998 and she gradually shifted her effort from 20% to 80% effort at the company. In 2008, she was invited to move her academic affiliation from Brown University to University of Rhode Island, in order to establish the Institute for Immunology and Informatics (iCubed). She has been the recipient of many awards for her groundbreaking work at the intersection of immunology and informatics and is recognized as an early adopter of this technology and an evangelist for the use of immunoinformatics to improve vaccines and protein therapeutics. She has won many awards for her work, including most recently, the Smith Medal (2013).
Her work focuses on harnessing the power of T cells to modulate immune responses, whether to improve vaccines or to reduce the immunogenicity of protein therapeutics. In collaboration with the innovative scientists at EpiVax, she has worked to develop and validate a set of immunoinformatics tools that dramatically accelerate the development of vaccines directly from genomic sequences. With Bill Martin, Dr. Lenny Moise, Dr. Christine Boyle and Frances Terry, she works on a number of projects related to the development and application of the genome-to-vaccine iVAX toolkit, and with Bill Martin, Frances Terry, and Guilhem Richard of the Immunoinformatics team she coordinates the application of ISPRI tools to screening protein therapeutics for immunogenicity. With BD Representatives Kelsey Hazelwood and AJ Vincelli, she coordinates ISPRI and iVAX services for a global list of Pharma clients. She collaborates with Dr. Eduardo Guillén to drive Tregitope technology forward, working to develop Tregitope as a stand-alone drug and as an immunomodulators for application to specific autoimmune diseases. With Dr. Lenny Moise and AJ Vincelli, she coordinates the application of EpiVax tools to improving Protein Therapeutics like Botulinum Toxin and monoclonal antibodies such as Campath.
CIO & COO, EpiVax, Inc.
William Martin is the principal architect and developer of the EpiMatrix System. Building on the work done in Dr. De Groot’s Brown University laboratory, Mr. Martin has revised and expanded the EpiMatrix toolkit. In addition to developing new and improved predictive matrices for many Class I and Class II HLA alleles, Mr. Martin has developed a suite of protocols, ancillary tools and database structures allowing for fast and efficient analysis of input protein sequences. Since joining Dr. De Groot in 1998 Mr. Martin has developed algorithms, software, and protocols related to genome alignment and analysis, the identification of T cell epitopes, vaccine design, and the deimmunization of therapeutic proteins. As CIO at EpiVax, Mr. Martin manages the network, content, business process, and information management systems in place at EpiVax. In collaboration with Dr. De Groot, Mr. Martin has published many peer reviewed articles related to the prediction of T cell epitopes, vaccine design and protein deimmunization. Before joining EpiVax, Mr. Martin worked as a Team Leader, Business Analyst, Database Architect, Application Developer, Clinical Data Manager, and Research Assistant at PAREXEL International Corporation, and Abt Associates.
Clifford Grimm, MBA
Cliff joined EpiVax, Inc. in the summer of 2007 as the Associate Director of Finance. Soon after joining EpiVax, Cliff earned his MBA from the University of Phoenix. During his tenure, Cliff’s responsibilities have continuously evolved. Currently, he represents EpiVax as the Managing Director. In this role, Cliff leads all aspects of operations to include strategy development and execution. He also provides company-wide leadership and is responsible for fostering an environment of accountability, excellence, collaboration and innovation among the staff while ensuring EpiVax’s strategies and policies are executed in the most innovative and economically sound manner. Additionally, Cliff oversees site operations in several functional areas: financial and administrative management, personnel, business and project management, information technology, professional services and office management with the goal of continuously developing and improving systems. Prior to joining EpiVax, Cliff earned extensive experience in sales and operations with companies such as University of Phoenix, DHL WorldWide Express and Frito-Lay. He has also served on the Board of Directors of the GAIA Vaccine Foundation since 2011.
Leonard Moise, Ph.D.
Scientific Director, Vaccine Research
Lenny Moise is Director of Vaccine Research at EpiVax, Inc. Dr. Moise received his PhD from the Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology and Biochemistry at Brown University in Providence, RI in 2002. His research in Dr. Edward Hawrot’s laboratory focused on structure-function relationships of snake neurotoxin interactions with the nicotinic acetylcholine receptor. Dr. Moise’s postdoctoral training at Brown University involved functional analysis of toxin binding sites engineered into toxin-insensitive ion channels. In 2005, he joined Dr. Anne De Groot’s laboratory at Brown University as an Instructor in Medicine in the Department of Medicine (Infectious Disease) to study T-cell epitope-driven vaccination and protein therapeutic immunogenicity. Dr. Moise joined EpiVax, Inc. in Providence, RI in 2006 where he is currently Director of Vaccine Research. He leads T-cell epitope-driven vaccine development projects using a genomes-to-vaccine approach that combines cutting edge immunoinformatic and immunologic methods. Additionally, his research efforts include deimmunization of protein therapeutics by epitope modification. In 2008, Dr. Moise accepted a part-time appointment as Assistant Research Professor in the Department of Cell and Molecular Biology at the University of Rhode Island. He is a founding faculty member of the URI Institute for Immunology and Informatics, where he leads vaccine and immunotherapeutic development projects. Dr. Moise has published over 40 manuscripts and reviews and is supported by funding from the NIH and the American Thyroid Association.
Eduardo Guillén, Ph.D.
Scientific Director, Protein Therapeutics
Dr. Eduardo Guillén is the Director of Protein Therapeutics at EpiVax, Inc. Dr. Guillén obtained his PhD in Chemistry at the University of Buenos Aires in the laboratory of Prof. Roberto Couso, where he studied biosynthesis and trafficking of lysosomal enzymes. After studying Golgi transporters of nucleotide-sugars in Carlos Hirshberg’s laboratory at UMass Medical School, Dr. Guillén went to Herman Eisen’s laboratory at MIT to study cross-presentation mechanisms of exogenous antigens by dendritic cells. Working for Stressgen Biotechnologies in the same laboratory, he studied immune response mechanisms to a therapeutic vaccine against Human Papilloma Virus. Dr. Guillén moved to the Hidde Ploegh laboratory at the Whitehead Institute to study immune response to viruses and intracellular pathogens, as well as antibody response to extracellular antigens. In collaboration with Dr. Marcus Altfeld at the Ragon Institute, he applied the high-throughput methods for screening antigen-specific T and B cells to T cell response to HIV in elite controllers. Dr. Guillén now leads the biotherapeutics research at EpiVax, with a focus on immune response modulators based on EpiVax’s proprietary Tregitope technology which alleviate or prevent conditions arising from autoimmune diseases or transplants. With a team of collaborators, he is also perfecting methods for in vitro high-throughput screening of the immune response to biotherapeutics.
Frances Terry, MPH
Bioinformatics Program Manager
Frances Terry is the Bioinformatics Program Manager at EpiVax, where she oversees informatics-based analysis of commercial therapeutics and development of genome-derived vaccines. Prior to joining the EpiVax team, Ms. Terry amassed expertise in many laboratory techniques including flow cytometry, molecular and immunological assays, tissue culture and animal handling. She has contributed to research projects at Brown University and Roger Williams Medical Center, most recently developing standard operating procedures and serving as primary quality control operator for a cGMP drug manufacturing facility. Ms. Terry holds a degree in Biological Sciences from Smith College, where she investigated gene flow and diversity in coastal protozoans and became interested in host-pathogen co-evolution. She has recently graduated from the Master’s of Public Health program at Brown University.
Ryan Harvey is the Laboratory Manager at EpiVax, where he oversees all daily operations in the laboratory. In addition to managing laboratory operations, Ryan is responsible for the logistical implementation of plate based assays. Ryan is an expert in a multitude of laboratory techniques utilized to analyze and evaluate various immunological endpoints. Laboratory skills include: cell culture, flow cytometry, immunophenotyping, ELISA, ELISpot, HLA binding assays, screening assays, proliferation assays, assay development, blood processing (PBMC isolation and cryopreservation).
Prior to joining the EpiVax team, Ryan gained 10 years of experience manufacturing FDA approved biologics including the production of vaccines and monoclonal antibodies. Ryan is well versed in tech transfer, validation, implementation of Quality Systems and FDA regulations guiding GMP.
Ryan also spent 2 years at Roger Williams Medical Center, where he prepared autologous T-cell therapy products for use in clinical trials for stage IV cancer patients with tumors expressing CEA or PSMA. During his time at RWMC, Ryan was also instrumental in developing superior methods for T-Cell proliferation and increased transgene expression.