NewLink Genetics is a biopharmaceutical company focused on discovering, developing, and commercializing novel immuno-oncology products to improve the lives of patients with cancer.
Founded more than 15 years ago, NewLink Genetics continues to be at the forefront in immuno-oncology treatments led by a diverse group of industry professionals and physician-scientists. Personal cancer stories inspire our relentless research and development in advancing treatments. Our grand passion is to change the cancer treatment paradigm and make a difference in patient lives every day.
Charles J. Link, Jr, MD
Co-Founder, Chairman, Chief Executive Officer, Chief Scientific Officer
Charles J. Link Jr, MD, co-founded NewLink Genetics in 1999 with the idea of leveraging the body’s immune system to fight cancer. He is chief executive officer, chief scientific officer, and chairman of the Board of Directors.
Dr Link was appointed by United States Senator John Glenn of Ohio to the United States Air Force Academy where he studied chemistry. Prior to graduating, he was accepted to a special program at Stanford University School of Medicine in Stanford, California, where he received his bachelor’s degree. Dr Link interned at the University of California, San Francisco, and completed his residency and fellowship training in medical oncology at the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, Maryland, where he also served as an attending physician.
Dr Link practiced oncology for 18 years, most recently caring for patients part-time at Medical Oncology and Hematology Associates of Iowa from 1995 to 2013. He also served as director of the Human Gene Therapy Research Institute, which is part of the John Stoddard Cancer Center at Iowa Methodist Medical Center.
In addition to spending time with his family, Dr Link enjoys exercising and pouring over scientific journals.
Nicholas N. Vahanian, MD
Co-Founder, President, Chief Medical Officer
Nicholas Vahanian, MD, is one of the co-founders of NewLink Genetics. He has served as president and chief medical officer of the company since 2009 and previously served as chief operations officer.
He has extensive experience in clinical trial design and drug development and has led the algenpantucel-L development program. Dr Vahanian began his research career at the National Cancer Institute and subsequently worked at the National Center for Human Genome Research Institute, both at the National Institutes of Health. He worked under the tutelage of Dr Michael Blaese, a pioneer in the field of human gene therapy.
Dr Vahanian holds a BS in biology from Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Virginia and an MBA from the University of Notre Dame in Notre Dame, Indiana. He attended St. Bartholomew’s and Royal London Hospital Medical College and earned his medical degree and subsequently completed a Molecular Oncology Fellowship at the John Stoddard Cancer Research Institute.
John B. Henneman III
Executive Vice President, Chief Financial Officer
John Henneman joined NewLink Genetics in 2014 as executive vice president and chief financial officer. He has over 20 years of combined financial and operational management experience in the life sciences industry. John has been involved in nearly every part of the business, and is mainly responsible for finance, legal issues, and company administration. Prior to joining NewLink, John worked at Integra LifeSciences as general counsel, chief administrative officer, and chief financial officer, where he raised almost $1 billion in new capital from banks and debt and equity capital markets.
He earned an AB in politics from Princeton University in Princeton, New Jersey, and a law degree from University of Michigan Law School in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
Eugene Kennedy, MD
Vice President, Clinical and Medical Affairs
Eugene P. Kennedy, MD, FACS, is vice president for clinical and medical affairs at NewLink Genetics, where he leads clinical development across all immuno-oncology product candidates as well as investigator initiated trials.
Prior to joining NewLink Genetics, he was on faculty and clinical staff at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania where he served as associate professor of Surgery and held leadership positions as chief of the Section of Pancreaticobiliary Surgery and co-director of the Jefferson Pancreas, Biliary, and Related Cancers Center.
Previously, Dr Kennedy held faculty positions at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland, and the Louisiana State University School of Medicine in New Orleans, Louisiana. He has considerable experience in clinical trial design and implementation, leading both investigator initiated and industry sponsored efforts.
Vice President, Finance
Carl Langren has served as NewLink Genetics’ vice president of finance since 2011. Previously, he was chief financial officer of BioProtection Systems, Housby Mixer Group, and Equity Dynamics, Inc. He served as a principal in Capital Management Solutions, president of Iowa Machinery and Supply, treasurer of DFM Corporation, and tax manager with McGladrey Pullen and Company.
Carl received a BA in accounting from the University of Iowa in Iowa City, Iowa.
Mario Mautino, PhD
Senior Vice President, Drug Discovery, Intellectual Property Officer
Mario Mautino, PhD, is senior vice president of drug discovery and the company’s intellectual property officer. Dr Mautino joined NewLink as a senior scientist in 2001. Since 2007 he has been leading NewLink’s small molecule drug discovery program targeting the IDO and TDO pathways, contributing to advancing indoximod and GDC-0919 to clinical development.
Dr Mautino received his licentiate in biological chemistry in 1990 and his PhD in molecular genetics in 1995 from the National University of Córdoba in Córdoba, Argentina, where he also conducted 2 years of postdoctoral research in molecular epigenetics. He trained from 1997 to 2001 as a postdoctoral fellow in human gene therapy and HIV virology at the Clinical Gene Therapy Branch, National Institutes of Health.
He enjoys hiking and nature photography.
Thomas Monath, MD
Chief Scientific Officer and Chief Operations Officer, Infectious Disease Division
Thomas Monath, MD, chief scientific officer and chief operations officer of the Infectious Disease Division, joined NewLink Genetics in 2014. Dr Monath brings 24 years of pharmaceutical experience to the team including 14 years as chief scientific officer and executive director at Acambis, Inc., where he pioneered numerous vaccines including those to combat dengue, West Nile, and yellow fever. Dr Monath has also served as adjunct professor at Harvard School of Public Health.
Prior to his pharmaceutical work, Dr Monath served 24 years in the US Army in the uniformed services (Army and US Public Health Service). He was Director, Division of Vector-Borne Viral Disease, Centers for Disease Control (CDC), and Chief, Virology Division, US Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Disease (USAMRIID). Dr Monath’s role at NewLink will be to lead the company’s effort to develop and deliver the Ebola and other infectious disease vaccines. He has published 425 papers and 6 books about vaccine development and the epidemiology, immunology, and pathogenesis of arboviruses.
Dr Monath received both his undergraduate and MD from Harvard and trained in internal medicine at Peter Bent Brigham Hospital.
Gary D. Potter
Vice President, Manufacturing and Supply Chain
Gary Potter is vice president of manufacturing and supply chain. He has more than 30 years of experience in clinical and commercial manufacturing of biologics, startup, and commissioning of manufacturing facilities; cell culture process development; and international tech transfer (Austria, Canada, and Switzerland). Prior to joining NewLink Genetics, Gary held leadership positions in manufacturing at Cell Genesys Inc., Abgenix Inc., Baxter Bioscience, and Creative Biomolecules. At Abgenix and Baxter Bioscience, he successfully led the cell culture functional areas through regulatory inspections.
He received a BA in biology from Hamline University in St Paul, Minnesota. He is a dedicated outdoorsman, who is keen on adventures. He is also an avid motorcyclist.
Gabriela R. Rossi, PhD
Vice President, Biologics Development
Gabriela R. Rossi, PhD, vice president of biologics development, joined NewLink Genetics in 2003. Prior to her appointment as vice president, Dr Rossi held positions as director of the Tumor Immunology Department and as a senior scientist.
Dr Rossi received her PhD in immunology at the National University of Córdoba in Córdoba, Argentina. She continued postdoctoral training at the Holland Laboratories American Red Cross in Maryland, and her postdoctoral work at the National Institutes of Health Clinical Gene Therapy Branch and the National Cancer Institute Surgery Branch in Bethesda, Maryland.
Dr Rossi has 2 children. One of her favorite things to do is long distance running; she has finished 14 marathons and one 50K.
Vice President, Human Resources
Eugene Sackett is vice president of human resources at NewLink Genetics. He has more than 25 years of experience in human resources in the pharmaceutical and technology industries. Eugene is responsible for the development of all human resource strategies, processes, and HR metrics that support the achievement of the organization’s business goals.
Prior to joining NewLink Genetics, Eugene held management positions at Iroko Pharmaceuticals, Cephalon/Teva Pharmaceuticals, Wyeth/Pfizer Pharmaceuticals, and Unisys. He has held diverse leadership roles as a human resources business partner and in HR centers of excellence in talent acquisition, employee relations, and employee benefits. He played key roles in numerous commercial build-outs and reorganizations including building the first commercial organization at Iroko Pharmaceuticals in 2013.
Eugene earned a BS in finance from Ithaca College in Ithaca, New York. He is an avid golfer, self-taught chef, and enjoys spending time at home with his family.
Chief Commercial Officer
Brian Wiley is chief commercial officer at NewLink Genetics. He has more than 20 years of experience in pharmaceutical commercialization and business development. Brian is responsible for commercialization strategy and business development initiatives for all portfolio products.
Prior to joining NewLink Genetics, Brian held management positions at Celgene Corporation, Gloucester Pharmaceuticals, Millennium/Takeda Pharmaceuticals, and Aventis/Sanofi Pharmaceuticals. He played key roles in numerous oncology product launches, the sale of Gloucester Pharmaceuticals to Celgene in 2009, and the acquisition of Abraxis Health by Celgene in 2010.
He earned a BA in marketing from Pennsylvania State University in University Park, Pennsylvania.
Jun Zhao, PhD
Vice President, Quality and Compliance
Jun Zhao, PhD, joined NewLink Genetics in 2015 as vice president of quality and compliance. Dr Zhao has more than 15 years of pharmaceutical experience in the areas of quality, regulatory CMC, CMO management, research and development, and supply operations, including small molecules and biologics. Prior to NewLink, he held various leadership positions at Eisai Inc.’s global quality organizations. He led teams to successfully host regulatory inspections, support regulatory dossier preparation, product launch, and commercial supply for global markets. Prior to Eisai, Dr Zhao served in P&G Pharma’s product development unit, leading and participating in various CMC teams to support clinical and commercial products.
Dr Zhao earned his PhD in chemistry at the Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio. He enjoys reading, sports, and traveling with his family.