Leading the Next Frontier
of Cell Therapy

Best-in-class regulatory T cell therapy, delivering long-lasting, highly effective, curative treatments across a spectrum of autoimmune and degenerative diseases.

Founded by pioneers in regulatory T cell therapy, Sonoma brings together next-generation research, development and manufacturing capabilities in cell therapy and genetic engineering.

TEAM

Board of Directors

Rick Klausner

Rick Klausner

Board Chair

Chief Executive Officer, Lyell Immunopharma, Inc.

Dr. Klausner is currently founder and Chief Executive Officer of Lyell Immunopharma, Inc. He is former founder and Director of Juno Therapeutics, founder and Director of GRAIL, and Executive Chairman of Wisdo, a third generation internet company. He is also the Co Founder and Executive Chairman of Mindstrong, Co Founder of Lifemine Therapeutics and Director of Xtremity Prosthetics. He is the former Senior Vice President, Chief Medical Officer and Chief Opportunity Officer of Illumina Corporation. He is the former Executive Chairman of Audax Health. He currently Chairs the Grand Challenges in Cancer program of Cancer Research UK. Previously, he has served as managing partner of the Venture Capital firm, The Column Group, was the Executive Director of Global Health for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Dr. Klausner was appointed by Presidents Clinton and Bush as the eleventh Director of the U.S. National Cancer Institute between 1995 and 2001. Dr. Klausner served as chief of the Cell Biology and Metabolism Branch of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development as well as a past president of the American Society of Clinical Investigation. 
He has served in senior advisory roles to the US, Norwegian, Qatari and Indian governments. He previously chaired the International Advisory Board for Samsung and chaired the Strategic Oversight Council of Sanofi.

More specific to his own research accomplishments, Dr. Klausner has provided valuable mechanistic insights into cellular processes such as intracellular trafficking, translation, and protein assembly. He has also contributed to the understanding of post-translational gene regulation mechanisms through his study of iron metabolism. Furthermore, his investigations into the von Hippel-Lindau (VHL) protein has led to further classification of the protein’s tumor suppressive function in the context of renal cell carcinoma. His discovery of the T Cell Zeta chain and how T cells are activated was the basic science breakthrough that lead to successful cell- based CAR-T cancer therapy.

Throughout his career, Dr. Klausner has consistently worked to apply the principles of science and technology to address the global cancer burden. He is currently working to develop innovative screening and diagnostic tests to facilitate early detection of various cancers.

Dr. Klausner is well known for his work in cell and molecular biology, immunology and human genetics, and has been the author of more than 300 scientific articles and several books, in addition to receiving numerous awards, honorary degrees and other honors. He has served as an Advisor to the Presidents of the Academies for counter-terrorism, and Liaison to the White House Office of Science & Technology Policy. He oversaw the writing of The National Science Education Standards, the first such standards for US Science Education. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the Institute of Medicine and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Board Chair

Rick Klausner

Dr. Klausner is currently founder and Chief Executive Officer of Lyell Immunopharma, Inc. He is former founder and Director of Juno Therapeutics, founder and Director of GRAIL, and Executive Chairman of Wisdo, a third generation internet company. He is also the Co Founder and Executive Chairman of Mindstrong, Co Founder of Lifemine Therapeutics and Director of Xtremity Prosthetics. He is the former Senior Vice President, Chief Medical Officer and Chief Opportunity Officer of Illumina Corporation. He is the former Executive Chairman of Audax Health. He currently Chairs the Grand Challenges in Cancer program of Cancer Research UK. Previously, he has served as managing partner of the Venture Capital firm, The Column Group, was the Executive Director of Global Health for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Dr. Klausner was appointed by Presidents Clinton and Bush as the eleventh Director of the U.S. National Cancer Institute between 1995 and 2001. Dr. Klausner served as chief of the Cell Biology and Metabolism Branch of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development as well as a past president of the American Society of Clinical Investigation. 
He has served in senior advisory roles to the US, Norwegian, Qatari and Indian governments. He previously chaired the International Advisory Board for Samsung and chaired the Strategic Oversight Council of Sanofi.

More specific to his own research accomplishments, Dr. Klausner has provided valuable mechanistic insights into cellular processes such as intracellular trafficking, translation, and protein assembly. He has also contributed to the understanding of post-translational gene regulation mechanisms through his study of iron metabolism. Furthermore, his investigations into the von Hippel-Lindau (VHL) protein has led to further classification of the protein’s tumor suppressive function in the context of renal cell carcinoma. His discovery of the T Cell Zeta chain and how T cells are activated was the basic science breakthrough that lead to successful cell- based CAR-T cancer therapy.

Throughout his career, Dr. Klausner has consistently worked to apply the principles of science and technology to address the global cancer burden. He is currently working to develop innovative screening and diagnostic tests to facilitate early detection of various cancers.

Dr. Klausner is well known for his work in cell and molecular biology, immunology and human genetics, and has been the author of more than 300 scientific articles and several books, in addition to receiving numerous awards, honorary degrees and other honors. He has served as an Advisor to the Presidents of the Academies for counter-terrorism, and Liaison to the White House Office of Science & Technology Policy. He oversaw the writing of The National Science Education Standards, the first such standards for US Science Education. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the Institute of Medicine and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Rick Klausner

Board Chair

Toni Hoover

Toni Hoover

Board Member

Director, of Strategy, Planning, and Management for Global Health, at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

Dr. Toni Hoover is Director, Strategy, Planning, and Management for Global Health, at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. There, she leads a team that is responsible for supporting the programs and functions with business strategy and operations, portfolio and project management, and engagement with product development partners. Her team is working to create more opportunities to consistently deliver high impact interventions in global health by integrating the network of diverse partners involved in product development by leveraging their respective strengths. She also oversees the foundation’s Fellows program.

Before joining the foundation in 2012, Toni was senior vice president and site director at Pfizer Worldwide Research and Development, overseeing the operations of the company’s largest R&D laboratories located in Groton, Connecticut. She is a 25-year veteran of pharmaceutical R&D product development and management, having held positions in clinical research and operations, project and portfolio management, and laboratory and facilities management. While at Pfizer she led the global development of Lyrica® from exploratory development through early commercialization.

Toni received her Bachelor of Arts, Masters, and Doctorate in Psychology and Social Relations from Harvard University. She serves on several not-for-profit boards, including University of Washington Medicine, New York Academy of Sciences, Xavier University of Louisiana, the Joyce Theater, and the Pacific Northwest Ballet.

Board Member

Toni Hoover

Dr. Toni Hoover is Director, Strategy, Planning, and Management for Global Health, at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. There, she leads a team that is responsible for supporting the programs and functions with business strategy and operations, portfolio and project management, and engagement with product development partners. Her team is working to create more opportunities to consistently deliver high impact interventions in global health by integrating the network of diverse partners involved in product development by leveraging their respective strengths. She also oversees the foundation’s Fellows program.

Before joining the foundation in 2012, Toni was senior vice president and site director at Pfizer Worldwide Research and Development, overseeing the operations of the company’s largest R&D laboratories located in Groton, Connecticut. She is a 25-year veteran of pharmaceutical R&D product development and management, having held positions in clinical research and operations, project and portfolio management, and laboratory and facilities management. While at Pfizer she led the global development of Lyrica® from exploratory development through early commercialization.

Toni received her Bachelor of Arts, Masters, and Doctorate in Psychology and Social Relations from Harvard University. She serves on several not-for-profit boards, including University of Washington Medicine, New York Academy of Sciences, Xavier University of Louisiana, the Joyce Theater, and the Pacific Northwest Ballet.

Toni Hoover

Board Member

Terry Rosen

Terry Rosen

Board Member

Chief Executive Officer, Arcus Biosciences

Terry Rosen has been leading successful drug discovery and development organizations in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries for over 30 years.

In 2015, he co-founded Arcus Biosciences, a drug discovery company focused on the treatment of cancer by blocking tumor-induced immunosuppression. Previously, he was co-founder and CEO of Flexus Biosciences, a company created to develop small-molecule drugs to reverse tumor immunosuppression, which was acquired by Bristol-Myers Squibb early in 2015 for $1.25 billion. Prior to Flexus, Terry served as Vice President, Therapeutic Discovery (TD) at Amgen and as the site head for Amgen South San Francisco, having joined Amgen with the acquisition of Tularik in 2004. He was named Amgen Washington site head in 2006, transitioned to a leadership role heading Chemistry Research and Discovery in 2007 and became the head of Protein Sciences in 2011. He and his leadership team were responsible for the creation of the TD organization, a group of 550+ staff responsible for all of Amgen’s large and small molecule drug discovery efforts.

Prior to joining Amgen, Terry held several executive positions at Tularik, including Executive Vice President, Operations, Vice President, Research Operations, and Vice President, Medicinal Chemistry. He has also held scientific and management positions at Pfizer and Abbott Laboratories. Terry serves on the Salk Institute Board of Trustees, the SAB and leadership committees of the University of Michigan Life Sciences Institute, the Board of Trustees of the UC Berkeley Foundation, the Caltech Biology & Bioengineering Chair’s Council and the Board of the California Life Sciences Association.​

Board Member

Terry Rosen

Terry Rosen has been leading successful drug discovery and development organizations in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries for over 30 years.

In 2015, he co-founded Arcus Biosciences, a drug discovery company focused on the treatment of cancer by blocking tumor-induced immunosuppression. Previously, he was co-founder and CEO of Flexus Biosciences, a company created to develop small-molecule drugs to reverse tumor immunosuppression, which was acquired by Bristol-Myers Squibb early in 2015 for $1.25 billion. Prior to Flexus, Terry served as Vice President, Therapeutic Discovery (TD) at Amgen and as the site head for Amgen South San Francisco, having joined Amgen with the acquisition of Tularik in 2004. He was named Amgen Washington site head in 2006, transitioned to a leadership role heading Chemistry Research and Discovery in 2007 and became the head of Protein Sciences in 2011. He and his leadership team were responsible for the creation of the TD organization, a group of 550+ staff responsible for all of Amgen’s large and small molecule drug discovery efforts.

Prior to joining Amgen, Terry held several executive positions at Tularik, including Executive Vice President, Operations, Vice President, Research Operations, and Vice President, Medicinal Chemistry. He has also held scientific and management positions at Pfizer and Abbott Laboratories. Terry serves on the Salk Institute Board of Trustees, the SAB and leadership committees of the University of Michigan Life Sciences Institute, the Board of Trustees of the UC Berkeley Foundation, the Caltech Biology & Bioengineering Chair’s Council and the Board of the California Life Sciences Association.​

Terry Rosen

Board Member

Maggie Wilderotter

Maggie Wilderotter

Board Member

Chairman & CEO, Grand Reserve Inn

Maggie Wilderotter is a seasoned executive who, as CEO, has led both Fortune 500 companies and start-ups in her career. In addition, she has extensive Board leadership serving on over 35 public company and 14 private company Boards of Directors.

Today, Mrs. Wilderotter serves on the public boards of Costco Wholesale Corporation, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Cadence Design Systems, Lyft and is Board Chair at DocuSign. She serves on the private board of Tanium as well as a number of non-profit organizations. Mrs. Wilderotter is also a Senior Advisor to the Blackstone Group, Okta, and Atairos Private Equity.

Mrs. Wilderotter was Chief Executive Officer of Frontier Communications from November, 2004 to April, 2015, and then Executive Chairman of the company until April, 2016. During her tenure with Frontier, the company grew from a regional telephone company with customer revenues of less than $1 billion to a national broadband, voice and video provider with operations in 29 states and annualized revenues in excess of $10 billion.

Previously, Mrs. Wilderotter was Senior Vice President of Global Business Strategy and ran the Worldwide Public Sector at Microsoft. Before this, she was President and CEO of Wink Communications Inc., Executive Vice President of National Operations for AT&T Wireless Services Inc., Chief Executive Officer of AT&T’s Aviation Communications Division, and a Senior Vice President of McCaw Cellular Communications Inc.

Mrs. Wilderotter previously served on the President’s National Security Telecommunications Advisory Committee (NSTAC) as both Vice Chairman and Chairman during her 4-year tenure ending in 2014. Mrs. Wilderotter also served until January, 2017 on the President’s special Commission responsible for a recommendation report to the new President of the United States on Enhancing National Cybersecurity.

Mrs. Wilderotter holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from the College of the Holy Cross. She has been awarded an Honorary Doctor of Engineering degree from the Stevens Institute of Technology and an Honorary Doctor of Laws degree from the University of Rochester.

Board Member

Maggie Wilderotter

Maggie Wilderotter is a seasoned executive who, as CEO, has led both Fortune 500 companies and start-ups in her career. In addition, she has extensive Board leadership serving on over 35 public company and 14 private company Boards of Directors.

Today, Mrs. Wilderotter serves on the public boards of Costco Wholesale Corporation, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Cadence Design Systems, Lyft and is Board Chair at DocuSign. She serves on the private board of Tanium as well as a number of non-profit organizations. Mrs. Wilderotter is also a Senior Advisor to the Blackstone Group, Okta, and Atairos Private Equity.

Mrs. Wilderotter was Chief Executive Officer of Frontier Communications from November, 2004 to April, 2015, and then Executive Chairman of the company until April, 2016. During her tenure with Frontier, the company grew from a regional telephone company with customer revenues of less than $1 billion to a national broadband, voice and video provider with operations in 29 states and annualized revenues in excess of $10 billion.

Previously, Mrs. Wilderotter was Senior Vice President of Global Business Strategy and ran the Worldwide Public Sector at Microsoft. Before this, she was President and CEO of Wink Communications Inc., Executive Vice President of National Operations for AT&T Wireless Services Inc., Chief Executive Officer of AT&T’s Aviation Communications Division, and a Senior Vice President of McCaw Cellular Communications Inc.

Mrs. Wilderotter previously served on the President’s National Security Telecommunications Advisory Committee (NSTAC) as both Vice Chairman and Chairman during her 4-year tenure ending in 2014. Mrs. Wilderotter also served until January, 2017 on the President’s special Commission responsible for a recommendation report to the new President of the United States on Enhancing National Cybersecurity.

Mrs. Wilderotter holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from the College of the Holy Cross. She has been awarded an Honorary Doctor of Engineering degree from the Stevens Institute of Technology and an Honorary Doctor of Laws degree from the University of Rochester.

Maggie Wilderotter

Board Member

Jeffrey Bluestone

Jeffrey Bluestone

Chief Executive Officer & President

Renowned immunologist, Treg cell therapy pioneer and academic leader

Jeffrey Bluestone, PhD is one of the leading immunologists in the field of T-cell activation and immune tolerance research that has led to the development of multiple immunotherapies, including the first FDA-approved drug targeting T-cell co-stimulation to treat autoimmune disease and organ transplantation and the first CTLA-4 antagonist drugs approved for the treatment of metastatic melanoma.

Dr. Bluestone is an academic leader on a national and international scale. He is former  President and CEO of the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy, and was the founding director of the Immune Tolerance Network, the largest NIH-funded multicenter clinical immunology research program, testing novel immunotherapies in transplantation, autoimmunity and asthma/allergy.  While holding the A.W. and Mary Margaret Clausen Distinguished Professorship at UCSF, Dr. Bluestone also served as executive vice chancellor and provost emeritus at UCSF and was the former director of the UCSF Diabetes Center.

Dr. Bluestone has authored more than 400 peer-reviewed publications and has received numerous awards, including election to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the National Academy of Medicine. He was also appointed a member of Vice President Joe Biden’s Cancer Moonshot Blue Ribbon Panel.

Chief Executive Officer & President

Jeffrey Bluestone

Jeffrey Bluestone, PhD is one of the leading immunologists in the field of T-cell activation and immune tolerance research that has led to the development of multiple immunotherapies, including the first FDA-approved drug targeting T-cell co-stimulation to treat autoimmune disease and organ transplantation and the first CTLA-4 antagonist drugs approved for the treatment of metastatic melanoma.

Dr. Bluestone is an academic leader on a national and international scale. He is former  President and CEO of the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy, and was the founding director of the Immune Tolerance Network, the largest NIH-funded multicenter clinical immunology research program, testing novel immunotherapies in transplantation, autoimmunity and asthma/allergy.  While holding the A.W. and Mary Margaret Clausen Distinguished Professorship at UCSF, Dr. Bluestone also served as executive vice chancellor and provost emeritus at UCSF and was the former director of the UCSF Diabetes Center.

Dr. Bluestone has authored more than 400 peer-reviewed publications and has received numerous awards, including election to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the National Academy of Medicine. He was also appointed a member of Vice President Joe Biden’s Cancer Moonshot Blue Ribbon Panel.

Jeffrey Bluestone

Chief Executive Officer & President

TEAM

Founders

Jeffrey Bluestone

Jeffrey Bluestone

Chief Executive Officer & President

Renowned immunologist, Treg cell therapy pioneer and academic leader

Jeffrey Bluestone, PhD is one of the leading immunologists in the field of T-cell activation and immune tolerance research that has led to the development of multiple immunotherapies, including the first FDA-approved drug targeting T-cell co-stimulation to treat autoimmune disease and organ transplantation and the first CTLA-4 antagonist drugs approved for the treatment of metastatic melanoma.

Dr. Bluestone is an academic leader on a national and international scale. He is former  President and CEO of the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy, and was the founding director of the Immune Tolerance Network, the largest NIH-funded multicenter clinical immunology research program, testing novel immunotherapies in transplantation, autoimmunity and asthma/allergy.  While holding the A.W. and Mary Margaret Clausen Distinguished Professorship at UCSF, Dr. Bluestone also served as executive vice chancellor and provost emeritus at UCSF and was the former director of the UCSF Diabetes Center.

Dr. Bluestone has authored more than 400 peer-reviewed publications and has received numerous awards, including election to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the National Academy of Medicine. He was also appointed a member of Vice President Joe Biden’s Cancer Moonshot Blue Ribbon Panel.

Chief Executive Officer & President

Jeffrey Bluestone

Jeffrey Bluestone, PhD is one of the leading immunologists in the field of T-cell activation and immune tolerance research that has led to the development of multiple immunotherapies, including the first FDA-approved drug targeting T-cell co-stimulation to treat autoimmune disease and organ transplantation and the first CTLA-4 antagonist drugs approved for the treatment of metastatic melanoma.

Dr. Bluestone is an academic leader on a national and international scale. He is former  President and CEO of the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy, and was the founding director of the Immune Tolerance Network, the largest NIH-funded multicenter clinical immunology research program, testing novel immunotherapies in transplantation, autoimmunity and asthma/allergy.  While holding the A.W. and Mary Margaret Clausen Distinguished Professorship at UCSF, Dr. Bluestone also served as executive vice chancellor and provost emeritus at UCSF and was the former director of the UCSF Diabetes Center.

Dr. Bluestone has authored more than 400 peer-reviewed publications and has received numerous awards, including election to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the National Academy of Medicine. He was also appointed a member of Vice President Joe Biden’s Cancer Moonshot Blue Ribbon Panel.

Jeffrey Bluestone

Chief Executive Officer & President

Fred Ramsdell

Fred Ramsdell

Chief Scientific Officer

Veteran biotechnology leader, co-discoverer of the FOXP3 gene critical to Treg function

Fred Ramsdell, Ph.D., is a veteran biotechnology leader in immunology with nearly three decades of experience. Fred is a founder of Sonoma and serves at the Chief Scientific Officer.  Immediately prior to Sonoma, Fred was the CSO at the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy (PICI) where he helped to build and advance multiple research programs from the inception of the Institute.  

After a fellowship at the NIH, Fred joined Immunex studying T cell activation and tolerance, with a focus on gene discovery and functional characterization.  He later joined Darwin Molecular (which was later acquired by Celltech R&D) to establish the immunology program.  Amongst other programs, he led the team that discovered and characterized FoxP3, a gene critical to the function of regulatory T-cells.  Fred joined ZymoGenetics in 2004, where he led teams studying novel proteins with potential regulatory activity in lymphoid cells. In 2008, Novo Nordisk brought Dr. Ramsdell on to help establish the company’s new Inflammation Research Center in Seattle and lead the Immunobiology group.

He earned his doctoral degree in microbiology and immunology from the University of California, Los Angeles and holds a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry and cell biology from the University of California, San Diego.

Chief Scientific Officer

Fred Ramsdell

Fred Ramsdell, Ph.D., is a veteran biotechnology leader in immunology with nearly three decades of experience. Fred is a founder of Sonoma and serves at the Chief Scientific Officer.  Immediately prior to Sonoma, Fred was the CSO at the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy (PICI) where he helped to build and advance multiple research programs from the inception of the Institute.  

After a fellowship at the NIH, Fred joined Immunex studying T cell activation and tolerance, with a focus on gene discovery and functional characterization.  He later joined Darwin Molecular (which was later acquired by Celltech R&D) to establish the immunology program.  Amongst other programs, he led the team that discovered and characterized FoxP3, a gene critical to the function of regulatory T-cells.  Fred joined ZymoGenetics in 2004, where he led teams studying novel proteins with potential regulatory activity in lymphoid cells. In 2008, Novo Nordisk brought Dr. Ramsdell on to help establish the company’s new Inflammation Research Center in Seattle and lead the Immunobiology group.

He earned his doctoral degree in microbiology and immunology from the University of California, Los Angeles and holds a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry and cell biology from the University of California, San Diego.

Fred Ramsdell

Chief Scientific Officer

Alexander Rudensky

Alexander Rudensky

Scientific Advisor

Immunologist at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and co-discoverer of FoxP3

Alexander Rudensky, PhD, an immunologist at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center,  is co-discoverer of the transcription factor FoxP3 that is essential for Treg identification and function.

Early in his career, Dr. Rudensky pursued biochemistry at Moscow’s Second Medical School, studying the interplay between the immune system’s main actors: T cells and B cells. Following postdoctoral work at Yale, he accepted a professorship at the University of Washington, where his focus turned to the molecular underpinnings of T cell development. Rudensky became particularly interested in regulatory T cells, or Tregs, thought to play a role in suppressing unwanted immune responses. The molecular identity and role of Tregs had puzzled researchers for decades, but Rudensky and his team helped solve it by discovering that the gene switch FOXP3 controls their formation.

Much of Rudensky’s career unfolded at Memorial Sloan-Kettering in New York City. Notably, he found that placental mammals form cohort of “peripheral” Tregs, and that during pregnancy, these Tregs prevent the maternal immune system from attacking the fetus, effectively linking peripheral Treg deficiency to miscarriages. Rudensky also discovered that fatty acids in the gut boost the formation of peripheral Tregs, which in turn help ward off inflammatory gut disorders, and that Tregs secrete a signaling molecule that mediates tissue repair and maintenance, establishing a central role for them in inflammation and allergies.

More recently, Rudensky and his colleagues have explored how Tregs influence cancer progression. Clinical trials involving Tregs in transplantation and autoimmune diseases are underway, and the coming years are poised to bring promising leads for cancer treatment.

Scientific Advisor

Alexander Rudensky

Alexander Rudensky, PhD, an immunologist at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center,  is co-discoverer of the transcription factor FoxP3 that is essential for Treg identification and function.

Early in his career, Dr. Rudensky pursued biochemistry at Moscow’s Second Medical School, studying the interplay between the immune system’s main actors: T cells and B cells. Following postdoctoral work at Yale, he accepted a professorship at the University of Washington, where his focus turned to the molecular underpinnings of T cell development. Rudensky became particularly interested in regulatory T cells, or Tregs, thought to play a role in suppressing unwanted immune responses. The molecular identity and role of Tregs had puzzled researchers for decades, but Rudensky and his team helped solve it by discovering that the gene switch FOXP3 controls their formation.

Much of Rudensky’s career unfolded at Memorial Sloan-Kettering in New York City. Notably, he found that placental mammals form cohort of “peripheral” Tregs, and that during pregnancy, these Tregs prevent the maternal immune system from attacking the fetus, effectively linking peripheral Treg deficiency to miscarriages. Rudensky also discovered that fatty acids in the gut boost the formation of peripheral Tregs, which in turn help ward off inflammatory gut disorders, and that Tregs secrete a signaling molecule that mediates tissue repair and maintenance, establishing a central role for them in inflammation and allergies.

More recently, Rudensky and his colleagues have explored how Tregs influence cancer progression. Clinical trials involving Tregs in transplantation and autoimmune diseases are underway, and the coming years are poised to bring promising leads for cancer treatment.

Alexander Rudensky

Scientific Advisor

Qizhi Tang

Qizhi Tang

Scientific Advisor

Professor of Immunology; Director of the UCSF Transplantation Research Laboratory

Dr. Tang received her bachelor's degree at Peking Union Medical College in China. She completed her graduate education in the US, getting her master's degree from the University of South Alabama and her PhD from the University of Illinois at Chicago. She completed post doctoral fellowships at the University of Illinois at Chicago and under renowned immunologist Dr. Jeffrey Bluestone at the University of Chicago and the University of California, San Francisco.

Dr. Tang joined the staff at the University of California, San Francisco in 2002 as an Assistant Professor of Pathology in the Diabetes Center where she focused on immune tolerance. She joined the transplantation department in 2007 to lead basic research on transplant immunology. She now focuses on regulatory T cell biology. She is one of the first to grow regulatory T cells and apply these cells in experimental therapy.

In addition to Dr. Tang's research duties, she has presented several national lectures. She has also published dozens of articles in the field of immunology.

Scientific Advisor

Qizhi Tang

Dr. Tang received her bachelor's degree at Peking Union Medical College in China. She completed her graduate education in the US, getting her master's degree from the University of South Alabama and her PhD from the University of Illinois at Chicago. She completed post doctoral fellowships at the University of Illinois at Chicago and under renowned immunologist Dr. Jeffrey Bluestone at the University of Chicago and the University of California, San Francisco.

Dr. Tang joined the staff at the University of California, San Francisco in 2002 as an Assistant Professor of Pathology in the Diabetes Center where she focused on immune tolerance. She joined the transplantation department in 2007 to lead basic research on transplant immunology. She now focuses on regulatory T cell biology. She is one of the first to grow regulatory T cells and apply these cells in experimental therapy.

In addition to Dr. Tang's research duties, she has presented several national lectures. She has also published dozens of articles in the field of immunology.

Qizhi Tang

Scientific Advisor

TEAM

Leadership and Staff

Joshua Beilke

Joshua Beilke

VP, Translational Development

Immunologist and cell engineer overseeing translational development of Treg therapies

Joshua Beilke is an experienced immunologist who, for over 20 years, has worked on deciphering aspects of immune tolerance.

He received his PhD at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Barbara Davis Center where he focused on active mechanisms of immune tolerance while moonlighting to earn his MBA from the University of Colorado. He completed post-doctoral work  at the University of California, San Francisco in the Lewis Lanier Lab, focusing on NK cells, NK-like receptors in autoimmunity, and memory NK cell formation.  

Prior to joining Sonoma, he served as the Director of the Department of T cell Biology and Engineering at Celgene in Seattle, Washington responsible for CAR and eTCR T cell signalling optimization, controlling activity with small molecules, and ensuring optimal biology during manufacturing.   Additionally, Josh was a member of the early business development triage and diligence team and managed the science of partnerships stemming from these investments.  Prior to joining Celgene, Josh worked at Novo Nordisk Research Center focusing on target discovery for biotherapeutics development in inflammatory diseases.

Josh joined Sonoma in 2019 as Vice President of Translational Development and site head for Seattle.

VP, Translational Development

Joshua Beilke

Joshua Beilke is an experienced immunologist who, for over 20 years, has worked on deciphering aspects of immune tolerance.

He received his PhD at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Barbara Davis Center where he focused on active mechanisms of immune tolerance while moonlighting to earn his MBA from the University of Colorado. He completed post-doctoral work  at the University of California, San Francisco in the Lewis Lanier Lab, focusing on NK cells, NK-like receptors in autoimmunity, and memory NK cell formation.  

Prior to joining Sonoma, he served as the Director of the Department of T cell Biology and Engineering at Celgene in Seattle, Washington responsible for CAR and eTCR T cell signalling optimization, controlling activity with small molecules, and ensuring optimal biology during manufacturing.   Additionally, Josh was a member of the early business development triage and diligence team and managed the science of partnerships stemming from these investments.  Prior to joining Celgene, Josh worked at Novo Nordisk Research Center focusing on target discovery for biotherapeutics development in inflammatory diseases.

Josh joined Sonoma in 2019 as Vice President of Translational Development and site head for Seattle.

Joshua Beilke

VP, Translational Development

Beatriz Bigbee

Beatriz Bigbee

Office Manager

Experienced administrative specialist

Beatriz Bigbee brings nearly 15 years of experience in office administration, and administrative support to Sonoma.

Prior to joining Sonoma, Beatriz served as Executive Assistant to the CEO, Chief Scientific Officer and Vice President of Research Operations at the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy. During this time, Beatriz' main goal was to make their lives easier by helping with their busy schedules and managing day-to-day activities in a timely manner.

Beatriz worked for 12 years at Stanford Children’s Hospital, supporting the administrative director and the General Services Department, and as part of the Revenue Cycle Operations Department supporting the Chief Revenue Officer and Director of Revenue Cycle Operations. She also worked in the Hospital Administration Department for nine years supporting the Chief Financial Officer and Vice President of Clinical Services and their teams.

At Sonoma Biotherapeutics, Beatriz is the Office Manager and Executive Assistant to the CEO & CSO.

Office Manager

Beatriz Bigbee

Beatriz Bigbee brings nearly 15 years of experience in office administration, and administrative support to Sonoma.

Prior to joining Sonoma, Beatriz served as Executive Assistant to the CEO, Chief Scientific Officer and Vice President of Research Operations at the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy. During this time, Beatriz' main goal was to make their lives easier by helping with their busy schedules and managing day-to-day activities in a timely manner.

Beatriz worked for 12 years at Stanford Children’s Hospital, supporting the administrative director and the General Services Department, and as part of the Revenue Cycle Operations Department supporting the Chief Revenue Officer and Director of Revenue Cycle Operations. She also worked in the Hospital Administration Department for nine years supporting the Chief Financial Officer and Vice President of Clinical Services and their teams.

At Sonoma Biotherapeutics, Beatriz is the Office Manager and Executive Assistant to the CEO & CSO.

Beatriz Bigbee

Office Manager

Jeff Bluestone

Jeff Bluestone

Chief Executive Officer and President

Renowned immunologist, Treg cell therapy pioneer and academic leader

Jeffrey Bluestone, PhD is one of the leading immunologists in the field of T-cell activation and immune tolerance research that has led to the development of multiple immunotherapies, including the first FDA-approved drug targeting T-cell co-stimulation to treat autoimmune disease and organ transplantation and the first CTLA-4 antagonist drugs approved for the treatment of metastatic melanoma.

Dr. Bluestone is an academic leader on a national and international scale. He is former  President and CEO of the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy, and was the founding director of the Immune Tolerance Network, the largest NIH-funded multicenter clinical immunology research program, testing novel immunotherapies in transplantation, autoimmunity and asthma/allergy.  While holding the A.W. and Mary Margaret Clausen Distinguished Professorship at UCSF, Dr. Bluestone also served as executive vice chancellor and provost emeritus at UCSF and was the former director of the UCSF Diabetes Center.

Dr. Bluestone has authored more than 400 peer-reviewed publications and has received numerous awards, including election to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the National Academy of Medicine. He was also appointed a member of Vice President Joe Biden’s Cancer Moonshot Blue Ribbon Panel.

Chief Executive Officer and President

Jeff Bluestone

Jeffrey Bluestone, PhD is one of the leading immunologists in the field of T-cell activation and immune tolerance research that has led to the development of multiple immunotherapies, including the first FDA-approved drug targeting T-cell co-stimulation to treat autoimmune disease and organ transplantation and the first CTLA-4 antagonist drugs approved for the treatment of metastatic melanoma.

Dr. Bluestone is an academic leader on a national and international scale. He is former  President and CEO of the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy, and was the founding director of the Immune Tolerance Network, the largest NIH-funded multicenter clinical immunology research program, testing novel immunotherapies in transplantation, autoimmunity and asthma/allergy.  While holding the A.W. and Mary Margaret Clausen Distinguished Professorship at UCSF, Dr. Bluestone also served as executive vice chancellor and provost emeritus at UCSF and was the former director of the UCSF Diabetes Center.

Dr. Bluestone has authored more than 400 peer-reviewed publications and has received numerous awards, including election to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the National Academy of Medicine. He was also appointed a member of Vice President Joe Biden’s Cancer Moonshot Blue Ribbon Panel.

Jeff Bluestone

Chief Executive Officer and President

John Bui

John Bui

Sr. Associate Scientist

Cellular biologist and process implementation expert

John brings extensive experience in characterizing a diverse array of immune subsets associated with protection from disease, while developing novel tools for to support and ensure progress in programs throughout the drug development pipeline from early discovery to late-stage projects.  

Prior to joining Sonoma, John developed subject matter expertise in end-to-end lab build-outs at several Seattle sites, including leading the execution of lab design, infrastructure, and implementation of operations processes to enable the immuno-oncology research program at Celgene Seattle.

John received his B.S. in Cell and Molecular Biology from the University of Washington.  He has worked in immunology labs for 20 years in various focus areas including HIV, Inflammation and Oncology in both academia and industry settings that include the HIV Vaccine Trials Network at the Fred Hutch, Benaroya Research Institute, Novo Nordisk and Celgene.

John is a member of Sonoma’s Product Validation Group in Seattle, with responsibilities that include establishing cellular parameters for analytical development to support in-process analysis.

Sr. Associate Scientist

John Bui

John brings extensive experience in characterizing a diverse array of immune subsets associated with protection from disease, while developing novel tools for to support and ensure progress in programs throughout the drug development pipeline from early discovery to late-stage projects.  

Prior to joining Sonoma, John developed subject matter expertise in end-to-end lab build-outs at several Seattle sites, including leading the execution of lab design, infrastructure, and implementation of operations processes to enable the immuno-oncology research program at Celgene Seattle.

John received his B.S. in Cell and Molecular Biology from the University of Washington.  He has worked in immunology labs for 20 years in various focus areas including HIV, Inflammation and Oncology in both academia and industry settings that include the HIV Vaccine Trials Network at the Fred Hutch, Benaroya Research Institute, Novo Nordisk and Celgene.

John is a member of Sonoma’s Product Validation Group in Seattle, with responsibilities that include establishing cellular parameters for analytical development to support in-process analysis.

John Bui

Sr. Associate Scientist

Jessica Cortez

Jessica Cortez

Scientist, Discovery

Treg discovery biologist and expert in CRISPR Screens

Jessica brings over 9 years of scientific experience, including 5 years of expertise in Treg biology and gene engineering, and a longstanding interest in autoimmunity to Sonoma.

Conducting her graduate work at UCSF in Alexander Marson’s lab, Jessica developed a pooled screening platform for primary Tregs to discover novel modulators of Foxp3 – work that will soon be published in the journal Nature.

Prior to graduate studies, she spent 3 years as a technician in Mark Anderson’s lab at UCSF studying the molecular mechanism of Aire. She received a BS from CSU Channel Islands.

Jessica is the recipient of several awards, including the prestigious NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program and was selected for the Amgen Scholars Program.

Jessica is part of the preclinical scientific team at Sonoma.

Scientist, Discovery

Jessica Cortez

Jessica brings over 9 years of scientific experience, including 5 years of expertise in Treg biology and gene engineering, and a longstanding interest in autoimmunity to Sonoma.

Conducting her graduate work at UCSF in Alexander Marson’s lab, Jessica developed a pooled screening platform for primary Tregs to discover novel modulators of Foxp3 – work that will soon be published in the journal Nature.

Prior to graduate studies, she spent 3 years as a technician in Mark Anderson’s lab at UCSF studying the molecular mechanism of Aire. She received a BS from CSU Channel Islands.

Jessica is the recipient of several awards, including the prestigious NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program and was selected for the Amgen Scholars Program.

Jessica is part of the preclinical scientific team at Sonoma.

Jessica Cortez

Scientist, Discovery

Peter DiLaura

Peter DiLaura

Chief Business & Strategy Officer

Accomplished biotechnology executive with over 25 years of experience in life sciences.

An accomplished biotechnology executive, Peter DiLaura has nearly 25 years of experience in corporate development, strategy, and business leadership. He joined the company in 2020 from Third Rock Ventures, where he served as an Entrepreneur-in-Residence, focused on building innovative therapeutic companies. Prior to Third Rock, Peter spent five years as the Chief Executive Officer of Second Genome, a therapeutics company developing novel drugs from microbiome science. Earlier in his career, Peter led all corporate development at Ingenuity Systems, a systems biology company.  Peter began his career in life sciences as a consultant in the New York office of The Wilkerson Group.

Peter holds a BS in Economics from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

At Sonoma Biotherapeutics, Peter is responsible for corporate development, strategic planning, and operations.

Chief Business & Strategy Officer

Peter DiLaura

An accomplished biotechnology executive, Peter DiLaura has nearly 25 years of experience in corporate development, strategy, and business leadership. He joined the company in 2020 from Third Rock Ventures, where he served as an Entrepreneur-in-Residence, focused on building innovative therapeutic companies. Prior to Third Rock, Peter spent five years as the Chief Executive Officer of Second Genome, a therapeutics company developing novel drugs from microbiome science. Earlier in his career, Peter led all corporate development at Ingenuity Systems, a systems biology company.  Peter began his career in life sciences as a consultant in the New York office of The Wilkerson Group.

Peter holds a BS in Economics from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

At Sonoma Biotherapeutics, Peter is responsible for corporate development, strategic planning, and operations.

Peter DiLaura

Chief Business & Strategy Officer

Max Fiebiger

Max Fiebiger

Scientist, In vivo Modelling

Experienced pharmacologist with experience preclinical drug development

A scientist specializing in immunology and molecular biology, Max got his PhD from Ludwig-Maximilians University in Munich and continued his training as a postdoctoral fellow at Rockefeller University.

He has over 10 years of experience in molecular immunology and cell biology, interfacing between academia and industry, and prior experience developing antibody-based therapeutics.

Most recently he worked at Siolta Therapeutics, where he helped building out the R&D programs and led the immunology and translational research groups.

Max joined Sonoma Biotherapeutics in early 2020 as a Scientist where he is leading the in vivo modeling team.


Scientist, In vivo Modelling

Max Fiebiger

A scientist specializing in immunology and molecular biology, Max got his PhD from Ludwig-Maximilians University in Munich and continued his training as a postdoctoral fellow at Rockefeller University.

He has over 10 years of experience in molecular immunology and cell biology, interfacing between academia and industry, and prior experience developing antibody-based therapeutics.

Most recently he worked at Siolta Therapeutics, where he helped building out the R&D programs and led the immunology and translational research groups.

Max joined Sonoma Biotherapeutics in early 2020 as a Scientist where he is leading the in vivo modeling team.


Max Fiebiger

Scientist, In vivo Modelling

Fred Ramsdell

Fred Ramsdell

Chief Scientific Officer

Veteran biotechnology leader, co-discoverer of the FOXP3 gene critical to Treg function

Fred Ramsdell, Ph.D., is a veteran biotechnology leader in immunology with nearly three decades of experience. Fred is a founder of Sonoma and serves at the Chief Scientific Officer.  Immediately prior to Sonoma, Fred was the CSO at the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy (PICI) where he helped to build and advance multiple research programs from the inception of the Institute.  

After a fellowship at the NIH, Fred joined Immunex studying T cell activation and tolerance, with a focus on gene discovery and functional characterization.  He later joined Darwin Molecular (which was later acquired by Celltech R&D) to establish the immunology program.  Amongst other programs, he led the team that discovered and characterized FoxP3, a gene critical to the function of regulatory T-cells.  Fred joined ZymoGenetics in 2004, where he led teams studying novel proteins with potential regulatory activity in lymphoid cells. In 2008, Novo Nordisk brought Dr. Ramsdell on to help establish the company’s new Inflammation Research Center in Seattle and lead the Immunobiology group.

He earned his doctoral degree in microbiology and immunology from the University of California, Los Angeles and holds a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry and cell biology from the University of California, San Diego.

Chief Scientific Officer

Fred Ramsdell

Fred Ramsdell, Ph.D., is a veteran biotechnology leader in immunology with nearly three decades of experience. Fred is a founder of Sonoma and serves at the Chief Scientific Officer.  Immediately prior to Sonoma, Fred was the CSO at the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy (PICI) where he helped to build and advance multiple research programs from the inception of the Institute.  

After a fellowship at the NIH, Fred joined Immunex studying T cell activation and tolerance, with a focus on gene discovery and functional characterization.  He later joined Darwin Molecular (which was later acquired by Celltech R&D) to establish the immunology program.  Amongst other programs, he led the team that discovered and characterized FoxP3, a gene critical to the function of regulatory T-cells.  Fred joined ZymoGenetics in 2004, where he led teams studying novel proteins with potential regulatory activity in lymphoid cells. In 2008, Novo Nordisk brought Dr. Ramsdell on to help establish the company’s new Inflammation Research Center in Seattle and lead the Immunobiology group.

He earned his doctoral degree in microbiology and immunology from the University of California, Los Angeles and holds a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry and cell biology from the University of California, San Diego.

Fred Ramsdell

Chief Scientific Officer

Anne-Renee Van Der Vuurst de Vries

Anne-Renee Van Der Vuurst de Vries

Sr. Director, Product Validation

Experienced immunologist focused on target discovery and validation

Anne-Renée joined Sonoma Biotherapeutics in January 2020 as Director of Product Validation, with nearly 20 years of experience in industry settings, developing small molecule, protein and CAR-T therapeutic approaches for oncology and autoimmune diseases.

Most recently, she served as Director within the Immuno-Oncology and Cellular Therapy Therapeutic Research Center of Celgene where she was responsible for Immuno-Oncology target validation and CAR & TCR discovery. Prior to her 5-year tenure at Celgene she had leadership positions in the Discovery Immunology Department at Novo Nordisk Research Center, where she was responsible for antibody phage display and discovery platforms, and at Addex Pharmaceuticals focused on identification of allosteric modulators for inflammatory diseases.  Early in her career she focused on identifying novel tumor targets at both Spaltudaq and Amgen.

Anne-Renée began her career in industry as a postdoctoral fellow at Immunex in Cancer Biology following her PhD degree in Immunology at the University of Utrecht in the Netherlands.

Among her duties at Sonoma, Anne-Renée and her team are responsible for characterizing and identifying the product leads that move to the clinic.

Sr. Director, Product Validation

Anne-Renee Van Der Vuurst de Vries

Anne-Renée joined Sonoma Biotherapeutics in January 2020 as Director of Product Validation, with nearly 20 years of experience in industry settings, developing small molecule, protein and CAR-T therapeutic approaches for oncology and autoimmune diseases.

Most recently, she served as Director within the Immuno-Oncology and Cellular Therapy Therapeutic Research Center of Celgene where she was responsible for Immuno-Oncology target validation and CAR & TCR discovery. Prior to her 5-year tenure at Celgene she had leadership positions in the Discovery Immunology Department at Novo Nordisk Research Center, where she was responsible for antibody phage display and discovery platforms, and at Addex Pharmaceuticals focused on identification of allosteric modulators for inflammatory diseases.  Early in her career she focused on identifying novel tumor targets at both Spaltudaq and Amgen.

Anne-Renée began her career in industry as a postdoctoral fellow at Immunex in Cancer Biology following her PhD degree in Immunology at the University of Utrecht in the Netherlands.

Among her duties at Sonoma, Anne-Renée and her team are responsible for characterizing and identifying the product leads that move to the clinic.

Anne-Renee Van Der Vuurst de Vries

Sr. Director, Product Validation

Frederic Van Gool

Frederic Van Gool

Sr. Director, Discovery Research

Molecular T cell immunologist with extensive experience in immune tolerance research

Frederic Van Gool is a molecular T cell immunologist with more than 15 years of research experience in the field of immune tolerance. Frederic obtained his PhD in molecular biology from the Université Libre deBruxelles, for his research thesis on the regulation of innate immunity by the NAD-biosynthetic pathways. He pursued a postdoctoral training in the field ofimmune tolerance and regulatory T-cells (Tregs) with Dr. Jeffrey Bluestone atUCSF, where he investigated pathways required for the maintenance of Treg function and identified a cross-talk between Tregs and innate lymphoid cells.

More recently, Frederic pursued his scientific career as Adjunct Assistant Professor at UC San Francisco, Diabetes Center, School of Medicine. His research focused on deciphering the regulatory function of the transcription factor FOXP3 at the cellular and molecular level.

Frederic joined Sonoma Biotherapeutics in 2019 as Senior Director of Discovery Research. He is responsible for the ongoing discovery effort in developing the next generation of engineered Treg cell therapies for autoimmune diseases, organ transplant rejection and other degenerative diseases. Fredericis particularly interested in understanding the fundamental mechanisms regulating immune tolerance and applying these principles to advance novelimmune-based therapies.

Sr. Director, Discovery Research

Frederic Van Gool

Frederic Van Gool is a molecular T cell immunologist with more than 15 years of research experience in the field of immune tolerance. Frederic obtained his PhD in molecular biology from the Université Libre deBruxelles, for his research thesis on the regulation of innate immunity by the NAD-biosynthetic pathways. He pursued a postdoctoral training in the field ofimmune tolerance and regulatory T-cells (Tregs) with Dr. Jeffrey Bluestone atUCSF, where he investigated pathways required for the maintenance of Treg function and identified a cross-talk between Tregs and innate lymphoid cells.

More recently, Frederic pursued his scientific career as Adjunct Assistant Professor at UC San Francisco, Diabetes Center, School of Medicine. His research focused on deciphering the regulatory function of the transcription factor FOXP3 at the cellular and molecular level.

Frederic joined Sonoma Biotherapeutics in 2019 as Senior Director of Discovery Research. He is responsible for the ongoing discovery effort in developing the next generation of engineered Treg cell therapies for autoimmune diseases, organ transplant rejection and other degenerative diseases. Fredericis particularly interested in understanding the fundamental mechanisms regulating immune tolerance and applying these principles to advance novelimmune-based therapies.

Frederic Van Gool

Sr. Director, Discovery Research

Jerry Wang

Jerry Wang

Preclinical Scientist

Experienced preclinical development specialist working on CAR-Treg products

Jerry (Li-Jie) Wang has years of experience in cancer biology and cell engineering fields for therapeutic applications in both academic and industrial settings after finishing PhD training in Taiwan.

Jerry completed PhD degree of Biomedical Science in Chang Gung University, Taiwan from 2009 to 2012 studying mechanism of tumorigenesis between innate immune system and EBV viral components in Nasopharyngeal Carcinoma. Jerry finished postdoctoral training at The Scripps Research Institute and Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center for studying protein synthesis control in processes of aging and tumor initiation. As the Senior Scientist at Seattle Children’s Research Institute and Synthego Corporation, he led T cell engineering projects to target autoimmune diseases via developing CRISPR-based gene editing platform for preclinical applications.

Prior to joining Sonoma Biotherapeutics, Jerry was the senior scientist working on T cell engineering in preclinical research by developing CRISPR-based gene editing approaches at Synthego Corporation.

At Sonoma, Jerry works on preclinical development of CAR-Treg products for targeting autoimmune diseases.

Preclinical Scientist

Jerry Wang

Jerry (Li-Jie) Wang has years of experience in cancer biology and cell engineering fields for therapeutic applications in both academic and industrial settings after finishing PhD training in Taiwan.

Jerry completed PhD degree of Biomedical Science in Chang Gung University, Taiwan from 2009 to 2012 studying mechanism of tumorigenesis between innate immune system and EBV viral components in Nasopharyngeal Carcinoma. Jerry finished postdoctoral training at The Scripps Research Institute and Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center for studying protein synthesis control in processes of aging and tumor initiation. As the Senior Scientist at Seattle Children’s Research Institute and Synthego Corporation, he led T cell engineering projects to target autoimmune diseases via developing CRISPR-based gene editing platform for preclinical applications.

Prior to joining Sonoma Biotherapeutics, Jerry was the senior scientist working on T cell engineering in preclinical research by developing CRISPR-based gene editing approaches at Synthego Corporation.

At Sonoma, Jerry works on preclinical development of CAR-Treg products for targeting autoimmune diseases.

Jerry Wang

Preclinical Scientist

TEAM

Join our Team

With locations in San Francisco and Seattle, Sonoma offers an environment that promotes science-first, exciting new discoveries, teamwork and collaboration.

We are looking for people who are energized by innovation, stimulated by the challenge of developing a new class of drugs and who are driven by a desire to use their talents to make a difference in the lives of others.

TEAM

Our Investors

Sonoma News

Press Releases

February 6, 2020
Sonoma Biotherapeutics launches with $40 million in Series A funding to advance regulatory T cell therapy in autoimmune and degenerative diseases
All Press Releases
February 6, 2020

Sonoma Biotherapeutics launches with $40 million in Series A funding to advance regulatory T cell therapy in autoimmune and degenerative diseases

Company founded by four pioneers of Treg cell biology and cell therapy and financed by a syndicate of leading biotech investors

Sonoma Biotherapeutics, a privately held company developing regulatory T cell (Treg) therapies for autoimmune and degenerative diseases, launched today in South San Francisco, CA and Seattle, WA with $40 million in its Series A financing. Sonoma brings together next-generation research, development and manufacturing capabilities in cell therapy and genetic engineering with an accomplished team of executives, scientists, board members and investors with extensive experience in the fields of cell therapy and drug discovery.

“With this team and our assembled expertise and technologies, we are in an ideal position to move adoptive cell therapy beyond cancer, to establish safe, effective and long-lasting treatments for a range of conditions where current drugs and biologics are simply not good enough,” said founder and CEO Jeffrey Bluestone, PhD. “As the immune system’s master regulators of protecting the body against self-destruction, Treg cell therapy is perhaps the ideal means to shut down unwanted immune reactions and provide meaningful treatment for patients.”

The financing involves an investor syndicate that includes Lyell Immunopharma, ARCH Venture Partners, Milky Way Ventures and 8VC. “Treg therapies have the potential to transform the treatment of autoimmune and degenerative diseases,” said Robert Nelsen, managing partner and co-founder of ARCH Ventures Partners. “Sonoma Biotherapeutics has assembled the team and capabilities required to make this vision a reality for patients and their families.”

The goal of Treg therapy is to restore a state of self-tolerance by halting harmful inflammatory responses in autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease and multiple sclerosis, along with degenerative diseases including amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and Alzheimer’s. Over 50 million Americans currently live with an autoimmune disease, and millions more with some form of degenerative diseases. For many, existing therapies are ineffective at controlling their disease.

Tregs have a clear role in many of these conditions. These cells’ natural ability to migrate to inflamed tissues and control harmful immune responses make them ideal for treating a range of conditions.  In addition, the ability to engineer Treg cells to target specific disease-causing antigens reduces the potential for unwanted systemic effects. The role of Tregs in tissue maintenance and repair offers the potential for effective, durable and restorative treatments.

Sonoma Biotherapeutics is co-founded by four of the foundational scientists in the Treg field:

  • Jeff Bluestone, PhD, UCSF faculty member and former CEO and President of the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy, is a leading immunologist who is credited with the discovery of the function of CTLA-4, a receptor that is a critical target of the new generation of cancer immunotherapies.
  • Qizhi Tang, PhD, is a translational immunologist and Director of the UCSF Transplantation Research Lab.  
  • Fred Ramsdell, PhD, an immunologist with nearly three decades of biopharma experience, including early clinical development of immunotherapies, will serve as Sonoma’s Chief Scientific Officer.
  • Alexander Rudensky, PhD, is a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator and the Chair of Immunology Program at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, whose research has contributed to the fundamental understanding of the differentiation of Tregs and their role in immune response.

Collectively, the founding team brings expertise and proprietary methodologies across the Treg drug discovery and development process, including selection, manipulation, editing, regulation and translation for clinical use. Together, Drs. Bluestone and Tang have pioneered adoptive Treg cell therapy in some of its first clinical uses in type 1 diabetes, lupus and organ transplantation. Drs. Rudensky and Ramsdell co-discovered FOXP3, a critical transcription factor for Treg development and function, and in 2017 were awarded the Crafoord Prize by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences for their landmark studies. They are complemented by an experienced senior management team and seasoned board of directors.

“The Sonoma Biotherapeutics leadership are responsible for a significant portion of our understanding of the nature of Treg cells, their role in disease and their potential for use as a cell therapy,” said Dr. Rick Klausner, CEO of Lyell Immunopharma and newly appointed Chair of the Sonoma Biotherapeutics Board of Directors. “Perhaps more importantly, they understand the requirements of a successful cell therapeutic and the corresponding challenges in defining the pathway to market. We look forward to a strong partnership between Lyell and Sonoma Biotherapeutics.”

In this regard, Sonoma Biotherapeutics has entered into a strategic partnership with Lyell that provides both parties with access to technologies and know-how to enhance the durability, stability and specificity of cell therapies in their respective indications of focus. This partnership will further enable Sonoma’s rapid translation of Treg therapies from target identification and discovery, through preclinical and clinical development.

Senior Management Team

  • Jeffrey Bluestone, PhD, Founder, CEO & President
  • Fred Ramsdell, PhD, Founder & CSO
  • Peter DiLaura, Chief Business & Strategy Officer
  • Joshua Beilke, MBA, PhD, VP Translational Development

Board of Directors

  • Rick Klausner, MD (Chair) – Founder & CEO, Lyell Immunopharma, Inc.
  • Maggie Wilderotter – CEO, Grand Reserve Inn; former board member, Juno Therapeutics
  • Toni Hoover, PhD – Director, Strategy, Planning and Management for Global Health, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
  • Terry Rosen, PhD – CEO, Arcus Biosciences
  • David Moskowitz, PhD – Principal, 8VC (observer)
  • Jeffrey Bluestone, PhD, CEO & President, Sonoma Biotherapeutics

###

About Sonoma Biotherapeutics

Sonoma Biotherapeutics is a privately held, San Francisco and Seattle-based company leading the development of adoptive Treg therapies cell for autoimmune and degenerative diseases. Using next generation genome editing and target-specific cell therapy, Sonoma is focused on developing its best-in-class platform across the entire spectrum of Treg cell therapeutic capabilities. Founded by pioneers in Treg biology and cell therapy, the company brings together leading expertise and proprietary methodologies for the discovery and development of disease modifying and curative therapies. More information at www.sonomabio.com.

Media Contact:

  Jeff Bluestone, PhD
 President & CEO
  (510) 364-7902
  media@sonomabio.com

Press Releases

February 6, 2020
Sonoma Biotherapeutics launches with $40 million in Series A funding to advance regulatory T cell therapy in autoimmune and degenerative diseases
All Press Releases
February 6, 2020

Sonoma Biotherapeutics launches with $40 million in Series A funding to advance regulatory T cell therapy in autoimmune and degenerative diseases

Company founded by four pioneers of Treg cell biology and cell therapy and financed by a syndicate of leading biotech investors

Sonoma Biotherapeutics, a privately held company developing regulatory T cell (Treg) therapies for autoimmune and degenerative diseases, launched today in South San Francisco, CA and Seattle, WA with $40 million in its Series A financing. Sonoma brings together next-generation research, development and manufacturing capabilities in cell therapy and genetic engineering with an accomplished team of executives, scientists, board members and investors with extensive experience in the fields of cell therapy and drug discovery.

“With this team and our assembled expertise and technologies, we are in an ideal position to move adoptive cell therapy beyond cancer, to establish safe, effective and long-lasting treatments for a range of conditions where current drugs and biologics are simply not good enough,” said founder and CEO Jeffrey Bluestone, PhD. “As the immune system’s master regulators of protecting the body against self-destruction, Treg cell therapy is perhaps the ideal means to shut down unwanted immune reactions and provide meaningful treatment for patients.”

The financing involves an investor syndicate that includes Lyell Immunopharma, ARCH Venture Partners, Milky Way Ventures and 8VC. “Treg therapies have the potential to transform the treatment of autoimmune and degenerative diseases,” said Robert Nelsen, managing partner and co-founder of ARCH Ventures Partners. “Sonoma Biotherapeutics has assembled the team and capabilities required to make this vision a reality for patients and their families.”

The goal of Treg therapy is to restore a state of self-tolerance by halting harmful inflammatory responses in autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease and multiple sclerosis, along with degenerative diseases including amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and Alzheimer’s. Over 50 million Americans currently live with an autoimmune disease, and millions more with some form of degenerative diseases. For many, existing therapies are ineffective at controlling their disease.

Tregs have a clear role in many of these conditions. These cells’ natural ability to migrate to inflamed tissues and control harmful immune responses make them ideal for treating a range of conditions.  In addition, the ability to engineer Treg cells to target specific disease-causing antigens reduces the potential for unwanted systemic effects. The role of Tregs in tissue maintenance and repair offers the potential for effective, durable and restorative treatments.

Sonoma Biotherapeutics is co-founded by four of the foundational scientists in the Treg field:

  • Jeff Bluestone, PhD, UCSF faculty member and former CEO and President of the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy, is a leading immunologist who is credited with the discovery of the function of CTLA-4, a receptor that is a critical target of the new generation of cancer immunotherapies.
  • Qizhi Tang, PhD, is a translational immunologist and Director of the UCSF Transplantation Research Lab.  
  • Fred Ramsdell, PhD, an immunologist with nearly three decades of biopharma experience, including early clinical development of immunotherapies, will serve as Sonoma’s Chief Scientific Officer.
  • Alexander Rudensky, PhD, is a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator and the Chair of Immunology Program at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, whose research has contributed to the fundamental understanding of the differentiation of Tregs and their role in immune response.

Collectively, the founding team brings expertise and proprietary methodologies across the Treg drug discovery and development process, including selection, manipulation, editing, regulation and translation for clinical use. Together, Drs. Bluestone and Tang have pioneered adoptive Treg cell therapy in some of its first clinical uses in type 1 diabetes, lupus and organ transplantation. Drs. Rudensky and Ramsdell co-discovered FOXP3, a critical transcription factor for Treg development and function, and in 2017 were awarded the Crafoord Prize by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences for their landmark studies. They are complemented by an experienced senior management team and seasoned board of directors.

“The Sonoma Biotherapeutics leadership are responsible for a significant portion of our understanding of the nature of Treg cells, their role in disease and their potential for use as a cell therapy,” said Dr. Rick Klausner, CEO of Lyell Immunopharma and newly appointed Chair of the Sonoma Biotherapeutics Board of Directors. “Perhaps more importantly, they understand the requirements of a successful cell therapeutic and the corresponding challenges in defining the pathway to market. We look forward to a strong partnership between Lyell and Sonoma Biotherapeutics.”

In this regard, Sonoma Biotherapeutics has entered into a strategic partnership with Lyell that provides both parties with access to technologies and know-how to enhance the durability, stability and specificity of cell therapies in their respective indications of focus. This partnership will further enable Sonoma’s rapid translation of Treg therapies from target identification and discovery, through preclinical and clinical development.

Senior Management Team

  • Jeffrey Bluestone, PhD, Founder, CEO & President
  • Fred Ramsdell, PhD, Founder & CSO
  • Peter DiLaura, Chief Business & Strategy Officer
  • Joshua Beilke, MBA, PhD, VP Translational Development

Board of Directors

  • Rick Klausner, MD (Chair) – Founder & CEO, Lyell Immunopharma, Inc.
  • Maggie Wilderotter – CEO, Grand Reserve Inn; former board member, Juno Therapeutics
  • Toni Hoover, PhD – Director, Strategy, Planning and Management for Global Health, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
  • Terry Rosen, PhD – CEO, Arcus Biosciences
  • David Moskowitz, PhD – Principal, 8VC (observer)
  • Jeffrey Bluestone, PhD, CEO & President, Sonoma Biotherapeutics

###

About Sonoma Biotherapeutics

Sonoma Biotherapeutics is a privately held, San Francisco and Seattle-based company leading the development of adoptive Treg therapies cell for autoimmune and degenerative diseases. Using next generation genome editing and target-specific cell therapy, Sonoma is focused on developing its best-in-class platform across the entire spectrum of Treg cell therapeutic capabilities. Founded by pioneers in Treg biology and cell therapy, the company brings together leading expertise and proprietary methodologies for the discovery and development of disease modifying and curative therapies. More information at www.sonomabio.com.

Media Contact:

  Jeff Bluestone, PhD
 President & CEO
  (510) 364-7902
  media@sonomabio.com

Publications

Publications

Treg cell-based therapies: challenges and perspectives
Nat Rev Immunol 2019 doi: 10.1038/s41577-019-0232-6
December 6, 2019
Next-generation regulatory T cell therapy
Nat Rev Drug Discov 18(10): 749-769, 2019
September 20, 2019
Therapeutic use of regulatory T cells for graft-versus-host disease
Br J Haematol 187(1): 25-38, 2019
August 16, 2019

News Articles

June 23, 2020
Nature Immunology
Fred Ramsdell and Alexander Rudensky revisit the discovery of the Foxp3 gene and its foundational role in the differentiation and function of regulatory T cells
All News Articles
June 23, 2020
Nature Immunology

Foxp3: a genetic foundation for regulatory T cell differentiation and function

February 7, 2020
Stat News
Jeffrey Bluestone steps down as Parker Institute president to develop cell therapies for autoimmune diseases
All News Articles
February 7, 2020
Stat News

Jeffrey Bluestone steps down as Parker Institute president to develop cell therapies for autoimmune diseases

Jeffrey Bluestone, the prominent immunologist, has decided to leave his position as president of the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy, the research effort funded by billionaire Sean Parker, and strike out on his own as CEO of a new company, Sonoma Biotherapeutics....

View full story

News Articles

June 23, 2020
Nature Immunology
Fred Ramsdell and Alexander Rudensky revisit the discovery of the Foxp3 gene and its foundational role in the differentiation and function of regulatory T cells
All News Articles
June 23, 2020
Nature Immunology

Foxp3: a genetic foundation for regulatory T cell differentiation and function

February 7, 2020
Stat News
Jeffrey Bluestone steps down as Parker Institute president to develop cell therapies for autoimmune diseases
All News Articles
February 7, 2020
Stat News

Jeffrey Bluestone steps down as Parker Institute president to develop cell therapies for autoimmune diseases

Jeffrey Bluestone, the prominent immunologist, has decided to leave his position as president of the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy, the research effort funded by billionaire Sean Parker, and strike out on his own as CEO of a new company, Sonoma Biotherapeutics....

View full story

February 7, 2020
BioSpace
Parker Institute CEO Jeffrey Bluestone Steps Down to Launch Sonoma Biotherapeutics
All News Articles
February 7, 2020
BioSpace

Parker Institute CEO Jeffrey Bluestone Steps Down to Launch Sonoma Biotherapeutics

Jeffrey Bluestone, the noted scientific researcher and pioneer in understanding T-cell activation and immune tolerance in cancer patients, has stepped down from his role as chief executive of the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy to launch Sonoma Biotherapeutics.

Sonoma, based in South San Francisco, is developing regulatory T cell (Treg) therapies for autoimmune and degenerative diseases. The company publicly launched this morning with $40 million in its Series A financing that will support next-generation research, development and manufacturing capabilities in cell therapy and genetic engineering.....

View full article

February 6, 2020
Endpoints News
Jeffrey Bluestone exits Parker and switches focus back to autoimmune diseases in cell therapy 2.0 launch
All News Articles
February 6, 2020
Endpoints News

Jeffrey Bluestone exits Parker and switches focus back to autoimmune diseases in cell therapy 2.0 launch

Jeffrey Bluestone is returning to the scientific field where he forged his reputation as a drug hunter and top investigator.

The prominent scientist has handed in his walking papers as CEO of the high profile Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy, switched to the adjunct faculty at UCSF and is now launching a new company, where he plans to take a hands-on role in the development of new cell therapies for autoimmune and degenerative diseases...

View full story