Leaders in Oncology
"We are the best at what we do, because we have the best talent around."
Peter F. Lebowitz, M.D., Ph.D.
Global Therapeutic Area Head, Oncology
"We are the best at what we do, because we have the best talent around."
Peter F. Lebowitz, M.D., Ph.D.
Global Therapeutic Area Head, Oncology
As Global Therapeutic Area Head of Oncology, Peter Lebowitz, M.D., Ph.D. has end-to-end responsibility for Oncology Research & Development, from discovery through development and life cycle management. He leads a global team focused on combining internal and external innovation approaches to discover and develop new solutions for oncologic and hematologic diseases with high unmet medical need.
Prior to taking on the Therapeutic Area Head role, Peter was Head of the Hematologic Malignancy Disease Area. In this role, he was responsible for strategic oversight and execution of the Janssen hematologic malignancy drug discovery and development programs. Before joining Janssen, Peter was Vice President in both early and late-stage clinical development for another leading pharmaceutical company, where he successfully filed 10 Investigational New Drug (IND) applications with the United States Federal Drug Administration (FDA), played a major role in the global registration of three oncology drugs and led major projects from preclinical discovery through pivotal Phase 3 trials.
Prior to joining the industry, Peter was Assistant Professor of Medicine, Division of Hematology/Oncology at the Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center at Georgetown University Medical Center in Washington, D.C., where he established an independently funded translational and clinical research program and was a Principal Investigator on numerous clinical research trials. Peter graduated from Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts and earned his M.D. and Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He then completed his hematology/oncology fellowship at the National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland.
Nicholas Dracopoli, Ph.D. is Vice President and Head of Oncology Diagnostics at Janssen Research & Development, LLC. In this role, he is responsible for building and leading the Oncology Diagnostics group, which is focused on developing all companion and complementary diagnostics in our oncology development portfolio.
Nicholas joined Janssen Research & Development in 2007 as Vice President, Oncology Biomarkers. Since then, he has led the growth of the Translational Science, with dedicated teams for each Disease Area Stronghold (DAS), as well as three cross-DAS functional groups (Bioinformatics, Molecular Pathology and Biomarker Operations) that support the core DAS translational research strategies.
Prior to Janssen Research & Development, he was Vice President of Clinical Discovery Technologies at Bristol-Myers Squibb and also spent five years in the biotechnology industry at Sequana Therapeutics.
Nicholas obtained his bachelor’s degree and doctorate from the University of London and completed post-doctoral fellowships at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Subsequently, he served as an Assistant Director at the Whitehead/MIT Genome Center and as a Section Chief at the National Center for Human Genome Research at the National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland.
Nicholas has authored more than 70 scientific publications and has extensive experience in the fields of genomics, molecular biology and cancer research.
Yusri Elsayed, M.D., M.H.Sc., Ph.D. is the Vice President, Hematologic Malignancies Disease Area Stronghold Leader, Interim Head Early Development at Janssen Research & Development, LLC, and has worked in all stages of drug development, on both small and large molecules. Yusri has played an important role in the Hematologic Malignancies DAS since its inception and is a member of the core team and the business development team. He also played an important role in the diligence and in-licensing of recent Hematologic Malignancies DAS assets.
Yusri joined Janssen in 2005 as Medical Director/Project Physician. Since then, he has held positions of increasing responsibility, including Medical Leader and, most recently, Senior Director, Early Development Global Clinical Leader, leading the clinical development of several early-phase compounds for multiple myeloma and various B-cell malignancies.
Before joining Janssen, Yusri led early-development studies of oncology drugs, including small molecules and monoclonal antibodies, at Bristol-Myers Squibb. Prior to that, he was Assistant Professor of Medicine at the Cancer Institute of New Jersey and at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey -Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, where he was a Principal Investigator on numerous Phase 1 and investigational therapeutics trials and authored numerous publications.
Yusri completed his residency in Internal Medicine at State University of New York at Stony Brook (Nassau University Medical Center program) and trained in Medical Oncology at the National Cancer Institute and in Hematology at the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, both of which are part of the National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland. He is board certified in medical oncology and in hematology. Yusri also earned a master’s degree in clinical research from Duke University in Durham, North Carolina and a doctorate from Kyushu University in Japan.
Joseph Erhardt, Ph.D. is Vice President, Oncology Scientific Partnership Strategy at Janssen Research & Development, LLC. In this role, he is responsible for strategic oversight and implementation of scientific partnership strategies for the Disease Area Strongholds in collaboration with Johnson & Johnson Innovation centers in the United States and Europe.
Joseph joined Janssen in 2012, serving as the Compound Development Team Leader for one of Janssen’s investigational compounds prior to his current position. Before joining Janssen, Joseph was the Head of Portfolio Strategy and Operations for Drug Discovery and Early Development at GlaxoSmithKline. In that role, he led the creation and implementation of strategic business planning for the unit.
In addition to roles in portfolio strategy, Joseph has led global oncology development teams in both early and late phases, including projects that he championed through rapid development paths into early pivotal studies, resulting in several approvals. Earlier in his career, he led a small molecule drug discovery laboratory and multiple oncology programs from late lead optimization through Investigational New Drug (IND) submission and early development.
Joseph received his doctorate in Pharmacology from the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and conducted his postdoctoral research at SmithKline Beecham in the Department of Pharmacology.
Marco Gottardis, Ph.D. is Vice President and Prostate Cancer Disease Area Stronghold Leader for the Oncology Therapeutic Area at Janssen Research & Development, LLC. In this role, he is responsible for maintaining and enhancing Janssen’s leadership in driving the strategy to discover and develop new therapeutics to treat and prevent prostate cancer.
Marco was an established leader in Oncology Discovery Research at Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS) for 14 years with achievements spanning exploratory research to Investigational New Drug (IND) candidates. He led multiple scientific teams at BMS covering diverse target areas. He was a member of the Disease Sciences and Biologics Senior Leadership Team and served on the Oncology Early Development and Commercial Strategic Teams for Prostate and Melanoma. Marco has placed multiple discovery candidates into development and has successfully led Early Development Asset Teams that were responsible for progressing development candidates from IND to Phase 2 Proof of Concept.
Marco has 20 years of experience as a cancer research investigator in both biotech/large pharma and over 25 years’ experience in overall translational cancer research. He has had a role in the development of several drug approvals in his career. These include the seminal pre-clinical studies leading to the development of a treatment for breast cancer and the approval of selective estrogen receptor modulator, retinoid and retinoid X receptor drugs for cancer while he was a Senior Investigator at Ligand Pharmaceuticals, Inc., San Diego, California.
Iqbal Grewal, Ph.D., D.Sc., F.R.C.Path is Vice President, Head of Immuno-Oncology in the Oncology Therapeutic Area at Janssen Research & Development, LLC. He leads research efforts at Janssen to discover and develop therapeutics that function as immune modulators for the treatment of cancer. He is responsible for formulating and executing immuno-oncology strategy across all areas of disease focus.
Prior to Janssen, Iqbal led research and development activities at ImmunGene Inc., as Chief Scientific Officer and was a member of the Board of Directors. At ImmunGene, his strong scientific leadership helped to build a diverse portfolio of antibody-cytokine fusion proteins as candidates to treat cancers.
Iqbal joined ImmunGene from Seattle Genetics, Inc., where he was Vice President, Preclinical Therapeutics. At Seattle Genetics, he managed preclinical translational research functions for development of monoclonal antibodies and antibody-drug conjugates as therapeutics in the areas of autoimmunity and oncology. Under his leadership, multiple agents successfully moved to clinical development.
Iqbal began his career in the pharmaceutical industry in 1998 at Genentech Inc., where he pursued research for discovering and developing innovative protein-based biotherapeutics. He identified and validated several novel molecules as therapeutic candidates and translated some of his findings into key drug candidates for clinical development.
Iqbal holds a Doctorate in Immunology from UCLA. He was awarded a Doctor of Science degree by the University of Aberdeen in Aberdeen, United Kingdom, for his more than 20 years of seminal contributions in research, and has been named a Fellow by the Royal College of Pathologists in London. Iqbal completed his post-doctoral fellowship at Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Yale University School of Medicine, where he continued as a research faculty member.
Matthew Lorenzi, Ph.D. is Vice President, Lung Cancer Disease Area Stronghold Leader for the Oncology Therapeutic Area at Janssen Research & Development, LLC. In this role, Matthew is responsible for the strategic direction of the lung cancer disease area from early drug discovery efforts through clinical development.
Prior to joining Janssen Research & Development, he was a senior oncology leader at Bristol-Myers Squibb, where he directed research teams focused on small molecule and biologics-based drug discovery. In addition, Matthew led an early clinical development team. Within these roles, he brought strong scientific leadership to successfully deliver multiple agents into and through clinical development.
Matthew also productively instituted several key initiatives including an oncology translational medicine research strategy and numerous academic collaborations supporting the clinical development of multiple assets. He served as a member of the Senior Leadership Team for Research, representing oncology drug discovery.
Matthew received his doctorate from the University of Miami, Florida, in Molecular Pharmacology and conducted his postdoctoral fellowship at the National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland, where he continued as a Senior Staff Fellow.
Wayne Rackoff, M.D. is Vice President, Clinical Oncology at Janssen Research & Development, LLC. His primary responsibilities include directing a project in conjunction with the Tufts Center for the Study of Drug Development in Massachusetts to develop a decision-making algorithm for advancing drugs from Phase 2 to Phase 3 in clinical development, modeling and implementing new approaches to patient accrual that will hasten the completion of late-stage oncology studies, and leading the clinical activities on major licensing and acquisition projects.
While at Janssen Research & Development, Wayne has worked as a Medical Affairs Physician, and as a Project Physician, Clinical Team Leader and Head of the Clinical Group in Oncology Research & Development.
Prior to joining Janssen Research & Development, Wayne served as a faculty member of the Indiana University School of Medicine in Indianapolis, and in a public hospital-based pediatric hematology-oncology practice in South Florida. He was also the Vice President of Early Development Oncology at GlaxoSmithKline.
Wayne holds a bachelor’s degree in English from Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia, and a master’s in political science and a medical degree from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he completed his residency training in Pediatrics. He was a fellow in pediatric hematology-oncology at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Sandra Rattray, Ph.D. leads the Oncology Therapeutic Area (TA) group within Global Regulatory Affairs (GRA) at Janssen Research & Development, LLC. This group provides leadership, management, strategic input and support to all projects and products across all stages of development within the oncology TA. In addition, Sandy manages the GRA Companion Diagnostic group, who provide regulatory leadership for companion diagnostic development across the Johnson & Johnson Family of Companies.
Prior to the Johnson & Johnson Family of Companies, Sandy had a 14-year career with Merck & Co, Inc., which spanned sales and marketing, drug discovery and regulatory affairs with Merck Research Labs (MRL). Before joining MRL Regulatory Affairs, she was a member of the MRL Department of Infectious Disease, where she held positions of increasing responsibility, culminating in Group Leader, New Lead Discovery.
Prior to joining Merck, Sandy held postdoctoral and faculty appointments in the Departments of Pharmacology and Therapeutics and Obstetrics and Gynecology, at the University of Florida. Her research throughout her academic career was focused on the discovery and development of anticancer agents.
Sandy received her undergraduate degree from Auckland University in New Zealand, as well as her master’s (first class honors) and doctorate in cellular and molecular biology.
Patrik Ringblom is the Global Commercial Strategy Leader for Oncology at Janssen Global Services responsible for setting and executing the oncology strategy, building disease area strongholds and developing deep therapeutic area expertise.
Prior to this role, Patrik was the Managing Director for the mid-size markets in Janssen Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) and a member of the European Leadership Team. He had responsibility for this complex region with different healthcare systems, market dynamics, distribution systems and cultures, and more than 30 countries including Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Norway, Belgium, the Netherlands, Greece, Israel, Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Romania, Austria and Switzerland. He also played an important role in the design and implementation of Road 2010, a program that transformed the EMEA organization to meet evolving market demands.
Patrik holds a master’s in business administration and a bachelor’s degree in marketing and business administration, with a major in economics, from the University of Gothenburg in Sweden.
Kate Sasser, Ph. D. is Vice President, Oncology Translational Research, at Janssen Research & Development, LLC. She leads the translational research teams for the three oncology Disease Area Strongholds (DAS; lung, prostate and hematologic malignancies), as well as the Computational Biology and Operations teams.
Kate joined Janssen Research & Development in 2012, as an Associate Director and was a member of the Oncology Translational Research group supporting the hematologic malignancy DAS. She led that team in 2014-16 and has made major contributions to many of our hematologic malignancy programs. She was honored with the 2016 Johnson Medal, the highest award across Johnson & Johnson’s R&D organizations.
Prior to joining Janssen Research & Development, Kate led a new group at Lab Connect, LLC, focused on providing translational scientific services for pharmaceutical and biotech companies.
Kate earned her Bachelor of Science. in Microbiology and Chemistry from Oregon State University, Corvallis, Oregon, and her Ph.D. in Biomedical Sciences from the Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio. She has worked in translational science for more than 15 years as an academic researcher and as a biotechnology and pharmaceutical scientist.
Craig Tendler, M.D. is Vice President, Late-Stage Development and Global Medical Affairs for Oncology, Hematology and Supportive Care at Janssen Research & Development, LLC. In this position, he is responsible for creating robust development plans and data generation activities for all products in the oncology portfolio, from late development through registration and lifecycle management. He works closely with Early Development and the Disease Area Strongholds to implement a seamless end-to-end oncology clinical research strategy that incorporates compelling science and addresses areas of high unmet medical need.
Prior to this role, Craig was Vice President of Medical Affairs for Tibotec Therapeutics and then Ortho-Biotech, where he led approximately 50 medical affairs professionals in lifecycle management and data generation for the Oncology and Virology franchises. He played a key role in addressing with United States and European Union health authorities the safe and appropriate use of a product for the treatment of anemia caused by chemotherapy, helping to shape public policy by conducting extensive research, education and risk minimization efforts.
Craig has overseen and coordinated 11 major drug approvals by national regulatory agencies, including five by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Most recently his team worked in collaboration with the FDA and the European Medicines Agency to secure the expeditious worldwide approval of Janssen’s treatment for metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer. In 2013, Craig and his team were instrumental in achieving four FDA breakthrough designations for investigational drugs in development for various hematologic malignancies– in collaboration with our co-development partners.
Prior to joining Janssen Research & Development, Craig was the Vice President of Oncology Clinical Research and Chair of the Oncology Licensing Committee at the Schering-Plough Research Institute. In addition to his pharmaceutical industry experience, he has served as Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City and was a research fellow at the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, Maryland.
Craig earned his undergraduate degree from Cornell University, Ithaca, New York and graduated from the Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York City, with high honors. He is board certified in pediatrics with a subspecialty in hematology-oncology.
Debi Watson is Vice President, Business Development and Licensing, Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson, responsible for leading and executing transactions that support the Oncology Therapeutic Area. She oversees a group of professionals who play an active role in conducting diligence and executing transactions.
Prior to joining the Oncology team, Debi was responsible for the licensing activities of the Infectious Diseases and Vaccines Therapeutic Area. She joined Business Development and Licensing in 2005, where she developed the United States commercial strategy for licensing and acquisition opportunities within the Neuroscience Therapeutic Area and provided commercial input on pipeline assets.
Debi began her career within the Johnson & Johnson Family of Companies in 1991 and spent several years in Sales and Marketing, first as a sales representative in New England and then as a District Manager, before moving into Marketing in the Central Nervous System (CNS) Franchise, where she worked on several flagship brands for the company. She led the launch activities for a schizophrenia treatment that became one of the company’s most successful brands.
Debi received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Connecticut.