We are a biotechnology company focused on the development and commercialization of novel personalized therapeutics to treat cancer. 

We are developing Vigil, our proprietary immunotherapy platform in multiple advanced cancer indications.

Leadership Team

Steven Engle

Steven Engle

Chief Executive Officer

Steven Engle joined Gradalis as Chief Executive Officer in April 2022. Before joining Gradalis, Mr. Engle served as CEO of CohBar, a clinical-stage mitochondria-based therapeutics developer, and CEO and Board Chair of XOMA, an antibody therapeutics company that helped develop products with multiple pharmaceutical companies including Novartis, Merck, Pfizer, and Takeda. Prior to XOMA, Mr. Engle served as CEO and Board Chair of La Jolla Pharmaceutical Company, which was the first to discover the biology of B cell tolerance, developed the first B cell toleragen for lupus patients, and received an approvable letter from the FDA. While at drug delivery systems company Cygnus, he helped gain FDA approval of and launch Nicotrol for smoking cessation.

Mr. Engle currently serves on the Board of Prescient Therapeutics Ltd., AROA Biosurgery Ltd, and Author-it Software Corporation. He is a former director of BIO, BayBio and BIOCOM. Mr. Engle holds M.S.E.E. and B.S.E.E. degrees from The University of Texas with a focus in biomedical engineering.

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 John Nemunaitis, MD

John Nemunaitis, MD

Chief Scientific Officer

John is a co-founder and Chief Scientific Officer at Gradalis. He has served in various roles since helping co-found the company in 2003. He specializes in medical oncology and hematology and is board certified in internal medicine.  He is an Oncologist and has been exploring therapies for cancer treatments for over 30 years. 

Dr. Nemunaitis previously held academic positions at University of Toledo's Eleanor N. Dana Cancer Center, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and the University of Washington School of Medicine. He is a member of the board of directors of the American Cancer Society of Gene and Cell Therapy and is on the editorial board of several peer reviewed journals focusing on cancer and molecular sciences.  Dr. Nemunaitis has authored 444 peer-reviewed publications and 45 book chapters. 

Dr. Nemunaitis received an M.D. from Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, Ohio. He completed training in internal medicine at Boston City Hospital and a fellowship in oncology and hematology at University of Washington School of Medicine and Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle.

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Eric Hall, CFA

Eric Hall, CFA

Chief Financial Officer

Eric Hall, CFA,  joined Gradalis as Chief Financial Officer in January 2023, after serving as interim CFO since August 2022.  Eric has over 30 years of experience serving as Chief Financial Officer and Chief Operating Officer for a variety of public and private companies. For the past18 years, Mr. Hall has been a Partner of FLG Partners, LLC and a member of their Management Committee. He has extensive global experience in finance and has raised over $3 billion in debt and equity financing. He has been interim CFO for multiple life science companies, and since 2019, he has helped RAPT Therapeutics, ALX Oncology, Connect Biopharma, and Elevation Oncology in their IPOs. Mr. Hall is a Chartered Financial Analyst and member of the CFA Institute and the CFA Society of San Francisco. He has an MBA in Finance from the Owen Graduate School of Management, Vanderbilt University, and a B.A. in Economics from the University of California at Davis.

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 Ernest Bognar

Ernest Bognar

Chief Operating Officer

Ernie is Gradalis' Chief Operating Officer.  Prior to joining Gradalis in November 2015, Ernie was General Manager of Dendreon Corporation’s manufacturing facility in Hanover, New Jersey which was developed to meet the anticipated clinical and commercial manufacturing needs for PROVENGE® (sipuleucel-T) and other active immunotherapy product candidates in development. 

Prior to Dendreon,  Ernie served as Vice President of Manufacturing at Apptec Laboratory Services where he managed and grew a mammalian cell-based contract manufacturing business unit. Prior to that, he was Senior Director Commercial Manufacturing for ImClone Systems Inc., where he managed a biopharmaceutical start-up operation that produced the company's monoclonal antibody, ERBITUX® (cetuximab) Injection for the treatment of colorectal cancer.

Ernie also served as Manufacturing Head at Baxter Healthcare's Hyland-Immuno Division for the production of Recombinate® (FactorVIII) and held key manufacturing positions at Cellex Biosciences, Verax, Charles River Biotech, KC Biological and Ayerst Research Laboratories. He received his Bachelor's of Science degree in in vitro cell biology from the State University of New York of Arts and Sciences at Plattsburgh and his Cell Biology Certificate from W. Alton Jones Cell Science Center in Lake Placid, NY.

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Gladice Wallraven, CCRA

Gladice Wallraven, CCRA

Sr. Vice President, Clinical & Regulatory Operations

Gladice heads up Gradalis' Clinical & Regulatory Operations, and she joined the company in 2007. She is responsible for leading Gradalis’ project management, clinical, regulatory and data services. She oversees regulatory clinical research projects, safety reporting for oncology, and provides the project team with guidance, training and strategic planning.

Ms. Wallraven brings in 20 years of experience in oncology research. Prior to joining Gradalis, Ms. Wallraven held senior regulatory affairs roles Mary Crowley Cancer Research and US Oncology.

She is an active member of the Association of Clinical Research Professionals. Ms. Wallraven has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Biology from Southwestern University.

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Adam Walter, MD

Adam Walter, MD

Vice President, Medical and Scientific Affairs

Adam Walter, MD is Gradalis' Vice President - Medical and Scientific Affairs. Adam is also a practicing OBGYN (Obstetrician & Gynecologist) in Toledo, OH.  Dr. Walter graduated from Indiana University School of Medicine - Indianapolis in 2009 and has been in practice for 9 years. He completed a residency at Medical College of Ohio.

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Mark Early

Mark Early

General Counsel

Mark leads Gradalis' legal and corporate functions and joined the company in January 2022. Before joining Gradalis, Mark was a Partner in Vinson & Elkins LLP’s M&A/Capital Markets group for over 20 years.  

He earned a BA from the University of Texas at Austin and an MBA and JD from Southern Methodist University.

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Board of Directors

David Shanahan

Founder and Chairman

David is Founder and Chairman of Gradalis, Inc. From 2004-2012, Mr. Shanahan served as President of Mary Crowley Cancer Research Centers, a cancer research non-profit specializing in clinical application of gene and immune therapies.  Mary Crowley Cancer Centers have treated over 4,500 cancer patients in FDA-approved clinical trials.

He is a named inventor on several U.S. patents and co-author of multiple peer-reviewed publications in the field of molecular therapeutics.  Prior to his leadership at Mary Crowley, Mr. Shanahan served as the lead investor and founder of successful enterprises in a wide array of fields, many of which led to successful transactions of portfolio investments in the computer, commercial real estate and agricultural industries. 

He obtained a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from Texas A&M University.

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JF Berry

Director

Mr. Berry has over 20 years of private market investing experience. Since joining WP Global in 2005, he has been involved in servicing clients as well as all aspects of investing and investment management functions, including serving on the Investment Committee. His purview at WP Global spans private equity and debt, as well as both direct and fund investments.

Before joining WP Global Partners, Mr. Berry was a principal for five years at Abbott Capital Management LLC, where he focused on co-investments. Previously, he was a junior principal at Grumman Hill Group, a small growth LBO firm, where he analyzed and performed due diligence for direct private equity investment opportunities in several industries. Mr. Berry started his career at Price Waterhouse Corporate Finance as an analyst in their Merger and Acquisitions advisory practice, and also worked in the healthcare investment banking practice of CIBC World Markets.

Mr. Berry is a board member or observer of Foundation Partners, Lakeview Farms, RizePoint, Royal Camp, Corsicana Mattress, and Upstream Rehabilitation, among other portfolio companies, and serves as an advisory board member of more than a dozen invested funds. He holds an M.B.A. from New York University and is a member of the Beta Gamma Sigma national honors society. He also earned a B.A. degree in Economics from Franklin and Marshall College.

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Joseph Cunningham, MD

Director

Joe is the Managing Director, Santé Ventures. Prior to founding Santé, Dr. Cunningham was with Austin Ventures and was previously the Vice Chair of the Ascension Health Ventures investment committee. He previously served as Chief Medical Officer of the Providence Health System and Executive Director of the 300 physician Providence Health Alliance.

Dr. Cunningham has served on numerous boards and organizations in the realm of public policy, both governmental and private. He has extensive management experience and is recognized nationally for his expertise in healthcare delivery systems, physician associations and compensation models.

He currently serves on advisory boards for both Health Services Corporation (BC/BS) and United Healthcare. He is board certified in both Internal Medicine and Quality Assurance and Peer Review. Joe received his B.S. and M.D. degrees from Texas A&M University and his MBA from Baylor University.

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Steven Engle

Director and Chief Executive Officer

Steven Engle joined Gradalis as Chief Executive Officer in April 2022. Before joining Gradalis, Mr. Engle served as CEO of CohBar, a clinical-stage mitochondria-based therapeutics developer, and CEO and Board Chair of XOMA, an antibody therapeutics company that helped develop products with multiple pharmaceutical companies including Novartis, Merck, Pfizer, and Takeda. Prior to XOMA, Mr. Engle served as CEO and Board Chair of La Jolla Pharmaceutical Company, which was the first to discover the biology of B cell tolerance, developed the first B cell toleragen for lupus patients, and received an approvable letter from the FDA. While at drug delivery systems company Cygnus, he helped gain FDA approval of and launch Nicotrol for smoking cessation.

Mr. Engle currently serves on the Board of Prescient Therapeutics Ltd., AROA Biosurgery Ltd, and Author-it Software Corporation. He is a former director of BIO, BayBio and BIOCOM. Mr. Engle holds M.S.E.E. and B.S.E.E. degrees from The University of Texas with a focus in biomedical engineering.

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Harry Jacobson, MD

Director

Harry has served as the Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs Emeritus of Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee, since June 2009.  Prior to being named Vice Chancellor Emeritus, Dr. Jacobson had served as Vice Chancellor at Vanderbilt University from 1997 to 2009. 

He served as a director of Renal Care Group from 1995 to March 2006 and was Chairman of the board of directors of Renal Care from 1995 to 1997.  Dr. Jacobson previously served as a director of Kinetic Concepts, Inc. and Merck & Co., Inc.  From 1985 to 2009, he served as a Professor of Medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. He is the Chairman of MedCare Investment Funds and a founding partner of TriStar Technology Ventures. 

Dr. Jacobson has published over 100 research articles, reviews and book chapters and co-edited the book, The Principles and Practice of Nephrology.  Dr. Jacobson received an M.D. from the University of Illinois and a B.S. from the University of Illinois.  He completed an internal medicine residency at Johns Hopkins Hospital and specialty training in nephrology at the University of Texas Health Science Center in Dallas.

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Robert Landin

Director

Rob is the Co-Managing Partner of The Milestone Group and Co-Chairman of Milestone's Investment Committee. Mr. Landin is responsible for establishing the strategic direction of Milestone and the firm's capital markets activities and fundraising. Mr. Landin has 24+ years of real estate acquisition, development, capital markets and investment management experience. 

Prior to joining Milestone in 2004, Mr. Landin held key roles with Olympus Real Estate Partners and Colony Capital Partners, two leading U.S. real estate private equity firms where he was responsible for identifying, negotiating and structuring acquisition opportunities, as well as liquidating diverse performing and non-performing portfolios. During his tenures at Olympus Real Estate Partners and Colony Capital Partners Mr. Landin transacted on over $10 billion of real estate investments. 

Mr. Landin received a B.A. in Managerial Economics from Union College in Schenectady, NY and studied at The London School of Economics. He is a member of The Real Estate Council and Real Property Association of Canada (REALpac). He also serves as Treasurer and Trustee of the St. Philip's School and Community Center in Dallas, TX. 

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John Nemunaitis, MD

Director and Chief Scientific Officer

John is a co-founder and Chief Scientific Officer at Gradalis. He has served in various roles since helping co-found the company in 2003. He specializes in medical oncology and hematology and is board certified in internal medicine.  He is an Oncologist and has been exploring therapies for cancer treatments for over 30 years. 

Dr. Nemunaitis previously held academic positions at University of Toledo's Eleanor N. Dana Cancer Center, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and the University of Washington School of Medicine. He is a member of the board of directors of the American Cancer Society of Gene and Cell Therapy and is on the editorial board of several peer reviewed journals focusing on cancer and molecular sciences.  Dr. Nemunaitis has authored 444 peer-reviewed publications and 45 book chapters. 

Dr. Nemunaitis received an M.D. from Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, Ohio. He completed training in internal medicine at Boston City Hospital and a fellowship in oncology and hematology at University of Washington School of Medicine and Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle.

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Scott Seaman, CPA

Director

Scott is the Executive Director and Treasurer of the Albert and Margaret Alkek Foundation of Houston, Texas, a private foundation primarily supporting institutions in the Texas Medical Center in Houston, Texas. 

Since January 1996, Mr. Seaman has served as the Chief Financial Officer of Chaswil Ltd., an investment management company. Since September 1986, Mr. Seaman has served as Secretary and Treasurer of M & A Properties Inc., a ranching and real estate concern.  Mr. Seaman is the Managing Member of ICT Development LLC, an energy services supplier.  He is past Chairman and President, of ICT Management Inc., the general partner of Impact Composite Technology Ltd., a composite industry supplier.

Mr. Seaman is a director of Somebody Cares America, a non-profit charitable organization. He received a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Bowling Green State University and is a certified public accountant.

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Scientific Advisory Board

Rodney P. Rocconi, MD

Rodney P. Rocconi, M.D., serves as the Director, Cancer Center & Research Institute and Professor, Gynecologic Oncology at the University of Mississippi Medical Center. In his productive research career he has been credited with over 200presentations at national meetings and over 120 publications. He specializes in the management of cancers of the ovary, uterus, cervix and lower genital tract.  His research interests include genetic/molecular determinants of racial healthcare disparities in gynecologic malignancies, as well as understanding the molecular mechanisms of chemo resistance in ovarian cancer. His research programs have been supported by numerous NIH/NCI, DOD, PCORI, and foundation grants. He has been recognized for his work as a recipient of the Gynecologic Cancer Foundation Ovarian Cancer Research Award, the Gynecologic Oncology Group Young Investigator Research Award, and an invited Associate Member of the NCI Early Detection Research Network.

Dr. Rocconi formerly held dual roles in a partnership between the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) and Infirmary Cancer Care (ICC) in Mobile, Alabama, where he was associate director of ICC, director of research at ICC and professor of gynecologic oncology at UAB. 

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Robert L. Coleman, MD

Robert L. Coleman, MD, FACOG, FACS, is a gynecologic oncologist practicing at Texas Oncology in Houston. He also serves as the Chief Medical Officer of Vaniam Group, an independent network of healthcare and scientific communications agencies committed to helping biopharmaceutical companies realize the full potential of their compounds across oncology, virology, and rare disease. 

Dr. Coleman is one of the country’s leading gynecologic oncologists practicing for three decades, Dr. Coleman has served as chief scientific officer for US Oncology Research (USRO)and chief medical officer for Sarah Cannon Research Institute (SCRI), a joint oncology research organization. Prior to joining The US Oncology Network, Dr. Coleman was executive director of MD Anderson's Cancer Network Research Program. He was also a professor and served as the Ann Rife Cox Chair in Gynecology at The University of Texas, MD Anderson Cancer Center Department of Gynecologic Oncology and Reproductive Medicine.

Dr. Coleman is the co-director of the Gynecologic Oncology Group (GOG) Partners Foundation, Inc., a leader in national clinical trials in gynecologic cancers, and serves on the Board of Directors for GOG-Foundation, Inc. He served as president of the Society of Gynecologic Oncology (2015-2016) and is the immediate past-president of the International Gynecologic Cancer Society (IGCS, 2020-2022).

Dr. Coleman has authored or coauthored over 400 scientific publications, including over 250 peer-reviewed articles, numerous book chapters, monographs, invited articles and textbooks including, The Handbook of Gynecologic Oncology, Clinical Lymphatic Mapping in Gynecologic Cancers, Prognostic and Predictive Factors in Gynecological Cancers, and Atlas of Gynecologic Oncology.

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Thomas J. Herzog, MD

Thomas J. Herzog, MD, is the president of the GOG (Gynecology Oncology Group) Foundation.  He also serves as the deputy director of the University of Cincinnati Cancer Institute and is professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine.

Dr. Herzog graduated from the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine in 1986. He completed his residency at Good Samaritan Hospital in Cincinnati in 1990 and a fellowship in gynecologic oncology at the Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, in 1993, before becoming a faculty member at Washington University and then director of the gynecologic oncology fellowship program. In 2004, he became the director of the division of gynecologic oncology at Columbia University.

Herzog is a National Institutes of Health and American Cancer Society-funded researcher with over 325 published manuscripts. He serves and has served on the editorial boards of Gynecologic Oncology, Obstetrics and Gynecology International, Hematology Oncology Times, and others. He served as Editor–In-Chief of Women’s Oncology Review and Gynecologic Oncology Research to Practice. Dr. Herzog has also served on the board of directors or leadership council of the Society of Gynecologic Oncology, the Foundation for Women’s Cancer, Board of Governors for the American College of Surgeons, American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology-Gynecologic Oncology Division, and the International Gynecologic Cancer Society.

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Bradley J. Monk, MD

Bradley J. Monk, MD, is a board-certified gynecologic oncologist with Florida Cancer Specialists & Research Institute and medical director of the Late-Stage Clinical Research Program.

Prior to joining FCS in 2024, Dr. Monk served as director and principal investigator for Honor Health at the Virginia G. Piper Cancer Center in Scottsdale, Arizona, where he also served as the site research leader for Sarah Cannon Research Institute. Dr. Monk was also previously Director and Professor in the Division of Gynecologic Oncology, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Creighton University School of Medicine at St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center in Phoenix, AZ. Dr. Monk’s research has focused the prevention and treatment of gynecologic cancers. He was the first to report the activity of anti-vascular growth factor (VEGF) therapy in ovarian cancer and his papers in the New England Journal of Medicine led to the global approval of anti-VEGF therapy and PARP inhibitors in recurrent ovarian and cervical cancers in 2014.

He was also the lead author on the pivotal trial of trabectedin in recurrent ovarian cancer as well as many other studies that have met their primary endpoints. Dr. Monk was also awarded the highly prestigious Ernst Wertheim Award for his research in cervical cancer.  Dr. Monk is a co-founder of the GOG-Partners Foundation®, a nonprofit organization committed to advancing clinical and scientific research in the field of gynecologic malignancies. The organization was instrumental in establishing a national gynecologic clinical trials network. He is on the Board of Directors for the GOG Foundation, Inc. and is the Cervical Cancer Chair for the Gynecologic Cancer Intergroup. He is past President of the Western Association of Gynecologic Oncologists and current co-director for the GOG Research Consortium.

Dr. Monk is a fellow of the American College of Surgeons, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the American Society for Colposcopy and Cervical Pathology, as well as being an active member of the Society of Gynecologic Oncology, American Society of Clinical Oncology and other professional organizations. He has authored more than 400 peer-reviewed articles along with 35 book chapters dealing predominantly with the prevention and chemotherapy of gynecologic malignancies and patient quality of life.

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