About

TARIS® IS BUILDING A UNIQUE THERAPEUTICALLY-FOCUSED UROLOGY COMPANY DEVELOPING POWERFUL AND TARGETED NEW TREATMENTS FOR MILLIONS OF PATIENTS SUFFERING FROM DIFFICULT-TO-TREAT BLADDER DISEASES.


History

TARIS - History

TARIS® WAS FOUNDED TO ADDRESS A LONG STANDING CLINICAL NEED FOR IMPROVED TREATMENTS FOR DEBILITATING BLADDER CONDITIONS.

TARIS Biomedical® was founded in 2008 in response to a long-standing clinical need for a convenient, safe, and effective way to treat bladder disease locally. Encouraged by the effectiveness of local bladder instillations but frustrated by the need for frequent repeated dosing due to normal bladder emptying, urologists expressed a desire for a better approach. TARIS®’s solution is a brilliantly simple and elegant system that can continuously deliver drug in the bladder. It was conceived in the laboratories of internationally renowned biotechnology entrepreneurs Robert Langer and Michael Cima at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Since its inception, TARIS® has applied this technology in the development of products with a potential to provide effective and well-tolerated therapeutics for difficult-to-treat urological conditions. TARIS®’s first program, LiRIS® (lidocaine releasing intravesical system), for the treatment of interstitial cystitis/bladder pain syndrome was acquired by Allergan®, in August of 2014. This sale was an important validation of our approach; TARIS® has now turned its focus to developing a broad portfolio of products addressing significant unmet need in the treatment of several debilitating bladder diseases, including bladder cancer and overactive bladder.


Our team

 

PURNANAND D. SARMA, Ph.D.

PURNANAND D. SARMA, Ph.D.
President and Chief Executive Officer  

Dr. Sarma comes to TARIS® with more than 20 years of pharmaceutical experience in large, medium and small companies. Most recently, he was General Manager and Vice President of Worldwide Drug Delivery Technologies of CIMA LABS, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Cephalon (now Teva). Prior to Cephalon, Dr. Sarma served as Vice President of Pharmaceutical Development at Nektar Therapeutics (NASDAQ:NKTR), based in the San Francisco Bay area. Dr. Sarma started his career at SmithKline Beecham Pharmaceuticals, in the areas of formulation sciences and product development. He earned a BS in Pharmacy from Andhra University in Visakhapatnam, India and a Ph.D. in Pharmaceutics from the University of Minnesota.

CHRISTOPHER J. CUTIE, M.D., MBA

CHRISTOPHER J. CUTIE, M.D., MBA
Chief Medical Officer  

Dr. Cutie joins TARIS® with more than 10 years of clinical experience as a practicing urologist. Most recently, he was Instructor in Surgery/Assistant in Urology at the Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Medical School. In this capacity, he was primarily responsible for the surgical care and management of patients with complex urologic malignancies, specifically prostate and bladder cancer. He earned a BS with distinction in Anthropology, summa cum laude, from the University of Pennsylvania, an MBA from Harvard Business School, and an M.D. from the Yale School of Medicine. He received his general surgery, urology and urologic oncology fellowship training at the Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Medical School. He is board-certified in urology and licensed to practice medicine by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Board of Registration in Medicine.

DENNIS H. GIESING, Ph.D.

DENNIS H. GIESING, Ph.D.
Chief Scientific Officer  

For over 30 years, Dr. Giesing has served in a variety of senior scientific and leadership roles within large pharmaceutical companies, with the last appointment being Senior Vice President, Lead Optimization at Aventis Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Prior to joining TARIS®, Dr. Giesing served as Chief Scientific Officer for Urigen Pharmaceuticals. Earlier pharma positions include Vice President, Global Drug Metabolism & Pharmacokinetics at Aventis, as well as other leadership roles at Hoechst Marion Roussel, Marion Merrell Dow and Marion Laboratories. He earned a BS in Chemistry and his PhD in Biochemical Pharmacology from the University of Missouri, Kansas City.

CHERYL LARRIVEE-ELKINS, MSChE

CHERYL LARRIVEE-ELKINS, MSChE
Chief Technology Officer  

Ms. Larrivee-Elkins brings to TARIS® over two decades of pharmaceutical industry experience, with expertise in product development, registration and manufacturing. Prior to joining TARIS®, Ms. Larrivee-Elkins filled several senior leadership roles at Alkermes, Inc., including Vice President of Research and Development and Vice President of Regulatory Affairs. Previously, Ms. Larrivee-Elkins was Director, Technical Regulatory Affairs at Sepracor, Inc., and held positions of increasing responsibility and leadership in pharmaceutical development and technical services during her eight-year tenure at AstraZeneca (formerly Astra USA). She earned her BS in Chemical Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and her MS in Chemical Engineering from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

DIANE MARCOU, CPA

DIANE MARCOU, CPA
Chief Financial Officer  

Ms. Marcou has provided financial and strategic advisory services to a number of venture-backed technology companies, including ByAllAccounts, Inc., Fluidnet Corporation, Radianse and T2 Biosystems. Prior to working as an independent financial consultant, she was Chief Financial Officer and Vice President of Finance and Administration for Incentive Systems (dba Centive), a privately held venture-funded software company, and Chief Financial Officer at Workgroup Technologies, a publicly traded software company with domestic and international operations. Ms. Marcou earned a BS in Business Administration from Boston College, and her CPA from PricewaterhouseCoopers, formerly Coopers & Lybrand.

CHRISTOPHER J. SEARCY, PharmD, MBA

CHRISTOPHER J. SEARCY, PharmD, MBA
Chief Business Officer  

Dr. Searcy comes to TARIS® with more than 25 years of corporate and business development experience in drug-delivery-based pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies. Most recently, he held the position of Senior Vice President, Corporate and Business Development at Valeritas, Inc. Prior to Valeritas, Dr. Searcy was Vice President of Corporate Development for Nektar Therapeutics and Director of Licensing and Development for Pfizer, Inc. Dr. Searcy received his BS from the University of Minnesota, his MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, and his Doctor of Pharmacy from the University of Minnesota.


Board of Directors

 

DENNIS A. AUSIELLO, M.D.

DENNIS A. AUSIELLO, M.D.
Massachusetts General Hospital  

Dr. Ausiello is the Jackson Professor of Clinical Medicine at Harvard Medical School and the Physician-in-Chief of the Department of Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH). Previously, Dr. Ausiello served as Chief of the MGH Renal Unit from 1983-1996 and oversaw its development into one of the most sought-after research and training programs in the world. He has made a substantial contribution to knowledge of epithelial biology in the areas of membrane protein trafficking, ion channel regulation and signal transduction, and has published over 100 papers, chapters and textbooks. Dr. Ausiello currently serves as the co-editor of Cecil's Textbook of Medicine (Elsevier), now in its 23rd edition. A nationally recognized leader in academic medicine, Dr. Ausiello was elected to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences in 1999 and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2003.

KEVIN J. BITTERMAN, Ph.D.

KEVIN J. BITTERMAN, Ph.D.
Polaris Venture Partners  

Dr. Bitterman is a Partner at Polaris Partners. He joined Polaris in 2004 and focuses on investments in healthcare. Prior to joining Polaris, Kevin completed his Ph.D. in genetics at Harvard Medical School. He is a cofounder of Genocea Biosciences (NASDAQ: GNCA) and Sirtris Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:SIRT)(GSK), and was the founding CEO of Editas Medicine, Morphic Rock Therpaeutic and Visterra. Dr. Bitterman currently represents Polaris as a Director of Editas Medicine, InSeal Medical, Genocea Biosciences, Kala Pharmaceuticals, Morphic Rock Therapeutic, Neuronetics, Inc., Visterra, Inc., TARIS and Vets First Choice. Additionally, Dr. Bitterman serves on the Scientific Advisory Board of the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center (MLSC) and on the Board of Directors of the New England Venture Capital Association (NEVCA).

MICHAEL J. CIMA, Ph.D.

MICHAEL J. CIMA, Ph.D.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology  

Dr. Cima is a cofounder and consultant to the TARIS® management team. He is a Professor of Materials Science and Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and an investigator at the Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research at MIT. Professor Cima is author or coauthor of over 190 peer-reviewed scientific publications and 45 patents, and is a recognized expert in the field of materials processing. Professor Cima is actively involved in materials and engineered systems aimed at improving human health, such as treatments for cancer, metabolic diseases, trauma and urological disorders. Professor Cima and collaborators are developing implantable devices for unprecedented control in the delivery of pharmaceuticals. He is also cofounder and a Director of MicroChips, Inc., and T2 Biosystems. Most recently, Professor Cima cofounded Entra Pharmaceuticals and TARIS®. Professor Cima earned a B.S. in Chemistry (Phi Beta Kappa) and a Ph.D. in chemical engineering, both from the University of California at Berkeley. He joined the MIT faculty in 1986 and was promoted to full Professor in 1995.

KEVIN FINNEY

KEVIN FINNEY  

Mr. Finney has over 20 years of healthcare industry leadership experience spanning pharmaceutical, medical device and diagnostic segments. His extensive experience includes early stages of development through commercialized brands. He was most recently Vice President and Head of Corporate Development at Allergan, Inc.®, an international specialty pharmaceutical company operating in more than 100 countries worldwide. Previous to Allergan, Mr. Finney held commercial executive management roles at Prometheus Laboratories, Inc. (now NestleHealthScience), Amylin Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (now Bristol-Meyers Squibb), and Parke-Davis division of Warner-Lambert (now Pfizer). Mr. Finney earned an MBA from Pepperdine University and a B.A. from California State University Long Beach in Exercise Physiology.

MARK IWICKI

MARK IWICKI  

Mr. Iwicki has over 25 years of experience as a pharmaceutical industry leader managing all stages of drug development and commercialization. He was most recently President and Chief Executive Officer of Civitas Therapeutics. Prior to Civitas, he served as President and Chief Executive Officer at Blend Therapeutics and was President and Chief Executive Officer of Sunovion Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (formerly Sepracor Inc.). Mr. Iwicki was Senior Vice President and Business Unit Head for multiple therapeutic areas at Novartis Pharmaceuticals. Earlier in his career, he held management positions at Astra Merck, Inc., and Merck & Co., Inc. Mr. Iwicki previously served on the Boards of Civitas Therapeutics, Blend Therapeutics and Sunovion.

ED KANIA

ED KANIA
Flagship Pioneering  

Mr. Kania is the Managing Partner and Chairman of Flagship Pioneering. Prior to cofounding Flagship Pioneering in 2000, he spent 15 years as Managing General Partner of One Liberty Ventures and as General Partner at its predecessor firm, Morgan Holland Ventures. His direct investment experience covers over 100 companies. In addition, he has been intimately involved in the launch and development of more than a dozen companies as the founding and lead investor. Mr. Kania is currently a Director of Acceleron Pharma, Aspect Medical Systems (Nasdaq: ASPM), EXACT Sciences (Nasdaq: EXAS), Interactive Supercomputing, INTIO, Parasol Therapeutics, Pervasis Therapeutics, TransMedics and VisEn Medical. He is also a member of the Massachusetts Biotechnology Council, a not-for-profit organization that provides services and support for the Massachusetts biotechnology industry, and a member of The Johhs Hopkins Medicine Alliance for Science and Technology Development Industry. He holds a degree in physics from Dartmouth College and an MBA from Harvard Business School.

ROBERT S. LANGER, Ph.D.

ROBERT S. LANGER, Sc.D.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology  

Dr. Langer is an Institute Professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT); there are 11 Institute Professors at MIT, and being an Institute Professor is the highest honor that can be awarded to a faculty member. He has written over 1,200 articles, which have been cited over 90,000 times; his h-index of 148 is the highest of any engineer in history. He has 815 issued and pending patents worldwide. His patents have licensed or sublicensed to over 250 companies. He served as Chairman of the FDA’s Science Board (its highest advisory board) from 1999-2002. His over 220 awards include both the United States National Medal of Science and the United States National Medal of Technology and Innovation, the Charles Stark Draper Prize (considered the engineering Nobel Prize), Albany Medical Center Prize, the Wolf Prize for Chemistry, the Millennium Technology Prize, the Priestley Medal (highest award of the American Chemical Society), the Gairdner Prize and the Lemelson-MIT prize, for being “one of history’s most prolific inventors in medicine.” He holds 20 honorary doctorates, including honorary degrees from Harvard and Yale. Langer is one of the very few individuals ever elected to the Institute of Medicine, the National Academy of Engineering, the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Inventors.

PURNANAND D. SARMA, Ph.D.

PURNANAND D. SARMA, Ph.D.
TARIS Biomedical  

Dr. Sarma comes to TARIS® with more than 20 years of pharmaceutical experience in large, medium and small companies. Most recently, he was General Manager and Vice President of Worldwide Drug Delivery Technologies of CIMA LABS, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Cephalon (now Teva). Prior to Cephalon, Dr. Sarma served as Vice President of Pharmaceutical Development at Nektar Therapeutics (NASDAQ:NKTR), based in the San Francisco Bay area. Dr. Sarma started his career at SmithKline Beecham Pharmaceuticals, in the areas of formulation sciences and product development. He earned a Ph.D. in Pharmaceutics from the University of Minnesota and a B.S. in Pharmacy from Andhra University in Visakhapatnam, India.

RAJEEV SHAH

RAJEEV SHAH (Board Observer)
RA Capital Management  

Rajeev Shah is a Managing Director and Portfolio Manager at RA Capital Management. He is active in both public and private investments in companies developing drugs, medical devices, diagnostics, and research tools. Raj is active in the firm’s outreach efforts, speaking frequently both at industry events and in classrooms. Prior to joining RA Capital, Raj worked as a Senior Project Leader at Altus Pharmaceuticals, a spin-off company of Vertex Pharmaceuticals. At Altus, he assessed business processes and implemented system solutions for all science areas. Raj graduated from Cornell University, where he majored in Chemistry with a concentration in Economics.


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