Management

Expertise and dedication

Expertise and dedication

Our team is focused on developing the next generation of immuno-oncology gene and cell therapies with our two distinct, clinically advanced paths to stimulate, tune, and control the body’s immune response to fight blood cancers and solid tumors.

Laurence J.N. Cooper, M.D., Ph.D.

Chief Executive Officer

Laurence J.N. Cooper, M.D., Ph.D.

Laurence joined Ziopharm Oncology as chief executive officer in 2015 after Ziopharm and Intrexon Corporation together licensed technology for a non-viral approach for genetically modifying T cells from MD Anderson Cancer and the University of Minnesota. This technology is designed to reduce the cost and complexity of genetically modified T cells. Prior to joining Ziopharm, Laurence was a tenured Professor at MD Anderson with joint appointments in the Division of Pediatrics and Department of Immunology. There, he served as Section Chief of Cell Therapy at the Children’s Cancer Hospital and helped lead scientific efforts to develop new treatment approaches which pair genetic engineering with immunotherapies. He remains a visiting scientist at MD Anderson.

Laurence has coauthored dozens of peer-reviewed journal articles, abstracts, and book chapters. He has initiated multiple trials under INDs infusing T cells and NK cells. He obtained his M.D. and Ph.D. degrees at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland and he completed his training in Pediatric Oncology and Bone Marrow Transplantation at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle.

 

David Mauney, M.D.

Executive Vice President, Chief Business Officer and interim Chief Operating Officer

David Mauney, M.D.

David leads Ziopharm’s corporate and business development strategies and oversees all company operations. Prior to joining Ziopharm as Executive Vice President, Chief Business Officer and interim Chief Operating Officer, he served as a Managing Director of Harvest Capital Strategies, LLC. With twenty years of experience in the raising, management and disposition of almost $900 million in life science venture capital, David leads ZIOPHARM’s corporate development and investor strategy functions. Prior to Harvest Capital Strategies LLC, Dr. Mauney co-founded and served as a Managing Director of De Novo Ventures, a health care investment firm founded in 2000. David was the lead partner of health care investments for Asset Management Company and the first employee and Director of Business Development for Fox Hollow Technologies, which later went public and was ultimately sold to EV3. He holds an M.D. from the Dartmouth School of Medicine and a B.A. in psychology from Duke University.

Robert Hadfield

General Counsel

Robert Hadfield

Robert has served as our General Counsel and Corporate Secretary since April 2018. Prior to joining Ziopharm, Rob served as Partner and General Counsel of Longwood Fund, a health care venture capital firm, from November 2017 to April 2018. He also served as General Counsel and Corporate Secretary of Flex Pharma, Inc. from April 2014 until November 2017, and was an attorney in the business department of Cooley LLP from August 2007 to August 2011 and then from April 2012 to April 2014. From August 2011 to April 2012, Rob served as Corporate Counsel at Kiva Systems, Inc., prior to its acquisition by Amazon.com, Inc. Rob began his career as a financial analyst in the health care investment banking group of SG Cowen Securities Corporation (now Cowen Inc.). He has extensive experience in the areas of corporate governance, securities law, mergers & acquisitions, intellectual property protection and compliance. Mr. Hadfield holds a B.S. degree in Finance from Providence College and a J.D. from the Georgetown University Law Center.

Jill Buck

Senior Vice President, Global Clinical Operations

Jill Buck

Jill serves as Senior Vice President of Clinical Operations at Ziopharm. She brings over 20 years of clinical research experience overseeing Phase 1-IV clinical programs in drugs, devices and biologics. Prior to joining Ziopharm, Jill was Group Vice President of Global Clinical Operations at Synageva Biopharm Corp, where she oversaw the teams responsible for the clinical trials resulting in US, EU and Japanese approvals of sebelipase alfa for LAL Deficiency. Prior to Jill held roles of increasing responsibility in Clinical Operations at Ziopharm, Averion International, Control Delivery Systems and The TIMI Study Group at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Jill holds a bachelor’s degree in English and Communications from Boston College.

Eleanor (Ellee) de Groot, Ph.D.

Senior Vice President, Program Management and Business Development

Eleanor (Ellee) de Groot, Ph.D.

Eleanor (Ellee) oversees program management for Ziopharm, and leads the cell therapy programs which are being developed in collaboration with MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas. Prior to joining Ziopharm as Senior Vice President for Program Management and Business Development in 2015, Ellee was Vice President of Technical Operations and Project Planning and Management at Helsinn Therapeutics US, Inc. She has nearly 20 years of diverse experience in all phases of drug development, particularly in the area of Chemistry, Manufacturing and Controls (CMC). Prior to Helsinn, Ellee held process development roles in Guilford Pharmaceuticals (now Eisai) and Shell Chemical Company. She holds a Ph.D. in chemical engineering from Stanford University, a B.S. in chemical engineering from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and an M.B.A. from Rice University.

Lynn M. Ferrucci

Senior Vice President, Human Resources, Facilities, IT and Administration

Lynn M. Ferrucci

Lynn oversees human resources, facilities and administration here a Ziopharm, where she has served on the senior leadership team since 2012. She has more than 20 years of experience in strategic and tactical human resource leadership, including extensive knowledge in mergers and acquisitions, organizational development and compensation and benefits. She has developed and implemented company-wide initiatives to motivate and retain employees, as well as directed human resource efforts to attract key talent. Prior to joining Ziopharm, Lynn was the Senior Vice President of Human Resources at Clinical Data, Inc., a biopharmaceutical company, which completed more than ten mergers/acquisitions during her tenure and was acquired by Forest Laboratories, Inc. Earlier in her career, she worked in human resources within the manufacturing, service and consulting environments. She holds a bachelor’s degree in management from Rhode Island College.

Kevin G. Lafond, CPA

Senior Vice President Finance, Chief Accounting Officer and Treasurer

Kevin G. Lafond, CPA

Kevin has served as Ziopharm’s Senior Vice President Finance, Chief Accounting Officer and Treasurer since June 2013 and is our principal financial and accounting officer. Previously, he served as the Company’s Corporate Controller since he joined in February 2009. Previously, he served as Controller of Helicos Biosciences Corporation, a public life sciences equipment manufacturer. He also has held roles of increasing responsibility in finance and accounting at Pegasystems Inc. and various other technology-related companies. Kevin holds a bachelor’s degree from Plymouth State University, master’s degrees in both accounting and taxation from Bentley University and is a Certified Public Accountant.