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.

 

Francois Lebel, M.D.

Executive Vice President, Research and Development, Chief Medical Officer

Francois Lebel, M.D.

Francois leads our clinical and pre-clinical research teams. He is a proven leader with broad drug and device development experience who has designed and managed global medical organizations to deliver results, enhance productivity and practice sound risk management. Senior leadership roles have included most recently Vice President, Research & Development at Baxter International and Global Head of Medical and Scientific Affairs at MedImmune. In the last 20 years, he provided strategic leadership on eight NDA/BLAs in various therapeutic areas and on a number of mergers and acquisitions. Extensive experience in Drug Development, Medical Affairs, Regulatory and Pharmacovigilance was acquired through various roles of increasing responsibilities at Chiron (Novartis), Warner- Lambert (Pfizer) and Burroughs Wellcome (GSK). Francois received his medical degree from the University of Ottawa, Canada, and he trained at McGill University and Harvard Medical School. He is Board Certified in Internal Medicine and an Infectious Diseases specialist.

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.

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.