Team

Our team of leaders, engineers, and scientists across the globe work to reliably and rapidly operate our immune cell foundry to generate cell products that produce positive outcomes in patients.

Locations

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Copenhagen, Denmark

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Denver, Colorado

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Toronto, Canada

Leadership Team

Ryan T.Gill Ph.D.
Chief Executive Officer
Tanya Warnecke Ph.D.
President and Chief Technology Officer
Nick Timmins Ph.D.
EVP Cell Technologies and Entrepreneur in Residence
Erik Warnecke
VP Finance
Ken LaMontagne 

VP Business Development

Advisory Board

Stefan Wildt Ph.D.
Cell Therapies
Mark Frolich MD
Cell Therapies
Michael Verneris MD

Clinical Cell Therapies

Carl DeSelm MD
Clinical Cell Therapies
Marco Davilla MD
Clinical Cell Therapies
Patrick Bedford M.S.
Cell Therapy Regulatory
Rob Chess MBA
 

Life Science Entrepreneur

Robert Deans Ph.D.
 

Life Science Entrepreneur

Ajay Kshatriya
Chairman of Advisory Board
Life Science Entrepreneur
Todd Peterson
 
Synthetic Biology
Lars Nielsen M.Sc. Prof
 

Cell Foundries

Bernhard Palsson Ph.D. Prof.
Systems Biology

The Artisan team is passionate about crafting customized cell engineering solutions to solve the most challenging problems in human health applications. We believe that by leveraging rapid advances in DNA reading and writing technologies at the interface of engineering and biology we will deliver more efficacious and safe cell products to the market.

Investors

XSeed Capital believes in the creative destruction unleashed by technological innovators. Our portfolio companies boast significant differentiation that creates unique customer value.

Northpond Ventures is a science-driven venture capital firm. We partner with leading scientists, academics, and entrepreneurs to imagine and impact society through extraordinary discoveries within life sciences and technology.

Takeda Ventures focuses on high-caliber therapeutic and platform-based opportunities around the world. We invest in early-stage opportunities that complement Takeda’s pipeline and products.

Careers

Interested in joining our rapidly growing team to work on cross-disciplinary projects in the area of immune cell engineering? Be part of our mission to engineer patient-focused cell therapeutics that will significantly improve outcomes.

Excited about our technology? Reach out to get involved.

Ryan T. Gill Ph.D.

Chief Executive Officer

Ryan is an experienced executive, company builder, strategist, and leader of diverse technical teams. He currently serves as CEO and Board Member at Artisan, where he is responsible for all aspects of Artisan’s vision to design, build, and deliver precisely engineered cells for next-generation therapeutic applications.   

Over the past 2 decades, Ryan has envisioned and built a range of internationally recognized companies in the field of genome engineering. This includes roles as CEO, CSO, and Board Member at Inscripta, Inc.; founder at Biota Technology; and founder, advisor, and Board Member at OPXBIO. Ryan also has an outstanding academic history. He built a world-class synthetic biology/DNA Foundry group at the University of Colorado and was the Scientific Director and NNF Laureate Fellow for DNA Foundries at the Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Biosustainablity in Denmark.  

Ryan is the inventor on foundational patents for Artisan, as well as both Inscripta, Inc. and OPXBIO. Ryan’s scientific contributions include over 30 patents, 100+ peer reviewed publications, and dozens of invited and keynote presentations.  

Tanya Warnecke Ph.D.

President and Chief Technology Officer

Tanya is a seasoned executive-level professional with a unique combination of experience in technical, operational, and business leadership. Tanya currently serves as President, CTO and Board Member at Artisan. Tanya’s ventures include cell engineering startups with a variety of applications (cell therapies, biofuels, and biochemicals) and life sciences tools including instrumentation, reagent development, and software engineering. Prior to Artisan, Tanya was the Co-Founder, CTO, and VP of Applications at Inscripta, Inc. and Director of Technology at OPXBIO.  

Tanya is the inventor on 20+ patent filings and brings deep expertise in genome engineering, DNA foundry workflows and automation, as well as engineering novel endonucleases for CRISPR-based editing.   

Nick Timmins Ph.D.

EVP Cell Technologies and Entrepreneur in Residence

Nick is an experienced cell and gene therapy executive, innovator, and people leader. He has over 15years of experiencedeveloping an assortment of cell andgenebasedtherapies and technologies. Nick has held leadership roles atBlueRockTherapeutics, the Center for Commercialization of Regenerative Medicine (CCRM), and the Center for Advanced Therapeutic Cell Technologies. Nicks global experience includes time living and working in Canada, Switzerland, Australia, and New Zealand, engaging with a diverse assortment of partners, colleagues, and clients from industry and academia. 

Erik Warnecke

VP Finance

Erik has an extensive financial and accounting background spanning 17 years. He specializes in turning complicated financial data into meaningful information for effecting decision making.  His expertise includes financing, controls and compliance, finance and treasury management, SEC and financial reporting and investor relations.  Prior to his time at Artisan, Erik served as VP of Finance at Inscripta, Inc., Head of Financial Reporting Operations at Metropolitan Merchant Capital, and Controller at OPXBIO. 

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Ken LaMontagne

VP Business Development

Ken is an experienced leader with broad knowledge of healthcare industry and strong analytical skills. His expertise in oncology and Cell & Gene Therapies (CGT) includes research and development, clinical and commercial responsibilities. He contributed to the first FDA-approved CAR-T therapy, KYMRIAH, in B-cell ALL and NHL.

Ken brings deep understanding of oncology and CGT markets with networking experiences with Key Opinion Leaders and the investment community. He also beings extensive global experience in oncology, hematology, translational science, diagnostics, new products and business development and licensing (BD&L). 

Stefan Wildt Ph.D.

Cell Therapies

Stefan Wildt, Ph.D. is the Chief Technology Officer at Takeda R&D. Stefan leads Takeda’s Translational Cell Therapy Engine, an interdisciplinary group of scientists advancing a diverse pipeline of cell therapy assets, some of which are developed in partnership with leaders in the field such as Gamma Delta Therapeutics (UK), Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (USA), Noile Immune Biotech (JP) and the Center for iPSC Cell Research and Application (CiRA) (JP). Takeda’s cell therapy efforts focus on several platforms, from next generation chimeric antigen receptor T (CAR-T) cells via gamma-delta T cells, to induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) and natural killer (NK) cells. Several of Takeda’s cell therapy assets are at the clinical stage.

He has also been responsible for the development and execution of an end-to-end vision and strategy for Pharmaceutical Sciences, ensuring the necessary capabilities for an innovative, highly partnered and modality-diverse pipeline. Pharmaceutical Sciences supports CMC activities through all development stages and is also responsible for Takeda’s device development. Stefan’s team is responsible for the seamless transfer of technology and know-how to the Global Manufacturing and Sciences and Global Quality organizations. 
 
Prior to joining Takeda, Stefan worked at Novartis Pharma AG, where he was Vice President of Global Head Technical Research and Development Cell- and Gene-Therapies (TRD-CGT). While at Novartis, he and his teams were responsible for building the technical team, capabilities, internal and external footprint, as well as the strategy, that supported a variety of cell and gene therapy programs, delivering the cell process for the first ever approved and commercialized chimeric antigen receptor T cell (CAR-T) therapy. Before joining Novartis, he served as Head of Biologics and Bioprocess Research and Development at Merck & Co and Senior Director at Merck BioVentures (MBV), where he was a member of the core team developing Merck’s entry into the follow-on biologics space. 

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Mark Frolich MD

Cell Therapies

Dr. Frolich is a medical oncologist with deep drug development and translational research experience. From 2014-2017, Dr. Frolich served as the Executive Vice President of Portfolio Strategy for Juno. Prior to that, he held various executive roles, including EVP R&D and Chief Medical Officer at Dendreon Corporation from 2005-2014 and VP and Medical Director for Xcyte Therapies from 2001-2005. Dr. Frolich brings extensive expertise in immuno-oncology and cell therapy, experience with drug approvals in US and EU, and knowledge of reimbursement and commercialization challenges. 

Michael Verneris MD

Clinical Cell Therapies

Dr. Verneris is the Barton Family Endowed Chair of Bone Marrow Transplant, Director of Bone Marrow Transplantation and Cellular Therapy, and Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Colorado and Children’s Hospital.

His research studies are aimed at developing cellular therapies to reduce leukemia recurrence by enhancing immune recovery and by more effectively treating sites of leukemia (with a newly developed method of bone marrow irradiation). 

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Carl DeSelm MD

Clinical Cell Therapies

Dr. DeSelm is an Assistant Professor of Radiation Oncology at the Washington University School of Medicine. Dr. DeSelm’s research is focused broadly on the re-engineering of immune cells to fight cancer, using CAR cellular therapy. One major obstacle to applying this technique to all cancers is the difficulty in finding target molecules that are only expressed on the tumor cells, but not on critical normal tissues. Further, if not every tumor cell expresses the target molecule, the cancer will not be cured, as the negative cells that escape will eventually grow back.  

One major focus of his lab is identifying novel ways that CAR cellular therapy can overcome the problem of antigen escape in order to fully eliminate disseminated, heterogeneous cancer cells. Additional problems exist in solid tumors, including poor penetration of the tumor by CAR-T cells, and inherent resistance of particular tumors to T cell killing. The mechanisms by which these occur, and methods to overcome them, are active areas of investigation within the laboratory. 

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Marco Davilla MD

Clinical Cell Therapies

Dr. Davilla is a Senior Member at the Moffitt Cancer Center where he serves as a physician-scientist that treats cancer patients using cell therapies and chemotherapies. Dr. Davilla is dedicated to the development of T cell therapies for cancer.  He has been involved with and/or led multiple clinical trials on cellular therapies.

His research is focused on the development of novel animal mouse models for use in evaluating CAR cellular therapies, the development of new CARs (i.e. not CD19) targeting a variety of hematologic and solid tumor malignancies, and the refining and optimization of the production of therapeutic tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs) for treatment of solid tumors. 

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Patrick Bedford M.S.

Cell Therapy Regulatory

Patrick is a certified regulatory expert who has facilitated emerging biotechnology development for over 15 years.  He leads a regulatory consulting company that provides strategic planning, interaction, and submission services.  He also provides commercialization planning tools and advice to start-ups through organizations such as CellCAN, Stem Cell Network and Creative Destruction Labs; and he remains an active educator and contributor to regulatory policy discussions through groups such as the International Society for Cell & Gene Therapy. 

Prior to incorporating weCANreg Consulting Group, Inc., Patrick developed regulatory consulting services for a regenerative medicine Network Centre of Excellence; planned 2 Canadian CAR-T New Drug Submissions; and led teams at Health Canada responsible for developing guidance for biosimilars, transplant material, and cell & gene therapies.  While leading these policy initiatives at Health Canada, Patrick also championed international harmonization initiatives.  

Patrick completed an Honours Bachelor of Health Sciences degree at the University of Western Ontario; a Master’s degree in Bioethics and Health Law at the University of Otago; obtained a Regulatory Affairs Certificate from the Regulatory Affairs Professional Society; and is currently pursuing his Master’s of Business Administration at the Jack Welch Management Institute.

Rob Chess MBA

Life Science Entrepreneur

Mr. Chess is a serial entrepreneur in the life sciences field. He currently is Chairman of Nektar Therapeutics, (NASDAQ:NKTR), a health care biotechnology company. He is Lead Director of Twist Biosciences (NASDAQ:TWST), which produces synthetic genes using an innovative high-throughput silicon-based manufacturing process. Chess is also a Co-Founder, former Chairman, and a Board Member of Biota Technology, which is pioneering DNA sequencing for optimizing oil and gas production. He joined Nektar Therapeutics as its first non-founder employee in 1991 and led the company as CEO from 1992-1999 and as Chairman since then. Chess co-founded and was President of Penederm, a dermatology company that went public and was acquired by Mylan Laboratories, and was the start-up CEO and later Chairman of OPXBIO, a renewable chemicals company which was sold to Cargill.  

He started his career in the technology field and held management positions at Intel and Metaphor Computer Systems (later acquired by IBM). Chess served on the White House Staff in the first Bush Administration as a White House Fellow and Associate Director of the White House Office of Economic and Domestic Policy. He is a lecturer at the Stanford Graduate School of Business, where he teaches courses in health care and entrepreneurship. Chess received a BS in engineering with honors from Caltech and an MBA from Harvard.

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Robert Deans Ph.D.

Life Science Entrepreneur

Dr. Deans is a serial entrepreneur who has deep expertise in the cell and gene therapy space. He is currently CSO atSynthego, a leading CRISPR company focused on developing and deploying full stack genome engineering solutions. Prior toSynthegoDeans served as CTO of Bluerock Therapeutics, where he was responsible for implementing a novel induced pluripotent stem cell production platform. He has more than 25 years of experience in stem cell therapeutics, including hematopoietic and mesenchymal stem cell (MSC) cellsgene therapy approaches, translational science, and global regulatory expertise. Deans previously served as CSO ofRubiusTherapeutics, where he was responsible for the development of a gene-engineered red cell therapeutics platform. He holds a B.S. from theMassachusetts Institute of Technology and a Ph.D. in microbiology from the University of Michigan. 

Ajay Kshatriya

Chairman of Advisory Board
Life Science Entrepreneur

Ajay founded and served as Chief Executive Officer of Biota, the pioneer in environmental genomics, that was acquired by the industrial biotech leader, Novozymes (NZYM). In 8 years, Biota scaled from university microbiome research to a commercial business that created $400M in economic value and saved 1.2B gallons of water for 20+ industrial companies. 

Prior to founding Biota, Ajay was a venture capital investor in a $100M seed fund spun out from Mohr Davidow Ventures, XSeed Capital. The firm invested and formed companies based on university science innovations. Ajay began his career at the world-leading cancer therapeutic company Genentech, where he held various positions in product operations. 

Ajay is an active member of YPO, a global organization for CEOs, where he serves on the Board of the Costal San Diego chapter and two Global networks, Deal and Entrepreneurship. He holds a B.S. in chemical engineering from U.C. Berkeley, an M.S. in engineering from Stanford University, and an MBA from Berkeley-Haas School of Business. 

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Todd Peterson

Synthetic Biology

Todd Peterson is the Founder and Principal of GenApex Bio, a life sciences consulting, investment, and board practice company based in Coronado, California.  Over 35 years across academic research and industrial R&D spanning molecular genetics, genomics, cell biology and synthetic biology engineering, his experience encompasses biotechnology, clinical diagnostics, life science research tools, drug discovery and industrial biotechnology markets, products, and technologies. 

Prior to GenApex Bio, Dr. Peterson was Chief Scientific Officer at the Allen Institute comprising foundational and applied research programs across its Brain Science, Cell Science, Immunology Institutes, and the Paul G. Allen Frontiers Group. Prior to the Allen Institute, Dr. Peterson was Chief Technology Officer at Synthetic Genomics (SGI) where he led an integrated team of scientists, engineers and informaticians to engineer diverse complex living systems.  Before joining SGI, he led Synthetic Biology, Cloning and Protein Expression and Genomics R&D at Invitrogen/Life Technologies (now ThermoFisher), a global leader in life science research tools. 

Dr. Peterson has held industrial R&D leadership and bench scientist positions with increasing responsibilities at Genicon Sciences, Trega Biosciences, Hybritech, Gen-Probe and Immulok, focusing on technology development and product commercialization.  Dr. Peterson was a postdoctoral fellow at the Max Planck Institute in Cologne, Germany, received his Ph.D. in Microbiology at the University of Southern California School of Medicine, and received his M.A. in Biological Sciences and his B.A. in Molecular Biology and Biochemistry from the University of California, Santa Barbara. 

Lars Nielsen M.Sc. Prof.

Cell Foundries

Professor Nielsen leads the development of experimental and computational tools to analyze and design complex biological systems at the University of Queensland in Australia. He is also the CSO of the Novo Nordisk Center for Biosustainability in Denmark.  Nielsen’s studies of biological systems, including mammalian cells, bacteria, baker’s yeast, and sugarcane, has attracted industrial partnerships with companies including Dow, Metabolix, Amyris, LanzaTech, Boeing, Virgin Australia, and GE.  

Nielsen is applying system analysis and design to tissue engineering including novel strategies for generating microtissues for drug screening, and using stem cells to produce red and white blood cells for transfusion.  Nielsen has been granted patents in the fields of stem cells and metabolic engineering. He was on the Scientific Advisory Board of InSphero from 2009–2015, a company commercializing microtissue technology originating in the Nielsen laboratory. He is an editorial board member of a wide variety of scientific journals and holds several major awards in his field.

Bernhard Palsson Ph.D. Prof.

Systems Biology

Prof. Dr. Palsson is theGalletti Professor of Bioengineering, the Principal Investigator of the Systems Biology Research Group in the Department of Bioengineering, and Professor of Pediatrics at the University of California, San Diego. He is also the CEO of the Novo Nordisk Center for Biosustainabilityin Denmark, working in this capacity since 2011. He has co-authored more than 450 peer-reviewed research articles and has authored four textbooks. 

Palsson’s research includes the development of methods to analyze metabolic dynamics (flux-balance analysis, and modal analysis), and the formulation of complete models of selected cells (the red blood cell, E. coli, CHO cells, and several human pathogens). He sits on the editorial broad of several leading peer-reviewed microbiology, bioengineering, and biotechnology journals. Palsson is the author of over 40 U.S. patents, the co-founder of several biotechnology companies, and holds several major biotechnology awards.