Umoja Biopharma Announces Appointment of Dr. Irena Melnikova as Chief Financial Officer

Seattle, Wash., May 18, 2021– Umoja Biopharma, a biotechnology company pioneering an integrated, in vivo immunotherapy platform, today announced the appointment of Irena Melnikova, Ph.D., as Chief Financial Officer.

“Irena brings 20 years of operational and transactional experience in the biopharma sector and I am honored to welcome her to the Umoja team,” said Andy Scharenberg, M.D., CEO of Umoja Biopharma. “Her expertise in financing strategy and execution within the industry will be a vital addition to the company as we continue to expand and evolve our in vivo cellular immunotherapy platform and pipeline.”

Dr. Melnikova joins Umoja from SVB Leerink, where she served as a Managing Director in Investment Banking and provided critical advice to biopharma companies on equity financing strategies, completing over 80 transactions. Prior to SVB Leerink, Dr. Melnikova was a Managing Director at Burrill & Company and, prior to that, Director of Strategy and External Innovation at Sanofi where she led efforts to identify and initiate partnership opportunities with companies in the northeastern United States. Dr. Melnikova has also held leadership positions at TVM Capital, IDC Life Sciences Insights, and Transform Pharmaceuticals. Dr. Melnikova holds a Ph.D. in Molecular Medicine/Molecular Biology from the University of Texas.

“I am thrilled to join Umoja to help build an industry-leading cellular immunotherapy company to make a difference in the lives of cancer patients,” said Dr. Melnikova. “I look forward to partnering with our team as we continue to develop our unique suite of technologies and pipeline of in vivo CAR T therapies that effectively target the full spectrum of hematologic malignancies and solid tumors.”

About Umoja Biopharma

Umoja Biopharma, Inc. is a pre-clinical stage biotechnology company headquartered in Seattle, WA. Founded by and based on pioneering work performed at Seattle Children’s Research Institute and Purdue University, Umoja is advancing an entirely new approach to immunotherapy by retooling a patient’s immune system in vivo. Umoja’s novel approach is powered by an integrated in vivo cellular immunotherapy platform comprising of VivoVec for in vivo delivery, RACR/CAR synthetic receptor for cell expansion in vivo, and TumorTag targeting technologies. Designed from the ground up to work together, these platforms create and harness a powerful immune response in the body to directly, safely, and controllably attack cancer. Umoja believes that its approach can provide broader access to the most advanced immunotherapies and enable more patients to live better, fuller lives. To learn more visit

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