Umoja Biopharma Expands Management Team with Key Hires in Research and Business Development

Seattle, Wash., July 27, 2021 – Umoja Biopharma, an oncology company leveraging its proprietary integrated technologies to reprogram immune cells in vivo to create next-generation immunotherapies for the treatment of solid tumors and hematologic malignancies, today announced the appointments of three new hires in the company’s research and business development functions, including Bruce Kerwin, Ph.D. as Senior Vice President of Process and Product Development, Ryan Larson, Ph.D. as Vice President and Head of Translational Science, and Mike Fitzpatrick as Vice President of Business Development and Operations.

“I am excited to welcome Bruce, Ryan, and Mike to the Umoja team as I believe they will be able to contribute greatly to the company during this period of rapid growth,” said Andy Scharenberg, M.D., co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of Umoja Biopharma. “Bruce’s extensive knowledge in drug development and taking drug candidates through the approval process, coupled with Ryan’s deep understanding of the cell and gene therapy space and managing product development teams, will be essential as we look towards bringing Umoja’s integrated therapies to market. Mike’s proven business acumen and industry expertise and relationships will be critical as we advance our pipeline of integrated immunotherapies to the clinic and explore valuable partnerships. We look forward to seeing what they will accomplish at Umoja in the coming years.”

Bruce Kerwin will be responsible for ensuring a smooth transition from discovery to development of Umoja’s integrated technologies, working closely with the discovery and development team to continue identifying potential drug candidates. Ryan Larson will lead Umoja’s translational team in its development of next-generation immunotherapies in solid tumor and hematologic malignancies. Mike Fitzpatrick will drive business development activities and enhance corporate strategy in partnership with the leadership team.

Bruce Kerwin, Ph.D., Senior Vice President of Process and Product Development
Kerwin joins Umoja as a recognized industry expert in formulation and drug development with over 25 years of experience leading project teams through multiple stages of development from pre-IND to commercialization. Prior to Umoja, he was an original member of Just Biotherapeutics founding the biophysics and drug product design department, where he led the molecular optimization programs for anti-HIV broadly neutralizing antibodies for both the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease. In prior roles at Amgen, he led numerous project teams developing novel solutions to formulation problems such as high viscosity, high concentration and drug delivery and contributed to numerous programs that successfully brought drug candidates through development and commercialization. He has over 50 research publications, is an inventor on multiple patents, and is an Adjunct Professor in the School of Pharmaceutical Chemistry at the University of Kansas. He received his Ph.D. in Biochemistry from the University of California at Davis.

Ryan Larson, Ph.D., Vice President and Head of Translational Science
Larson joins Umoja with extensive experience in cell and gene therapy translational sciences. Prior to his role at Umoja, he led the Cell Therapy Product and Analytical team at Bristol-Myers Squibb accountable for product and analytical development and lifecycle management activities from early stage through commercial assets, contributing to the commercialization of two CAR T cell products. In addition, he co-founded the Cell Therapy Product Sciences department where he was responsible for delivering translational insights to inform product development strategy and resulted in multiple patents and presentations at ASH, AACR, and CASSS Cell and Gene Therapy conferences. He also previously served as an early member of the Translational Research team at Juno Therapeutics. During his time at Thermo Fisher Scientific he developed analytical reagents and technologies with a focus on applications in immuno-oncology and cell therapy. He earned his Ph.D. in Immunology from the University of Washington where his studies focused on T cell tolerance at barrier surfaces.

Mike Fitzpatrick, Vice President of Business Development and Operations
Fitzpatrick joins Umoja with nearly 25 years of corporate strategy, operations, management, and product development experience in healthcare. Prior to Umoja, he was managing partner at NINE75, where he served as the relationship lead for strategic asset evaluation, as well as business development transaction and general business operations support. At Bristol-Myers Squibb and ZymoGenetics, his professional experience included roles in corporate operations, finance, portfolio strategy and planning, project management, corporate communications, alliance management, protein biochemistry and process development. His product development background includes therapeutics, medical device, diagnostics, research tools, and information databases. He received a B.S. in Genetics and Cell Biology from the University of Minnesota and a B.B.A in Finance from the University of Notre Dame.

About Umoja Biopharma

Umoja Biopharma, Inc. is a preclinical stage company advancing an entirely new approach to immunotherapy designed to retool a patient’s immune system in vivo. Founded based on pioneering work performed at Seattle Children’s Research Institute and Purdue University, Umoja’s novel approach is powered by integrated cellular immunotherapy technologies comprising the VivoVec in vivo delivery platform, the RACR/CAR in vivo cell expansion/control platform and the TumorTag targeting platform. Designed from the ground up to work together, these platforms are being developed to 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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