Press Releases

Press Releases October 17, 2022
Ankyra Therapeutics Appoints Joseph J. Elassal, M.D., MBA, a Veteran Immuno-oncology Expert, as Chief Medical Officer

BOSTON, Mass.–(BUSINESS WIRE)— Ankyra Therapeutics, a company developing targeted immune potentiating agents for the treatment of cancer, today announced the appointment of Joseph J. Elassal, M.D., as chief medical officer. Dr. Elassal will fill the role formerly served by Howard Kaufman, M.D., who was recently promoted to president and chief executive officer of Ankyra Therapeutics.

“Joe is a well-respected leader in our field who brings a breadth of experience to Ankyra, having held roles within the biotech and financial industries, while also serving as a practicing physician for 20 years,” said Dr. Kaufman. “Joe has spent a large portion of his career focused on leading efforts to advance intra-tumoral applications of immunotherapy – expertise that will be critical to enabling Ankyra to rapidly progress our lead compound, ANK-101, into the clinic. We are delighted to welcome Joe to the team at this important stage of our development, and I, along with the rest of the management team and the board, look forward partnering with him.”

Dr. Elassal has served as an attending physician at Stamford Hospital for nearly 20 years, while also holding industry roles across the pharmaceutical and financial industries. Most recently, he served as enior medical director, global medical affairs – oncology at Regeneron, where he led efforts on cemiplimab and other immunotherapy approaches for patients with cervical and nonmelanoma skin cancer. He also held roles within the inflammation and immunology, and cardiovascular and metabolic divisions at Regeneron. His other industry roles included senior medical director at Replimune, biosimilars medical affairs at Pfizer, deputy vice president at Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), and vice president, senior medical director at Cline Davis & Mann. Prior to industry, Dr. Elassal was a research associate at JP Morgan Securities. Dr. Elassal earned his M.D. from Eastern Virginia Medical School and MBA fromColumbia Business School. He completed his internship and residency at Columbia University/New York Presbyterian Hospital and is certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine.

“I am excited to join Ankyra, a company which is at the forefront of intratumoral oncology drug development. Ankyra’s anchored immunotherapy platform has the potential to transform the therapeutic application of cytokine drugs by delivering enhanced efficacy and limiting systemic exposure, a challenge experienced with many cytokine-based therapies today,” said Dr. Elassal. “I look forward to joining a strong and dedicated team at Ankyra working to advance our lead compound ANK-101 into the clinic as well as additional pipeline opportunities in the future.”

About Ankyra Therapeutics

Ankyra Therapeutics is a biotechnology company that has developed a highly differentiated technology platform that expands the therapeutic window of cytokine drugs by forming a stable depot in the tumor after local administration leading to prolonged immune activation and potent local and systemic immunity with reduced systemic toxicity.

Ankyra was founded in 2019 and is headquartered in Boston, Massachusetts.  For more information, please visit


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Alicia Davis, THRUST Strategic Communications

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