We harness the power of NK cells to kill cancer.
Our mission is to revolutionize cancer treatment by inventing therapies that harness the body's immune system for vastly improved patient outcomes.
Dragonfly's therapies are designed to counterbalance immune suppressive factors present in the tumor microenvironment and mobilize anti-cancer immune responses, and are expected to be potent as single agents as well as in treatment combinations with existing cancer immunotherapies – such as T cell treatments.
Our founders and Scientific Advisory Board are major figures in cancer biology and immunology, and launched Dragonfly to harness the power of the immune system to provide breakthrough cancer treatments for patients. Dr. Tyler Jacks is a highly decorated scientist, head of the Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research at MIT — broadly considered the world's leading basic cancer research institution, with more than 780 scientists and engineers – and has spent the last three decades carrying out cutting-edge studies in cancer genetics and cancer immunology. Dr. Jacks' research on the potential of NK cells to enhance and direct other immunotherapies led him to team up with Dr. David Raulet, one of the world's leading researchers on Natural Killer cells, whose internationally recognized discoveries on the role of NK cell inhibitory and activating receptors in destroying tumors provide a critical foundation for Dragonfly's approach to cancer immunotherapy. Dr. Raulet directs a major research laboratory at UC, Berkeley focused on breakthrough research on NK cells and T cells, and how they can be used for therapy or prevention of disease.
Dragonfly was formed in 2015 by Tyler Jacks, Director of MIT's Koch Institute, together with longtime friend and tech entrepreneur Bill Haney, and UC Berkeley immunologist and leading Natural Killer cell expert, David Raulet. As cancer research pioneers, entrepreneurs, and family members, their shared goal is harnessing the power of the immune system to provide breakthrough cancer treatments for patients
OUR SCIENTIFIC ADVISORY BOARD & FOUNDERS
Our Scientific Advisory Board includes Nobel Prize winners, world-class protein scientists, international leaders in cancer immunology and immunotherapy, and experts in Natural Killer cell biology, all dedicated to fighting cancer. Learn more below.
Nobel Laureate, Physiology/Medicine
Dr. Harold Eliot Varmus, M.D. is an American Nobel Prize-winning scientist and was the 14th Director of the National Cancer Institute, a post to which he was appointed by President Barack Obama. Dr. Varmus was a co-recipient of the 1989 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for discovery of the cellular origin of retroviral oncogenes. He is currently the Lewis Thomas University Professor of Medicine at Weill Cornell Medicine and a Senior Associate at the New York Genome Center. He serves as a member of the Secretary of Energy's Advisory Board, the Global Health Advisory Board at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Lasker Foundation Prize Jury, and the Scientific Advisory Board of the Broad Institute at Harvard and MIT.
Professor, Stanford University
Dr. Ronald Levy M.D., is an American medical doctor and scientist at Stanford University. He specializes in lymphoma, including Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma, Burkitt's Lymphoma and Hodgkin's Disease. His research investigates how the immune system can be harnessed to fight lymphoma. His work has led to the concept that antibodies can be used as personalized anticancer drugs and to the development of an antibody-based drug, Rituxan, that is widely used to treat lymphoma. Dr. Levy's work has been recognized with the American Cancer Society's Medal of Honor, the Karnofsky Award from the American Society of Clinical Oncology, and others. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and of the Institute of Medicine.
K. Dane Wittrup
Professor K. Dane Wittrup, Ph.D. is a pioneer in protein engineering technologies and an expert in the science of targeting cancer with antibodies. Dr. Wittrup is the C.P. Dubbs Professor of Chemical Engineering and Biological Engineering at MIT and Associate Director of MIT's Koch Institute. Dr. Wittrup is co-founder and acting Chief Scientific Officer at Adimab and is a fellow of the American Institute of Biomedical Engineers. He previously worked as a postdoctoral research associate in Amgen's Yeast Molecular Biology Group. He holds a Ph.D. and M.S. in Chemical Engineering from the California Institute of Technology.
Chair, Department of Medical Oncology, University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
Dr. Patrick Hwu, M.D., is one of the leading tumor immunologists in the country, and a primary force in the development of novel vaccine and adoptive T-cell therapies. His laboratory and clinical work have led to insights and advances in the understanding of the interactions between tumors and the immune system, and the development of cellular immunotherapies. Dr. Hwu is a member of the editorial board of the Journal of Immunotherapy. He is the recipient the George and Barbara Bush Endowment for Innovative Cancer Research in 2004, and many other awards. He received his M.D. degree from The Medical College of Pennsylvania.
Professor, Heidelberg University; Head of the Innate Immunity Group, DKFZ - German Cancer Research Center
Dr. Adelheid (Heidi) Cerwenka, Ph.D., is a world leading scientist in NK cell biology and the innate immune system. After postdoctoral research at the Trudeau Institute New York, and UCSF, she became group-leader at the Novartis Research Institute before being appointed as group-leader at the DKFZ. Dr. Cerwenka is author of more than 50 publications. She serves as reviewer for several journals (e.g. Nature Immunology, JEM, Cancer Research) and national and international grant agencies. In 2008 she was awarded with the Georges Koehler Award of the DGfI. Her research was funded by a Marie Curie Excellence Grant and by several grant agencies (e.g. Dt. Krebshilfe and Carreras foundation). She received a doctorate from the University of Vienna, Austria, and the Venia Legendi from the Faculty of Medicine, University of Heidelberg.
Professor, Stanford University; Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute
Dr. K. Christopher Garcia, Ph.D., an investigator with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, studies the structural, mechanistic, and functional aspects of receptor-ligand interactions that play important roles in mammalian biology and human disease. To do this, he blends traditional structural approaches with ligand engineering and discovery. His goal is to paint a detailed mechanistic picture – from the outside to the inside of a cell – of how ligand binding is structurally coupled to receptor activation, and to exploit this information to manipulate signaling with engineered ligands, potentially resulting in therapeutics. Dr. Garcia was recently elected to the National Academy of Medicine and is a member of the National Academy of Sciences.
Elizabeth M. Jaffee, MD
Deputy Director of the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center
Dr. Jaffee is the Deputy Director of the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center, and the Dana and Albert "Cubby" Broccoli Professor of Oncology and Professor of Pathology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. She is also the President of the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR). Dr. Jaffe has received numerous awards and accolades as an international leader in the development of immune based therapies for pancreatic and breast cancers. Dr. Jaffee graduated magna cum laude from Brandeis University and received her medical degree from New York Medical College.
Lewis L. Lanier, PhD
American Cancer Society Professor and Chair of the Department of Microbiology and Immunology, UCSF
Dr. Lanier is the American Cancer Society Professor and Chair of the Department of Microbiology and Immunology, UCSF, and Leader of the Cancer Immunology Program, UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center. He is also the J. Michael Bishop, MD,
Distinguished Professor in Microbiology and Immunology at UCSF. Dr. Lanier is an internationally-recognized expert in natural killer (NK) cells and has received numerous awards for his pioneering work in this area. Since the early 1980s, his lab has investigated how NK cells distinguish between normal healthy cells and cells that are transformed or infected with viruses. Dr. Lanier earned his BS from Virginia Tech and PhD from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Dr. Tyler Jacks
Co-founder & Chair of Dragonfly Scientific Advisory Board
Dr. Tyler Jacks, Ph.D., is a highly decorated scientist, the head of the Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research at MIT — broadly considered the world's leading basic cancer research institution, with more than 780 scientists and engineers, and co-chair of the White House's Cancer "Moonshot" Blue Ribbon Panel.
Dr. Jacks directs a major research laboratory at the Koch Institute, carrying out cutting-edge studies in cancer genetics and cancer immunology.
Dr. Jacks received his B.A. in Biology from Harvard in 1983, and Ph.D. from UC San Francisco, where he trained with Nobel Laureate Harold Varmus.
Co-founder & Dragonfly
Chief Executive Officer
An inventor and entrepreneur, Bill Haney started his first company as a college freshman, inventing and building air pollution control systems for power plants. Since then he has started or helped start more than a dozen technology companies.
Bill was a founding member of the national environmental advisory board for the US Environmental Protection Agency, the President's Circle for the National Academy of Sciences, has won a Humanitarian Award from Harvard Medical School, an Achievement Award from the ACLU and serves or has served on boards for Harvard, MIT, State and Federal Government agencies, the World Wildlife Fund, the World Resources Institute, and the NRDC.
Bill holds a BA from Harvard College and was a Kennedy School Fellow from 1997-2001.
Dr. David Raulet
Co-founder & Schekman Chair of Cancer Biology at UC Berkeley
Dr. David Raulet, Ph.D. is the Esther and Wendy Schekman Chair in Cancer Biology at UC,Berkeley, and one of the world's leading researchers on Natural Killer cells.
Dr. Raulet directs a major research laboratory at UC, Berkeley, focused on breakthrough research on how Natural Killer cells and T cells recognize and destroy cancer cells, and how this information can be used for therapy or prevention of disease.
Dr. Raulet received his Ph.D. in Biology from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Suzanne Louise Topalian, MD
Associate Director, Bloomberg-Kimmel Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy
Dr. Topalian is Professor of Surgery at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. As the Director of the Melanoma Program, Dr. Topalian's current work focuses on modulating immune checkpoints such as PD-1 in cancer therapy, and discovering biomarkers predicting clinical outcomes following treatment. Her pioneering efforts have opened new avenues of scientific interest and clinical investigation in cancer immunology, and have helped to establish immunotherapy as a treatment modality for cancer. Dr. Topalian received her undergraduate degree from Wellesley College and her medical degree from Tufts University School of Medicine.