Leadership Team

Leadership Team

Julian Adams, Ph.D.
Chief Executive Officer

Julian Adams joined Gamida Cell’s leadership team as chief executive officer in November 2017, bringing more than 30 years of drug discovery and development experience to his role. He has served on the board since September 2016. Prior to his CEO appointment, Julian served as president and chief scientific officer at Clal Biotechnology Industries (CBI), where he oversaw the Boston office, evaluating investment opportunities and supporting portfolio companies, including Gamida Cell. Before joining CBI, he served as the president of research and development at Infinity Pharmaceuticals, Inc., where he built and led the company’s R&D efforts. Julian also served as senior vice president of drug discovery and development at Millennium Pharmaceuticals, Inc., where he played a key role in the discovery of Velcade® (bortezomib), a therapy widely used for treatment of the blood cancer, multiple myeloma. Earlier in his career, he was credited with discovering Viramune® (nevirapine) for HIV at Boehringer Ingelheim. He has also held senior leadership roles in research and development at LeukoSite, Inc. and ProScript.

Julian has won several awards for his drug development efforts throughout his career, holds more than 40 patents from the United States Patent and Trademark Office and has authored more than 100 papers and book chapters in peer-reviewed journals. Julian holds a B.S. from McGill University and a Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He also holds a Sc.D., honoris causa, from McGill University.

Naftali Brikashvili, CPA
Senior Vice President, Finance and Operations

Naftali Brikashvili joined Gamida Cell in 2000 and has served in several finance roles, including as chief financial officer since 2008. Naftali has more than 22 years of experience in accounting, finance and corporate strategy. Since joining Gamida Cell, he has played a substantial role in financing rounds above $130 million, and in facilitating strategic collaborations. In April 2018, Naftali was appointed senior vice president, finance and operations. Prior to Gamida Cell, Naftali served as finance manager at Mertens Hoffman Software & Logistics, Ltd. and at Donna Engineering Construction.

Naftali is a licensed Israeli CPA and holds an LLM degree from Bar Ilan University and a B.S. in accounting and economics from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Josh Hamermesh
Chief Business Officer

Josh Hamermesh joined Gamida Cell’s leadership team as chief business officer in April 2018, bringing more than two decades of experience in corporate strategy and commercialization for pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies to his role. Prior to joining Gamida Cell, Josh served as senior vice president at Locust Walk Partners, Inc., a strategic partnering and financing transaction advisory firm, where he played an instrumental role in leading numerous transactions across an array of therapeutic areas and technologies. Prior to Locust Walk, Josh served as vice president, business and corporate development at Infinity Pharmaceuticals, Inc., where he was responsible for the company’s in-licensing, out-licensing and alliance management activities. Prior to Infinity, he served as senior vice president, strategy and corporate development at Pervasis Therapeutics, Inc., where he led strategic partnering initiatives for the company’s product development portfolio. Earlier in his career, Josh held positions at Molecular Insight Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Sanofi Genzyme and MG Biotherapeutics LLC.

Josh is currently a member of the board of directors at Neurohealing Pharmaceuticals, Inc. He holds a B.S., magna cum laude, from Amherst College and an MBA from Harvard Business School.

Shai Lankry
Chief Financial Officer

Shai Lankry joined Gamida Cell’s leadership team as chief financial officer in April 2018, bringing more than a decade of senior management experience in finance to his role. Prior to joining Gamida Cell, Shai served as a finance director at West Pharmaceutical Services, Inc., where he led R&D and operation financials for the company’s Israeli subsidiary. Prior to West Pharmaceutical Services, he served as CFO and Israeli site manager of Macrocure, Ltd., where he played an integral role in the company’s NASDAQ Initial Public Offering process, raising a total capital of approximately $54 million. Before joining Macrocure, Shai was the finance director at Omrix Biopharmaceuticals, Ltd., a division of Ethicon Biosurgery, a Johnson & Johnson company, where in his most recent role, he managed the finance biologics organization at multiple sites worldwide. Earlier in his career, Shai served as a senior associate at PricewaterhouseCoopers in Tel Aviv.

Shai is a licensed Israeli CPA and holds an MBA from Tel Aviv University.

Tracey Lodie
Chief Scientific Officer
Tracey Lodie joined Gamida Cell’s leadership team in June 2019, bringing over 16 years of drug discovery experience in the areas of autoimmunity, transplant biology and immuno-oncology. Previously, she served as senior vice president, translational immunology at BlueRock Therapeutics, helping to advance the company’s universal pluripotent stem cell platform into central nervous system, cardiovascular and autoimmune therapeutic areas. She also served as vice president of immunology at Syros Pharmaceuticals, where she developed new autoimmunity and immuno-oncology research programs. Prior to Syros, Tracey spent over 14 years at Sanofi-Genzyme, where she held roles of increasing responsibility. While at Sanofi-Genzyme, Tracey served as head of the immune-mediated research group and was responsible for building and advancing the early drug pipeline, integrating advanced programs into development, and supporting translational medicine for existing clinical drugs. She was instrumental in advancing several development programs through regulatory approval in the area of transplant and autoimmunity. Her work directly supported the clinical development and approval of an advanced stem cell therapy product for the treatment of GvHD. Additional chemokine biology research led to the approval of Mozobil® (plerixafor), a small molecule CXCR4 antagonist for stem cell mobilization in patients undergoing an autologous stem cell transplant for non-Hodgkin lymphoma and multiple myeloma. Additionally, Tracey’s group was responsible for data in animal models of multiple sclerosis and secondary autoimmunity that supported the approval and post-approval safety requirements of Lemtrada® (alemtuzumab), a monoclonal, anti-CD52 antibody, for relapsing remitting multiple sclerosis. Tracey holds a Ph.D. in immunology and pathology from Boston University School of Medicine and a B.S. in biology from Fairfield University.
Dorit Harati
Vice President, Quality Assurance, Manufacturing and Logistics

Dorit Harati joined Gamida Cell’s leadership team as vice president, quality assurance in August 2000, and is responsible for quality assurance, technology transfer and manufacturing oversight at Gamida Cell’s contract manufacturing organizations. Dorit has nearly three decades of quality assurance experience in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries, with expertise in building large-scale quality programs from preclinical asset development to marketing. Dorit is credited with designing a logistics system specifically built to support Gamida Cell’s quality assurance and manufacturing requirements. Prior to joining Gamida Cell, Dorit served as the director of the quality control laboratories at Perio Products, Ltd. In this role, she implemented quality systems in accordance with FDA requirements and European regulations.

Dorit holds a B.S. in chemistry from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Thomas Klima
Chief Commercial Officer

Thomas Klima joined Gamida Cell’s leadership team as chief commercial officer in January 2019, bringing nearly 20 years of global experience in the pharmaceutical industry with expertise in cellular therapy, hematology, oncology and transplantation. During his career, he has played key roles in building commercial organizations and leading multiple successful product launches. Mr. Klima most recently served as head of global commercial planning and operations at Atara Biotherapeutics, prior to which he played a key role as senior vice president and chief commercial officer at Navidea Biopharmaceuticals Ltd. Mr. Klima also served as head of sales and commercial operations at Algeta U.S. and led the successful commercial build-out and launch of Xofigo®. Before Algeta, he held various commercial leadership positions at Dendreon. Mr. Klima began his pharmaceutical career at Eli Lilly where he held several positions of increasing responsibility and participated in the global launch of Cymbalta®.

Mr. Klima earned a B.A. in Business Administration and Marketing from Western State College.

Jaren Madden
Vice President, Investor Relations and Corporate Communications

Jaren Madden joined Gamida Cell’s leadership team as vice president, investor relations and corporate communications in July 2018, bringing nearly 20 years of experience in strategic communications and investor relations in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries. Jaren joined Gamida Cell from Shire plc, where, as the global head of research and development (R&D) communications, she set strategy and execution of R&D communications plans for approximately 20 preclinical and clinical programs. Prior to joining Shire, Jaren served in roles of increasing responsibility at Infinity Pharmaceuticals, Inc., most recently as senior director, investor relations and corporate communications, where she developed the strategy for and oversaw the execution of corporate communications initiatives and served as the primary company interface to investors and media. While at Infinity, Jaren worked with the management team on multiple equity offerings, raising total net proceeds over $240 million. Before joining Infinity, Jaren held roles of increasing responsibility at Feinstein Kean Healthcare, Alkermes plc and Vertex Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

Jaren holds a B.S. in ecology and evolutionary biology and an M.S. in botany from UConn, and an MBA from Boston University.

Paul Nee
Vice President, Marketing

Paul Nee joined Gamida Cell’s leadership team as vice president, marketing in April 2018, bringing more than 15 years of experience in marketing, analytics and corporate strategy in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries to his role. Prior to joining Gamida Cell, he served as senior director of forecasting at Sunovion Pharmaceuticals, Inc., where he was responsible for commercial forecasting initiatives across various corporate functions. Prior to joining Sunovion, Paul served as senior director of commercial strategy at Inotek Pharmaceuticals Corporation, where he directed and executed the company’s strategic business development programs. He previously served as a forecasting director at Biogen, Inc. Earlier in his career, Paul held various roles at GlaxoSmithKline plc/Human Genome Sciences, AMAG Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Amgen, Inc. and Novartis International AG.

Paul holds a B.S. in economics from Northeastern University and an M.Sc. in health economics from the London School of Economics.

Tzvi Palash
Chief Operating Officer

Tzvi Palash joined Gamida Cell’s leadership team as chief operating officer in July 2018, bringing more than 30 years of expertise in commercial operations in the healthcare industry to his role. Prior to joining Gamida Cell, Tzvi served as COO at Protalix Biotherapeutics, Inc., where he led all operational activities through the company’s FDA approval of plant cell culture produced protein product, Elelyso®. Prior to joining Protalix, Tzvi served as a general manager at ColBar LifeScience Ltd, a biomaterial company acquired by Johnson & Johnson, where he led the planning, construction, scale-up and regulatory oversight of its Israel-based manufacturing facility. He also successfully led FDA audits for Evolence® and Ossix® and was a member of the Global Aesthetic Management Team within the Consumer Group of Johnson & Johnson. Earlier in his career, Tzvi held operational roles at Teva Pharmaceutical Industries and Interpham Laboratories.

Tzvi holds a B.S. in biology from Tel Aviv University and an M.Sc. in biochemistry from Jerusalem University.

Tony Peled
Co-Founder and Chief Technology Officer

Tony Peled is a co-founder of Gamida Cell, and the lead researcher behind the discovery of the proprietary NAM technology, upon which the company’s pipeline is built. She has more than 20 years of experience in drug discovery and development of cell therapies. Under her leadership, Gamida Cell has achieved several clinical milestones, which are supported by several patents. Prior to founding Gamida Cell, Tony served as a scientist in the hematology department at Hadassah University Hospital in Jerusalem, where she focused her studies on hematopoiesis and leukemic stem cell research.

John Schick
Vice President, Market Access

John Schick joined Gamida Cell’s leadership team as vice president, market access, in July 2018, bringing more than 25 years of experience in developing and implementing U.S. market access strategies to his role. Prior to joining Gamida Cell, where he served as senior director, payer relations at Kite Pharma, Inc., and was responsible for the development and implementation of tactical strategies to ensure appropriate access to cancer immunotherapy YESCARTA®. Prior to joining Kite, John served as a director at Infinity Pharmaceuticals, Inc., where he led the design, implementation and management of trade, distribution and physician network functions to support the potential launch of the company’s hematology/oncology candidate. John has also held various roles at Onyx Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Otsuka America Pharmaceutical, Inc. and Allergan plc.

John holds a B.S. in agriculture science from Auburn University.

Ronit Simantov, M.D.
Chief Medical Officer

Ronit Simantov joined Gamida Cell’s leadership team as chief medical officer in July 2017, bringing more than 20 years of experience in hematology and oncology research, development, registration and product launch. Prior to joining Gamida Cell, Ronit served as head of oncology global medical affairs at Pfizer, where she was responsible for multiple programs including Sutent® (sunitinib), Inlyta ® (axitinib), Ibrance® (palbociclib), Bosulif® (bosutinib) and Xalkori ® (crizotinib). Ronit previously led phase 1-3 studies as vice president of clinical research at OSI Pharmaceuticals. She also served as chief medical officer at CuraGen Corporation (acquired by Celldex), where she led development of small molecules and antibody-drug conjugates. At Bayer HealthCare Pharmaceuticals, Ronit led the phase 3 study of Nexavar® (sorafenib) resulting in the first approval of a tyrosine kinase inhibitor in renal cell carcinoma. Prior to joining industry, Ronit spent seven years on the academic faculty at Weill Medical College of Cornell University, where she directed the fellowship program and conducted angiogenesis and vascular biology research. She has authored over 40 peer-reviewed manuscripts.

Ronit holds an M.D. from New York University School of Medicine and a B.S. from Johns Hopkins University. She completed a residency in internal medicine at New York Hospital Cornell Medical Center, and a fellowship in hematology and oncology at Weill Cornell Medicine.