Heather Franklin, MS, MBA
President and Chief Executive Officer
Ms. Franklin is an experienced corporate executive with over 20 years of broad biotechnology expertise, including positions in research, product development, business development, strategic planning and executive management. Prior to joining Blaze Bioscience, Ms. Franklin was Senior Vice President of Business Development and Alliance Management at ZymoGenetics. Her areas of responsibility included business development, alliance management, strategic planning, portfolio management and pipeline marketing. She was the architect of the $1.1B deal with Bristol-Myers Squibb for Interferon lambda, which at the time of execution was the largest single-molecule Phase 1 deal ever and led to ZymoGenetics’ subsequent acquisition by BMS. Ms. Franklin has designed and negotiated deals across the product development spectrum from research through commercialization. Prior to ZymoGenetics, Ms. Franklin held positions of increasing responsibility at Amgen and Targeted Genetics.
Ms. Franklin holds a BS degree from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, an MS from the University of Washington and an MBA from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.
Dennis Miller, PhD, D.A.B.T.
Senior Vice President, Development
Dr. Miller has over 20 years of pharmaceutical and biotechnology experience. Prior to joining Blaze Bioscience, Dr. Miller was Senior Vice President of Research and Preclinical Development at ZymoGenetics, having responsibility spanning the company’s discovery, preclinical development, bioprocess development and clinical trial laboratory support activities. He has also held research and development positions at Seattle Genetics, Amgen, Nycomed and Sterling Winthrop. Dr. Miller has contributed to the preclinical and clinical development of over 20 therapeutics, including Adcetris® and IL-21 for oncology, and Interferon lambda, Nplate® and Kineret® for virology and chronic autoimmune disorders.
Dr. Miller holds a BS degree in Biochemistry from the University of Rochester, a PhD in Biochemistry from Utah State University, and did his postdoctoral research at the University of Washington. He has been board certified in toxicology from the American Board of Toxicology since 1995.
Mila Lobanova, MBA, CPA
Senior Vice President, Finance and Operations
Ms. Lobanova is a senior finance professional and certified public accountant, with 14 years of financial and strategic planning experience in the biotechnology industry. Prior to joining Blaze Bioscience, Ms. Lobanova served as Senior Director of Finance at ZymoGenetics. During her tenure there, she built and managed a highly effective finance team and was a core member of the strategic planning group, providing financial leadership for major corporate development and strategic initiatives. Prior to ZymoGenetics, Ms. Lobanova spent six years at ICOS Corporation in various finance roles, where she supported the research and development organization, including development of Cialis®. Her earlier career was with commercial entities of the Atomic Energy Agency of Russian Federation, where she held several technical and business positions.
Ms. Lobanova earned an MBA from the University of Washington’s Foster School of Business and a BS in Economics from the University of Washington. She also holds a degree in Applied Mathematics from National Nuclear Research University in Russia.
Julia Novak, PhD
Vice President, Research
Dr. Novak is a seasoned biotechnology professional, with 20 years of research and development experience. Prior to joining Blaze Bioscience, Dr. Novak served in a variety of roles at ZymoGenetics, including strategic planning, development project management and scientific leadership. She was a core member of a team implementing fundamental changes in corporate strategic planning. As Director of Project Management, Dr. Novak successfully managed co-development and co-research projects, including directing the transfer of a preclinical-stage program to a strategic partner while maintaining momentum enabling an on-schedule IND filing and study initiation. During her 11 years in research, Dr. Novak led a highly productive team focused on novel drug discovery. To date, eight new product candidates have resulted from this work and are currently in clinical and preclinical development. Among these candidates is IL-21, a protein therapeutic, which is currently in Phase 2 studies for the treatment of cancer. Dr. Novak is a co-inventor on 34 issued patents in 14 patent families.
Dr. Novak received her BS and PhD in Biology from the University of Houston, and did her postdoctoral research at Baylor College of Medicine.
Claudia Jochheim, PhD
Vice President of Process Development and Manufacturing
Dr. Claudia Jochheim is a Biochemist with more than 20 years of experience in the biotechnology industry. Prior to joining Blaze Bioscience, she was an independent consultant. She formerly held strategic leadership positions as Senior Director/Director of Analytical Biochemistry and Formulations at Seattle Genetics, where she built and led groups of up to 30 scientists. At Seattle Genetics, Dr. Jochheim played a key role in moving the antibody-drug-conjugate Adcetris® from development to the market. Prior to Seattle Genetics, she was Director of Analytical Biochemistry at Corixa and a Senior Scientist/Scientist at Immunex and Amgen, where she was project leader for several development projects, including Enbrel® and Vectibix®. Her experience includes all aspects of technology transfer to contract manufacturing organizations and preparation of product-related CMC regulatory filings with FDA.
Dr. Jochheim received her PhD in Analytical Chemistry from the University of Dortmund, Germany and MS in Biochemistry from the University of Bochum, Germany. She held a postdoctoral position at the University of Washington in the Department of Medicinal Chemistry. She has co-authored 20 peer reviewed manuscripts.
Vice President of Clinical Operations
Ms. Ishak is an accomplished clinical research leader with nearly 20 years of experience in all aspects of clinical operations. Her experience spans first-in-human through Phase 4 drug development for a broad range of therapeutic areas: oncology, hepatology, hematology, rheumatology, surgery/hemostasis, and urology. Prior to joining Blaze Bioscience, Ms. Ishak spent over 11 years with ZymoGenetics, serving most recently as Senior Director of Clinical Operations. In this role, she led the clinical operations team to achieve seamless management and successful execution of clinical trials from study concept to clinical study report finalization and regulatory submissions. Prior to ZymoGenetics, Ms. Ishak held positions of increasing responsibility in clinical trial monitoring and management at NeoRx Corporation and Bard Diagnostic Sciences. Ms. Ishak has led more than 30 clinical studies with over 2,000 subjects treated that have led to several successful marketing applications and approvals
Ms. Ishak earned a BS in Microbiology from the University of Washington. She is Board Certified in Clinical and Public Health Microbiology by the American Society of Microbiology.