Lassogen, Inc.

Lassogen was founded in 2019 to unlock the full potential of lasso peptides as a new therapeutic modality for diagnosing and treating some of our most intractable health challenges.

Lassogen is the result of a convergence of technical advances that have opened the door to a vast, new, untapped source of novel medicines.

Realizing our grand vision requires an outstanding team with the right skills, experience, and shared passion to turn great ideas into real cures.  It's all about the people.   We are Lassogen...


Founding Management

Mark Burk.png

Mark J. Burk, PhD

President & CEO, Founder

Hiroko Masamune_Site.jpg

Hiroko Masamune, PhD

Chief Development Officer

A serial entrepreneur, Mark has over 30 years of experience in academia and biotech/pharma at both small and large companies. He has built high performance teams, new technologies, platforms, IP portfolios, and product pipelines, from ideation to commercialization.   Mark  earned a PhD in organic chemistry from Yale University and performed postdoctoral work at MIT with Nobel laureate Barry Sharpless.  Mark has published over 80 peer-reviewed papers and is an inventor on over 300 patents.  Mark has received many honors and awards and has presented over 300 lectures at major conferences and universities.  For more information, see:  https://www.linkedin.com/in/markjburk/

As Lassogen's Chief Development Officer, Hiroko brings over 30 years of drug development experience to the team.  Hiroko has led a wide range of programs at both large and small companies, including Pfizer, Aires, Neurogen, and Viking Therapeutics.  Hiroko's expertise spans drug discovery, preclinical development, formulations development, and IND submissions for numerous drug candidates that are in advanced clinical trials.  Hiroko earned a PhD at UCLA with Professor Robert Stevens, and conducted postdoctoral studies at MIT with Professor Barry Sharpless. 


Academic Co-Founders

Doug Mitchell.png

Prof. Douglas Mitchell, PhD

Univ. Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

Lassogen Advisor

Tracy Handel.png

Prof. Tracy Handel, PhD

Univ. California, San Diego

Lassogen Advisor

Professor Mitchell is a recognized leader in the fields of genome mining and natural products research, with an emphasis on understanding the biosynthesis, structure, and function of lasso peptides.  Doug wrote the algorithm called RODEO, which was trained by machine learning and unexpectedly revealed the broad prevalence and sequence diversity of lasso peptides in nature.  Doug and Lassogen are collaborating on various programs aimed at implementing cell-free technology for lasso peptide discovery and optimization.   PhD: UC Berkeley; Post-doc: UC, San Diego School of Medicine.  https://www.linkedin.com/in/douglas-mitchell-01b8159/


Professor Handel is one of the foremost experts in the area of protein structure and function, with an emphasis on G protein-coupled receptors and the chemokine receptor subclass.  Tracy and her team determined some of first structures of chemokine receptors bound to ligands and has gained great insight into the structural requirements for binding and modulation of chemokine function.  Tracy and Lassogen are collaborating on the design of novel lasso peptides as high affinity ligands for chemokine receptors and other GPCRs.  PhD: California Institute of Technology;  Post-doc:  DuPont Merck.  https://www.linkedin.com/in/tracy-handel-06426a40/ 

Scientific, Clinical, and Corporate Advisors

Mark Hurtt.png

Mark Hurtt, MD

Clinical Drug Development

Mark has almost 40 years of medical and clinical experience as a clinician, chief medical officer, and clinical consultant  for companies such as Pfizer, Neurogen, and Alseres.  Mark's deep knowledge in working with the FDA is vital for Lassogen as we advance toward the clinic.  MD: Jefferson Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University.     https://www.linkedin.com/in/mark-hurtt-md/

Ravi Kaiwar.png

Ravi Kaiwar, PhD, MBA

Business Development

After earning a PhD in virology, Ravi received his MBA from San Jose State University and has been deal making in the biotech industry for the past 25 years with companies such as Maxygen, Novacea, RadioRx, and Oxigene.  Ravi has been consulting for many biotech companies over the past 11 years and bring a wealth of sales and marketing knowledge to Lassogen.    https://www.linkedin.com/in/ravi-kaiwar-bba04b5/

Jay Short.png

Jay M. Short, PhD

Oncology, Biologics, Corporate

Jay co-founded and currently is President, CEO, and Chairman of BioAtla, LLC, which is developing conditionally active biologics (CABs) and has multiple antibody drugs in the clinic for oncology indications.  Prior to that Jay founded and was President and CEO of Diversa Corporation, which was at the forefront of biotechnology following a $200 M IPO in 2000. Jay has served on numerous outside Boards over the years, including Life Technologies (Thermo Fisher), LucBio, and Senomyx.  PhD: Case Western Reserve University.  https://www.linkedin.com/in/jay-short-5244171/

Jeremy Barton.jpg

Jeremy Barton, MD

Clinical Oncology, Immuno-oncology

Jeremy joins Lassogen's team with over 28 years of experience in developing oncology and immuno-oncology therapeutics from late stage pre-clinical through Phase II clinical studies.  Jeremy has served as Chief Medical Officer for eFFECTOR Therapeutics, Mirati Therapeutics, and Biogen Idec.  Prior to his CMO roles, Jeremy was involved in commercialization of three FDA-approved drugs, including Astra Zeneca's Gefitinib,  In addition, Jeremy led clinical development of Adcetris (Seattle Genetics) and supervised 10 IND filings for Pfizer.   MD: University College Medical School, London.  https://www.linkedin.com/in/jeremy-barton-6313118/.