Specifica Team

CEO, Founder

Ken Sharples

Ken Sharples is one of our founders and a member of our Board of Directors, and serves as our President and Chief Executive Officer.

Ken Sharples is our co-founder, Chairman and CEO. Ken has worked in biotech and biopharma for over 35 years. His experience includes executive leadership positions with responsibility for strategic planning, business operations and legal affairs.

Previously, Ken served as Director, COO and General Counsel for BioN2, a Mars Inc. subsidiary; and earlier, as General Counsel and Secretary for L1 AgroSciences, a VC-funded start-up. Ken began his career in the lab, and then worked internationally as a patent and transactional attorney for 25 years, operating from New York City, Silicon Valley and London.

During his tenure as an attorney, Ken was involved in representing numerous start-up and emerging biopharma companies, in some cases also serving strategic and leadership roles.

Ken holds a J.D. from Fordham University School of Law in New York and an A.B in Biology from Colby College in Maine.

CSO, Founder

Andrew Bradbury

Andrew Bradbury is one of our founders, a member of our Board of Directors, and serves as our Chief Scientific Officer.

Andrew Bradbury is one of our founders, a member of our Board of Directors, and serves as our Chief Scientific Officer. Andrew has 30 years of experience in the field of recombinant antibodies and display technologies. Throughout his career, he has developed and employed novel technologies, including the use of lox recombination to dramatically increase antibody library diversity.

Andrew is a vocal proponent for the use of sequenced recombinant antibodies in research to improve reproducibility. He has frequently served as an expert witness in antibody patent cases involving some of the world’s best selling antibody drugs. Andrew has published over 130 peer-reviewed papers and is the inventor on numerous patents and patent applications.

Andrew holds a PhD from Cambridge University, where he studied under Nobel Laureate Cesar Milstein, the inventor of monoclonal antibodies, and also holds an MB BS (medical degree) from the University of London as well as a BA and MA from Oxford University.

CTO

Sara D'Angelo

Sara D’Angelo serves as our Chief Technical Officer.

Sara D’Angelo serves as our Chief Technical Officer. She holds a PhD in Biotechnology from the University of Eastern Piedmont and a B.S. in Biology from the University of Trieste, Italy. Over the last 8 years she has authored 17 publications in the field of Library design, display technologies, recombinant antibodies and high-throughput screenings methods.

Before joining Specifica, she was Research Assistant Professor in Experimental Therapeutics at the University of New Mexico and Associate Member of the UNM Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Her long-time collaboration with Andrew Bradbury, our co-founder and CSO, dates back to 2009 when she joined his laboratory as a post-doctoral fellow at the Los Alamos National Laboratory, first, and as Senior Scientist at the New Mexico Consortium.

CFO

Hans Lundin

Hans Lundin is Specifica’s CFO. Hans has over 20 years of experience as a CFO in entrepreneurial and venture capital settings.

Hans Lundin is Specifica’s CFO. Hans has over 20 years of experience as a CFO in entrepreneurial and venture capital settings. Responsibilities include operations, financial modeling, budgeting mergers and acquisitions negotiations, audit compliance, investment syndications and management, board participation, portfolio management, portfolio company interim CEO and CFO consulting, GAAP and tax accounting, federal regulatory compliance, private securities valuation, investor relations, and fund raising.

Hans previously worked at Point B Capital on strategic financial advisory projects. He completed engagements for entities including Mars, MolsonCoors, the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, Sutter Health, OncoCyte, the PolyClinic, BloodWorks Northwest, the Wisconsin Alumni Research Fund, and others. Prior to joining Point B Capital, he was a co-founder of Integra Ventures, a life science VC fund. He was also part of a founding management team for an agricultural biotechnology company that raised over $14 million of venture capital from an investor syndicate that included Venrock, Arch, Polaris and the Welcome Trust.

Hans has served on the boards of Clear Medical (acquired by Stericycle in 2011), Wellpartner (acquired by CVS Health in 2017) and C-SATS (acquired by Johnson & Johnson in 2018).

He has a Bachelor of Science in management from the U.S. Coast Guard Academy and earned his Master of Business Administration at the University of Colorado.

VP Antibody Discovery

Fortunato Ferrara

Fortunato Ferrara serves as our Vice President of Discovery Services.

Fortunato Ferrara serves as our Vice President of Discovery Services. He brings over a decade of experience in recombinant antibody engineering and molecular immunology, including over 10 years of antibody discovery experience with phage and yeast antibody display platforms.

Before joining Specifica, Fortunato was an Assistant Research Professor in Experimental Therapeutics at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque. Previously, he was a postdoctoral fellow in the laboratory of our co-founder Andrew Bradbury, at the Los Alamos National Laboratory. Fortunato has co-authored over 32 peer-reviewed scientific publications, and is the co-inventor on several patents and patent applications.

He holds a PhD in Molecular Medicine and a B.S. in Molecular Biology from the University of Trieste, Italy.

Head of Bioinformatics

M. Frank Erasmus

M. Frank Erasmus is head of bioinformatics.

M. Frank Erasmus is head of bioinformatics. Formerly, Frank was a Ruth L. Kirschstein research fellow with the National Cancer Institute for his work involving the pre-B cell receptor in acute lymphoblastic leukemia.

He brings over 8 years of experience in the development and characterization of therapeutic antibodies in academic and biotech environments. Within industry, he worked as an analytical chemist to characterize antibody-based products in a cGMP/GMP facility.

As a predoctoral trainee at the Spatiotemporal Modeling Center of New Mexico and Los Alamos National Labs, he incorporated both experimental and computational approaches to develop antibody-based products for treatment in leukemia.

Frank is a co-inventor of a patented antibody therapy that he recently adapted for use as a chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cell therapy in acute lymphoblastic leukemia. He holds a Ph.D. in Biomedical Science (University of New Mexico), an M.S. in Molecular & Cell Biology (San Diego State) and a B.S. in Molecular Biology (Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo).

Senior Scientist

Andre Teixeira

Andre is a pharmacist and a PhD in Biochemistry, degrees conferred by the University of Sao Paulo (Brazil).

Andre is a Scientist with the New Mexico Consortium and closely collaborates with Specifica on antibody library technology research, and the application of next-generation sequencing to antibody discovery.

Andre is a pharmacist and a PhD in Biochemistry, degrees conferred by the University of Sao Paulo (Brazil). He has experience in the design and engineering of phage display libraries, and also on software development for the analysis of large datasets generated by next-generation sequencing.

His main research focus was always protein-protein interactions, having worked and authored papers related to the subject in the fields of computational chemistry, neglected diseases and cancer. He was awarded three fellowships from the Sao Paulo Research Foundation during his scientific training.

Andre was a founder and served as president of the non-profit pharmaceutical consulting company of the Pharmacy School of the University of Sao Paulo.

Senior Scientist

Tom Pohl

Tom is a Senior Scientist at Specifica developing various pipelines and supporting Specifica’s antibody selection campaigns.

Tom is a Senior Scientist at Specifica developing various pipelines and supporting Specifica’s antibody selection campaigns. He holds a PhD in Molecular Biology from the University of Washington and a B.S. in Biology from the University of New Mexico.

During his undergraduate and graduate studies, Tom utilized Saccharomyces cerevisiae to identify and characterize essential molecular components that regulate DNA replication, DNA repair, chromosome segregation, and ribosomal DNA maintenance.

After obtaining his PhD, Tom conducted postdoctoral research at Princeton University, holding a number of fellowships (Burroughs Wellcome Fund research fellow, a New Jersey Commission on Cancer Research fellow, a Ford Foundation fellow, and a Keystone Symposia fellow) for his work using S. cerevisiae and Schizosaccharomyces pombe to identify and characterize important molecular pathways that mediate genome stability and telomere maintenance in the presence of endogenous and exogenous stress.

Tom entered the antibody space in 2019, joining NovaRock Biotherapeutics in New Jersey as a senior scientist and lead for molecular design. He leveraged his expertise to engineer recombinant expression vectors and proteins to produce monoclonal, bi-specific, and multi-specific antibodies. Tom was also a project lead for one of the company’s therapeutic antibody candidates, centrally involved with the identification of monoclonal antibodies derived from hybridoma screens and spearheaded development/implementation of pipeline improvements streamlining molecular cloning workflows.

Scientist

Camila Leal

Camila is a chemist and a PhD in Biochemistry, degrees conferred by the University of Sao Paulo (Brazil).

Camila is a Scientist with the New Mexico Consortium and closely collaborates with Specifica on developing new antibody discovery and expression methods.

Camila is a chemist and a PhD in Biochemistry, degrees conferred by the University of Sao Paulo (Brazil). She has extensive research experience in cell-based assays, flow cytometry, fluorescent activated cell sorting and CRISPR/Cas9 genome engineering.

Camila managed a GMP facility for human pancreas processing into islets for diabetes treatment, implemented pre-clinical trial protocols and designed a biomaterial for cell encapsulation, aiming to avoid immunosuppression and to attenuate host post transplantation immune response. During her scientific training, she was awarded two fellowships from the Sao Paulo Research Foundation and three honorable mentions at scientific conferences.

Camila also worked in the pharmaceutical industry developing and conducting biological assays to evaluate the potency and stability of new biological drugs, according to international pharmacopoeial specifications.

Scientist

Laura Spector

Laura is a bioinformatics scientist with a BA in Biological Sciences from Dartmouth, and MS and PhD in Genetics from Stanford University.

Laura is a bioinformatics scientist developing user-friendly computational workflows to support Specifica's library development and antibody selection campaigns.

Laura has a long-held interest in human therapeutics. As a PhD candidate at Stanford, her research focused on using adeno-associated virus vectors for gene therapy. She developed a novel next-generation sequencing strategy for interrogating genomic and epigenetic parameters governing nuclease-free, targeted integration of sequences in human cells using adeno-associated virus vectors. She has experience with targeted genomic sequencing strategies, design of next-generation sequencing libraries, and integrating targeted sequencing data with human genomic and epigenetic data to identify associations between the two.

As a predoctoral intern in the Theoretical Biology and Biophysics group at Los Alamos National Laboratory, Laura developed machine learning models for predicting changes in protein conformation.

Laura previously competed for the United States biathlon team on the World Cup and at the 2010 Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver, Canada.

Scientist

Adeline Fanni

Adeline is a Scientist at Specifica focusing on scaling up and optimizing the phage display platform.

Adeline is a Scientist at Specifica focusing on scaling up and optimizing the phage display platform. She has a master’s degree in Biotechnological Engineering from Polytech Marseille (France) and a PhD in Biomedical Engineering from the University of New Mexico (USA). She has extensive experience in fed-batch process development using mammalian and yeast cells, and in protein purification and characterization.

During her PhD, she developed experience in protein production in E.coli and protein characterization. She also evaluated a novel sensor for the detection and photo-oxidation of amyloid plaques involved in Alzheimer’s disease. During her scientific training she was awarded 2 honorable mentions at scientific conferences and 1 honorable mention from the University of New Mexico as “Outstanding Graduate Student”.

Adeline has also worked in the pharmaceutical industry (UCB Pharma, Belgium and Allergan, UK) where she developed and optimized the production of monoclonal antibodies in 2L and 10L bioreactors, and also evaluated alternative technologies such as disposable bioreactors. Later she joined a biotechnology company, Trait Biosciences, USA, where she participated in the design and scale up of a fermentation process for the production of water-soluble cannabinoid in yeast cells in 2L and 600L bioreactors.

Director of Laboratory Operations

Andy Thran

Andy is a molecular biologist who serves as Specifica's Director of Laboratory Operations.

Andy serves as our Director of Laboratory Operations. He holds a MS in Bioagricultural Sciences and Pest Management from Colorado State University and a BS in Botany from Humboldt State University.

He also has over a decade of experience in commercial and residential construction working in the field as well as project management.

Prior to joining Specifica, Andy was the Lab Facilities and Operations Director for Pebble Labs. There he oversaw laboratory and facilities operations for many different research groups ranging in fields from fermentation and microbiology to plant biology and entomology.

Senior Research Associate

Tamara Max

Tamara Max is a Biologist with a MS in Biological Sciences from Northern Arizona University, and a BS in Environmental Science from University of New Mexico.

Tamara Max is a biologist with over 16 years' experience in molecular biology research with extensive experience in laboratory management, including the management of molecular genomic service core facilities.

She studied molecular ecology with an emphasis in landscape and population genetics of cottonwoods across the southwestern United States. For 15 years her work in sequencing core facilities supported molecular genetics and genomics research in a wide variety of programs.

Before joining Specifica, she worked as a Research Associate with Pebble Labs in bacterial cloning and transgenic.

Senior Research Associate

Ashley DeAguero

Ashley is a biologist with an MS in Genetics and Developmental Biology and a BS in Molecular Biology from the University of New Mexico.

Ashley is an experienced Senior Research Associate with demonstrated history of working in the biotechnology industry and academia. Skilled in the areas of molecular biology, microbiology, and genetics. Proficient with laboratory methods such as molecular engineering, protein expression and purification, viral infection, cell culture, and plant transformation. She has worked with a variety of organisms including drosophila, yeast, and plants.

Has previous experience with project and lab management. Appreciates collaborating with scientists to generate meaningful tools and technologies that seek to make difference.

Research Associate

Esteban Molina

Esteban Molina is a biologist with a BS and an MS from New Mexico State University.

Estaban’s graduate work focused on plant/pathogen interactions in agricultural crops. During his time at NMSU he developed biological control agents, specifically against Beet Curly Top Virus and Phytophthora capsici.

Since graduating, Esteban has transitioned from field/greenhouse-oriented research to molecular biology. Prior to starting at Specifica he worked for 2 years in the biotech industry, gaining experience in broad molecular techniques. He has a deep love of biological sciences and his home state of New Mexico.

Junior Research Associate

MariJo Kedge

MariJo is a junior research associate who supports laboratory operations at Specifica.

MariJo is a junior research associate who supports laboratory operations at Specifica. She has a BS in Biology with a minor in chemistry from the University of New Mexico. During her time in college, MariJo was a part of the Science Undergraduate Laboratory Internship program at Los Alamos National Labs, Bioscience Division.

There, she gained research experience while working with cyanobacteria and algae. She also worked in different undergraduate laboratories where she gained experience with various techniques in microbiology, molecular biology, and plant biology. MariJo's past experience with laboratory operations has centered around safety and chemical management. She has also supported operations for a clinical lab as a Reagent Prep Technologist.

She enjoys working for Specifica and appreciates the opportunity to learn from the team every day.

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