Donald Jeff Keyser, JD, MPA, Ph.D.
Chairman of the Board
Dr. Keyser has served as a director since January 2018 and Chairman since November 2019. Dr. Keyser founded and has served from 2017 as director, president and chief operating officer of Renibus Therapeutics, a company developing novel therapies for the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of kidney disease. Dr. Keyser also founded ZS Pharma and served since 2008 as a director and chief operating officer of that company until December 2015 when it was acquired by Astra Zeneca for $2.7 Billion. Dr. Keyser was the inventor of the Mucinex product line for Adams Respiratory Therapeutics. Dr. Keyser developed and executed the R&D and Regulatory strategy for Adams Respiratory Therapeutics as Vice President of Development and Regulatory Affairs during his period there from 1998 to 2004. Adams Respiratory Therapeutics was acquired by Reckitt Benckiser for $2.3 Billion. He was previously employed as Chief Compliance Officer & Vice President Regulatory Affairs, Encysive Pharmaceuticals, Vice President Technical & Regulatory Affairs, Medeva Americas, Sr. Director Regulatory Affairs, Marion Merrell Dow and Regulatory Principal, Abbott Laboratories. Dr. Keyser received his Pharmacy degree from Creighton University, a Juris Doctorate from Creighton University, a MPA from the University of Missouri-Kansas City and a PhD in Economics from The University of Texas at Dallas.
Chief Executive Officer, President and Director
Passionate about the use of A.I. and machine learning to change the risk, cost, and timelines in the highly interdisciplinary field of personalized medicine.
Panna Sharma is the President, CEO, and Board Member of Lantern Pharma Inc., a clinical-stage oncology biotech using artificial intelligence (AI) and genomics to innovate the rescue, revitalization, and development of precision cancer therapeutics. Lantern is focused on improving patient outcomes by using its proprietary AI platform – Response Algorithm for Drug Repositioning & Rescue (RADR®) – to rescue, revitalize and develop abandoned or failed cancer drugs, and to accelerate their development through precision trials that help identify patient groups more likely to respond to its pipeline of targeted cancer therapies.
As Chief Executive Officer, Panna is responsible for developing Lantern’s strategic vision, and working closely with the venture investors to raise capital that will place the Company at the forefront of using AI and genomics in developing its pipeline of precision therapies. The Lantern Pharma (LP) pipeline currently consists of four drug candidates and an ADC program across 8 tumor targets, including two phase 2 programs, all focusing on cancers that have unique and unmet clinical needs with a clearly defined patient population. These drugs can be targeted to patients whose profile identifies them as having the highest probability of benefiting from the drug, thereby achieving better outcomes with reduced costs and accelerated timelines.
Prior to joining Lantern in 2018, Panna was the President and Chief Executive Officer of Cancer Genetics, Inc. (Nasdaq: CGIX), a provider of genomic and immune-based cancer diagnostics and therapy development services to some of the most prestigious medical institutions and pharma companies in the world. In his capacity as CEO at CGIX, he raised over $100 million in the public and private markets and grew the company from 25 employees in New Jersey to over 250 employees globally across multiple continents. Panna took CGIX public in 2013 and acquired four companies globally that help CGIX deliver on its mission to help personalize cancer treatment. Prior to CGIX, Panna founded TSG Partners, a specialty advisory group combining corporate strategy and corporate finance to create shareholder value for companies and investors in the life sciences, biotechnology, and environmental sciences. Panna began his career as an industry analyst for financial services and technology companies and was part of the management team that took the digital strategy and e-business company iXL public.
Panna attended Boston University in the University Professors Program and focused his studies on Philosophy of Science, Neural Networks and Artificial Intelligence. When not focused on the future of biotech, machine learning, emerging technologies, and genomics, Panna can be found with his three children and wife and listening to music, attending sports functions, discussing new and ethical uses of A.I., and enjoying the vibrant food scene in Atlanta.
David S. Silberstein, Ph.D.
Dr. Silberstein has served as a director since June 2018. Dr. Silberstein has served as chief operating officer of BioMimetix Pharmaceutical, Inc. since 2013. Dr. Silberstein has served as a director of BMI since 2016. Dr. Silberstein received his PhD in Immunology at Columbia University and Postdoctoral training at Harvard Medical School/Brigham & Women’s Hospital. Dr. Silberstein continued for seven years at Harvard, leading a research team studying the biochemistry of inflammation. This was followed by 20 years at AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals where Dr. Silberstein had leadership roles in genomics, translational science, company-wide portfolio management, and science support for two products through launch to aggregate sales of greater than $30 billion. Since 2013, Dr. Silberstein has worked independently with a number of early stage biotech companies and as a consultant to investment firms. Current work includes his role as Principal Investigator of an NCI-funded clinical trial in patients with multiple brain metastases.
Vijay Chandru, Ph.D.
Dr. Chandru has served as a director since October 2019. Currently, Dr. Chandru is a co-founder of OPFORD Foundation, a non-profit in India with an open platform for orphan diseases and with a mission to support development of affordable and accessible therapeutics for orphan diseases of which many are rare genetic disorders. He was also a co-founder of Strand Life Sciences, India’s leading precision medicine solutions company, an offshoot of the Indian Institute of Science, which now has over 20 diagnostic laboratories and over 800 employees spread across India. He served as Executive Chairman of Strand Life Sciences from 2000 to 2018. A technology pioneer of the World Economic Forum since 2006, he was elected President (2009-2012) of the Association of Biotech Led Enterprises (ABLE), the apex trade body that represents the Indian biotech industry. Dr. Chandru is an academic entrepreneur whose academic career has spanned almost four decades. After his doctoral work at MIT he was a tenured professor at Purdue University for a decade in the 1980s and at the Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore since then. A fellow of both the academy of science and engineering, he is currently an Indian National Academy of Engineering’s Distinguished Technologist in Bio-Engineering.
Franklyn Prendergast, M.D., Ph.D.
Dr. Prendergast has served as a director since October 2019. Prior to his retirement on December 31, 2014, Dr. Prendergast was the Emeritus Edmond and Marion Guggenheim Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and Emeritus Professor of Molecular Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics at Mayo Medical School and the director of the Mayo Clinic Center for Individualized Medicine. From 1994 to 2006, he served as a director of Mayo Clinic Cancer Center. He also previously held several other teaching positions at the Mayo Medical School from 1975 through 2014. Dr. Prendergast has served for the National Institute of Health on numerous study section review groups; as a charter member of the Board of Advisors for the Division of Research Grants, now the Center for Scientific Review; the National Advisory General Medical Sciences Council; and the Board of Scientific Advisors of the National Cancer Institute. He held a Presidential Commission for service on the National Cancer Advisory Board. Dr. Prendergast also has served in numerous other advisory roles for the National Institute of Health and the National Research Council of the National Academy of Sciences, and he is a member of the board of directors of the Translational Genomics Research Institute and the Infectious Disease Research Institute (IDRI). Dr. Prendergast has served on the board of directors of Eli Lilly & Co. since 1995 until his retirement in 2017. He also served as a director of Cancer Genetics from 2014 to 2018. He also currently serves on the board of directors for Novosteo, Inc. and Neubase Therapeutics, both private biotechnology drug development companies. Dr. Prendergast obtained his medical degree with honors from the University of West Indies and attended Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar, earning an M.A. degree in physiology. He obtained his Ph.D. in Biochemistry at the University of Minnesota.
Maria L. Maccecchini, Ph.D.
Dr. Maccecchini was elected to Lantern's Board of Directors in June of 2022. She is the Founder, President, CEO and Executive Board Member of Annovis Bio. Dr. Maccecchini founded Annovis in May 2008 to develop better therapeutics for Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and other neurodegenerative diseases. Presently, her drugs are being tested in phase 2 and phase 3 clinical studies for Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. She was partner and director of two angel groups, Robin Hood Ventures and MidAtlantic Angel Group. She was the Founder and CEO of Symphony Pharmaceuticals/Annovis, a biotech company that sold in 2001 to Transgenomic, the General Manager of Bachem Bioscience, the US subsidiary of Bachem AG, Switzerland and was also the Head of Molecular Biology at Mallinckrodt. Dr. Maccecchini did one postdoc at Caltech and one at The Roche Institute of Immunology, and her PhD in Biochemistry is from the Biocenter of Basel with a two-year visiting fellowship at The Rockefeller University.