About Cell BT

To leave the world a bit better… to know that even one life has breathed easier because you have lived—that is to have succeeded.
—Ralph Waldo Emerson

At Cell BT, we believe that progress is the very reason we’re invited to this life, and we are unrelentingly inspired by the possibilities of the human imagination and our scientific frontiers. We are awed by the work of those who came before us and those who work alongside us now. Together, we can solve the problems of cancer and other maladies, and leave the world a healthier place than it was when we arrived.

We are a CAR T innovation company working to help everyone succeed—patients, doctors, researchers and companies around the world exploring the promise of this life-saving and game-changing science. 

Executive Leadership

Helen Luu
CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER

Helen Luu joined Cell BT in 2020 in the role of COO, with responsibility for directing the company’s strategic positioning and operations. Working closely with the scientific team, she helped expand the scope of the company’s pipeline and field of scientific exploration.  

In addition to leading Cell BT, Ms. Luu serves as an Advisory Board member at Capital Mobility Ventures (CMV), a management consulting, corporate turnaround and private equity firm. At CMV, she is helping advance the biopharma practice area by expanding management resources and raising capital. As part of her work with CMV, Ms. Luu serves as an Advisor to Oscillo Biosciences as it prepares to launch its therapeutic digital technologies designed to treat Alzheimer’s disease and other cognitive disorders.  

Prior to joining Cell BT, Ms. Luu was Head of Business Development at Dendreon, the leading innovator in immunotherapy for the treatment of prostate cancer. Ms. Luu started her biotech career at Gilead Sciences. She brings more than 17 years’ experience in various commercial and leadership roles, and has been a contributor to multiple drug and therapy launches over her tenure in the industry.

Alan Epstein, MD, PhD
CO-FOUNDER, CHIEF SCIENTIFIC OFFICER & DIRECTOR
Professor of Pathology, Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California

Alan L. Epstein MD, PhD, is internationally recognized for his experience developing monoclonal antibodies and other immuno-oncology treatments. 

Over the course of more than 35 years advancing this science, Dr. Epstein has published 195 papers. He has filed 35 patents, including those describing the use of TNT antibodies for the imaging and therapy of cancer, new targets for CAR T-cell therapy, and fusion proteins and immunoconjugates for cancer immunotherapy. He was recently recognized with the USC Stevens Center for Innovation 2020 Commercialization Award.

Dr. Epstein holds a bachelor’s degree in Biology from Wesleyan University in Middletown, CT. He obtained MD and PhD degrees from Stanford University School of Medicine in the laboratory of Dr. Henry Kaplan from the Medical Scientist Training Program. He completed post-doctoral training at the Eleanor Roosevelt Institute for Cancer Research at the University of Colorado under Dr. Ted Puck, and performed a belated residency in Clinical Pathology at USC before joining the Pathology faculty in 1984.

Jacek Pinski, MD
CO-FOUNDER, CHIEF MEDICAL OFFICER AND DIRECTOR
Co-Director of the USC/Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center’s Prostate Cancer Research Center

Jacek Pinski, MD, is a tenured Associate Professor of Medicine and the director of the prostate cancer program in the Division of Medical Oncology at the Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center of the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, where he combines clinical care with basic, translational and clinical research on prostate cancer.

Dr. Pinski’s current areas of research include prognostic biomarkers in prostate cancer, drug development related to immunotherapy, dietary interventions and art therapy for cancer patients. His publications comprise more than 120 articles in the field of prostate cancer research, and he has been the recipient of multiple awards and grants from the NCI, DoD and ACI. 

Dr. Pinski completed medical school and earned his PhD in Frankfurt, Germany, before coming to the U.S. in 1990 to work at Tulane University in New Orleans with Nobel laureate Andrew Schally, MD, one of the pioneers of hormonal therapy in oncology. From 1998 until his move to California in 2001, Dr. Pinski received continued clinical training in Medical Oncology at the Baltimore Johns Hopkins Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center, where he collaborated with John Isaacs, PhD, another respected figure in prostate cancer research. 

Board of Directors

Juergen Engel, PhD
CHAIRMAN

Dr. Engel is the strategic advisor and has served as Chief Executive Officer of Æterna Zentaris Inc., and previously, Zentaris AG. He is adjunct Professor at the University of Regensburg and Honorary Professor at the Technical University of Dresden. He has authored more than 250 scientific articles and several books, and has applied for more than 100 patents. He currently serves as strategic consultant to several life sciences companies.

Before joining Æterna Zentaris in December 2002, Prof. Engel was head of global R&D at ASTA Medica AG, where he supervised more than 700 technicians, scientists and clinical professionals. Under Dr. Engel’s leadership, marketing approvals were established for (among others): Cetrotide (first LHRH antagonist in IVF), miltefosine (first and only oral treatment for visceral leishmaniasis), Azelasine (first nasal spray of a non-sedating antihistamine), Novolizer (first reusable powder inhaler with compliance control), and Macrilen (first approved oral diagnostic for adult growth hormone deficiency in US and EU). During his tenure at ASTA Medica AG, Dr. Engel was engaged in more than 100 in- and out-license collaboration agreements with companies and universities, as well as various M&A activities. 

Dr. Engel holds a doctorate degree in organic chemistry from the Technical University of Braunschweig and an academic degree in pharmaceutical science from the University of Regensburg. In 1995, Prof. Engel received the Galenus-von-Pergamon prize for having developed alkylphospholipids as a new class of anti-tumor agents. 

Alan Epstein, MD, PhD
CO-FOUNDER, CHIEF SCIENTIFIC OFFICER AND DIRECTOR
Professor of Pathology, Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California

Alan L. Epstein MD, PhD, is internationally recognized for his experience developing monoclonal antibodies and other immuno-oncology treatments. 

Over the course of more than 35 years advancing this science, Dr. Epstein has published 195 papers. He has filed 35 patents, including those describing the use of TNT antibodies for the imaging and therapy of cancer, new targets for CAR T-cell therapy, and fusion proteins and immunoconjugates for cancer immunotherapy. He was recently recognized with the USC Stevens Center for Innovation 2020 Commercialization Award.

Dr. Epstein holds a bachelor’s degree in Biology from Wesleyan University in Middletown, CT. He obtained MD and PhD degrees from Stanford University School of Medicine in the laboratory of Dr. Henry Kaplan from the Medical Scientist Training Program. He completed post-doctoral training at the Eleanor Roosevelt Institute for Cancer Research at the University of Colorado under Dr. Ted Puck, and performed a belated residency in Clinical Pathology at USC before joining the Pathology faculty in 1984.

Bryan Ezralow
DIRECTOR

Bryan Ezralow is CEO of The Ezralow Company, a diversified real estate development, private equity and venture capital firm. Fueled by a passion for planning and design, the firm seeks projects that enable individuals and communities to thrive. By casting a wide net for ideas and opportunities, the company has expanded in scope and grown multifold over three decades. Investment interests span many industries, including biotech, finance and energy. Bryan credits the company’s success to a team of dedicated and creative business people.

An active philanthropist and board member, Bryan’s primary interests are cancer research and education. With a particular emphasis on betterment of the Los Angeles community, he has worked with the Curtis School, the Windward School, the Cedars-Sinai Board of Governors, Heart of Los Angeles (HOLA) and the USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Bryan graduated with a bachelor’s degree from the University of California at Berkeley and earned an MBA from the University of Southern California. He and his wife Quinn, parents of three adult children, live in Los Angeles.

Jacek Pinski, MD
CO-FOUNDER, CHIEF MEDICAL OFFICER AND DIRECTOR
Co-Director of the USC/Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center’s Prostate Cancer Research Center

Jacek Pinski, MD, is a tenured Associate Professor of Medicine and the director of the prostate cancer program in the Division of Medical Oncology at the Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center of the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, where he combines clinical care with basic, translational and clinical research on prostate cancer.

Dr. Pinski’s current areas of research include prognostic biomarkers in prostate cancer, drug development related to immunotherapy, dietary interventions and art therapy for cancer patients. His publications comprise more than 120 articles in the field of prostate cancer research, and he has been the recipient of multiple awards and grants from the NCI, DoD and ACI. 

Dr. Pinski completed medical school and earned his PhD in Frankfurt, Germany, before coming to the U.S. in 1990 to work at Tulane University in New Orleans with Nobel laureate Andrew Schally, MD, one of the pioneers of hormonal therapy in oncology. From 1998 until his move to California in 2001, Dr. Pinski received continued clinical training in Medical Oncology at the Baltimore Johns Hopkins Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center, where he collaborated with John Isaacs, PhD, another respected figure in prostate cancer research. 

Jay Venkatesan, MD, MBA
DIRECTOR

Jay Venkatesan, MD, MBA,  is the President, Chief Executive Officer and Director of Angion.  

Prior to joining Angion, Dr. Venkatesan served as President and Director of Alpine Immune Sciences (ALPN), which he co-founded as a Managing Partner of Alpine BioVentures. Previously, Dr. Venkatesan was the founder and portfolio manager of Ayer Capital, a global healthcare fund. Prior to that, he served as a director at Brookside Capital, part of Bain Capital, where he co-managed healthcare investments. He was also a consultant at McKinsey & Co. and a venture investor with Patricof & Co. Ventures (now Apax Partners). 

He received his M.D. from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, his M.B.A. from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and his B.A. from Williams College.

Josh Ofman, MD, MSHS
DIRECTOR

Josh Ofman, MD, MSHS, is Chief Medical Officer and External Affairs at GRAIL. 

Previously, Josh spent more than 15 years at Amgen, where he most recently held the role of Senior Vice President, Global Health Policy. Prior to that, Josh was a faculty member in the Department of Medicine and Health Services Research at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) School of Medicine, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. He also served as Senior Vice President of Zynx Health Inc., a subsidiary of Cerner Corp. 

Josh holds a BA in history and philosophy of science from the University of California, Berkeley, and an MD from the University of California, Irvine, School of Medicine. Josh also has an MSHS from the UCLA School of Public Health.

Michael E. Meyers, MPH
CO-FOUNDER AND DIRECTOR

Michael E. Meyers, MPH, is Vice Chairman, Head of M&A and Strategic Advisory Services with H.C. Wainwright & Co. 

Mr. Meyers has more than 25 years of investment banking, venture capital, asset management and operating experience in healthcare with an emphasis on the life sciences. Over the course of his career, he has advised on over $130 billion in strategic and financial transactions.

Previously, Mr. Meyers was Head of Investment Banking at T.R. Winston & Company; CEO and CIO of Arcoda Capital Management, a health care asset management company that he founded with Scott Gottlieb, M.D.; Partner and Portfolio Manager with two asset management companies; Managing Director, Partner and Member of the Board of Global Biomedical Partners AG, a life sciences venture capital firm; Director and Relationship Manager with Merrill Lynch & Co., with responsibility for biotechnology and pharmaceutical investment banking. Prior to joining Merrill Lynch, Mr. Meyers was a Vice President of Health Care Investment Banking with Cowen & Company.

Mr. Meyers serves on the Board of Trustees of the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, the University of Southern California Board of Councilors Stevens Center for Innovation and the School of Dramatic Arts.

Mr. Meyers holds an M.P.H. in Health Policy and Management from Columbia University and an A.B. in Biology from Brandeis University.

Chair, Scientific Advisory Board

Scott Gottlieb, MD
CO-FOUNDER & CHAIR

Scott Gottlieb serves on the company’s scientific advisory board. 

Dr. Gottlieb is a physician and life science and information technology investor who served as the 23rd Commissioner of Food and Drugs. Since departing FDA, Scott has been a leading voice of balance and reason in support of addressing our current public health crisis. Currently, he is a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and a Partner with New Enterprise Associates. Scott is also a member of the board of directors of Pfizer and Ilumina, in addition to other life- and technology sciences companies.