Powering an Evolution takes experience

Starget Pharma is a peptide-based platform technology company founded in 2019. Starget is developing Smart Targeted Radioligands (STRs) for next-generation targeted cancer radiotherapy. Our leadership is a multi-disciplinary team with decades of experience in peptide drug discovery and development and business entrepreneurs to overcome the challenge of designing novel drug-like targeted radioligand for a broad range of cancer targets.

Starget’s leadership team is unique in the nuclear oncology domain and includes senior scientists in medicinal chemistry, molecular pharmacology, drug discovery and development, and business entrepreneurship.

Recently we achieved the first-in-human clinical milestone with our lead compound. As an early-stage clinical company, we are committed to advancing cancer care with novel targeted radiotherapies in the coming years.

Leadership

Mrs. Sigal Kalmanson Cusnir

CEO

Sigal is the CEO and Co-Founder of Starget Pharma.

Sigal is a seasoned executive manager and a serial entrepreneur. She brings extensive business and management experience in global companies and startups. Sigal was the VP of Marketing, Strategy, and Business Operations at Microsoft Israel, leading the P&L and go-to-market for all Microsoft products in Israel. Before Starget Pharma, Sigal was a co-founder and investor in several technology startup companies. Sigal also held leadership positions of VP of Strategic Marketing, Head of Products, and Director of Corporate Business Development and M&A at Comverse, a global telecom solutions provider. In the past, Sigal worked as a strategy consultant at Shaldor, advising the top management of global pharma and hi-tech companies on product strategy and M&A. 

In the past, Sigal was named one of the 40 most promising Israeli managers under 40 by Globes magazine.

Sigal holds an Executive MBA from Kellogg Northwestern University and Tel-Aviv University and BA in computer science and economics from Reichman University and Tel-Aviv University, respectively.

Michel Afargan, Ph.D

Head of Drug Development

Michel is the Head of Drug Development at Starget Pharma. 

 

Michel is a seasoned drug discovery and development executive with over 25 years of experience. He has vast expertise in peptide-based drugs including medicinal chemistry, molecular biology, pharmacology, IND regulations, and pharmaceutical sciences. He was previously the Head of Pharmacology R&D at Peptor, an inventor of the phase 3 novel somatostatin analog Somatoprim® for metabolic disorders, and NET and co-inventor of the backbone-cyclization patents portfolio. He co-founded the consortium “pharmalogica” for early prediction models in drug discovery and development. He has also developed innovative, nanomedicine-based drug delivery systems and precision oncology of molecular targeting drug candidates. Michel has led multiple drug development programs resulting in IND fillings and clinical trials. Michel is a leading lecturer of pharmaceutical sciences and advanced drug delivery systems at the School of Pharmacy, Hebrew University, Israel, and serves as the head of the pharmaceutical industry in the Israeli national pharmacy council. He holds a B.Sc. in Life Sciences, M.Sc. studies in Molecular Biology, B. Pharm (License) in Pharmacy., M.Sc. Pharm., and a Ph.D. at the faculties of medicine, mathematics, and life-sciences of the Hebrew University.

Mor Oron-Herman Ph.D

Head of R&D

Mor is the Head of Research & Development at Starget Pharma.

Mor is a highly experienced medical scientist and R&D project manager with over 30 years of experience in biopharmaceutical developments for the diagnostics and therapy of cancer. Before Starget Pharma, she led a wide range of exploratory oncology projects, as a senior scientist and R&D project manager, at the Advanced Technology Center (ATC), Sheba Medical Center, Israel. Before Sheba medical center, Mor was a researcher in the immunohistochemistry developments laboratories at Interpharm (Serono/Merck), Israel., She is the co-inventor of novel series of conjugated backbone-cyclic somatostatin analogs for cancer targeting, representing the core IP of Starget Pharma proprietary platform technology. She co-authored numerous scientific publications and won the Wolf Foundation award for Ph.D. excellence. Mor has a Ph.D. degree in medical sciences from Sackler Faculty of Medicine at Tel Aviv University and an MBA from Bar-Ilan University, Israel.

Sagit Azran Ph.D.

Head of Medicinal Chemistry

Sagit is the Head of Medicinal Chemistry at Starget Pharma.

 

Sagit has extensive experience in innovative medicinal chemistry. She led a range of research and developments projects in the biopharmaceutical and pharmaceutical industry. Sagit is specializing in peptides medicinal chemistry design and developments and in the chemistry of solid-phase peptide synthesis. Prior to Starget Pharma, Sagit served as an R&D chemist in global pharmaceutical companies including Abbvie and Teva Pharmaceutical, She focused on API scalability and developments of polymers-based drug delivery and devicesShe was responsible for developments of innovative methods and leading chemistry R&D and scale-up processes and played a key CMC role in the submission of new products to the FDA. She is a co-inventor of novel pharmaceutical formulations and scaleup processes. She has a Ph.D. degree in chemistry from Bar-Ilan University, Israel.

Dr. Yoseph Salitra

Head of Chemistry

Yoseph is the Head of Chemistry at Starget Pharma.

Yoseph is a senior expert in peptides chemistry. He has over 40+ years of experience in the biopharmaceutical industry in organic and bioorganic chemistry. He is a co-author and co-inventor in the design and synthesis of novel imaging and therapeutic agents for cancer, including peptides, peptidomimetics, nanoparticles, and radiopharmaceutical ligands. Before Starget, Yoseph was a senior chemist in innovative biopharmaceutical startups, including Peptor, Develogen, Steba Laboratories, and Salio. He is the co-inventor of a novel series of conjugated backbone-cyclic somatostatin analogs for cancer targeting, representing the core IP of Starget Pharma proprietary platform technology. He holds ten registered patents in peptide and peptidomimetic chemistry, and he is a co-author of dozens of scientific publications in peptide medicinal chemistry. He has a Ph.D. in organic and bioorganic chemistry from Moscow State University.

Professor Chaim Gilon

Director of Peptide Technologies

Professor Chaim Gilon (Professor Emeritus Active) is a worldwide pioneer of solid phase peptide synthesis (SPPS) and the inventor of the backbone cyclization platform technology of peptide-based drug development. Prof. Gilon graduated with his academic degrees in chemistry and biochemistry at the Hebrew University, Jerusalem, Israel (HUJI), in 1965. Three years later, he earned a Ph.D. degree in organic chemistry from the Hebrew University. He then pursued post-doctoral studies at the University of California, San Diego, USA, and was a research associate in the Nobel laurite Roger Guillemin’s group at Salk Institute San Diego, CA, USA as an expert in SPPS.

Since 1987, he has been a full Professor, including head of the organic chemistry department at HUJI Hebrew University, Israel, and visiting professor at the Peptide Institute, Osaka, Japan.

 

 

Prof. Gilon research and developments in peptide chemistry have been granted as patents worldwide and recognized by several awards, including the Kaye Innovation Award, HUJI, Bergman Award, National Academy of Sciences Israel, and Humboldt Award, Government of Germany. Prof. Gilon is Co-Founder and Vice President of the Israeli Combichem Society and a senior consultant in peptide chemistry in the innovative peptide-based drugs industry.

Professor Arie Orenstein M.D.

Director of ATC Sheba and Clinical Director at Starget Pharma

Arie is the director of the Advanced Technology Center at the Sheba Medical Center and a Clinical Director at Starget Pharma.

Arie is a renowned expert in the field of medical laser applications and Photodynamic Therapy (PDT) for skin cancer. As the founder and director of the Advanced Technology Center (ATC) at the Sheba Medical Center, Arie has brought together a diverse group of professionals, including clinicians, scientists, academics, and industry representatives, to work toward the development of innovative diagnostic and therapeutic technologies and he is one of the inventors of the original technology of Starget Pharma. Before his role at the ATC, Arie served as the Director of the Sheba Medical Center Department of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery and Burns. He has held leadership positions in the medical community, including serving as Co-Chairman of the Israel Medical Association for 12 years and as the Israeli representative on the board of the World Medical Association for 15 years.

Arie has published hundreds of scientific papers and holds several patents. He obtained his MD from Tel Aviv University.

Mr. Ronen Kalmanson

Chairman

Ronen is the Chairman and Co-Founder of Starget Pharma.

Ronen is a serial entrepreneur and angel investor in pharma and tech companies with a successful track record as a Co-Founder and Board Member of Urogen Pharma Ltd. (IPO on Nasdaq) developing novel solutions for urologic cancers. Ronen was also CEO and Co-Founder of Infiapps Ltd, Chairman, and Co-Founder of several tech companies, and angel investor and board member at several startups. In the past, Ronen served as the Director of Private Equity & Alternative Investments Group at CMS Companies, a US financial services firm managing more than $3 billion in client assets. He holds an MBA from Kellogg, Northwestern University and a BA in Economics and Management from Tel Aviv University, with distinction.

Scientific advisory board

David Gilman

David is a seasoned pharma business executive with over 25 years of experience. In the past, David served as Global Head-Portfolio Management, Business Development & Licensing at Novartis Oncology and Chief Business & Strategy Officer of ADC Therapeutics.

David is a Partner at ClearView Healthcare Partners, a global life science strategy and consulting firm. His work spans a range of portfolio, drug development, investment, transactional, and partnering strategies in oncology, immunology, infectious disease, and rare and orphan segments.

David holds a A.B., with honors, in East Asian History from the University of Chicago and an MBA from the University of Texas at Austin.

Barak Palatchi

Barak  is a highly experienced executive with a strong background in the pharmaceutical and biotech industries. Barak is the current Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Steba Biotech.  Prior to Steba, Barak served as Chief Operations Officer at Novartis – Advanced Accelerator Applications (AAA), a targeted radioligand company that was acquired by Novartis in 2018 for $3.9 billion.

During his tenure at Novartis AAA, Barak oversaw the company’s successful transition into Novartis, establishing strong commercial and operational capabilities to ensure future growth. He played a pivotal role in guiding the company’s business towards the development of Radioligand therapies and precision imaging drugs, leading the launch of new products in the NET and Prostate markets across multiple regions. He was also instrumental in negotiating key partnerships, exiting contract manufacturing, and distribution agreements.

Before joining AAA, Barak held senior executive positions at Novartis, including Oncology General Manager for the UK & Ireland and Oncology General Manager for Israel. 

Professor Gal Markel, M.D. Ph.D.

Prof. Markel is a leading oncologist and is a world known expert in the area of skin cancers as well as applications of Immuno-Oncology therapies. He serves as the Deputy Director General, Rabin Medical Center at Clalit Health Services and is a professor at Sackler Faculty of Medicine at Tel Aviv University.

Prof. Markel is an internationally recognized expert in translational tumor immunology and clinical immuno-oncology. He brings a wealth of knowledge, as an expert in clinical and investigational Immuno-Oncology with broad experience in integrative platforms.

Prof. Markel is the author of more than 130 peer-reviewed papers and the inventor of more than 20 patents. Prof. Markel co-founded BTC (acquired by DSPG in 2011), was the scientific founder and Chief Scientific Officer of cCAM Biotherapeutics (acquired by Merck & Co in 2015) and 4C Biomed.

Professor Ehud Gazit

Prof. Gazit is a world-renowned biochemist, biophysicist and nanotechnologist.

Prof. Gazit was recently elected as a Fellow of the United States National Academy of Inventors, the highest recognition given by the Academy. He was also selected as the 2023 International Solvey Chair in Chemistry, a position that was held by 15 of the top world scientists including three Nobel Laureates.

Prof. Gazit is a Professor of Biomedicine and Cancer Research at Tel Aviv University and is the Founding Director of the Blavatnik Center for Drug Discovery. He Joined the Tel Aviv University after completing his postdoctoral studies at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

Between 2012-2014, Prof. Gazit served as the Chief Scientist of the Israeli Ministry of Science and Technology.

Prof. Gazit’s research on biomolecular self-assembly was published in some of the most prestigious academic journals including Science, Nature Nanotechnology, Nature Chemical Biology. He is also the inventor of more than 100 of patents.

Prof. Gazit is one of the inventors of the original technology of Starget Pharma.

Professor Amit Tirosh, M.D.

Prof. Amit Tirosh is a senior endocrinologist, specialist in the treatment of neuroendocrine tumors and Head of Neuroendocrine Tumors Services at the Institute of Endocrinology, Sheba Medical Center. Prof. Tirosh specializes in inherited syndromes related to the development of neuroendocrine tumors, serves as a member of the National Institutes of Health in the United States of America in the field of MEN1 syndrome.

Prof.  Tirosh conducts active research in a research laboratory specializing in bioinformatics of endocrine cancer. As the Head of the endocrinology research laboratory, he maintains active collaborations with research groups in the United States, Italy, Germany and with researchers from the Weizmann Institute of Science.

Prof.  Tirosh provides patients suffering from NETs with cutting edge medical treatment and has vast experience in Peptide based Targeted Radiopharmaceuticals.

Dr. Talya Golan, M.D.

Dr. Golan is a highly qualified medical oncologist and researcher in the field of pancreatic cancer. She specializes in gastrointestinal malignancies and serves as the Head of the Sheba Pancreatic Cancer Center.

Dr. Golan has earned a world-renowned reputation for her studies in the field of pancreatic cancer. Her current research trials to test new medicine therapies for metastatic pancreatic cancer are being carried out in conjunction with two of the world’s largest biopharmaceutical companies, AstraZeneca and MSD (Merck).

Dr. Golan’s research offers new hope for patients worldwide with pancreatic cancer, particularly pancreatic adenocarcinoma harboring BRCA mutations. In the clinical trial, more than 3,000 patients were screened, and of them, 154 were randomized and assigned a trial intervention. The results showed that patients who received the POLO trial’s drug treatment did significantly better overall than those who did not receive the drug.

Saar Oz Ph.D.

Dr. Oz is a biomed professional serving as VP of Marketing and Sales at Ilex Medical, a leading diagnostics company in Israel. He oversees the diagnostic teams in various fields – clinical chemistry, biochemistry, and molecular.

Dr. Oz has extensive experience in Research and Development senior roles in the biomed field, previously serving as Vice President of Drug Development at Coronis Neurosciences and CTO at Orsan Medical Technologies. In addition, Dr. Oz is a Board Director at Starget Pharma

Dr. Oz holds a B.Sc. in bio-informatics from Bar-Ilan University, MBA in Healthcare Innovation from IDC and a Ph.D in neuroscience from Tel Aviv University Sackler Faculty of Medicine.

Dr. Jordi Llop

Dr. Jordi Llop is a renowned chemist with over 20 years of expertise in radiochemistry and nuclear imaging, both at the preclinical and clinical levels. He is a Principal Investigator leading the Radiochemistry & Nuclear Imaging group at CIC biomaGUNE. In 2023, Dr. Llop was appointed Vice President of the European Society for Molecular Imaging (ESMI). Dr. Llop’s multidisciplinary background includes chemistry, radiochemistry, in vivo imaging, and nanotechnology. He specializes in radiolabelling processes for various molecular modalities, contributing significantly to the study of disease pathophysiology. Previously, he managed radiopharmaceutical production and participated in clinical trials. He holds a B.Sc., a Ph.D. in Chemistry at Ramon Llull University, and a degree in Chemical Engineering at Institut Químic de Sarrià.