About Us

Company Management

Rahul R. Jasuja, PhD

CEO, Pelican Therapeutics

Rahul R. Jasuja is CEO of Pelican Therapeutics, a subsidiary of Heat Biologics. He previously served as Senior Biotechnology Analyst at FBR & Co., as well as Managing Director, Biotechnology Research, at Noble Life Science Partners (NLSP). Prior to NLSP, Dr. Jasuja was Vice President of Corporate Development at Idera Pharmaceuticals, focused on developing Toll-like receptor based immune-modulators. He has also held progressively senior positions within the biotechnology capital markets at Techvest LLC, Rodman & Renshaw and MDB Capital Group.

Dr. Jasuja brings more than 20 years of experience in the biotechnology field, including corporate/business development, technology due-diligence, equity research and academic research. Rahul received his Ph.D. in Immunology from Tufts University School of Medicine in which he explored aspects T-cell activation and the subsequent regulation of adhesion receptors in the immune response. He conducted doctoral and post-doctoral research at Harvard Medical School, in the Department of Hematology & Oncology at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.

Dr. Jasuja obtained his B.Sc. in Microbiology & Biochemistry from the University of Bombay and an M.S. in Microbiology from the University of Montana, Missoula, where he studied the role of bacterial cell wall immune modulators on arachidonic acid metabolism and inflammatory pathways in macrophages.

George Peoples, MD, FACS

Chief Medical Officer

U.S. Army, COL (ret) George E. Peoples, MD, FACS, serves as Chief Medical Officer for both Heat Biologics and its subsidiary, Pelican Therapeutics. Dr. Peoples is currently Professor of Surgery at Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, as well as Professor (adjunct) of Surgical Oncology at MD Anderson Cancer Center (MDACC). He is also the Founder and Director of Cancer Insight, LLC, a clinical research and development organization dedicated to the discovering, development and testing for emerging biotechnologies specializing in cancer immunotherapy.

Dr. Peoples recently retired from 30 years of active duty as a surgeon and as a research scientist in the military. He is the past Chair of the Cancer Program, San Antonio Military Medical Center, and the past Deputy Director of the United States Military Cancer Institute. Prior to that, he served as Chief of Surgical Oncology at Walter Reed Amy Medical Center (WRAMC), as well as SAMMC. He is a graduate of the United States Military Academy, West Point and the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.

Dr. Peoples completed his surgical training at Harvard's Brigham and Women's Hospital, and during that time, also completed a post-doctoral fellowship at the Laboratory of Biologic Cancer Therapy at Harvard Medical School. He then completed a surgical oncology fellowship at MDACC. Dr. Peoples has written extensively on the immune response to cancer, with over 300 peer-reviewed manuscripts, abstracts and book chapters.

Jeff Hutchins, PhD

Chief Scientific Officer and Senior Vice President, Pre-clinical Research, Heat Biologics and Pelican Therapeutics

As Chief Scientific Officer and Senior Vice President, Pre-clinical Development, Jeff Hutchins oversees the research and development efforts for Heat Biologics, as well as for the company’s subsidiary, Pelican Therapeutics. He brings more than 24 years of research and clinical development experience from both pharmaceutical- and biotechnology-focused companies. Most recently, Dr. Hutchins served as Vice President of Pre-clinical Research for Peregrine Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a biopharmaceutical company developing therapeutics to fight cancer and infectious diseases. Dr. Hutchins was responsible for building out the research program for Peregrine's lead product candidate, bavituximab, a chimeric monoclonal antibody designed to target phosphatidylserine. 

Prior to joining Peregrine in 2012, Dr. Hutchins served as Vice President, Preclinical Development at Inhibitex Inc, which was acquired by Bristol-Myers Squibb. From 1991 to 2000, Dr. Hutchins held several senior scientist positions in Discovery Research at Burroughs Wellcome and Glaxo Wellcome, with a visiting professor appointment at Rush Medical College.

Dr. Hutchins earned his Ph.D. in Biomedical Sciences from the University of Texas, Health Science Center at the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, followed by postdoctoral training in the University of Southern California's Department of Microbiology at the Norris Cancer Center. Dr. Hutchins' publications and patents span the fields of oncology, infectious disease, osteoarthritis and immunology. He received his B.S. in Biology from Oral Roberts University.

Board of Directors

Edward Smith

Ed Smith is the Managing Partner of Aristar Capital Management, LLC, a New York-based investment firm. On January 8, 2015, Mr. Smith was appointed Chief Executive Officer of Z Trim Holdings Inc. (OTC:ZTHO), an AgriTech company that has developed new, products and processes to transform biomass for uses in the food and industrial markets. From April 2005 through December 2014, Mr. Smith was the Managing Partner of Brightline Capital Management, LLC ("BCM"), a New York-based investment firm founded in 2005. Prior to founding BCM, Mr. Smith worked at Gracie Capital from 2004-2005, GTCR Golder Rauner from 1999-2001 and Credit Suisse First Boston from 1997-1999. Mr. Smith holds a Bachelor of Arts in Social Studies from Harvard College and a Masters in Business Administration from Harvard Business School. Mr. Smith is also a director of Z Trim Holdings Inc. and Heat Biologics, Inc. (NASDAQ: HTBX), a development stage biopharmaceutical company that focuses on the development and commercialization of novel allogeneic off-the-shelf cellular therapeutic vaccines for a range of cancers and infectious diseases.

Jeffrey Wolf

Founder and CEO

Jeffrey Wolf is founder and CEO of Heat Biologics, and co-founder of Pelican Therapeutics. He also founded Seed-One Ventures and served as managing director for the company, which was focused on the systematic formation and management of new biomedical companies based upon novel research breakthroughs.

Throughout his career, Mr. Wolf has specialized in building life-science startup organizations, and has played an active role in supporting the growth of his companies. Mr. Wolf’s start-ups include Avigen (co-founder and director), a NASDAQ-listed gene therapy company; TyRx Pharma (co-founder and Chairman), which was focused on the development of novel bio-compatible polymers and recently sold to Medtronic; EluSys Therapeutics (founder and CEO), focused on the development of novel antibodies against infectious diseases; and GenerationOne (founder and CEO), a mobile-based healthcare solutions company.

Mr. Wolf received his MBA from Stanford Business School, his JD from New York University School of Law and his BA from the University of Chicago, where he graduated with honors in Economics.

Josiah C. Hornblower

Josiah is a co-founder of Pelican Therapeutics, and at inception was the company's acting CEO. Josiah is a private investor focused on companies in biotechnology and financial services. Since 2008, Josiah has been a Managing Member of Blue Pine Partners, LLC, an investment and advisory firm that he founded. Since 2010, Josiah has been a managing member of Brightline Ventures, the lead outside investor in Pelican Therapeutics and other biotechnology companies. He is a director of Population Diagnostics, a gene discovery company. From 2004 to 2008, Josiah was a principal of Resource Financial Institutions Group, Inc. (RFIG), a manager of private equity funds solely devoted to investing in financial institutions. During that period, he served on the Board of Directors of Pacific Enterprise Bancorp, an Orange County, California-based commercial bank. Before joining RFIG, Josiah worked as an equity analyst at Gray Seifert and Co., an investment management firm specializing in financial services, and at Barrett Associates, Inc. Josiah is a past director of Capital Pacific Bancorp, based in Portland, Oregon. Josiah graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree from Trinity College and was a member of Phi Beta Kappa. He resides in Austin, Texas.

Taylor H. Schreiber, M.D., Ph.D.

Dr. Taylor H. Schreiber Is a Director of Pelican Therapeutics, Inc. , and Chairman of its Scientific Advisory Board.

Dr. Schreiber is a founder and the co-inventor of the TNFRSF25 agonist technology together with Dr. Eckhard R. Podack. Dr. Schreiber received his Ph.D. degree from the Sheila and David Fuente Program in Cancer Biology as well as his M.D. degree at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. Following his degrees, Dr. Schreiber completed a post-doctoral fellowship with Dr. Podack studying the immunobiology of TNFRSF25 from 2010-2012. Dr. Schreiber received the best overall research award at the National Student Research Forum in 2008 and was nominated as a Future Leader in Cancer Research by the American Association for Cancer Research in 2011. Dr. Schreiber is an emerging expert in the field of tumor immunology and TNFRSF25 biology and serves as the Vice President of Research & Development for Heat Biologics (HTBX). Dr. Schreiber received his B.A. in Biology from Bucknell University.

Rahul R. Jasuja, PhD

CEO, Pelican Therapeutics

Rahul R. Jasuja is CEO of Pelican Therapeutics, a subsidiary of Heat Biologics. He previously served as Senior Biotechnology Analyst at FBR & Co., as well as Managing Director, Biotechnology Research, at Noble Life Science Partners (NLSP). Prior to NLSP, Dr. Jasuja was Vice President of Corporate Development at Idera Pharmaceuticals, focused on developing Toll-like receptor based immune-modulators. He has also held progressively senior positions within the biotechnology capital markets at Techvest LLC, Rodman & Renshaw and MDB Capital Group.

Dr. Jasuja brings more than 20 years of experience in the biotechnology field, including corporate/business development, technology due-diligence, equity research and academic research. Rahul received his Ph.D. in Immunology from Tufts University School of Medicine in which he explored aspects T-cell activation and the subsequent regulation of adhesion receptors in the immune response. He conducted doctoral and post-doctoral research at Harvard Medical School, in the Department of Hematology & Oncology at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.

Dr. Jasuja obtained his B.Sc. in Microbiology & Biochemistry from the University of Bombay and an M.S. in Microbiology from the University of Montana, Missoula, where he studied the role of bacterial cell wall immune modulators on arachidonic acid metabolism and inflammatory pathways in macrophages.

Scientific Advisory Board

Charles G. Drake M.D., Ph.D.

Dr. Charles G. Drake is Associate Professor Oncology, Immunology and Urology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

Dr. Drake received his PhD in Immunology from the National Jewish Center for Immunology, and his MD from the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center. After completing an internal medicine residency on the Osler medicine service at Johns Hopkins, he entered the field of medical oncology. During Dr. Drake’s oncology fellowship, he began to investigate the immune response to cancer, developing a unique mouse model to perform studies on specific immune cell tolerance to tumors. Experiments in this model supported the idea that androgen-ablation could mitigate tolerance to prostate cancer, creating a window during which tumor vaccination could prove successful (Cancer Cell 2005). At the current time, Dr. Drake is the co-director of the Multidisciplinary Prostate Cancer Clinic at Hopkins, where the combination of androgen-ablation and vaccination is being examined in a translational, pre-surgical trial. Using additional in vivo models, the Drake laboratory showed that the molecule LAG-3 is relatively over-expressed on non-functional T cells, and that LAG-3 blockade affects T cell function via both Treg dependent and Treg independent mechanisms (JCI 2007). More recently, the laboratory was able to show that blocking the immune checkpoints PD-1 and LAG-3 could prove synergistic in several in vivo cancer models. Ongoing work in the laboratory is focused on understanding the role of LAG-3 in regulatory T cell induction, as well as the regulation of immune checkpoint molecules and ligands in prostate and kidney cancer.

Laurence A. Turka M.D.

Larry Turka received his MD degree from the Yale University School of Medicine, and trained in Internal Medicine at Yale-New Haven Hospital. Dr. Turka was a renal fellow at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital, where his research fellowship was conducted in Dr. Charles B. Carpenter’s laboratory. In 1988, Dr. Turka joined the faculty of the University of Michigan, working first under the mentorship of Craig B. Thompson, MD, and then establishing his independent research program. In 1994 Dr. Turka joined the faculty of the University of Pennsylvania. In 1998 he was promoted to Professor and Chief of the Renal Division. In 2009 Dr. Turka came to Boston as a Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, and is currently located at the Massachusetts General Hospital, where he is Co-Director of the Transplantation Biology Research Center, and Scientific Director of The Transplant Center. Dr. Turka has been continuously funded by the NIH for the past 25 years, and has also received funding from the American Heart Association, the National Kidney Foundation, and the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation International. He received the Young Investigator Award from the American Society of Nephrology in 1996, and from the American Society of Transplantation in 1998. He is a former President of the American Society of Transplantation. He has served as a permanent member of the SAT study section, and Chair of the NIAID Board of Scientific Counselors. He is a former section editor of The Journal of Immunology, past associate editor of The American Journal of Transplantation, and Editor in Chief of The Journal of Clinical Investigation. He currently serves as Deputy Director of the Immune Tolerance Network, and Co-Director of the Harvard Institute for Translational Immunology. He was elected to membership in the American Society for Clinical Investigation in 1995, and the Association of American Physicians in 2003.

Dr. Llew Keltner, MD, Ph.D.

Llew Keltner, M.D., Ph.D. has a 30 year career in the biopharmaceutica industry and in business development. He is Chief Executive Officer of EPISTAT, an international healthcare technology transfer, corporate risk management and healthcare strategy company that he founded in 1972. From 2011-2013, Dr. Keltner was the Chief Executive Officer of AgonOx, a biotech company developing OX40 agonists for use in cancer therapy. In 2010 and 2011, Llew was the President of Novici Biotech, a privately-held gene and protein optimization firm. From 2001-2010, Dr. Keltner was Chief Executive Officer and President of Light Sciences Oncology, a privately-held biotechnology company developing a late stage, light-activated therapy for hepatocellular cancer and other solid tumors. From 1997 to 2004, Dr. Keltner was Chief Executive Officer of Metastat, a development-stage biotech company focused on cancer metastasis.

Dr. Keltner holds positions on the boards of Raptor Pharmaceuticals, where he serves as Chairman (NASDAQ:RPTP), Infostat, BioQuiddity, Oregon Life Sciences, and Goodwell Technologies. He is a previous Director of Light Sciences Corporation, Vital Choice, Thesis Technologies, Oread Companies, and MannKind Corporation (NASDAQ:MNKD). Dr. Keltner serves on the Clinical Advisory Board of Heat Biologics and on the Scientific Advisory Board of Pelican Therapeutics. He has also been a scientific advisory board member at Lifetime Corporation, ASB Meditest, Oread Laboratories, Hall-Kimbrell, and aaiPharma. Dr. Keltner is an Associate Professor at Case Western Reserve School of Medicine, and a Guest Lecturer and Director in the Bioethics Program at Columbia University School of Medicine. He is currently a member of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, American Medical Association, International Association of Tumor Marker Oncology, American Association of Clinical Chemistry, and Drug Information Association. Dr. Keltner received an M.S. in Epidemiology and Biostatistics, a Ph.D. in Biomedical Informatics and an M.D. from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio. Dr. Keltner has also authored many research publications, and is a frequent speaker and panelist at industry conferences.

Taylor H. Schreiber, M.D., Ph.D.

Dr. Taylor H. Schreiber Is a Director of Pelican Therapeutics, Inc. , and Chairman of its Scientific Advisory Board.

Dr. Schreiber is a founder and the co-inventor of the TNFRSF25 agonist technology together with Dr. Eckhard R. Podack. Dr. Schreiber received his Ph.D. degree from the Sheila and David Fuente Program in Cancer Biology as well as his M.D. degree at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. Following his degrees, Dr. Schreiber completed a post-doctoral fellowship with Dr. Podack studying the immunobiology of TNFRSF25 from 2010-2012. Dr. Schreiber received the best overall research award at the National Student Research Forum in 2008 and was nominated as a Future Leader in Cancer Research by the American Association for Cancer Research in 2011. Dr. Schreiber is an emerging expert in the field of tumor immunology and TNFRSF25 biology and serves as the Vice President of Research & Development for Heat Biologics (HTBX). Dr. Schreiber received his B.A. in Biology from Bucknell University.

Dr. Tomasz M. Beer, MD, FACP

Tomasz M. Beer, MD, FACP serves as Grover C. Bagby Endowed Chair for Prostate Cancer Research, Professor of Medicine, and Deputy Director at the Oregon Health & Science University Knight Cancer Institute. Dr. Beer, an internationally renowned prostate cancer researcher and clinician serves as leader of the Knight’s horizontally integrated, multi-departmental, and multi-disciplinary program in prostate cancer. He received his medical degree from Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland, in 1991. He then moved to Oregon Health Sciences University. At OHSU he completed his internship, residency and chief residency in internal medicine and then completed his fellowship in Hematology and Medical Oncology. Dr. Beer is a fellow of the American College of Physicians, is active in a number of professional societies, including American Society of Clinical Oncology, American Urologic Association, American Association for Cancer Research, and Southwest Oncology Group.

Dr. Beer has authored and co-authored more than 300 articles and abstracts with a focus on the development of novel therapies through clinical and translational investigation. He has been involved in more than 100 cancer clinical trials and provided leadership to a full range of efforts from first-in-man phase I studies to international phase III clinical trials that served as the basis for regulatory approval of cancer drugs. Among his recent contributions is the development of enzalutamide, a novel androgen receptor antagonist (Science 2009, Lancet 2010, NEJM 2014) from phase I through phase III, phase III studies of the androgen signaling inhibitor abiraterone (EurUrol 2014) and the CTLA-4 inhibitor ipilimumab (Lancet Oncol 2014, Cancer Immunol Res 2014), identification of cytokine-mediated mechanisms of adaptation to chemotherapy (PloS One 2014, Nature Med 2012, Prostate 2010, Clin Cancer Res 2009 and 2007), identification of a prognostic role of inflammation in advanced prostate cancer (Cancer 2008, UrolOnc 2010) and development of strategies to target vitamin D receptor signaling for cancer therapy (J ClinOncol 2007).

In his role as Deputy Director, Dr Beer is responsible for overseeing all cancer clinical operations, clinical research, regional outreach, and the associated programs and shared resources for the Cancer Institute. Recently, Dr. Beer has been instrumental in supporting the Director in driving the $1B Knight Cancer Challenge fund raising campaign.

Dr. Beer is strongly interested in bringing knowledge about cancer clinical trials to people living with cancer. Dr. Beer teamed up with Larry Axmaker, a cancer survivor and clinical trial participant to author a book entitled Cancer Clinical Trials, A Commonsense Guide to Experimental Cancer Therapies and Clinical Trials.