Slide Meet Our Team Our team is committed to the invention of new medicines to treat people suffering from cancer and to the creation of substantial value for our investors and partners. We have comprehensive experience in the science and business of drug discovery and development.

Charles McDermott

Chairman, President & CEO

Charles (Charlie) McDermott has more than 24 years of experience in the life sciences industry and has held roles of increasing responsibility in drug discovery, regulatory affairs, corporate development, commercial planning, and executive management. Most recently Mr. McDermott was President, Chief Business Officer, and a member of the board of directors of Impact Biomedicines, Inc. While at Impact, Mr. McDermott raised more than $110 million in private equity and royalty financing to fully fund the development and commercialization of fedratinib for the treatment of serious hematological malignancies. Impact was acquired by Celgene in 2018 for $1.1 billion upfront and up to $7 billion overall, if all contingent payments are realized. Prior to joining Impact, Mr. McDermott was President and Chief Business Officer of Kala Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Mr. McDermott helped lead the transformation of Kala from a private pre-clinical stage company to a pre-commercial stage public company. To this end, Mr. McDermott helped raise ~$190 million via private equity, debt, and an initial public offering. In August of 2018, Kala received NDA approval for Inveltys™, an internally developed drug for ocular indications. Before Joining Kala, Mr. McDermott worked at Allergan as Vice President, Global Business Development for the Eye Care and Drug Delivery business units. At Allergan, Mr. McDermott led efforts to license and acquire a variety of technologies and therapeutics including Lastacaft™, Acuvail™, Restasis® MultiDose™, Latisse™, and Abicipar. Before Joining Allergan, Mr. McDermott was Associate Director of Business Development at deCODE genetics (and before that he worked at Pfizer/Agouron in drug discovery and regulatory affairs. Mr. McDermott has a B.A. in biochemistry and molecular biology from UC Santa Cruz, a M.A. in molecular, cellular, and developmental biology from UC Santa Barbara, and a MBA from the University of San Diego.

James Appleman, Ph.D.

SVP, R&D and CSO
Co-founder, Director

James (Jim) Appleman, Ph.D. is SVP, R&D and CSO, Co-founder, Director of Primmune. Dr. Appleman brings to Primmune nearly thirty years of experience in building successful drug discovery organizations. He has been an advisor to biotech, hi-tech and diagnostic firms. Dr. Appleman is a co-founder of eFFECTOR Therapeutics ($45M original Series A funding) where he established both the technology base and bioinformatics infrastructure to support eFFECTOR’s unique programs targeting dysregulated mRNA translation. He previously served as Senior Vice President, Research and Chief Scientific Officer at Anadys Pharmaceuticals, Inc. where he played a pivotal role in the business process culminating in the acquisition of Anadys for $230M (256% premium to market cap) by Roche Pharma and in the invention, characterization and clinical development of the company's internally discovered drug candidates setrobuvir and ANA773. ANA773 is a novel TLR7 (toll-like receptor 7) agonist originally intended for the treatment of cancer and hepatic viral diseases. Prior to joining Anadys, Dr. Appleman held positions at Gensia, Inc. and it’s subsidiary Metabasis Therapeutics and was a faculty member at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. He received a Ph.D. in biochemistry from Oklahoma State University and completed his postdoctoral training at Dartmouth Medical School. At Anadys, Dr. Appleman personally led the ANA773 team from conception through realization (characterization of target-mediated biology, selection of medicinal chemistry starting points, lead optimization, candidate selection, preclinical development, clinical proof of concept). The combination of practical experience with this TLR7 agonist and other activators of innate immunity coincidental with the emergence of immunotherapy as paramount in the successful treatment of cancer places Primmune at the very heart of the most compelling area of drug discovery and development today.

Todd Harris, Ph.D.


Todd Harris, Ph.D. has served as a member of our board of directors since the company founding in Oct. 2017. He has been a member of the board of directors of Sienna Biopharmaceuticals since 2010 and the Head of Corporate Development since January 2016. Dr. Harris was the founder of Sienna Labs, Inc. and served as its Chief Executive Officer from July 2010 until January 2016. Previously, from 2008 to 2013, Dr. Harris was a consultant at McKinsey & Company in the Health Care Practice Division. Between 2006 and 2008, Dr. Harris held a graduate fellowship with the National Institute of Health. Dr. Harris received a B.S. in Engineering from Brigham Young University, an M.S. in Bioengineering from the University of California, San Diego, and a Ph.D. in Medical Engineering and Medical Physics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Scott Morenstein


Scott Morenstein is a Managing Director and Portfolio Manager at CAM Capital where he has led the firm's investment strategy in both private and public biotech companies since 2013.  CAM Capital was established in 2012 by Bruce Kovner following his retirement from Caxton Associates, the macro hedge fund he founded and managed from 1983 to 2011. CAM Capital manages assets exclusively for entities related to Mr. Kovner and its senior employees. Prior to joining CAM Capital in 2013, Mr. Morenstein was a Partner at Valence Advantage Life Sciences Fund and Principal at Caxton Advantage Venture Partners, life science focused venture capital firms affiliated with Caxton Associates, which he joined in 2007.  Prior to Caxton Advantage, Scott was an investment banker and research analyst at Seaview Securities and Lehman Brothers from 2000-2005. Mr. Morenstein served as a Director of and CAM was the largest investor in Celator Pharmaceuticals until its acquisition by Jazz Pharmaceuticals. He was nominated a Director of Synta Pharmaceuticals to advise the company as it explored strategic alternatives ultimately leading to a merger with Madrigal Pharmaceuticals. He served as a member of Gemin X Pharmaceutical's Board until its acquisition by Cephalon. He currently serves as a Director of Molecular Templates (Nasdaq: MTEM), Palvella Therapeutics, Antios Therapeutics (private) and Velicept Therapeutics (private). Mr. Morenstein received an MBA from Harvard Business School and a BA from the University of Pennsylvania in the Biological Basis of Behavior with a concentration in the Physiology of Neural Systems.

Amir Nashat


Amir is a managing partner in Polaris’ Boston office. He joined Polaris in 2002 and focuses on investments in healthcare. Amir currently represents Polaris as a Director of AgBiome, CAMP4 Therapeutics, Dewpoint Therapeutics, Freenome, Metacrine Therapeutics, Morphic Therapeutic (NASDAQ: MORF), Scholar Rock (NASDAQ: SRRK), and Syros Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: SYRS). Additionally, Amir has served as a director of Adnexus Therapeutics (Bristol Myers Squibb), Athenix Corporation (Bayer), Avila Therapeutics (Celgene), Fate Therapeutics (NASDAQ: FATE), Living Proof (Unilever), Promedior Pharmaceuticals, Receptos (Celgene), Selecta Biosciences (NASDAQ: SELB), Sun Catalytix (Lockheed Martin), and TARIS Biomedical (J&J). In addition to his investment role, Amir has served as the CEO of Dewpoint, Jnana, Living Proof, Olivo Labs, and Sun Catalytix. Amir also serves on the Partners Innovation Fund and the Investment Advisory Committee for The Engine at MIT, and helped launch the MIT Sandbox Innovation Fund as its active president. He has been named to the Forbes Midas List of “Top 100 Venture Capitalists.” Prior to joining Polaris, Amir completed his ScD as a Hertz Fellow in Chemical Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology with a minor in Biology under the guidance of Dr. Robert Langer. Amir also earned both his MS and BS in Materials Science and Mechanical Engineering at the University of California, Berkeley.

Andrew Rubinstein


Andrew Rubinstein is a Co-Founder and Managing Partner at Oberland Capital.  Previously, Mr. Rubinstein was a Partner at Paul Capital, where he co-managed the firm's healthcare royalty platform. Prior to joining Paul Capital, he was CEO of Microban International, Ltd. a global licensing business focused on antimicrobial technologies.  Mr. Rubinstein had previously worked as an investment banker in the Financial Sponsors Group at Merrill Lynch & Co.  He earned a B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania, a J.D. from New York University School of Law, and an M.B.A. from New York University Stern School of Business.