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

Charles McDermott

President & CEO, Director

Charles (Charlie) McDermott has more than 25 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 currently serves on the Board of Directors for Equillium Bio and is Chairman of the Board of Directors for Anavo Therapeutics.  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 an MBA from the University of San Diego.

James Appleman, Ph.D.

SVP, R&D and CSO
Cofounder, Director

James (Jim) Appleman, Ph.D., is Chief Scientific Officer, Senior Vice President of R&D, and a cofounder of Primmune Therapeutics. He has more than 30 years of experience in building successful drug discovery organizations and has been an advisor to biotech, hi-tech, and diagnostic firms. Dr. Appleman is the principal scientific innovator behind Primmune’s lead asset, PRTX007, and other immunostimulatory agents in the company’s portfolio. In addition to traditional discovery and nonclinical development, he is responsible for translational sciences essential for PRTX007’s continued progress in clinical development. Dr. Appleman’s entire career has been devoted to the creation of new medicines for the treatment of patients with cancer and serious viral diseases. During the last two decades, much of this effort has been spent in finding ways to engage the innate immune system for therapeutic benefit. As part of this journey, he discovered an unexpectedly complex set of features – almost all counter-intuitive – that must be incorporated into small-molecule agonists of toll-like receptor 7 (TLR7) if they are to be used for chronic therapy, particularly in combination with immune checkpoint inhibitors for the treatment of cancer. These understandings have been rendered into practice, culminating in the discovery and development of PRTX007. Before founding Primmune, Dr. Appleman was a cofounder of eFFECTOR Therapeutics, 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, where he played a pivotal role in the business process culminating in the acquisition of Anadys 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 agonist originally intended for the treatment of cancer and hepatic viral diseases. Prior to joining Anadys, Dr. Appleman held positions at Gensia and its 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. He has authored more than 70 scientific publications, reviews and book chapters. He is an inventor of proprietary technology and a holder of numerous patents.

Todd Harris, Ph.D.


Todd Harris, Ph.D., has served as a member of our board of directors since the company founding in October 2017. He is Chief Executive Officer of Tyra Biosciences, which he co-founded in August 2018. Prior to co-founding Tyra, Dr. Harris co-founded Sienna Biopharmaceuticals, Inc., a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company where he was Chief Executive Officer and a member of the board of directors. Dr. Harris started his career as 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 UC 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 of Blackstone, which he joined in February 2022.  Previously, he was a Managing Director and Portfolio Manager at CAM Capital. At Blackstone, among other things, he continues to lead CAM Capital’s investment strategy in both private and public biotech companies, which he has done 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. 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, he was an investment banker and research analyst at Seaview Securities and Lehman Brothers from 2000-2005. Mr. Morenstein served as a Director 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), Avenge Bio (private), Palvella Therapeutics (private), and Antios Therapeutics (private) and as a Board Observer of several public and private companies. Mr. Morenstein received an MBA from Harvard Business School and a B.A. 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.