Board and Management

Martin Sanders, M.D.

Executive Chairman and CEO

Dr. Sanders is a co-founder of Io Therapeutics. He serves as Executive Chairman of the Io Therapeutics Board of Directors and as Chief Executive Officer of the company. He brings to Io Therapeutics extensive experience in biopharmaceutical product discovery, research and development, and company formation. He received his M.D. degree from the University of Chicago and trained in Internal Medicine at Barnes Hospital, Washington University Medical Center, in St. Louis. He completed fellowships in allergy, clinical immunology, and basic immunology research at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases; and the National Cancer Institute. He trained in clinical rheumatology at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. He is certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine and holds dual sub-specialty board certifications in allergy/clinical immunology and rheumatology. Dr. Sanders held concurrent appointments in drug discovery and clinical pharmacology at the Upjohn Company from 1988 to 1990, and concurrent appointments as Director of Immunobiology Preclinical Research and Director of Clinical Immunology Research at Centocor, Inc., from 1990 to 1992. At Centocor, he was the medical director for the first clinical trials demonstrating the beneficial effects of a TNF inhibitor (Remicade) for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis, and Crohn’s disease. Since 1992, Dr. Sanders has served as an advisor to more than 50 biopharmaceutical companies, in the areas of preclinical and clinical product development. He has participated in the design, execution, monitoring, or analysis of greater than 300 clinical trials; for more than 50 different drugs, biologics, gene therapies, and devices, across diverse therapeutic areas, including rheumatology, allergy, immunology, oncology, vaccines, and metabolic diseases. Dr. Sanders currently serves as a founding member of the advisory committee for the George Schultz Innovation Fund at the Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the University of Chicago; and as a member of the Board of Trustees for the University of Rochester.

Vidyasagar (Sagar) Vuligonda, Ph.D.


Dr. Vuligonda has over 30 years of experience in small molecule drug design and product development, management of research programs in small molecule therapeutics companies, and entrepreneurship in the formation of small molecule drug development companies. He is the Co-founder, and President, of Athena Life Sciences Inc., an early-stage drug development company and contract research organization. He has developed herbal oral therapeutics in the treatment of digestive disorders and designed and managed the human clinical trials of these herbal products. He also served as Senior Vice President and Head of Life Sciences of a startup of Life Sciences/IT collaborative company (Infolob Solutions) and developed contract research programs in the small molecule therapeutics area. In collaboration with colleagues in the biology and toxicology groups at Allergan, he has developed several novel small molecule drugs; and was involved in the clinical development, process development, manufacturing of these drugs. Several of these molecules are in the clinical development stage, including IRX4204 and IRX5183, both currently in development by Io Therapeutics as potential oncology, neurologic and autoimmune disorder therapeutics. A major portion of his medicinal chemistry career involved retinoid research and development. He has also developed several novel synthetic methodologies and applied the methodologies to the synthesis of small-molecule drugs.

Sharon Lew, M.S.

Director, Chief Financial Officer, Executive Vice President of Business Development

Ms. Lew has over 15 years of experience in business development, sales, marketing, and operations in global companies, and in early stage start-up environments; including positions at Toshiba, ADAC Labs, Polymer Technology Group, DecisionView, Pano Logic, Ephox Corporation, Quantum3D, Inc., and Jasmine Networks, Inc. She has worked in multiple healthcare-related fields including nuclear medicine imaging equipment; radiation therapy planning systems; positron emission tomography, computerized tomography, and magnetic resonance imaging systems; clinical trials performance optimization software; and biomedical devices and components for cardiovascular, orthopedic and ophthalmic applications. She holds a Master of Science in Marketing from Golden Gate University, and a Bachelor of Science in Business of Administration from San Francisco State University.