About Us

Equillium is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company developing novel immune-modifying therapies for severe immuno-inflammatory diseases. Our lead asset, itolizumab, targets the CD6-ALCAM signaling pathway, which plays a central role in the activity and trafficking of pathogenic effector T cells that drive inflammation in a number of diseases. Itolizumab has potential to be a best-in-class disease-modifying therapeutic and is currently being evaluated in clinical trials in multiple indications, including a planned pivotal study in acute graft-versus-host-disease (aGVHD), an ongoing Phase 1b study in lupus/lupus nephritis and an ongoing Phase 1b study in uncontrolled asthma.

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Board of Directors


Daniel Bradbury, Executive Chairman

Dan is a co-founder and Executive Chairman of the Board of Directors. He also serves as the Managing Member of BioBrit, a life sciences consulting and investment firm. Prior to co-founding Equillium, he served as the President, Chief Executive Officer and Director of Amylin Pharmaceuticals, a biopharmaceutical company focused on metabolic diseases. During his 18-year tenure at Amylin, the company launched three first-in-class medicines, including the first once-a-week therapy to treat diabetes, and was listed on the Nasdaq 100. He served as Amylin’s Chief Executive Officer from March 2007 until its acquisition by Bristol-Myers Squibb Company in August 2012. Before joining Amylin, Dan worked in marketing and sales for 10 years at SmithKline Beecham Pharmaceuticals. He serves on the board of directors of Intercept Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: ICPT) and a number of private companies and philanthropic organizations.

Dan received a Bachelor of Pharmacy from Nottingham University and a Diploma in Management Studies from Harrow and Ealing Colleges of Higher Education in the United Kingdom.


Bruce Steel, CFA, Chief Executive Officer

Bruce is a co-founder, Director, and President and Chief Executive Officer of Equillium. He is also the founder and Managing Director of BioMed Ventures, the strategic investment arm of BioMed Realty. Since founding BioMed Ventures, Bruce has directed investments in over 30 biotechnology companies including Auspex, AnaptysBio, NeoTract and Receptos. Prior to co-founding Equillium, Bruce was co-founder and CEO of Rincon Pharmaceuticals, a genetic engineering biotechnology company, until its acquisition in 2008; previously he was Chief Business Officer at Anaphore and Head of Corporate Development at Ambit Biosciences. Bruce serves on the Board of Directors of Breathe Technologies and Aegea Medical, and is a board observer for a number of other private companies.

Bruce received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Dartmouth College and Master of Business Administration degree from the Marshall School of Business at the University of Southern California, and he holds the designation of Chartered Financial Analyst.


Stephen Connelly, Ph.D., Chief Scientific Officer

Steve is a co-founder, Director and Chief Scientific Officer of Equillium. Prior to co-founding Equillium, Steve was a Principal at BioMed Ventures, a life sciences venture capital group, where he helped manage a venture portfolio of therapeutic, device and diagnostic companies. Steve joined Biomed Ventures from aTyr where he served as Director of Business Development and Therapeutic Alliances and assisted in raising over $150M through private and public financing’s. Prior to aTyr, he was a Senior Scientist at The Scripps Research Institute, where he worked on multiple drug discovery projects spanning different therapeutic areas, including development work with Vyndaqel®, a first-in-class drug approved for the treatment of familial amyloid neuropathy, and a second-generation inhibitor, AG10, currently in development at Eidos Therapeutics for familial amyloid cardiomyopathy. Steve has an extensive track record conducting novel and innovative research and has published over 30 original scientific papers and patents.

Steve received his Bachelor of Science in Medicinal Chemistry and Ph.D. in Biological Chemistry from the University of Exeter, United Kingdom, and Master of Business Administration from the Rady School at University of California, San Diego.


Bala Manian, Ph.D., Director

Bala has served as a member of Equillium’s Board of Directors since May 2017. Bala has also served as founder and Chairman of the Board of Directors of Lumisys (NASDAQ: LUMI), Molecular Dynamics, and Biometric Imaging, Chairman of the Board of Directors of ReaMetrix, co-founder and Director of Quantum Dot, co-founder of SurroMed, and he currently serves as a Director of Syngene International Ltd., a public contract research and manufacturing organization based in India.

Bala received a Bachelor of Science in Physics from Loyola College, Chennai, a postgraduate level Diploma in Instrumentation from the Madras Institute of Technology, Chennai, a Master of Science in Applied Optics from the University of Rochester, and a Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from Purdue University. He has 35 years of experience in the field of biomedical sciences and holds over 40 patents in the field of physics, engineering and biomedical sciences. Bala has been awarded a Technical Academy Award by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in February 1999 for advances in digital cinematography.


Mark has served as a member of our board of directors since September 2018. He is a co-founder of publicly held Intercept Pharmaceuticals Inc., where he also has served as president and CEO, and as a member of the board of since the company’s inception in 2002. He has more than 20 years of experience in life sciences company management, venture capital, and strategic consulting. Prior to Intercept, Mark was a venture partner at Apple Tree Partners, an early-stage life sciences venture capital firm that he co-founded, and an entrepreneur-in-residence at Oak Investment Partners, also a venture capital firm. He currently serves on the boards of the Emerging Companies Section of the Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO) and the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, a non-profit policy institute focusing on foreign policy and national security.

Mark earned a Doctor of Medicine from McMaster University in Hamilton, Canada, a Master of Arts degree in international affairs from the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies in Bologna, Italy, and Washington, D.C., and a bachelor’s degree from McGill University in Montreal, Canada.


Charles McDermott, Director

Charlie has served as a member of our board of directors since September 2018. From September 2017 to May 2018, he was president and chief business officer of Impact Biomedicines Inc., a privately-held biotechnology company. Prior to that, Charlie served in a number of key leadership roles for of Kala Pharmaceuticals Inc., a publicly-held biopharmaceutical company, including president, chief business officer and interim president. Prior to joining Kala, he was a director and then vice president of business development of Eye Care and Drug Delivery at Allergan plc, a publicly-held global pharmaceutical company, and held a variety of business development positions at deCODE Genetics Inc. (now DGI Resolutions Inc.). Earlier in his career, Charlie was a research scientist in the angiogenesis pharmacology group at Agouron Pharmaceuticals Inc. He currently serves on the board of directors of Primmune Therapeutics Inc., a privately-held biotechnology company.

Charlie holds a Master of Business Administration from the University of San Diego, a Master of Arts in Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology from the University of California at Santa Barbara, a Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from the University of California Santa Cruz, and a Certificate in Clinical Trial Design and Management from the University of California, San Diego Extension.


Martha Demski, Director

Martha has served as a member of our board of directors since September 2018. She most recently held the role of senior vice president and chief financial officer of Ajinomoto Althea Inc., a privately-held contract development and manufacturing organization. Prior to that, she served as interim chief operating officer and chief financial officer of the Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center, and as vice president and chief financial officer of Vical Incorporated, a publicly-held biopharmaceutical company. Additionally, she brings more than 13 years of banking experience with major financial institutions including Bank of America and U.S. Trust. Martha serves on numerous boards, including as chair of Chimerix Inc., a publicly-held biopharmaceutical company, and chair of the audit committee and member of the compensation and finance committees of Adamas Pharmaceuticals Inc., a publicly-held biotechnology company. Martha, a National Association of Corporate Directors Board Governance Fellow, received the Director of the Year in Corporate Governance award in 2017 by the Corporate Directors Forum.

She earned a Master of Business Administration from The University of Chicago Booth School of Business, with concentrations in accounting and finance, and holds a Bachelor of Arts from Michigan State University.


Dr. Y. Katherine Xu is a partner at Decheng Capital and joined the Equillium board of directors in 2021. Prior to joining Decheng Capital, Dr. Xu was Partner, Senior Biotechnology Analyst, Co-Group Head of the Biopharmaceutical Equity Research team at William Blair & Company based in New York. Prior to joining William Blair, Dr. Xu was Senior Vice President and Senior Biotechnology Analyst at Wedbush Securities, Vice President and Senior Biotechnology Analyst at Credit Suisse, and Senior Biotechnology Analyst at Pacific Growth Equities. Dr. Xu was recognized by the Financial Times/StarMine “World’s Top Analysts” listing, ranking No. 7 overall for stock-picking in the United States for 2010, and No. 2 for stock-picking in biotechnology for 2011; she received the No. 2 ranking in the Wall Street Journal’s “Best on the Street” listing for biotechnology for 2011 as well. Before her move to equity research, Dr. Xu was Vice President of Investment Banking at Petkevich & Partners, a boutique investment banking firm in San Francisco focused on the life sciences industry, where she advised companies on a variety of engagements including mergers and acquisitions, workouts, spinouts, and private placements.

Dr. Xu holds a Ph.D. in developmental biology and a Ph.D. minor in engineering-economic systems and operations research from Stanford University Schools of Medicine and Engineering, respectively. She attended Peking University in Beijing before transferring to Kalamazoo College in Michigan in her junior year, where she gained her B.A. with honors.

Dr. Xu serves on the board of directors for The 1990 Institute and The Overseas Young Chinese Forum, two China-related non-profit organizations.

Scientific and Clinical Advisors


Siddhartha is a pioneering physician, oncologist, and author best known for his books, The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer, which earned him the 2011 Pulitzer Prize, and The Gene: An Intimate History which won international awards and was recognized by The Washington Post and The New York Times as one of the most influential books of 2016. The Emperor of All Maladies has also been adapted into a documentary by filmmaker Ken Burns, and was included among Time magazine’s 100 best nonfiction books of the past century.

Siddhartha is currently an associate professor at Columbia University, Division of Hematology and Oncology and serves as a staff cancer physician at the university’s medical center. His studies around the composition and behavior of cancer cells have helped advance modern medicine and has enabled the development of treatments that reach beyond current pharmaceutical models toward new biological and cellular therapies. He writes for the New Yorker, The New York Times, among others, has received numerous awards for his scientific work, and has published his original research and opinions in journals such as Nature, Cell and the New England Journal of Medicine. Siddhartha studied biology at Stanford University, obtained a Ph.D. from University of Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar and an MD from Harvard University.


Tom is currently venture partner at ARCH Venture Partners, chairman at Vividion Therapeutics and a director at Sana Biotechnology, VIR Biotechnology, Magenta Therapeutics, ImmunsanT, Zafgen and Gossamer Bio. He also serves as trustee for Reed College, on the board of the Lupus Research Alliance and as chairman of the Oversight Committee of The Scripps Research Institute. Previously, Tom was president, global research and early development at Celgene Corporation as the company emerged as a leader in defining new mechanisms for drug action, established industry leading collaborative networks, and advanced and commercialized innovative medicines in oncology and inflammatory diseases. He previously served as chief scientific officer and director of Ambrx, as vice president of research at Amgen, and as senior vice president of discovery research at Immunex Corporation.

Tom was formerly Hakim Professor of Medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. He earned his medical degree and trained in nephrology and molecular genetics at the University of Texas, Southwestern, and completed a medical residency at Massachusetts General Hospital.


Brian is a board-certified rheumatologist and internist and is currently senior vice president, clinical development at Nektar Therapeutics, Inc. He previously served as vice president, global and clinical development and head, inflammation therapeutic area at Amgen, directing the global development efforts for Amgen product candidates in inflammation. During his time at Amgen, he also served as vice president of medical sciences, which encompassed early development, biomarker development, and clinical immunology. Brian has won numerous honors, including elected “Master” of the American College of Rheumatology, the Kirkland Scholar Award for Lupus Research, and Chairmanship of the National Institutes of Health Autoimmunity Centers of Excellence. He is an elected member of the American Association of Clinical Investigation and the Association of American Physicians.

Brian completed his medical education at Stanford University and residency in internal medicine at the Beth Israel Hospital at Harvard. He completed his rheumatology fellowship in Division of Rheumatology and Immunology at Stanford University Medical Center.


Larry is a professor of neurology and neurological sciences, pediatrics and genetics at Stanford Medical School, where he leads a research team that focuses on the pathogenesis of autoimmune diseases. He was senior author on the seminal 1992 Nature article that reported the key role of a particular integrin in brain inflammation, leading to the development of the drug Tysabri.

Larry received his doctoral degree from Harvard Medical School, and he was a post-doctoral fellow in chemical immunology at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel. He has received many honors and awards, including the John M. Dystel Prize from the American Academy of Neurology and the National MS Society for his research on multiple sclerosis (MS), the Charcot Prize for Lifetime Achievement in MS research and the Cerami Prize for Translational Research. He has twice been awarded the Senator Jacob Javits Neuroscience Investigator Award by the National Institute of Neurological Diseases and Stroke. Larry is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Medicine, formerly called the Institute of Medicine, and holds a number of patents pertaining to immunology.


Vijay is the Samuel L. Wasserstrom professor of neurology at Harvard Medical School, senior scientist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and co-director of the Center for Infection and Immunity, Brigham Research Institute, Boston. He is also a member of the Broad Institute, and a participant in a Klarman Cell Observatory project that focuses on T cell differentiation. He is the founding director of the Evergrande Center for Immunologic Diseases at Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women’s Hospital. As principal investigator of the Kuchroo Laboratory at Harvard, his major research interests include autoimmune diseases – particularly the role of co-stimulation – the genetic basis of experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis and MS, as well as cell surface molecules and regulatory factors that regulate the induction of T cell tolerance and dysfunction.

Vijay obtained his degree in Veterinary Medicine from the College of Veterinary Medicine, Hisar, India, and subsequently specialized in pathology at the University of Queensland, Brisbane Australia, where he obtained a Ph.D. He is the recipient of the Fred Z. Eager Research Prize, the Javits Neuroscience Award by the National Institutes of Health, the Ranbaxy Prize in Medical Research, the Nobel Laureate Peter Doherty Lecture/Prize, and was named Distinguished Eberly Lecturer.


Fred is chief scientific officer at the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy, where he leads the development of collaborative research programs. Prior to joining the Parker Institute, Fred served as vice president at aTyr Pharma, helped establish Novo Nordisk’s Inflammation Research Center in Seattle and led immunobiology discovery efforts at ZymoGenetics and Darwin Molecular/Celltech Pharma.

Fred earned his doctoral degree in microbiology and immunology from the University of California, Los Angeles. After a fellowship at the National Institutes of Health, Fred joined Immunex, studying T cell activation and tolerance, including the identification and characterization of various tumor necrosis factors and their receptors. The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences honored Fred and two other scientists with the Crafoord Prize for their pioneering work related to regulatory T cells and the role of the FOXP3 gene.


Pradip is currently principle scientific manager at Biocon and leads the drug discovery group where he worked extensively in the development of several novel monoclonal antibodies approved in India including BIOMAb™ (anti-EGFR) for head and neck cancers and ALZUMAb™ (itolizumab) for moderate to severe plaque psoriasis. He and his team played a pivotal role in advancing the understanding of the CD6 pathway and the mechanism of action of modulating anti-CD6 mAbs. Pradip has authored 16 scientific papers and holds two patents related to anti-CD6 mAbs granted in the U.S.

Pradip received his master of science in Zoology, specializing in molecular biology and biochemistry, from the Benares Hindu University, Varanasi, India. He obtained his Ph.D. from the Regional Cancer Center, Trivandrum, India under a Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) junior and senior research fellowship. Pradip completed his post-doctoral work at the National Center for Biological Sciences, Tata Institute of Fundamental research, Bangalore under a Department of Science and Technology (DST) Fast Track Young Scientist award.


Equillium acquired rights for developing and commercializing itolizumab in the U.S., Canada, Australia and New Zealand through an exclusive collaboration and license agreement with Biocon.