Tizona Therapeutics, Inc., is an immunology company harnessing the power of the immune system to develop treatments for cancer.

Our Approach

Tizona develops next-generation immunotherapies

The successful development of immunotherapies represents one of the most important and exciting breakthroughs in cancer. Recent approvals of checkpoint inhibitors provide evidence that the immune system is capable of recognizing cancerous cells and eradicating them. These checkpoint inhibitors can achieve complete, durable remissions and help patients live longer. Yet, despite this progress, existing immunotherapies are effective in a relatively small number of patients and types of cancer.

Tizona’s therapies are designed to modulate the activity of immunosuppressive cells by targeting the cell types and biological mechanisms responsible for immune suppression in the tumor microenvironment:

  • Immune suppressive cells, including regulatory T cells (Tregs), myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSCs), and tolerogenic dendritic cells (DCs)
  • Inhibitory / suppressive cytokines and metabolic pathways

Our distinct approach to Tumor Immunotherapy

Conventional Immunotherapy Approaches
T cell Priming, Activation & Proliferation
  • Checkpoint inhibitors (e.g., CTLA4, PD-1)
  • Coactivators (e.g., 4-1BB)
  • Vaccines (peptide, DNA, DC, artificial APCs, etc.)
  • Oncolytic Viruses
  • Cytokines (IL-12, IL-15, IL-21)
Current Approach
Immunosuppressive Tumor Microenvironment
  • Tregs
  • TAMs, MDSCs, tolerogenic DCs
  • Inhibitory cytokines
Area of Interest
T cell Trafficking & Infiltration
  • Chemokines
  • Immuno-repellent factors


ATP and Adenosine in the Tumor Microenvironment

The ATP-adenosine pathway regulates immune activity in the tumor microenvironment (TME) by controlling the inflammatory and suppressive activities of immune cells. High concentrations of extracellular ATP increase inflammatory activities of dendritic and myeloid-derived cells responsible for innate immunity and immune cell priming necessary for adaptive immunity. Inversely, high concentrations of extracellular adenosine increase the suppressive activities of nearly all immune cells in the microenvironment, including T cells, dendritic cells, macrophages, myeloid-derived suppressor cells and natural killer cells.

CD39 – A Metabolic Immune Switch

CD39 is the enzyme responsible for the initial steps in conversion of extracellular ATP to adenosine in the TME. CD39 expression is found on both tumor cells and tumor infiltrating leukocytes as immune evasion strategies and in response to hypoxia. Large and hypoxic tumors frequently become immune suppressive due to the breakdown of excessive ATP released from dying tumor cells to immune suppressive adenosine by CD39. CD39 expression in the TME, therefore, acts as a switch: low ATP and high adenosine lead to immune suppression when CD39 activity is present and high extracellular ATP and low extracellular adenosine lead to immune activation when CD39 is inhibited.

Tizona Therapeutics is advancing an anti-CD39 antibody that inhibits the breakdown of ATP by CD39. The company is on track to file an Investigational New Drug application for the CD39 program in late 2018.

Our Team

Tizona’s expert team of scientific advisors, board of directors and accomplished team position the company to become a leader in next generation immuno-oncology development.

Luke Evnin, Ph.D.
Executive Chairman
Dr. Luke Evnin is currently Executive Chairman of the Board of Directors for Tizona Therapeutics and Co-Founder and Managing...  Full Bio

Christine O'Brien
Interim President and Vice President, Program Management & Operations
Christine O’Brien is Interim President and Vice President of Program Management and Operations for Tizona Therapeutics, where she is...  Full Bio

Courtney Beers, Ph.D.
Vice President, Immunology
Courtney is the Vice President of Cancer Immunotherapy for Tizona. She is leading discovery and development work on Tizona’s...  Full Bio

John Corbin, Ph.D.
Vice President, Antibody Development
John joined Tizona as Vice President of Antibody Development in 2016. In his role, he is responsible for antibody...  Full Bio

Svetlana Lucas, Ph.D.
Vice President, Business Development
Svetlana joined Tizona Therapeutics as Vice President of Business Development in July of 2015. In her role, she is...  Full Bio

Board of Directors



Striving to be the Best

The best teams are built by hiring the best people. Our team believes in placing patients first and in being open, honest and constructive with one another. We pursue and expect excellence. We inspire an attitude of curiosity and informed risk-taking. These values form our culture and define the character of our company. Join us today.

August 17, 2018

Head of Clinical Operations

This position is responsible for the strategy and execution of clinical operations to support of Tizona’s clinical programs. This role is accountable for the operational...
May 4, 2018

Scientist or Senior Scientist, Protein Sciences (depending on experience level)

Tizona Therapeutics, Inc., an immunology company harnessing the power of the immune system to develop treatments for cancer and autoimmune diseases, is seeking for an outstandin...



At Tizona, we are developing cancer immunotherapy treatments that have the potential to be first- and best-in-class therapies, and core components of innovative combination treatments. We have successfully built a talented and experienced research and development team, and are interested in collaborations with pharmaceutical and biotech companies as well as academic institutions around the world to jointly discover and develop products that will bring meaningful treatment options to cancer patients.

Currently we are engaged in partnering/in-licensing discussions related to our existing programs. If you would like additional information on partnering with Tizona, please contact our business development team at bd@tizonatx.com



QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute

Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center

Brigham and Women’s Hospital

Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital


University of Turku