Dr Karen Ferrante is a haematologist-oncologist with over twenty-five years of experience in clinical oncology drug development, spanning both large pharmaceutical companies and fast-growing biotechs.
She received her MD degree from Georgetown University School of Medicine and then completed her internship and residency in internal medicine at the New England Deaconess Hospital in Boston (Beth Israel Deaconess), followed by a fellowship in haematology and oncology. While at Beth Israel Deaconess, she served as Instructor, Clinical Instructor, and Clinical Fellow in Medicine at Harvard Medical School.
Dr Ferrante commenced her industry career with Bristol-Myers Squibb in 1995, and then spent more than eight years working at Pfizer, culminating in a role as Vice President of Oncology Development. She joined Millennium Pharmaceuticals in 2007 and rose to the position of Chief Medical Officer, with shared responsibility over Research and Development (R&D), where she supported the development activities for supplemental indications for Velcade® (bortezomib), the first proteasome inhibitor for multiple myeloma, as well as initial approval in Europe for Adcetris® (brentuximab vedotin), an antibody-drug conjugate directed to CD30, and the oral proteasome inhibitor, Ninlaro® (ixazomib). Following the acquisition and integration of Millennium by the Takeda Pharmaceutical Company, Dr Ferrante became the Therapeutic Area Head for Oncology.
She was the Chief Medical Officer and Head of R&D for Tokai Pharmaceuticals (2014-2016) a NASDAQ-listed biotechnology company based in Boston, MA that was focused on the development of novel therapies for prostate cancer.
Dr Ferrante is currently a member of the board of directors of MacroGenics, Inc., Cogent Biosciences, Inc. (formerly Unum Therapeutics Inc.) and HUTCHMED (formerly Chi-Med). She was previously a director of Baxalta Incorporated until it was acquired by Shire plc in 2016 and a director of Progenics Pharmaceuticals, Inc. until it was acquired by Lantheus Holdings, Inc. in 2020. She is also a member of the Scientific Advisory Board for Trillium Therapeutics.
Dr Ferrante has also been an author of a number of papers in the oncology field, is an active participant in academic and professional associations and symposia, and holds several patents. She is a member of the American Society of Clinical Oncology. In 2012, she was named by Pharma Voice as one of their 100 Most Inspiring People and recently she was named as one of the 60 over 60 Biopharma Pioneers by Endpoint News.