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PICI Welcomes New Staff Members

Expansion of legal and research administration teams serves to accelerate the development of breakthrough immune therapies 

With the addition of three new staff members, the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy (PICI) is expanding its capacity to provide research administration and legal expertise in support of PICI Network members and their work to advance curative treatments for patients. 

Membership in the network of researchers and nonprofit and industry partners includes access to scientific and translational expertise and other PICI-provided benefits and support – all aimed at breaking down barriers that have traditionally slowed the development of lifesaving cures.  

“PICI was founded to foster strategic collaboration and partnerships that benefit patients in need of the most advanced therapies,” said Shane Corcoran, MD, MBA, PICI Senior Vice President – Strategy, Operations & Communications. “Adding to the expertise and capacity of our staff bolsters our mission to turn all cancers into curable diseases.”

The new staff members are: 

  • Tracy Huang Harrison, JD, Associate General Counsel, whose legal services include the review and negotiation of licenses and collaboration agreements with PICI’s affiliated research institutions and other entities. Harrison also provides counsel on PICI’s philanthropic activities and investments and on corporate governance. Additionally, she works closely with PICI’s business development and operations teams and coordinates with the development team to support fundraising.
  • Christen DiPetrillo, JD, PhD, Head of Intellectual Property, who plays a pivotal role in the development, management and ultimate commercialization of intellectual property (IP) developed across the research institutions in the PICI Network. She works closely with the legal, business development and technology transfer teams at affiliated research institutions to manage the full life cycle of this patent portfolio.
  • EnJun Yang, PhD, Research who develops and manages PICI’s diverse partnerships with academic researchers, companies and investors to ensure the delivery of projects and programs across the immuno-oncology space. He enables and accelerates data-driven decisions by individual stakeholders and leadership to execute PICI’s various collaborative programs.  

Harrison and DiPetrillo report to Kevin Marks, PICI’s Chief Legal Officer and General Counsel. Yang joins the research team led by John Connolly, PhD, PICI’s Chief Scientific Officer. 

Read on for more information about Harrison, DiPetrillo and Yang and their respective backgrounds and areas of expertise. 

Tracy Huang Harrison, JD
Associate General Counsel 

Prior to joining PICI, Harrison was Senior Counsel and Legal Manager at Google, having spent almost eight years there enabling digital health and health technology efforts across Alphabet, including at Google[x] Life Sciences and Verily Life Sciences. Prior to Google, Harrison was with the Life Sciences Corporate Partnering and Licensing practice group at Cooley LLP, advising public and early-stage private life sciences companies in a variety of strategic, complex transactions. She also served as in-house counsel at Gilead Sciences. Before her career as an attorney, she worked in technology transfer at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Yale University, supporting startups and out-licensing innovative technology and therapies. 

Harrison received her law degree from the University of Connecticut School of Law, her MS in experimental pathology from Yale University, and her undergraduate degree in biology from MIT. 

Christen DiPetrillo, PhD, JD
Head of Intellectual Property

DiPetrillo previously served as Senior Director of IP at Vir Biotechnology. In that role, she supported the company through its growth from 120 to more than 500 employees, as well as a successful IPO and the global launch of its first blockbuster therapeutic. Prior to Vir, DiPetrillo was with the Patents and Innovations practice group at Wilson Sonsini, advising early-stage life science companies and venture capital firms in a variety of strategic patent matters with a focus on the CRISPR, gene-editing and CAR-T and antibody engineering fields. Before her legal career, DiPetrillo worked as a scientist performing synthetic biology at a start-up after completing a joint post-doc in infectious diseases at Harvard Medical School, Boston Children’s Hospital and MIT. 

DiPetrillo earned her PhD in biological sciences from Dartmouth College and her law degree from the Santa Clara University School of Law, with a focus on IP and corporate law. 

EnJun Yang, PhD
Research Director

Yang is proficient with molecular and cellular immunology techniques, and specializes in the planning and execution of long- and short-read RNA and DNA sequencing projects at both the bulk and single-cell level. Aside from his laboratory experiments, Yang has spearheaded, maintained and delivered multiple on-premises and cloud-based analytics pipelines to fulfill key research collaborative agreements with various companies, start-ups and academic colleagues. 

Prior to PICI, Yang held postdoctoral fellowships at the Genome Institute of Singapore and the Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology in Singapore. Between his postdoctoral positions, he was the head of the data team at Tessa Therapeutics, an immunotherapy-based startup in Singapore. 

Before working in Singapore, Yang earned his PhD in immunology from the University of Pennsylvania, and his BS in biology from the University of Michigan. With his expertise in large-scale biological datasets and his experience managing cooperative research across multiple groups, Yang aims to support PICI’s partners and effectively evaluate and expand their data capabilities.