We are dedicated to bringing a new generation of safer and more effective vaccines to the world.
Tiba Biotech emerged in 2018 from a five-year multi-lab research initiative between the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Koch Institute, the Whitehead Institute, and Boston Children’s Hospital. With our international collaborators and strategic partners, Tiba is leveraging a revolutionary replicon RNA technology platform to develop safer, affordable vaccines for both human and animal health.
The core innovation is centered around a transformative RNA delivery molecule and an engineered replicon payload capable of targeted antigen expression and rapid on-demand production. With our collaborators at the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases, we have demonstrated protection against Ebola, H1N1 and a variety of other lethal infections in a range of animal models.
Our name, Tiba, is the Swahili word for treatment or cure. On our quest toward fulfilling this vision, we embrace the core values of scientific integrity, respect for others, the pursuit of diversity and inclusion, and a passion for improving all lives across the globe. We are building a diverse ecosystem of dedicated partners who share these values, with an underlying belief that cooperation and teamwork produce the best possible outcomes.
Tiba is comprised of an international team of seasoned entrepreneurs and leading scientists with expertise in immunology, chemical engineering and vaccine discovery. Notable advisors and investors — with deep knowledge of the vaccine industry, regulatory requirements and global distribution logistics — back our mission and our team.
Karl Ruping, CEO, is a serial entrepreneur and experienced patent attorney with a technical background in computer science and bioinformatics. He has founded or funded several early-stage ventures, including AgaMatrix (medical devices), Agrivida (agricultural biotechnology), and Misfit Wearables (digital health). Karl has direct experience in negotiating collaboration agreements with large pharma, securing government and non-profit research grants, and structuring international licensing and distribution agreements. He has a B.A. in Economics from Colby College and a J.Dr. from Boston University during which he studied international Intellectual Property law at the University of Vienna (Austria). After post-doctoral studies at the Research Center for Advanced Science and Technology (Tokyo University), he became a Fellow in Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s School of Engineering where he focused on bioinformatics and molecular modeling.
Peter McGrath, CFO, has over 30 years of operational experience in financial services, investment banking, risk management and early stage investing across a range of industries and technologies. He has an established track record of building and managing highly successful teams, both at small startups and established multinational corporations. Peter began his career in finance at the Sydney branch of Société Générale before taking a senior management role at Barclays. Later, he led the foreign exchange group at Australia’s Westpac, managing a 22-member team and overseeing $3 billion in average daily turnover servicing many of the largest global fund managers. After moving to Boston in 2011, Peter served as COO of Emergent Analytics, a quantitative hedge fund, prior to joining Tiba to oversee the first round of seed investment and lead our initial animal vaccine program.
Dr. Omar F. Khan, Chief Scientist, Engineering, is the lead inventor of Tiba’s disruptive RNA delivery technology. Omar’s areas of expertise include nanomaterial-based nucleic acid delivery systems, vaccination nanotechnology, organic chemistry and manufacturing. He is equally skilled in biomaterial synthesis, tissue engineering, reactor design, process engineering, translational research models, and scale-up production. Omar is widely published on topics at the interface of materials and life science. He holds a B.A.Sc. and Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Toronto, where he was cross-appointed with the Institute of Biomaterials and Biomedical Engineering. Prior to founding Tiba, Omar conducted his postdoctoral research in the labs of Robert Langer and Daniel Anderson at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and was later appointed Research Scientist at MIT’s Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research. Omar leads delivery platform development and manufacturing design, drawing upon a wide breadth of scientific and leadership experience from multiple sectors, including academia, biotechnology, pharmaceutical, petrochemical and water treatment.
Dr. Jasdave S. Chahal, Chief Scientist, Immunology, holds a B.Sc. with honors in Biopharmaceutical Science from the University of Ottawa, and a Ph.D. in molecular biology from Princeton University under the supervision of renowned virologist Dr. S. J. Flint. With a decade of experience studying host-pathogen interactions and the underlying molecular mechanisms of viral innate immune escape, Jasdave is recognized in the scientific community for uncovering systems by which pathogens subvert host cell defense mechanisms, and for developing innovative strategies to direct the immune system to fight a broad range of challenging diseases. He began his postdoctoral research in 2013 with Dr. Hidde Ploegh at the Whitehead Institute to focus on vaccinology and immunotherapy, initiating projects to engineer RNA molecules as vectors against infectious disease and cancer. While at the Whitehead Institute, his collaborative work led to the invention of novel replicons and programmable mRNAs vital to Tiba’s vaccination platform. His published work demonstrated the effectiveness of these synthetic RNA payloads against viral and complex parasitic diseases in animal models when coupled with Tiba’s revolutionary delivery technology, and extended research to epitope-screening and rapid antigen-identification applications. He transitioned to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research in 2016 to further refine the technology before co-founding Tiba. Jasdave leads the immunology and vaccine design program at Tiba while maintaining his academic affiliation at the Whitehead Institute, where he can advance a range of academic and government collaborations beneficial to the company.
Directors and Advisors
Christian W. Mandl, Ph.D., M.D., is a Senior Technical Advisor and Chairman of the Scientific Advisory Board at Tiba. A leading visionary in the field of self-amplifying RNA, Christian was a Professor and Assistant Head of the Clinical Institute of Virology at the Medical University of Vienna where his early research set the foundation for Tiba’s innovative vaccine platform. He went on to serve as Global Head of Research, Early and Exploratory Clinical Development at Novartis Vaccines in Cambridge, MA, leading over 300 discovery and clinical researchers in the development of a broad range of viral and bacterial vaccines, adjuvants and delivery platforms including self-amplifying mRNA vaccines. He has authored more than 100 scientific publications and patents, and continues to advance the field of replicon RNA at Tiba.
Hidde L. Ploegh, Ph.D., is a member of Tiba’s Scientific Advisory Board and a collaborator on a range of infectious disease projects. Widely recognized as a global leader in immunology, he provided the scientific inspiration and guidance in the creation of synthetic nucleic acid vaccines that led to Tiba’s founding. Before joining as a Senior Investigator in the Program in Cellular and Molecular Medicine at Boston Children’s Hospital, he held professorships at VU University Amsterdam, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Harvard Medical School, and the Whitehead Institute.
David Nieto brings significant industry experience and market insight to Tiba’s Board of Directors. David served as Senior Vice President and CFO of Novartis Vaccines and Diagnostics, having sold the $7 Billion division to GSK before joining Alcon as Senior Vice President and CFO. His entrepreneurial experience ranges from building new business divisions at Nestlé to venture startup financing at Indigo Ag. David currently serves as Executive Vice President and CFO of Almirall.
R. Michael Raab, Ph.D., is a member of Tiba’s Board of Directors while serving as President and CTO of Agrivida, Inc., a biotech company he founded that raised over $60 million from leading institutional investors. He earned a Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and was recognized by MIT Technology Review’s Innovators Under 35. Michael has over 20 years of entrepreneurial experience in bioprocess engineering, agricultural biotechnology and vaccine development, having worked on Merck’s experimental HIV vaccine Pneumovax23 and Gardisil. A prolific inventor, Michael holds over 55 issued patents.