Management Team

Xyphos is led by a team with decades of experience in the research, development and commercialization of biotech-based human therapeutics within the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries and leading research institutions.

Noboru Yamaji, PhD


Noboru Yamaji is the President of Xyphos Biosciences, Inc. He has more than 30 years of industrial experience with Astellas, where he has been involved in research activities for biologics and corporate-wide strategy making for antibody and regenerative medicine/cell therapy and its implementation as Head of the corresponding research departments. He has experience in working at bio venture companies, Genetics Institute in Cambridge, MA as a visiting scientist from 1991 to 1993 and Agensys in Santa Monica, CA as Director, Target Discovery for monoclonal antibodies in the oncology field from 2008 to 2012. He is the concurrent President of Universal Cells Inc. in Seattle to develop innovative cell therapy products by combining unique technology platforms of the two companies.

Dr. Yamaji received a Master’s degree and Ph.D. from the University of Tokyo. He once served as vice chairperson of the Steering Committee of the Forum for Innovative Regenerative Medicine (FIRM), an industrial association for regenerative medicine in Japan.

Gary Starling, PhD

Chief Scientific Officer (CSO) of Xyphos and Center of Excellence for Cancer Cell Therapy

Gary Starling is responsible for overseeing cancer cell therapy-related research activities including convertibleCAR and tumor microenvironment programs to treat patients with cancer.  Throughout his career, he has served in roles of increasing responsibility in the areas of Biologics Drug Discovery, Oncology, and Immunology.  Most recently, his efforts at Merck Research Laboratories contributed to a robust pipeline of immuno-oncology, cardiovascular and infectious disease therapeutics moving through clinical development. Prior to this, he worked at Abbott Labs (now AbbVie), PDL BioPharma/Facet Biotech, CuraGen Corporation and Bristol-Myers Squibb. Gary completed post-doctoral work at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle. He completed his Ph.D. studies on Natural Killer cells at the Christchurch School of Medicine (University of Otago, New Zealand) following undergraduate studies at the University of Canterbury (New Zealand). He is an author or inventor on 60 scientific papers, book chapters and patents, and previously served as Associate Editor of The Journal of Immunology.

Kaman Kim, PhD

Director of Research

Kaman Kim is the Director of Research at Xyphos where she coordinates the research and discovery efforts for the organization to expand upon the functionality of the Xyphos’ universal chimeric antigen receptor platform in order to promote its application into a variety of cancer indications as well as facilitate its clinical development. She enjoys working with cross-disciplinary and interactive groups of diverse scientists to find ways to best leverage expertise towards a common goal. Prior to Xyphos, Kaman worked at AvidBiotics to create precision anti-bacterial therapies and at Codexis where she engineered pathways for bacterial fermentation of novel products. Kaman completed her undergraduate studies in Molecular Biology at Pomona College (Claremont, CA) and then went on to receive her Ph.D. from the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at Stanford University where she applied genomics-based approaches to understand species diversity in the Salmonella genus and identify virulence factors that enable S. typhimurium to invade, replicate, and spread in hosts. She went on to complete her postdoctoral studies at University of California, San Francisco studying virulence factors in Mycobacterium tuberculosis.

Shinji Ogino, PhD

Associate Director of Planning & Operations

Dr. Ogino joined Xyphos in October 2020 as Associate Director of Planning & Operations. He is responsible for strategic planning and operational improvement. He has broad knowledge and experience in strategic planning, project management of strategic initiatives, contract development, alliance management and administrations. Prior to joining Xyphos, he worked at Corporate Strategy at the head quarter of Astellas Pharma Inc. based in Tokyo since 2016, where he led various strategic initiatives and post-merger integration projects including the acquisition of Xyphos. From 2009-2016, he was engaged in Translational Science research in multiple disease areas where he led biomarker activities and managed collaborations with external partners. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Tokyo in the field of Pharmaceutical Science.

Chuck Vacin, MBA

Business Development, MBA

Chuck has been involved in the development of Xyphos’ ACCEL technology platform from its inception through acquisition, and is now responsible for advancing partnership efforts to further expand Xyphos’ pipeline of products and new research opportunities to continually improve upon the company’s universal CAR platform. Throughout his 11 years working with Xyphos, Chuck has supported various functions within the company including Business Development, Alliance Management, Finance, Operations, and CMC development. Before joining Xyphos, Mr. Vacin spent over 13 years in small molecule drug discovery with focuses in oncology and diabetes at Protein Design Labs, Signature Bioscience, Cytokinetics and Arete Therapeutics. Chuck earned his MBA degree from the University of California, Berkeley Haas School of Business, and Bachelor of Science degree in Cellular Molecular Biology from California State University, Humboldt.