Gritstone Oncology Appoints Dr. Karin Jooss as Chief Scientific Officer

Company leadership also expands with hire of Dr. Mojca Skoberne as senior director of Immunology

Emeryville, Calif., April 13, 2016 – Gritstone Oncology, a cancer immunotherapy company developing next-generation, personalized cancer therapeutics, today announced the appointment of Karin Jooss, Ph.D., as chief scientific officer. Dr. Jooss joins Gritstone from Pfizer, where she served as head of Cancer Immunotherapeutics and Immunopharmacology for seven years. 

“We are thrilled that Karin has chosen to join Gritstone at this vital stage and help us build a best-in-class neo-antigen cancer vaccine company,” said Andrew Allen, M.D., Ph.D., Gritstone Oncology co-founder, president and CEO. “She is a seasoned researcher with highly relevant scientific experience, an extensive cancer immunotherapy network, and a proven ability to lead cross-functional teams that effectively move cancer vaccines into clinical development.” 

Dr. Jooss has more than 20 years of experience in oncology and immunology research. While at Pfizer, she built and led immuno-oncology teams within the Vaccine Immunotherapeutics department, was a member of the Vaccine Immunotherapeutics leadership team and served as the head of the Immunophamacology team. Her duties included overseeing the assessment of all cancer vaccine in-licensing opportunities, and launching Pfizer’s first clinical cancer-vaccine program deploying a variety of vaccine platforms and immune modulators to build a multi-component vaccine-based immunotherapy regimen. Prior to joining Pfizer, Dr. Jooss served as vice president of Research at Cell Genesys, Inc. 

“I am very excited to be joining this innovative and fast-moving team,” said Jooss. “The science of tumor-specific neo-antigens is foundational to cancer immunotherapy, and I am delighted to be able to apply my skills and experience to this new domain alongside the founders and scientists of Gritstone.” 

Gritstone also announced today that Mojca Skoberne, Ph.D. has joined the company as senior director of Immunology, reporting to Dr. Jooss. Dr. Skoberne most recently served as program lead at Genocea Biosciences, a company that identifies targets of T cell responses, where she worked up through the ranks of immunology science, building skills including comprehensive T cell characterization and robust, clinical-grade immune-assay development. 

“Our goal is to build a powerhouse team that can successfully address the challenges of tumor-specific neoantigen identification and the development of vaccines containing these novel antigens,” said Allen. “The addition of Karin and Mojca to our team fills out our capabilities such that we can continue to move aggressively toward the clinic.” 

About Gritstone Oncology 

Gritstone Oncology is a privately-held cancer immunotherapy company developing next-generation personalized cancer therapeutics. Gritstone brings together distinguished scientific founders, an experienced and diverse management team, a seasoned and successful board of directors, and deep financial backing to tackle fundamental challenges at the intersection of cancer genomics, immunology, and immunotherapy design. The company’s initial goal is to identify and deploy therapeutic neo-antigens from individual patients’ tumors to develop novel treatments for lung cancer. Gritstone Oncology is headquartered in the San Francisco Bay Area with certain key functions located in Cambridge, MA. The company launched in October 2015 with a Series A financing of $102 million from leading, blue-chip biotechnology investors, including Versant Ventures, The Column Group and Clarus Ventures. More information can be found at

Media Contact: 

Michele Parisi