Ellen Cahir-McFarland, Ph.D.

Chief Scientific Officer

Ellen Cahir-McFarland has deep experience in drug discovery research and early drug development. Prior to joining Abata, Ellen was Senior Vice President of Research at Annexon Biosciences, a company focused on advancing inhibitors of classical complement in neurodegeneration, ophthalmology, and autoimmune indications. She joined Annexon in 2020 to lead research. During her time there, the team advanced two programs into first-in-human studies. Prior to Annexon, Ellen joined Biogen Discovery Research in 2011, where she held several positions of increasing responsibility, including as Interim Head of the MS and Neurorepair Research Unit. During her time at Biogen, she advanced programs in virology, immunology, neuroimmunology, and MS. She supported the Tysabri Asset team and was the research and development project leader for Phase 1 and Phase 2 programs for MS. Before moving to industry, Ellen was an accomplished academic, including her work running a postdoctoral fellowship and a research lab as an Assistant Professor at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, where she focused on how Epstein Barr Virus co-opts cellular signaling pathways to drive the transformation of B-lymphocytes. She earned her Ph.D. in Immunology at Washington University in St. Louis, studying T cell receptor signaling.

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