The Sextant Team

Patrick Stern, PhD – CEO

Dr. Stern received his PhD at MIT Biology in immunology and his postdoctoral training in cancer immunology at the Koch Institute at MIT.  As a research scientist at the Koch Institute, he studied how tumors and dying cells communicate to the immune system.  He left MIT in 2011 to start Sextant Therapeutics.  He has developed several novel methods for manipulating gene expression in vivo.  Sextant’s drug development efforts are based on his discovery that dying cells can profoundly influence immune responses. Dr. Stern has Bachelors degrees in Microbiology and Poultry Science from Lousiana State University.


Lakshmi Balachandra, PhD, MBA

Dr. Balachandra spent five years as an associate in venture capital and mergers and acquisitions firms, where she researched, built financial models and ultimately invested in early-stage companies in high-technology products and services industries.  She founded her own retail toy store after college and now consults to large pharmaceutical companies (Novartis, Genzyme) on effective negotiation strategies.  She is currently a professor at Babson in Entrepreneurship.  She received her PhD at the Carroll School of Management at Boston College, an MBA from the MIT Sloan School of Managemen and an AB in Environmental Studies from the University of Chicago.



Scientific Advisory Board

Our Scientific Advisory Board includes three professors, leaders in their respective technological and research domains.


Michael Hemann, PhD – Associate Professor of Biology, Koch Institute, MIT

Prof. Hemann has developed approaches to investigate the role of individual genes in modulating therapeutic outcome and identified key determinants of cancer cells’ response to front-line chemotherapeutics.


Adam Lacy-Hulbert, PhD - Professor, Benaroya Research Institute, Virginia Mason, Seattle

Professor Lacy-Hulbert studies how the innate immune system is regulated by dying cells and normal or pathogenic flora.  His work has focused on how disruption of normal immune cell populations leads to the development of colitis and other intestinal auto-immune disorders. 


Forest White, PhD – Associate Professor, Department of Biological Engineering, MIT

Professor White uses mass spectrometry to understand how protein phosphorylation-mediated signaling networks drive biological responses to cellular stimulation.