Management Team


Mark Erlander, PhD

Chief Executive Officer

Dr. Erlander has served as our Chief Executive Officer since May 2020 and formerly as the Chief Scientific Officer from March 2013 to May 2020. Previously, he was Chief Scientific Officer at bioTheranostics, a subsidiary of bioMérieux, a molecular diagnostic testing company focused on clinical applications in oncology, where he served from 2008 to 2013. From 2000 to 2008, Dr. Erlander was Chief Scientific Officer at Arcturus, Inc. (later AviaraDx), which was acquired by bioMérieux in 2008. Dr. Erlander entered therapeutics as a Group Leader and then Research Fellow in drug discovery at Johnson & Johnson from 1994 to 2000. From 1991 to 1994, Dr. Erlander was a Postdoctoral Fellow and then Assistant Professor at Scripps Research. He has 44 issued patents, over 50 pending applications, and has co-authored more than 90 scientific publications. Dr. Erlander holds a B.S. in Biochemistry from the University of California, Davis, an M.S. degree in Biochemistry from Iowa State University, and a Ph.D. in Neuroscience from the University of California, Los Angeles.

James Levine

Chief Financial Officer

Mr. Levine has served as Chief Financial Officer since 2021. Mr. Levine has extensive corporate and investment banking experience with both private and public biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies. Prior to joining Cardiff Oncology, Mr. Levine served as CFO of Cidara Therapeutics, where he led the financial aspects of important pre-clinical and clinical collaborations with Janssen Pharmaceuticals (part of Johnson & Johnson) and Mundipharma with a combined value of over $1.3 billion. Previously, Mr. Levine was the president and chief executive officer of Sapphire Energy Inc., a private industrial biotechnology company that was sold to two private investor groups. He also previously served in the same roles at Verenium Corp., where he negotiated six product commercialization partnerships and asset sales, before selling the company to BASF. He also previously was a managing director in the investment banking division of Goldman Sachs & Co., serving in its healthcare and energy groups. 

Mr. Levine earned an MBA in finance from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and a BA in economics from Brandeis University.

Fairooz F. Kabbinavar, MD, FACP​

Chief Medical Officer

Dr. Kabbinavar has served as our Chief Medical Officer since 2023. Following a 25-year academic career at UCLA as a medical oncologist, Dr. Kabbinavar joined Genentech Inc. in November 2016 as a Principal Medical Director in the atezolizumab (TECENTRIQ®) immuno-oncology program in the lung cancer team. He was the medical lead for the small cell lung cancer (SCLC) registrational study & head & neck cancer programs at Roche/Genentech. Subsequently he led the clinical development programs as a Senior VP at Tocagen, Inc., PUMA Biotechnology and more recently as Global Head of R&D at HUYABIO International.

Dr. Kabbinavar’s research interests are in novel therapeutics. He served as the lead investigator for two practice- changing trials of bevacizumab (Avastin®) combinations leading to the approval of bevacizumab in metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC), and he led the clinical development of atezolizumab (TECENTRIQ®) in extensive stage-SCLC.

Dr. Kabbinavar is a Harvard and UCLA trained academic oncologist. He was awarded his B.Sc., M.B.B.S. and M.D. degrees from Nagpur University in India. In UCLA’s Division of Hematology/Oncology, he completed his postdoctoral research fellowship and a clinical Hematology-Oncology fellowship, with his internship and residency at Harvard University’s Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston. Dr. Kabbinavar joined the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA in 1994 as Clinical Instructor and became Assistant Professor in 1997, Associate Professor in 2003, and Professor of Medicine in 2008, the year in which he was also appointed as the holder of the distinguished Henry Alvin and Carrie L. Meinhardt Endowed Chair in Oncology. His other professional titles while at UCLA include Medical Director of the Institute of Urologic Oncology, Director Medical Oncology Programs in Genitourinary and Lung & Head & Neck Cancers, Chairman Medical IRB, Director of the Hematology/Oncology Fellowship Program Division of Hematology/Oncology, David Geffen School of Medicine.

Dr. Kabbinavar is a licensed physician in California and Massachusetts and is board-certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine and in Medical Oncology. Dr. Kabbinavar has participated in over 100 clinical trials either as a principal investigator or a sub-investigator and has published over 100 peer-reviewed research papers and authored more than 150 abstracts. Dr. Kabbinavar is responsible for two book chapters and his work has been published in NEJM (senior author), JCO (lead author), Clinical Cancer Research, and EJC.

Tod Smeal, PhD

Chief Scientific Officer

Dr. Smeal has served as Chief Scientific Officer since January 2022. Previously he was CSO at Hexagon Bio (2020-2021), CSO of Cancer Biology at Eli Lilly and Company (2015-2020), Director at the Oncology Research Unit of Pfizer (2003-2015), and Senior Group Leader at the SUGEN site of Pharmacia and Upjohn and SUGEN (1998-2003). When Pfizer closed the SUGEN site in 2003, Dr. Smeal continued his oncology research efforts on targeted therapies and their resistance mechanisms with Pfizer at their San Diego oncology research site. Subsequently in 2015, Dr. Smeal joined Eli Lilly where he led their oncology research efforts at Lilly Research Labs in Indianapolis. During his over 20 years in industry working on targeted therapies, Dr. Smeal has played key leadership roles in delivering about 20 FHD/NMEs and several FDA approved or soon to be approved drugs (e.g., Lorbrena, Xalkori, Vizimpro and Nirogacestat). Dr. Smeal’s work in developing cancer therapies has been focused on intracellular signaling, kinases, drug pharmacology, and targeted therapies and their resistance mechanisms. He has over 45 publications which includes high impact publications in Cell, Nature, New England Journal of Medicine, Cancer Cell and Cancer Discovery. 

From 1994 to 1998, Dr. Smeal was a post-doctoral fellow of the American Cancer Society and a senior post-doctoral fellow of the MIT-Merck fellowship program. Dr. Smeal holds a B.S. in Biology from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a Ph.D. in Biology from the University of California, San Diego.

Brigitte Lindsay

SVP of Finance

Brigitte Lindsay has served as Senior Vice President of Finance since 2023 and Corporate Secretary since 2019 and previously as Vice President of Finance from 2019 to 2023, and Controller from 2012 to 2019. She brings extensive biotech experience to the company having previously served as Controller for AviaraDx both before and after acquisition by bioMérieux. Prior to AviaraDx, she was Manager of Financial Reporting and Analysis at publicly traded Carl Zeiss Meditec which is majority owned by the global bioscience optics leader Carl Zeiss AG. Ms. Lindsay has held progressively increasing finance and accounting positions at other leading companies including Philips-Respironics. She adds a global finance perspective having worked for multinational corporations and in both the US and Germany. 

Ms. Lindsay received her Diplom Betriebswirt from the Verwaltungs und Wirtsschafts Akademie in Munich, Germany.

Charles Monahan, RPH

SVP Regulatory Affairs

Mr. Monahan has served as Sr. Vice President of Regulatory Affairs since 2021. Mr. Monahan is a registered pharmacist with extensive experience in clinical pharmacy, healthcare management, and pharmaceutical development. He has over 20 years of regulatory experience developing drugs and biologics for oncology, infectious diseases, and ocular indications. 

Most recently, Mr. Monahan served as the Global Head of Regulatory Affairs for Erytech PharmaSA where he led the regulatory strategy and execution of the company’s lead asset across multiple oncology indications in both the United States and Europe. Prior to Erytech, Mr. Monahan held senior regulatory positions at several pharmaceutical companies including Millennium Pharmaceuticals, Molecular Insight Pharmaceuticals, AVEO Pharmaceuticals, and Transgene SA covering all stages of development, preclinical through post-commercialization. 

Mr. Monahan earned his BS in Pharmacy from the University of Rhode Island and a MS in Regulatory Affairs and Health Policy from the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences.

Nancy Sherman

Vice President Clinical Operations

Nancy Sherman has served as Vice-President, Clinical Operations since 2023 and prior to that in the role of Sr. Director of Clinical Operations since 2021. She is responsible for having developed the Clinical Operations team at Cardiff and brings over 22 years of extensive Clinical Operations experience. Nancy began her career in 2001 at City of Hope National Medical Center as a Research Associate and was promoted to Sr. CRA, obtaining her CCRP (Certified Clinical Research Professional) Certification. She then spent the next 10 years at Amgen in roles spanning Sr. CTM through Sr. Global Study Manager, working on Phase 1-4 global trials and drug development, many leading to FDA and EMA approvals for drugs such as NPlate, Enbrel and Amgen Biosimilars. Her subsequent Clinical Operations roles of increasing responsibility followed in Early Development at Agensys (Astellas), Director of Program Management at PRA, Global Trial Lead overseeing Janssen Prostate Cancer Programs, GoCAR™ technology trials at Bellicum, and Clinical Program Director, Cardiovascular, Renal & Metabolic at IQVIA Biotech. Nancy obtained her BSN,mHSCI at California State University at San Bernardino with a specialization in patient health education and completed her internship with the American Lung Association.