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Louis Stancato, PhD

Vice President of Enabling Technologies and Global Leader of Pediatric Rare Disease Platform

Joined the IBRI in September 2023

Louis Stancato

Louis Stancato, PhD, joins the Indiana Biosciences Research Institute (IBRI) with more than 25 years of experience as a drug hunter at Eli Lilly and Company, spanning the continuum of drug discovery and development. Stancato is an internationally recognized expert in pediatric oncology research and development, and is passionate about helping children with cancer.

At Eli Lilly and Company, Stancato was an Oncology Translational Research group leader for portfolio molecules in adult and pediatric cancer and a vocal pediatric cancer champion. At the intersection of the bench and the bedside, translational research is essential to enabling the conversion of fundamental biological understanding of molecules and disease into testable clinical hypotheses. Stancato's team supported clinical development for both small and large molecules through generation of comprehensive translational data packages leading to new clinical trial opportunities for pediatric patients, collaborating extensively with both internal and external experts. Stancato's team’s translational research underpins numerous ongoing pediatric cancer clinical trials, notably for Verzenio, Cyramza, prexasertib and LY3295668 Erbumine.

In 2016, Stancato became the co-leader for a multi-national, EU-funded Innovative Medicines Initiative 2 public-private partnership spanning 30 institutions across eight countries entitled “A Comprehensive Pediatric ‘Preclinical Proof-of-Concept Platform’ to Enable Clinical Molecule Development for Children with Cancer.”  This consortium, the first of its kind, created an innovative pediatric cancer research platform of ~400 well-characterized and pharmacologically validated patient-derived xenograft mouse models to support the development of data driven preclinical data packages for clinical drug development for children with cancer. In 2023, ITCC-P4 transitioned from the public-private sector to become a non-profit gGmbH, incorporated in Heidelberg, Germany.

Stancato also has extensive experience in early preclinical drug discovery including assay development and high throughput screen design, implementation and analysis; target identification and validation; lead generation and candidate selection; enabling technologies, such as high content imaging; high throughput gene knockdown; and phenotypic drug discovery.

Stancato and his wife live with their canine friends Bo and Maizie in Fishers, where they raised three children. His passion for helping children extends into his personal life, where he is a mentor for the Youth Mentoring Initiative (YMI), a school based mentoring program. For relaxation, Stancato loves to go to Michigan Wolverines football games, enjoys gardening (growing all sorts of tomatoes and peppers, essential ingredients to homemade pasta sauces and salsas), and can often be found fishing the Florida Gulf Coast in his spare time.

Areas of Expertise

  • Early phase clinical development
  • Pharmaceutical research and drug development
  • Preclinical translational oncology research
  • Public-private partnerships


  • Doctor of Philosophy (Pharmacology), The University of Michigan, 1995
  • Bachelor of Science (Cellular and Molecular Biology), The University of Michigan, 1990

Awards & Certifications

  • National Institutes of Health "Fellows Award for Research Excellence," 1995, 1997
  • National Cancer Institute, Intramural Research Training Appointee, 1995 to 1997

Honorary Societies

  • Industry Advisory Board, Harper Cancer Research Institute, University of Notre Dame
  • Industry Advisory Council, CureSearch for Children's Cancer
  • Editorial Board, Senior Editor, Molecular Cancer Therapeutics (an AACR journal)