PALO ALTO, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Immune-Onc Therapeutics, Inc. (“Immune-Onc”), a privately held cancer immunotherapy company, announced today the addition of several industry veterans to its executive team and advisory boards and the promotion of An Song, Ph.D. to Chief Scientific Officer from Senior Vice President of Development Sciences. Dr. Paul Woodard joins Immune-Onc from Bellicum Pharmaceuticals, Inc. where he most recently served as Senior Vice President, Clinical and Medical Affairs.
“We are thrilled to add such seasoned and strategic individuals to the executive and advisory teams guiding Immune-Onc through its next phase of growth as a clinical stage company,” said Charlene Liao, Ph.D., Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of Immune-Onc. “As our Chief Medical Officer, Paul brings the right combination of deep expertise in oncology paired with proven strategic leadership and experience building teams and functions in a startup environment. The appointment of An to Chief Scientific Officer is a reflection of the contributions she has already made to the company in her current role and a recognition of the value that her experience will bring in guiding the translation of our science into development.”
“I can’t imagine a more exciting time to join Immune-Onc,” said Dr. Woodard. “I was first drawn to the novel science underlying the portfolio. As I learned more about Immune-Onc and their authentic passion for improving patient lives, it became clear to me that this was a company that I wanted to contribute to in a meaningful way with the goal of bringing much needed new treatment options to people with hard-to-treat cancers like acute myeloid leukemia.”
About Paul Woodard, M.D.
As Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Woodard will be responsible for clinical leadership and medical oversight of the Immune-Onc portfolio. These activities will include review and input of IND submissions, clinical protocol development and medical oversight of Immune-Onc trials, and oversight of internal and external clinical development, biometrics, safety, and regulatory functions and compliance.
Dr. Woodard has an extensive hematology and oncology background gained in academia and industry. His academic experience focused on pediatric hematopoietic stem cell transplantation and hematologic disorders at world-renowned institutions, including St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, University of California, San Francisco, and Children’s Hospital, Los Angeles. In addition to patient care, at St. Jude, Dr. Woodard was responsible for Phase 1/2 trials in pediatric hematopoietic stem cell transplantation for malignant and non-malignant disorders.
Prior to joining Immune-Onc, Dr. Woodard worked on a wide range of drug development projects in solid tumors, hematologic malignancies, and non-malignant hematologic disorders. At Exelixis, Dr. Woodard worked on small molecule tyrosine kinase inhibitors for solid tumors. At Amgen, Dr. Woodard was the global development leader for Nplate® (romiplostim) in immune thrombocytopenia and myelodysplastic syndromes. At Genentech, Dr. Woodard was the global development team leader for Tecentriq® (atezolizumab) in hematologic malignancies and was an integral team member for the development of Tecentriq® combinations in solid tumors (including triple negative breast cancer) and hematologic malignancies. At Bellicum, Dr. Woodard was the Senior Vice President of Clinical and Medical Affairs, with oversight of the company’s cellular therapy portfolio and clinical trials in hematologic malignancies and solid tumors.
Dr. Woodard earned his medical degree at the University of North Carolina and completed his residency at the University of Virginia and fellowships in pediatric hematology-oncology at the University of North Carolina and in pediatric blood and marrow transplantation at the University of Minnesota.
About An Song, Ph.D.
Dr. Song joined Immune-Onc in July 2018 as Senior Vice President of Development Sciences. In the newly created role of Chief Scientific Officer, Dr. Song will have overall accountability for translational development of Immune-Onc’s portfolio and strategic oversight of research and antibody engineering.
Dr. Song is a translational scientist with 22 years of experience across basic research and drug development in oncology, autoimmunity, metabolic, infectious, and neurodegenerative diseases. Dr. Song joins Immune-Onc from Genentech where, as a Senior Director in BioAnalytical Sciences, she led the Assay Development and Technology group for the company’s large molecule portfolio globally and was a member of numerous scientific review bodies within the Genentech Research and Early Development (gRED) organization. During her 16-year tenure at Genentech, Dr. Song contributed to, and oversaw 40+ IND/CTA and BLA/MAA regulatory filings for products including Rituxan®, Avastin®, Herceptin®, Lucentis®, Kadcyla® and Tecentriq®. In addition, Dr. Song played a significant role in the development and approval of Ocrevus®.
Dr. Song received her Ph.D. in Biochemistry & Molecular Biology from Indiana University and completed a postdoctoral fellowship in immunology, followed by a faculty position as Assistant Professor (Research) at Stanford University. As an active member of the American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists (AAPS), Dr. Song has served as an executive member of the Biotech Section and chair of the Therapeutic Product Immunogenicity (TPI) Focus Group/Community.
In addition, Immune-Onc bolstered its cadre of advisors with the appointment of Zhengbin (Bing) Yao, Ph.D. to its Board of Directors and Gregory Cosma, Ph.D. to its Scientific Advisory Board. “Both Bing and Greg bring significant experience in helping early-stage companies navigate the complexity of drug development,” commented Dr. Liao. “Bing and Greg’s perspectives are invaluable in supporting Immune-Onc in our mission to deliver transformative therapies to cancer patients.”
About Zhengbin (Bing) Yao, Ph.D.
Dr. Yao has more than 20 years of experience in the biopharmaceutical industry, with a proven track record of successfully leading the discovery and development of multiple biotherapeutics. Dr. Yao is currently Chairman of the Board and CEO of Viela Bio. Prior to this role, he was Senior Vice President, Head of Respiratory, Inflammation and Autoimmune iMED at MedImmune/AstraZeneca. During his tenure at MedImmune, he played key leadership roles in the development and approval of three novel biologics for autoimmune, respiratory, and immune-oncology indications. Previously, Dr. Yao also served as Senior Vice President, Head of Immuno-Oncology Franchise, AstraZeneca, as well as CEO for WuXi-MedImmune Joint Venture. Dr. Yao joined MedImmune in 2010 from Genentech, where he was the Head of Project Team Leaders for Immunology, Infectious Diseases, Neuroscience, and Metabolic Disease. He was Vice President and Head of Research for Tanox, before the company was acquired by Genentech in 2007. Dr. Yao also held several positions of increasing responsibility at Aventis and Amgen and currently serves on the Board of Directors for NexImmune. Dr. Yao received his Ph.D. in Microbiology and Immunology from the University of Iowa, followed by postdoctoral work at Immunex.
About Gregory Cosma, Ph.D.
As a former executive at Genentech and Bristol-Myers Squibb, Dr. Cosma has a long track record of success leading companies in translating science into approved therapies. As Vice President of Research and Early Development at Genentech from 2010-2019, Dr. Cosma led the Safety Assessment organization comprising Toxicology, Pathology, Product Quality and Occupational Toxicology and Nonclinical Operations. He also chaired the Genentech Development Review Committee (DRC), overseeing nonclinical development of the Genentech pipeline from Research to First-in-Human studies. While at Bristol-Myers Squibb from 2003-2010, Dr. Cosma held roles as the Executive Director for Drug Safety Evaluation and as the Therapeutic Area Head for Metabolic Diseases. Prior to these roles, Dr. Cosma was a Research Fellow at Pharmacia-Pfizer and an assistant professor in the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at Colorado State University. Dr. Cosma earned his doctorate in Pharmacology/Toxicology at the University of Kansas.
ABOUT IMMUNE-ONC THERAPEUTICS, INC.
Immune-Onc Therapeutics, Inc. (“Immune-Onc”) is a privately held cancer immunotherapy company dedicated to the discovery and development of novel biologic treatments for cancer patients. The company aims to translate unique scientific insights in myeloid cell biology and immune inhibitory receptors to discover and develop first-in-class biotherapeutics that disarm immune suppression in the tumor microenvironment. Immune-Onc has a promising pipeline built upon strategic collaborations and cutting-edge research from The University of Texas, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, and Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. Its lead program, an antibody targeting LILRB4, is being developed to treat acute myeloid leukemia and other cancers. Headquartered in Palo Alto, California, Immune-Onc has assembled a diverse team with deep expertise in drug development and proven track records of success at leading biotechnology companies. For more information, please visit www.immune-onc.com.