BOSTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Ikena Oncology, Inc., a clinical-stage biotechnology company that discovers and develops patient-directed, biomarker-driven therapies, today announced the appointment of Sergio Santillana, MD, MSc, MBA, as Chief Medical Officer. Dr. Santillana, a medical oncologist, will be responsible for leading the clinical development strategy, clinical operations, and regulatory affairs for Ikena’s development pipeline of innovative cancer therapeutics, including the recently announced TEAD inhibitor program targeting the Hippo pathway. He brings nearly 30 years of clinical practice and oncology drug development experience to Ikena and has held executive and senior clinical leadership roles at several premier biopharmaceutical companies, including Eli Lilly, GlaxoSmithKline, Takeda, ARIAD Pharmaceuticals, and Merrimack Pharmaceuticals.
“We are delighted to be adding Sergio to the Ikena team. His impressive track record of driving the clinical development of innovative oncology medicines is ideally suited as we progress our clinical-stage immunotherapies and move our discovery-stage and preclinical targeted oncology programs into the clinic. Sergio’s exceptional experience across drug development and as a medical oncologist will help realize the full potential of our novel therapies,” said Mark Manfredi, Ph.D., President and Chief Executive Officer of Ikena Oncology. “I would also like to express our sincere thanks to Dr. Jason Sager for the excellent work that he has accomplished as CMO to date. Jason has played a critical role in rapidly advancing our pipeline assets IK-007 and IK-175 into the clinic, and will continue to contribute to the company as a Senior Clinical Consultant.”
Dr. Santillana commented, “I am thrilled to join the Ikena Oncology team and believe in the tremendous potential of our pipeline of novel and high-impact targeted therapy and immunotherapy treatments to set new standards in oncology. I look forward to sharing my experiences as an oncologist and drug developer to help bring the right treatments to the right patients at the right time. Ikena is driven by its vision of a world where every cancer patient has a cure, and I’m excited to work with the entire team to build on the impressive progress they have made.”
Prior to joining Ikena, Dr. Santillana provided strategic consultancy services to a variety of life science companies, including Ikena Oncology. Prior to founding his consultancy, Dr. Santillana served as Chief Medical Officer at Merrimack Pharmaceuticals and ARIAD Pharmaceuticals, a commercial-stage biotechnology company that was acquired by Takeda. Prior to joining ARIAD, Dr. Santillana served in various oncology clinical development leadership roles at Takeda, GlaxoSmithKline and Eli Lilly. Before entering the biopharma industry, Dr. Santillana was a practicing board-certified medical oncologist for 15 years, including tenure at the National Cancer Institute of Peru (INEN). Dr. Santillana holds an MSc in Experimental Therapeutics from Kellogg College at the University of Oxford and an M.D. and B.S. from the Universidad Nacional Federico Villarreal School of Medicine in Lima, Peru. He also holds an M.B.A. from the MIT Sloan School of Management.
About Ikena Oncology
Ikena Oncology is a clinical-stage biotechnology company that discovers and develops patient-directed, biomarker-driven therapies for cancer patients who need life-saving treatment, by understanding what drives their disease. Ikena is advancing five clinical, preclinical, and discovery programs: IK-007, an EP4 receptor antagonist; IK-175, an AHR antagonist; IK-412, a kynurenine-degrading enzyme (“Kynase”); a TEAD inhibitor targeting the Hippo signaling pathway; and a discovery-stage program against an undisclosed target. Ikena has entered into a global strategic collaboration with Bristol Myers Squibb on the AHR antagonist and Kynase programs. Ikena has raised capital from top tier investors OrbiMed Advisors and Atlas Venture.