FogPharma Expands Executive Leadership Team

  • Dr. Lihua Yu Appointed to Chief Data Officer
  • Dr. Keith Orford Appointed to Chief Medical Officer and EVP of Clinical and Translational Science

CAMBRIDGE, Mass.--()--FogPharma®, a biopharmaceutical company pioneering a new class of precision medicines potentially applicable to all therapeutic targets, including those previously considered “undruggable,” today announced the appointments of Lihua Yu, Ph.D., as chief data officer and Keith Orford, M.D., Ph.D., as chief medical officer and executive vice president of clinical and translational science.

Dr. Yu, former president and chief data science officer of H3 Biomedicine Inc., will oversee the development and implementation of FogPharma’s data science strategy across all R&D functions and research programs, and will lead the company’s team building a diversified portfolio of advanced drug leads for multiple disease-driven targets.

Dr. Orford brings extensive medical and scientific expertise having led the transition of a number of oncology drug candidates from preclinical translational investigations through clinical development, and will oversee translational medicine and clinical development initiatives for FogPharma.

“Lihua and Keith are accomplished drug development executives and we are excited to welcome them to our growing leadership team,” said Gregory Verdine, Ph.D., founder and chief executive officer of FogPharma. “It has been a fantastic year of progress at FogPharma -- we closed a $107 million Series C financing round, continued to build out our multiplexed and machine learning-enabled drug discovery engine and further advanced our lead cancer programs, including our first-and-only-in-class direct β-catenin inhibitor. Keith and Lihua will be critical to our future success as we continue to scale.”

Lihua Yu, Ph.D., as chief data officer

Dr. Yu brings over 20 years of experience and leadership in data sciences across computational biology, cancer genomics, research informatics, clinical genomics, real world data and evidence. Prior to joining FogPharma, Dr. Yu was the president and chief data science officer at H3 Biomedicine Inc., a U.S.-based precision medicine research & development subsidiary of Eisai Co. At H3, she held overall responsibilities for the company’s research and development, and was responsible for driving the expanded use of data and technology and leading the creation of a data science/cancer genomics/information-sharing engine supporting all phases of drug discovery and early clinical development. She led H3 during its transition from a drug discovery company to an early-phase drug development company. Prior to H3, she held roles of increasing responsibility at AstraZeneca and served as cancer bioinformatics leader. Dr. Yu earned her Ph.D. in biomedical engineering from Boston University working under Temple Smith, Ph.D., and her M.S. and B.S. in biomedical engineering from Tsinghua University in Beijing, China.

Keith Orford, M.D., Ph.D., as chief medical officer and executive vice president of clinical and translational science

Dr. Orford joins FogPharma from Calithera Biosciences, where as chief medical officer, he led the company’s clinical development, clinical operations, biometrics, pharmacovigilance and medical affairs functions. Prior to Calithera, Dr. Orford was the clinical development lead in the Immuno-Oncology and Combinations Development Performance Unit at GlaxoSmithKline, where he oversaw clinical development, including multiple early-stage clinical trials with targeted agents and immunotherapies. Prior to GlaxoSmithKline, he worked on early clinical development programs at Merck across multiple therapeutic areas. Previously, Dr. Orford was a research fellow and instructor at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, where he trained in internal medicine and completed a postdoctoral fellowship in the laboratory of David Scadden, M.D., studying the epigenetic regulation of hematopoietic and embryonic stem cell differentiation. Dr. Orford received his undergraduate, M.D. and Ph.D. degrees from Georgetown University. His Ph.D. research elucidated the mechanism by which β-catenin is regulated by the Wnt signaling pathway.

About FogPharma®

FogPharma's mission is to drastically reduce the burden of disease on patients and their families by inventing new types of drugs that squelch abnormal physiological processes in ways previously imagined but considered unattainable. The company is pioneering the discovery, development and commercialization of Helicon™ peptides, a new class of drugs that uniquely combine the cell-permeability and oral dosing optionality of traditional small molecule drugs with the high specificity, broad target accessibility and rapid discovery arc of monoclonal antibody drugs.

FogPharma was spun out of Harvard University in 2016 by pioneering academic scientist, serial life science entrepreneur, venture capitalist and successful biotech company-builder Dr. Gregory Verdine. FogPharma is headquartered in Cambridge, Mass., and has raised more than $180 million to date from leading life sciences investors. For more information, please visit


Katie Engleman


Katie Engleman