Dennis Brown, PhD.

Dennis is a serial entrepreneur in the drug development space. Dennis co-founded Matrix Pharmaceuticals in 1985, where he served as Vice President (VP) of Scientific Affairs from 1985-1995 and as VP, Discovery Research, from 1995-1999.  Matrix Pharmaceuticals was acquired by Chiron.  Dennis founded ChemGenex Therapeutics in 1999, which merged with a publicly traded Australian company in 2004 to become ChemGenex Pharmaceuticals.  Dennis served as President and a Director of ChemGenex until 2009. The merger created Chemgenex Pharmaceuticals which was acquired by Cephalon in 2011.  His most recent venture, Valent Technologies, LLC., has supported the development of several companies including Del Mar Pharmaceuticals, NewGen Therapeutics and Senz Oncology.  Dennis has 34 issued US patents and applications, many with foreign counterparts.

Shaoguang Li, MD, PhD

Dr. Li is Professor at University of Massachusetts Medical School, Division of Hematology and Oncology.  His research career in studying BCR-ABL-induced leukemia began in 1996 at Harvard Medical School where he established a retroviral transduction/transplantation mouse model for human chromic myeloid leukemia (CML).  He also developed a B-ALL mouse model and began to identify and functionally test critical target genes that regulate survival and self-renewal of LSCs by comparing gene expression profiles between LSCs and normal HSCs. He discovered that Src family kinases are only required for BCR-ABL-induced B-ALL but not CML (Hu et al. Nature Genetics 36(5):453-461, 2004). This work has a huge impact on our understanding how BCR-ABL signals, and indicates that BCR-ABL utilizes distinct signaling pathways to induce myeloid and lymphoid leukemias. Dr. Li identified the first lipid metabolic gene the arachidonate 5-lipoxygenase gene (Alox5) and showed that 5-lipoxygenase is essential for LSC survival and CML development. Importantly, this research also showed that 5lipoxygenase is not required for survival regulation of normal HSCs. This finding provides the first evidence showing that it is possible and feasible to identify and target key genes specific for LSCs.

 

Michael Deininger, MD, PhD

Michael Deininger, MD, PhD, is Professor and Chief of Hematology and Hematologic Malignancies in the Department of Internal Medicine and the Huntsman Cancer Institute at the University of Utah. He also serves as Senior Director of Transdisciplinary Research at the Huntsman Cancer Institute. He has extensive experience treating patients with blood cancers with a particular interest in chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) and myeloproliferative neoplasms, a group of blood cancers related to leukemia. As a clinician-scientist with a translational research focus Dr. Deininger is heading an extramurally funded research laboratory that is dedicated to the study of signaling pathways, drug resistance and new molecular therapies in leukemia.

 

Wang Shen, PhD

Dr. Shen directs our formulation design and drug discovery effort.  He has more than 20 years of drug discovery experience, including formulation studies, medicinal chemistry, and technology transfer, contract manufacturing and scale-up. Dr. Shen has extensive experience in pharmaceutical analysis, method development and validation, stability studies, development of product specifications.  He has supported Chemistry, Manufacturing and Controls (CMC) efforts for numerous IND submissions. Dr. Shen held various leadership positions at Abbott Laboratories, Sunesis Pharmaceuticals and Amgen before co-founding Kanion USA in 2009.  He has led and co-led discovery of multiple clinical programs, including lifitegrast (NDA filed in 2014) and early discovery of ABT-199 (in Phase 3).  Dr. Shen has authored and co-authored over 40 publications in peer-reviewed journals, and an inventor on over 50 issued patents and applications. Dr. Shen received his Ph.D. degree in chemistry from University of Pittsburgh, and completed postdoctoral training at Sloan-Kettering Memorial Cancer Center in New York. 

Sarath Kanekal, DVM, Ph.D., DABT, RAC

Dr. Kanekal is a board-certified Regulatory Professional and board-certified Toxicologist with 21-years of biotech pharmaceutical industry experience. He is a veterinarian and has a Ph.D. in Pharmacology and Toxicology from the University of California at Davis and has conducted post-doctoral research at the School of Pharmacy at University of Texas in Austin. Dr. Kanekal is an expert in regulatory strategy and safety assessment of small molecules and biologics for both new molecular entities (NCE) and reformulated drugs. He has a track record of rapidly moving early-stage drugs into clinical development and eventual NDA.   He has managed non-clinical safety programs for several drugs was responsible for over 30 IND/NDA/BLA approvals, including over 15 cancer pharmaceuticals such as Bexxar (anti-CD20 Ab), Treanda, Synribo and Dacogen.  He has conducted several meetings with FDA and participated in oncology advisory committee meetings (ODAC).  He is currently president of Regstrategy Consultancy and provides counsel to start-ups on non-clinical development and regulatory affairs. He previously held leadership positions with numerous pharmaceutical companies including Novartis (Chiron), GSK (Corixa), Teva (Cephalon, Salmedix, Chemgenex), and Astex (Supergen).