SAN FRANCISCO, Aug. 2, 2023 /PRNewswire/ -- Shasqi, Inc. ("Shasqi") a clinical stage biotech company, whose mission is to revolutionize cancer treatment with click chemistry, today announced the formation of its Scientific Advisory Board ("SAB") composed of leaders with decades of experience in oncology drug development and translational research. The SAB will support Shasqi in advancing its Click Activated Protodrugs Against Cancer® (CAPAC®) platform.
Inaugural SAB members are Lisa Coussens, PhD, MD (hc), FAACR, FAIO, an internationally heralded cancer biologist, and Chairwoman of the Department of Cell, Developmental & Cancer Biology at Oregon Health & Science University; Elliott Levy, MD an industry veteran with over 25 years of research and development experience at global pharmaceutical companies, including Amgen and Bristol-Myers Squibb; and Patricia LoRusso DO, PhD (hc), Associate Director of Experimental Therapeutics at Yale Cancer Center, and nationally recognized expert in developing new cancer drugs through clinical trials.
"We are honored to welcome these distinguished physician scientists to Shasqi's SAB" said José M. Mejía Oneto, MD, PhD, Shasqi CEO and founder. "Each of these individuals is recognized as a leader in the oncology community, and we look forward to benefitting from their deep experience and guidance on developing novel cancer therapies, as we bring our next investigational products to the clinic."
Alongside the inaugural SAB, Shasqi also announced the expansion of its leadership team with the appointment of Jean-Frédéric Viret, PhD as Chief Financial Officer and Mukul Agarwal as Chief Business Officer.
Jean joins Shasqi from Blade Therapeutics, Inc., where, as CFO, he led finance, accounting, and investor relations, including leading the filing of a Form S-4 as part of a SPAC merger. Prior to Blade, Jean held a variety of CFO positions in the biotech industry including at Coherus Biosciences, Inc., where he led its initial public offering and multiple equity and debt financings, diaDexus, Inc. and XDx, Inc. (now CareDx, Inc.). Jean has a PhD in Plant Molecular Biology from the University of Strasbourg and an MBA from Cornell University.
Mukul joins Shasqi from Forty Seven (acquired by Gilead) and Foresight Dx where he led corporate development, business development and finance. Prior to this, he held a variety of roles in business development, commercial, and strategy/portfolio planning at Anacor (acquired by Pfizer), Forest (now part of Abbvie), Medimmune (acquired by AZ) and GSK. Mukul has an MBA from Carnegie Mellon University, MS from Ohio State University, and a Bachelors degree from Indian Institute of Technology Delhi.
Detailed SAB bios:
Lisa Coussens PhD, MD (hc), FAACR, FAIO
Dr. Lisa Coussens is the Chairwoman of the Department of Cell, Developmental & Cancer Biology, and Deputy Director for Basic & Translational Research in the Knight Cancer Institute at Oregon Health & Science University, and holds the Hildegard Lamfrom Endowed Chair in Basic Science. She was the 2022-2023 American Association of Cancer Research (AACR) President.
Dr. Coussens' research focuses on dissecting the roles of normal immune cells in regulating various facets of solid tumor development, identifying leukocyte activities co-opted by early tumors to support ongoing cancer development, and in understanding the role leukocytes play in regulating responses to cytotoxic, targeted and immune-based therapies. In recognition of her research contributions revealing underlying mechanisms of cancer development, Dr. Coussens' has been acknowledged with multiple awards in recognition of her scientific contributions, and, most recently, election into the National Academy of Sciences (2023).
Elliott Levy, MD
Dr. Elliott Levy is an industry veteran with over 25 years of research and development experience at global pharmaceutical companies, including Amgen and Bristol-Myers Squibb ("BMS"). Dr. Levy has contributed to the development and approval of numerous new medicines, including the first approved checkpoint inhibitor, bispecific T-cell engager, and oncolytic virus. He is currently serving on the Boards of Omega Therapeutics, Nucana plc, and Editas Medicines as an independent Director. He is also a Venture Partner at 5AM Ventures, a Strategic Advisor at LianBio, and Senior Advisor at Boston Consulting Group. He is a graduate of Yale College and School of Medicine, where he was Chief Medical Resident and trained in internal medicine and nephrology. He completed fellowship training in clinical research through the Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholars program. Before joining BMS, he was a member of the renal division at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, where he was an investigator in federally sponsored outcomes research as well as industry-sponsored clinical trials.
Patricia LoRusso DO, PhD (hc)
As Associate Director of Experimental Therapeutics at Yale Cancer Center, Dr. Patricia LoRusso is a nationally recognized expert in developing new cancer drugs through clinical trials. She pioneered significant advances in medical oncology, drug development and early phase clinical trials for her work at Wayne State University's Barbara Karmanos Cancer Institute as director of both the Phase I Clinical Trials Program and of the Eisenberg Center for Experimental Therapeutics. Dr. LoRusso joined the Board of Scientific Counselors (BSC) for the National Cancer Institute (NCI), where she is currently serving as co-chair of the BSC and has served and is currently the co-chair of their Cancer Therapy Evaluation Program Investigational Drug Steering Committee at the NCI. She has had significant roles in the American Association for Cancer Research's (AACR) annual meeting scientific committees, the education and scientific committees of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, and many peer-reviewed study sections and NCI committees. LoRusso earned the MSU Distinguished Alumni Award in 2014 and was honored in 2015 with an Honorary Degree Doctor of Science. Dr. LoRusso is the President Elect of AACR.
About Shasqi and CAPAC®
Shasqi's unique CAPAC® (Click Activated Protodrugs Against Cancer) platform uses 2022 Nobel Prize winning technology, click chemistry, to target high doses of cancer drugs directly to the site of the tumor while minimizing toxicity to healthy cells, potentially improving the therapeutic index by dramatically altering the exposure.
CAPAC builds on the advances achieved by antibody-drug conjugates (ADCs), changing what's possible with tumor targeting. Shasqi has developed an expansive and diverse library of antigen targeting agents and cancer therapeutic payloads. These are decoupled from each other and reunited at the site of the tumor via a click chemistry reaction. We are the first company to use click chemistry in humans and are in active collaboration with partners in the biopharmaceutical industry to expand the CAPAC library.
Shasqi is advancing the development of new tumor targeting agents and protodrugs on an ongoing basis and is in active collaboration with partners in the biopharmaceutical industry to expand the CAPAC library of payloads and antigen targets.
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