1/3/2017 3:13:06 PM
January 9, 2017
By Mark Terry, BioSpace.com Breaking News Staff
Tioma Therapeutics, originally named Vasculox, focuses on immuno-oncology and developing anti-CD47 antibodies to treat solid and hematologic cancers.
The company was founded by William Frazier, professor of Biochemistry, Molecular Biophysics, Cell Biology, and Biomedical Engineering at Washington University School of Medicine.
“We find CD47 to be an extremely interesting target in the evolving cancer immunotherapy landscape,” Peter Mold of Novo Ventures, and one of the company’s directors, said in an August 2016 statement. “We believe Tioma Therapeutics, with its portfolio of diverse, functionally heterogeneous antibodies, is well positioned to test the CD47 hypothesis in the clinic.”
John Donovan – president and chief executive officer. Prior to joining Tioma, Donovan was a co-founder of Alios BioPharma and served as its chief business officer and chief financial officer until it was acquired by Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) in December 2015.
Robert Karr— chief scientific officer. Before Tioma, Karr held senior management positions in Idera (IDRA), Pfizer (PFE), and Warner-Lambert (PFE).
James Stutz—chief business officer. Prior to Tioma, Stutz was the vice president of Strategy & Business Development at Alios BioPharma.
Bradley Keller—vice president of product development. Before joining Tioma, Keller was vice president of Research at Lumena Pharmaceuticals until it was acquired by Shire (SHPG) in 2014.
David Hinds—vice president of clinical operations. Previously, Hinds was senior director of Clinical Operations at Alios BioPharma.
Pamela Manning—vice president of research & development. A co-founder of Tioma, Manning previously held director-level positions at Pharmacia and Pfizer.
William Frazier—scientific founder and advisor. Frazier is a professor of Biochemistry, Molecular Biophysics, Cell Biology, and Biomedical Engineering at Washington University School of Medicine.
Tioma launched in 2016 with an $86 million Series A venture financing. It was co-led by RiverVest Venture Partners, including 3x5 RiverVest Fund, Novo Ventures, Roche Venture Fund and SR One, the corporate venture capital arm of GlaxoSmithKline (GSK).
The company has a portfolio of undisclosed antibodies that target the CD47 protein. It plans to focus on both solid and blood-based cancers. The drugs are designed to recruit macrophages to attack cancer cells. Those are likely to be used in combinations with other similar immuno-oncology therapies, such as checkpoint inhibitors.
Immuno-oncology is a big area, with many companies, large and small, working on some aspect of it. Because immuno-oncology has two broad approaches, one to stimulate the immune system to attack tumors and second to depress cancer cells’ ability to hide from immune cells, combination drugs are the likely outcome. In this regard, many companies will develop partnerships.
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