SAN DIEGO, March 25, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Tocagen Inc. today announced that Jamey Skillings, M.D., has been named Senior Vice President and Chief Medical Officer. Dr. Skillings joins Tocagen from Pfizer, where she was most recently vice president of global medical affairs for oncology. Dr. Skillings' clinical leadership at prior pharmaceutical companies led to several oncology drug approvals, including crizotinib (Xalkori, Pfizer) in ALK-positive metastatic lung cancer, cetuximab (Erbitux, Bristol-Myers Squibb) in EGFR-expressing metastatic colorectal cancer and bevacizumab (Avastin, Genentech), which targets VEGF, in glioblastoma, advanced lung cancer and metastatic renal cell cancer.
"Jamey has a remarkable track record of success in developing and commercializing truly ground-breaking oncology products over the last 14 years," said Harry Gruber, M.D., CEO of Tocagen. "Her wealth of expertise is a valuable asset for us as we move into the next stages of clinical development based on the continued encouraging results from our ongoing clinical trials involving lead drug candidate Toca 511 & Toca FC in advanced brain cancer."
Added Dr. Skillings, "To address the complex problem of cancer, we need to develop new therapies that attack tumor cells in different ways. Tocagen's selective cancer immunotherapeutics are based on a novel gene therapy platform that delivers therapeutic genes selectively to cancer cells. The preclinical and clinical data generated thus far with Tocagen's lead product are very promising and I am excited to further advance this program and other pipeline products."
As vice president of global medical affairs for Pfizer Oncology, Dr. Skillings provided medical affairs leadership across both early and late-stage products. Prior to joining Pfizer, Dr. Skillings held positions of increasing responsibility at Genentech and Bristol-Myers Squibb. Previously, she held academic positions as a practicing oncologist at Dalhousie University and at the University of Western Ontario. Dr. Skillings began her career as a fellow of the Royal College of Physicians in Canada, having completed her residency training in internal medicine and hematology.
Dr. Skillings received her medical degree and bachelor's degree from Queen's University, master's degree in epidemiology and biostatistics at the University of Western Ontario and a master's degree in business from Saint Mary's University in Nova Scotia.
Tocagen Inc. is a privately funded, clinical stage biopharmaceutical company pursuing the discovery, development and commercialization of products that activate the immune system selectively against cancer (selective cancer immunotherapeutics), built on a novel gene therapy platform. Toca 511 & Toca FC, the company's lead investigational combination product, is being evaluated in three clinical trials in patients with recurrent high grade glioma, including glioblastoma multiforme (GBM). Toca 511 & Toca FC is designed to selectively infect and kill cancer cells via a proposed dual mechanism of action. First, the Toca 511 virus selectively infects and mediates direct cancer cell killing via local production of 5-FU, a potent anticancer agent, and second, the immune system becomes activated selectively against the cancer resulting in long-term, systemic anticancer activity. Tocagen has received grant support from the National Cancer Institute and leading brain cancer foundations, including Accelerate Brain Cancer Cure (ABC2), National Brain Tumor Society (NBTS), American Brain Tumor Association (ABTA), Musella Foundation and Voices Against Brain Cancer (VABC). For more information about Tocagen or Toca 511 please visit www.tocagen.com or www.clinicaltrials.gov using the identifier NCT01470794, NCT01156584 or NCT01985256.
SOURCE Tocagen Inc.