IconOVir Bio Announces Formation of Scientific Advisory Board
Founding members bring deep expertise across interconnected fields of oncology research to provide strategic guidance and help advance programs into the clinic
SAN DIEGO--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- IconOVir Bio, Inc. (IconOVir), a preclinical-stage biotechnology company pioneering the next generation of oncolytic virus therapy to improve the treatment of patients with cancer, today announced the formation of its Scientific Advisory Board (SAB). Initial members of the SAB include chair, Clodagh O’Shea, Ph.D., James Economou, M.D., Ph.D., William Kaelin, M.D., Frank McCormick, Ph.D., FRS, DSc, Owen Witte, M.D., and Mark Chao, M.D., Ph.D., all renowned researchers and physicians in the fields of oncology and cell and gene therapy. The SAB will complement the expertise of IconOVir’s management team and support the company in advancing differentiated oncolytic virus candidates for the treatment of a broad range of solid tumors.
“As a researcher, I have devoted my career to uncovering, understanding, and coopting the exquisite machinery of viruses to advance engineered oncolytic therapies and I believe deeply in the potential of this approach to more effectively combat disease,” said Clodagh O’Shea, Ph.D., Scientific Founder of IconOVir and Chair of the SAB. “IconOVir was founded to deliver on the full promise of oncolytic viruses and, in only a few months, has assembled the team and capabilities to advance a robust portfolio towards the clinic. I am eager to work with management and the other members of the SAB to build a pipeline of differentiated potential medicines that can offer better, more durable outcomes to patients.”
“We are pleased to announce the formation of our SAB and look forward to partnering with these scientific thought leaders to advance our mission of curing cancer and restoring life to patients,” said Mark McCamish, M.D., Ph.D., President and Chief Executive Officer of IconOVir. “Together, the members of our SAB bring a deep understanding of oncolytic viruses and cancer biology, as well as experience designing efficient clinical trials that may enable rapid proof-of-concept and accelerated development. Their guidance will be critical as we explore the potential of our next-generation oncolytic virus candidates to transform the treatment landscape for patients with solid tumors.”
Clodagh O’Shea, Ph.D.
Dr. O’Shea is the Wicklow Capital Chair and Professor of Molecular and Cell Biology at the Salk Institute, a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Faculty Scholar, Allen Distinguished Investigator, Adjunct Professor at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD), and Director of the Redesigning Biology and Medicine Initiative. Since joining the Salk Institute in 2007, Dr. O’Shea has made a series of foundational discoveries, invented several disruptive and enabling technologies, and translated these advances to develop transformative therapies. Among these, Dr. O’Shea’s research revealed the overlapping logic and molecular networks of interactions that are targeted by both tumor mutations and viral proteins to elicit pathological replication. Recently, she pioneered Systems to Synthesis Virology, creating novel modular virus genome design, assembly and screening platforms that have led to a pipeline of powerful next generation virus vectors, vaccines, diagnostic drones, and cancer therapies.
Dr. O’Shea completed her B.Sc. in Biochemistry at University College Cork, her Ph.D. in Immunology at the I.C.R.F. (Crick Center) and Imperial College London, and her postdoctoral training as a Human Frontiers Fellow at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), where she revealed the underlying molecular mechanisms of action of the first generation of oncolytic virus therapies and novel tumor/viral targets. Dr. O’Shea’s research has been recognized with numerous awards, including the Beckman Young Investigator Award, the Sontag Distinguished Scientist Award, American Cancer & Gene Therapy Young Investigator Award, Rose Hills Fellow, American Cancer Society Award, Kavli Frontiers Fellow (National Academy of Sciences), W.M. Keck Medical Research Award, HHMI Faculty Scholar Award, and the Allen Distinguished Investigator Award.
James S. Economou, M.D., Ph.D.
Dr. Economou is currently the Distinguished Beaumont Professor of Surgery, Distinguished Professor of Microbiology, Immunology and Molecular Genetics, and Distinguished Professor of Molecular and Medical Pharmacology at University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). He previously served as Chief of the Division of Surgical Oncology, Deputy Director of the UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center, Founding Director of the UCLA Human Gene Medicine Program, and UCLA Vice Chancellor for Research.
Dr. Economou has received over two decades of NIH support for research programs in tumor immunology and has over 100 publications. He was the 65th President of the Society of Surgical Oncology, 136th President of the American Surgical Association, and was elected to the National Academy of Medicine. He was one of the scientific founders of Kite Pharma. Dr. Economou received all of his education at Johns Hopkins University and completed his training in general surgery at UCSF.
William Kaelin, M.D.
Dr. Kaelin is the Sidney Farber Professor in the Department of Medicine at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School. In 2019, Dr. Kaelin was awarded the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine, with co-recipients Sir Peter J. Ratcliffe and Dr. Gregg L. Semenza, for discoveries related to the mechanisms by which cells sense and respond to oxygen levels. He is an elected member of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Medicine, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the Association of American Physicians, and has been a Howard Hughes Medical Investigator since 1998.
Dr. Kaelin’s research seeks to understand how mutations affecting tumor-suppressor genes cause cancer and to lay the foundation for new anticancer therapies. Over the course of his career, he has received numerous recognitions for his work, including the Albert Lasker Basic Medical Research Award, the Princess Takamatsu Award, the Science of Oncology Award, and the Canada Gairdner International Award. Dr. Kaelin obtained his undergraduate and M.D. degrees from Duke University and completed his training in internal medicine at the Johns Hopkins Hospital, where he served as chief medical resident. He was a clinical fellow in Medical Oncology at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, during which time he was a McDonnell Scholar.
Frank McCormick, Ph.D., FRS, DSc (Hon)
Dr. McCormick is a Professor at the UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center and holds the David A. Wood Chair of Tumor Biology and Cancer Research. Prior to joining the UCSF faculty, Dr. McCormick pursued cancer-related work with several biotechnology companies and held positions with Cetus Corporation and Chiron Corporation. In 1992, he founded Onyx Pharmaceuticals and served as its Chief Scientific Officer until 1996, where he initiated drug discovery efforts that led to the approval of sorafenib for treatment of renal cell cancer in 2005 and for liver cancer in 2007, and the approval of ONYX-015 in China for treatment of nasopharyngeal cancer in 2006. In addition, Dr. McCormick’s group led to the identification of the CDK4 kinase inhibitor, palbociclib, approved for treating advanced breast cancer. Dr. McCormick’s current research interests center on ways of targeting Ras proteins and their regulators, including the NF1 protein neurofibromin.
Dr. McCormick is the author of over 330 scientific publications and holds more than 20 issued patents. Dr. McCormick was Director of the Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center from 1997 to 2014. He also served as President for the American Association for Cancer Research from 2012-2013. Since 2013, Dr. McCormick has led the National Cancer Institute’s Ras Initiative at the Frederick National Laboratories for Cancer Research, overseeing the national effort to develop therapies against Ras-driven cancers. Dr. McCormick is a Fellow of the Royal Society and a member of the National Academy of Sciences.
Owen Witte, M.D.
Dr. Witte was recently appointed as University Professor by the University of California Board of Regents. He is also the UCLA David Saxon Presidential Chair in Developmental Immunology and a Founding Director Emeritus of the Eli and Edythe Broad Center of Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Research at UCLA. Over the course of his career, Dr. Witte has made significant contributions to the understanding of human leukemias, immune disorders, and epithelial cancer stem cells. His work includes the discovery of tyrosine kinase activity for the ABL gene, the demonstration of the BCR-ABL oncoproteins in human leukemias, and the co-discovery of Bruton’s tyrosine kinase (BTK). More recently, his research has focused on defining the stem cells for epithelial cancers of the prostate and other organ sites to help define new types of therapy for these diseases.
Dr. Witte is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the National Academy of Medicine. Recognition for his research includes the Milken Foundation Award in Basic Cancer Research, the Rosenthal Award of the American Association for Cancer Research, the Dameshek Prize of the American Society of Hematology, the Alpert Foundation Prize, the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s de Villiers International Achievement Award, the UCLA Faculty Research Lecture, the Nakahara Memorial Lecture Prize, the AACR G.H.A. Clowes Memorial Award, and The Stanford Medical School Alumni Lifetime Achievement Award. He currently serves on several editorial and advisory boards, and he previously served on the Board of Directors for the American Association for Cancer Research. In 2012, he was appointed by President Obama to the President’s Cancer Panel and served until 2017. Dr. Witte received his undergraduate degree from Cornell University, his M.D. from Stanford University, and completed his postdoctoral research at MIT.
Mark Chao, M.D., Ph.D.
Dr. Chao is a physician-scientist and biotech entrepreneur with over 20 years of experience in oncology research. He was a co-founder and senior vice president of clinical development at Forty Seven, Inc., an immuno-oncology company developing macrophage-directed therapeutics which was acquired by Gilead Sciences in 2020. As one of the scientific pioneers discovering CD47, an anti-phagocytic signal, as a therapeutic target in oncology, Dr. Chao helped lead research and oversaw clinical development of magrolimab, a first-in-class CD47 targeting antibody across multiple cancers from early to late-stage development.
Dr. Chao is currently a vice president in oncology clinical research at Gilead Sciences, where he is the global development lead for magrolimab. He received his Ph.D. in Cancer Biology in the lab of Dr. Irving Weissman and conducted his internal medicine and hematology training at Stanford University. He serves on the board of directors for Hepatx Corporation, the Silicon Valley chapter of the Leukemia Lymphoma Society, and on the scientific advisory board of TigaTx.
IconOVir is a preclinical-stage biotechnology company pioneering the next generation of oncolytic virus therapy to improve the treatment of patients with cancer. IconOvir’s proprietary oncolytic virus platform is based on technology developed by scientific founder Clodagh O’Shea, Ph.D., of the Salk Institute. It is designed to address key limitations of first- and second-generation oncolytic viruses and provide a personalized therapy for cancer patients. For more information, please visit www.iconovir.com and follow IconOVir on LinkedIn.
Source: IconOVir Bio, Inc.