Kinnate Biopharma Appoints Dr. Richard Williams as Chief Medical Officer

July 8, 2020 12:00 UTC


Company further expands its leadership team with the appointment of 20-year Pfizer veteran Dr. Robert Kania, as Senior Vice President, Drug Discovery


SAN DIEGO, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Kinnate Biopharma Inc., a precision oncology company focused on the discovery and development of novel kinase inhibitors, today announced the appointment of Richard Williams, MBBS, PhD as Chief Medical Officer. Most recently Chief Medical Officer and Global Head of Oncology Programs at WuXi NextCODE, Dr. Williams brings to Kinnate more than a decade of global clinical strategy and drug development experience in the biopharmaceutical industry. The company has also announced the appointment of Robert Kania, PhD as Senior Vice President, Drug Discovery.

Kinnate is focused on the design and development of best- and first-in-class small molecules targeting atypical mutations and fusions with no coverage from currently available therapeutics. The company’s pipeline portfolio includes a RAF dimer inhibitor targeting Class II and III mutations, an FGFR2/3 inhibitor and a CDK12 inhibitor, as well as other early stage development programs.

“As Kinnate continues to accelerate progress toward clinical testing, we need a leader who shares our vision of developing best- and first-in-class therapies for people with genetically defined and hard-to-treat cancers,” said Nima Farzan, Chief Executive Officer of Kinnate. “With extensive clinical development and drug discovery experience over his distinguished career, Richard brings significant precision oncology expertise to the Kinnate team and will play an instrumental role in advancing our lead candidates through clinical trials and regulatory submission.”

While at WuXi NextCODE, Dr. Williams was responsible for leading the clinical development of large-scale genomics and target biomarker discovery programs. Previously, he was with cancer detection company GRAIL as Group Medical Director and Program Lead of the Circulating Cell-Free Genome Atlas (CCGA), the largest-ever prospective study of circulating nucleic acids in cancer. He also guided the development of early clinical oncology assets as Head of Early Development Oncology Group and Early Development Leader at Amgen. While Senior Medical Director at Puma Biotechnology, Dr. Williams led the Phase 2 and Phase 3 trials in metastatic breast cancer and lung cancer for the development of the targeted cancer therapeutic Nerlynx® (neratinib). He was also a clinical hematology and oncology fellow, and later an NIH-funded faculty member, at St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital where he focused on translational biology and therapeutics studies within the molecular oncology and hematological malignancies programs. He has co-authored 60 publications in high impact clinical, translational and basic research journals including NEJM, Nature and Cancer Cell, and is the co-inventor on two patents. Dr. Williams holds an MBBS and PhD as well as a BMedSc from University of Queensland, Australia.

“Currently available therapies don’t provide sufficient clinical benefit to most patients with genetically-defined cancers. Kinnate has developed an impressive platform of kinase inhibitors that could fill this significant unmet need,” said Dr. Williams. “I look forward to working with Kinnate’s world-renowned team of drug hunters, life science investors, and scientific advisors to rapidly bring these targeted medicines to the cancer patients who will benefit from these potentially life-saving therapies.”

At Kinnate, Dr. Kania will be instrumental in advancing the company’s early-stage development programs. Prior to joining Kinnate, he spent more than 20 years in various senior roles at Pfizer, where he was most recently, Senior Director, Design Chemistry. Other positions he held at the company include Senior Director of Cancer Chemistry, Project Leader and Scientist. While at Pfizer, he was co-inventor for a number of FDA-approved precision oncology therapies including Inlyta® (axitinib), Lorbrena® (loratinib) and Xalkori® (crizotinib). Dr. Kania has published nearly 40 peer-reviewed journal articles and holds 19 patents in drug development-related areas. He holds a PhD and MA in Organic Chemistry from Harvard University and a BS in Chemistry from University of California, Berkeley.

“Kinnate has built an exceptional team with deep expertise across medicinal chemistry, cancer genetics and translational biology and I am pleased to join them in the development of new cancer treatments for people who currently have limited options,” added Dr. Kania.

About Kinnate Biopharma Inc.

Kinnate Biopharma Inc. is a precision oncology company driven by our mission to deliver better outcomes for patients with limited treatment options. Our focused portfolio of best-in-class and first-in-class small-molecule candidates targeting kinases aims to deliver better outcomes by providing the right drug to the right patient. Headquartered in San Diego, the Kinnate team is composed of drug discovery experts supported by world-class investors and scientific advisors. For more information, please visit and follow Kinnate on LinkedIn.


Colin Sanford


Source: Kinnate Biopharma Inc.

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