Allogene Overland Biopharm Taps Cell Therapy Veteran Yao as CEO

Leader CEO

WuXi veteran Shuyuan Yao has been named chief executive officer of Allogene Overland Biopharm, a company formed by Allogene Therapeutics and Overland Pharmaceuticals in December to advance CAR-T cell therapies in China and other Asian markets.

Yao has more than 15 years of experience in the cell and gene therapy fields. At WuXi Apptec Shanghai, Yao established and directed the Cell Therapy R&D business unit, with a focus on CAR-T development. 

In that role, he oversaw the establishment of JW Therapeutics, which was formed through a partnership between WuXi and Juno Therapeutics. JW was created to harness Juno’s chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) and T cell receptor (TCR) technologies combined with WuXi AppTec's R&D and manufacturing platform. The company’s aim has been to develop novel cell-based immunotherapies for patients with hematologic and solid-organ cancers.

Following his role in the launch of JW Therapeutics, Yao served as WuXi Advanced Therapies China General Manager. In that role, he established ATU China, a subsidiary company. He most recently served as Chief Scientific Officer, Head of Research & Technology Development of WuXi Advanced Therapies at WuXi AppTec, where he led new technology acquisition, development, translation and application.

Yao called it a privilege to join Allogene Overland and its efforts to advance CAR-T therapies in China. 

“As a trailblazing joint venture in Asia, Allogene Overland will expand the footprint of allogeneic cell therapies for patients around the globe and I am thrilled to collaborate with both Overland Pharmaceuticals and Allogene Therapeutics to jointly fulfill this important mission,” Yao said in a statement. 

As BioSpace previously reported, Allogene Overland has a license to bring innovative AlloCAR T therapies to patients in China and other Asian Pacific markets. The company will develop, manufacture, and commercialize candidates that target BCMA, CD70, FLT3, and DLL3.

David Chang, president, CEO, and co-founder of Allogene Therapeutics said Yao has significant experience in drug development. Chang also pointed to Yao’s track record in commercialization and joint venture building in the cell therapy space. 

“As the first allogeneic cell therapy company to establish a joint venture in China, we are proud to charge Shuyuan with leading Allogene Overland as it seeks to bring novel cell therapy treatments to patients with cancer in Asia,” Chang said in a statement.

Overland Pharmaceuticals interim CEO Ed Zhang expressed confidence in Yao’s ability to lead Allogene Overland Biopharm in developing the cell therapies. Zhang said Yoa’s experience at WuXi AppTec and JW Therapeutics in China provides him with “great perspective” to lead the joint venture. 

Before joining WuXi AppTec, Yao was Associate Director of Biology at Vertex Pharmaceuticals R&D Shanghai. His pharmaceutical career began at Sangamo Biosciences. He took on roles of increasing responsibility at Stemgent, CalCyte Therapeutics, and the Allen Institute for Brain Science.


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