ActoKine Scientific Advisory Board (SAB)
The SAB consists of the following individuals who have a variety of expertise related to drug discovery and their biographies are given below.
Gordon Vehar, PhD,
Jeff Browning, PhD, former Distinguished Scientist,
Diane Pennica, PhD, former Genentech
Pat Gray, PhD, former Genentech
Kuldeep Neote, PhD, former Genentech and Pfizer
Jim Strickler, PhD, former Serono
Steve Arkinstall, PhD, former Serono (Boston)
Tim Wells, PhD, former Serono
Yat Sun Or, PhD, VP of Chemistry, Enanta Pharmaceuticals
Iain Campbell, PhD, Associate Professor, The
Scripps Research Institute
David Vaux, MD, PhD, Medical researcher, The Walter
and Eliza Hall Institute
Gordon Vehar, PhD., former Genentech
Dr. Vehar received his PhD from the University of Cincinnati Medical
School and did his postdoctoral work with Dr. Earl Davie at the University
of Washington, Seattle. He joined Genentech, Inc. in 1980. During his
20 years at Genentech, Dr. Vehar served various leadership functions,
including Director, Cardiovascular Research, and project team leader
for the Factor VIII (Kogenate, tPA (Activase, TNKase (TNKase, and Lymphotoxin
Projects, as well as Staff Scientist in the Cardiovascular Research
and Protein Chemistry Departments. Dr. Vehar is co-inventor on 36 issued
U.S. patents and has authored more than 35 scientific publications.
He has been awarded the Murray Thelin Award for Outstanding Research
(1987) presented by the National Hemophilia Foundation, the Inventor
of the Year Award from the Intellectual Property Owners, Inc. (1989)
for the recombinant tissue plasminogen activator patent and the Distinguished
Inventor of the Year Award from the Intellectual Property Owners, Inc
(1999) for the recombinant factor VIII patent. He served on the Scientific
Advisory Board for the Oklahoma Center for Molecular Medicine (1992-1996).
Dr. Vehar joined Raven Biotechnologies in 2000, as Vice President, Research
and Development. Raven Biotechnologies utilizes tissue specific progenitor
cells and high throughput antibody production/screening to identify,
validate, and develop tumor specific monoclonal antibody therapeutics.
Jeffrey Browning PhD, former Biogen-IDEC
Dr. Browning is well known in the field of cytokines and has many years' experience in the biotech industry. He obtained a PhD from the biochemistry department at the University of Wisconsin studying ion channels with Dr. David Nelson. This was followed by postdoctoral research on lipid membrane structure with Dr. Joachim Seelig at the Biozentrum in Basel, Switzerland and on neuromuscular junctions with Dr. Louis Reichardt at UCSF. Since 1984, he has been a creative scientist in new drug discovery for Biogen, which is one of the largest biotechnology companies in Cambridge, MA. Dr. Browning prefers laboratory work to management and administration. In 1989, he and Dr. Carl Ware discovered Lymphotoxin-beta and he is now leading a group devoted to uncovering the biological functions of various TNF family members. He is often invited to speak at international conferences and seminars.
Diane Pennica PhD, Former Senior Research Scientist, Genentech.
Dr. Pennica is well known for cloning cytokines and has over 20 years of biotech industry experience. Dr. Pennica, together with Dr. Bill Kohr, Dr. David Goeddel and Dr. Gordon Vehar, made a very important heart attack drug (tissue plasminogen activator t-PA, Activase) for Genentech. She received her PhD from the University of Rhode Island and did her postdoctoral work at the Roche Institute of Molecular Biology in Nutley, NJ. She has been working at Genentech since 1980 cloning many proteins, including t-PA, TNF, p53, WISP-1 and cardiotrophin. Dr. Pennica has published 95 papers and filed 36 (20 issued) US patents. She was awarded (with Drs. Goeddel, Kohr and Vehar) the Inventor of the Year Award from the Intellectual Property Owners Foundation (1989) for the recombinant t-PA patent. She was also nominated for the Lemelson-MIT Prize for Inventors in 1996.
Pat Gray PhD, former Genentech
Dr. Gray is well known for his cloning of interferon-gamma (ActiMune) which was approved by FDA to treat chronic granulomatous disease (CGD) in children in 1990 (InterMune acquires this drug from Genentech). In addition to IFN-gamma, significant accomplishments include the first cloning of hepatitis B surface antigen, multiple interferon-alpha genes, Lymphotoxin (TNF-beta), bactericidal permeability increasing protein, LPS binding protein, platelet activating factor Acetylhydrolase, and macrophage derived chemokine. Five of these proteins are approved human pharmaceuticals or are in clinical trials. Twelve of his 118 publications are in Nature, Science and Cell covering these important therapeutic proteins. He has published over 50 patents with over 30 US patents issued on 20 different technologies. He was a senior scientist working with Dr. David Goeddel cloning IFN-alpha and IFN-gamma at Genentech from 1980 to 1989. Dr. Gray worked with Dr. Marc Feldmann at the Charing Cross Sunley Research Center, London, UK from 1989 to 1990. He worked at ICOS Corporation in Seattle from 1990 to 2001 as the Director of Leukocyte Biochemistry and then promoted to various VP positions. He retired from ICOS to join MacroGenics as the VP of Research. He serves also as a consultant for Arch Venture Partners and Ceptyr, Inc. He obtained his BS from the University of Oregon and a PhD from the University of Colorado. He is frequently invited to give international seminars and is a member of ten professional societies. He has served on the editorial boards of several journals, currently that of the Journal of Biological Chemistry.
Kuldeep Neote PhD, former Genentech and Pfizer
Kuldeep Neote PhD is a Principal Scientist with Eli Lilly since 2003. He did his PhD at the University of Toronto and was involved in identifying the most prevalent genetic lesion responsible for Tay-Sachs disease in the Ashkenazi Jewish population (Nature, 1988). His postdoctoral work at Genentech from 1991 to 1994 focused on chemokine biology and he cloned the first CC chemokine receptor (Cell, 1993), work that subsequently had an impact on cloning additional chemokine receptors including CCR5, one of the major HIV co-receptors. He has worked at Pfizer for the last ten years responsible for initiating the chemokine drug discovery program that has led to the advancement of one clinical candidate to Phase II trial. He has published 38 papers and filed 5 patents. Dr. Neote has known Dr. Wong since 1990 at Genentech.
James Strickler PhD, former Serono
Dr. Strickler has 19 years' experience in the biotech industry in four companies in different therapeutic areas (Cetus, SmithKline Beecham, Serono and Suntory Pharmaceutical ). He received his PhD from Yale University and did his postdoctoral work at the Yale University School of Medicine. After briefly working as an associate scientist at the Cetus Corporation in Emeryville, California, Dr. Strickler joined SmithKline Beecham Pharmaceuticals (Smith, Kline and French Laboratories) in 1984 as an associate senior investigator and became Assistant Director in 1989. Dr. Strickler joined Ares Advanced Technology, Inc (now called Serono SRBI) in 1994 as Director of Protein Chemistry. Dr. Strickler left Serono in 2000 to become the Director of Biochemistry at Suntory Pharmaceuticals. Dr. Strickler has authored more than 40 scientific publications and is the co-inventor on five US patents. He is an expert in protein chemistry. Dr. Strickler hired Dr.Wong to work at Serono as the head of functional genomics in 1999 and was Dr. Wong's great supporter.
Steve Arkinstall PhD, former Serono
Dr. Arkinstall is an accomplished molecular biologist with 13 years' experience in the pharmaceutical industry. He is currently the Head of the Serono Reproductive Biology Institute where he supervises 75 scientists and oversees a $24M budget. Dr. Arkinstall has a major role at Serono in the identification and development of new drug targets. His work at Serono has included new product development and studies on the molecular and genetic basis of altered reproductive function and identification of novel mechanisms responsible for specific regulation of MAP kinases. Prior to joining Serono Dr. Arkinstall played various scientific and leadership roles at the Glaxo-Wellcome Biomedical Research Institute. His assignments at Glaxo-Wellcome included the generation of novel screening systems, new target identification, discovery of novel immunoregulators, discovery of novel blockers of neuronal apoptosis for neurodegenerative diseases and discovery of small molecule regulators of the neurotrophin/Trk receptor system for neurodegenerative and neuroinflammatory diseases. Dr. Arkinstall holds a DPhil from the University of Oxford and a BSc in Biochemistry and Physiology from the University of Sheffield. He has authored over 40 publications. Dr. Arkinstall appreciated Dr. Wong's creativity in drug discovery technologies and out-of-the-box thinking. According to Dr. Arkinstall, "Grace understands companies needs and has many ideas linking utility of targets to disease indications. Her strength in biomedicine is that she sees no boundaries to her experimental approach as documented by the several innovative experiments and novel discoveries she has generated at Serono".
Timothy Wells PhD, Former Vice President of Research, Serono
Dr. Wells has a successful scientific career in biotechnology and is well known in the field of cytokine biology. He has worldwide responsibility for the discovery organization, with sites in Geneva, Boston and Ivrea, Italy. Serono's research focuses on providing new candidate molecules for clinical development in Serono's key therapeutic areas: infertility, neurology, autoimmunity/inflammation and wasting. Serono built a wide network of collaborations allowing access to all of the emerging new technologies of drug discovery. His personal research background has been focused on cytokine biology. Prior to joining Serono in 1998, Dr. Wells worked for Glaxo Wellcome for several years, rising to Head of Biochemistry and Immunology. Between 1987 and 1990 he worked at SmithKline Beecham in the UK on the molecular enzymology of arteriosclerosis. He obtained a PhD in the chemistry of enzyme action and protein engineering from Imperial College, London under the supervision of Prof. Alan Fersht. Dr. Wells was a great supporter of Dr. Wong at Serono and he was also the first investor in her new start-up.
Yat Sun Or PhD, Senior Vice President, Drug Discovery, Enanta Pharmaceuticals
Dr. Or is well known as an expert chemist and has 17 years' experience in small molecule drug discovery in both biotech and pharmaceutical companies. He holds a PhD from the Department of Organic Chemistry of the University of Chicago. He did his postdoctoral work at Ohio State and Indiana Universities with Professor P. Magnus. In 1983 he joined Schering-Plough as senior scientist and in 1985 moved to Abbot Laboratories where he worked for 14 years in increasingly important positions. He left Abbot in 1999 to join Enanta Pharmaceuticals as Vice President in drug discovery. He has filed over 30 patents and has authored 25 scientific publications. Dr. Or invented three drugs in different therapeutic areas which have entered clinical trials. He established a record at Abbot for the time from inception of a drug discovery project to clinical development less than two years. He received two Chairman's Awards at Abbott for outstanding achievement in drug discovery.
Iain Campbell PhD, Professor and chair of Molecular Biology, The University of Sydney,
Adjunct Professor, Department of Neuropharmacology, The Scripps Research Institute
Professor Campbell is a leader in the field of cytokines in central nervous system diseases. He obtained his graduate (1979) and doctoral (1982) degrees in Science from the University of Sydney, Australia. Since 1990, he has been an NIH-funded researcher at the Scripps Research Institute in San Diego, USA in the Department of Neuropharmacology and from 2004 in the School of Molecular and Microbial Biosciences at the University of Sydney, Australia. For the past 20 years, Prof. Campbell's research interests have focused on the role of cytokines (and chemokines) in the pathogenesis of disease, particularly in the central nervous system. These studies have pioneered the use of transgenic modeling in mice to understand the mechanisms of action of cytokines in the living brain. In addition to being a current serving Chair of the NBDG study section for the NIH, Prof.Campbell is an editorial board member for numerous scientific journals and has been a regular invited speaker at many national and international scientific meetings including two Nobel Symposia. He has published over 190 papers in top journals with a significant impact in science discovery. He collaborated with Dr. Wong on cytokine research since 1983 when they were both working at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research in Australia.
David Vaux MD, PhD, Medical researcher, The Walter and Eliza Hall Institute
Dr. Vaux is a leader in Apoptosis that is responsible for maintaining the right number of cells by balancing cell production and cell division. He has made a number of fundamental contributions to the understanding of this process, including recognition of the first component of the cell death mechanism, Bcl-2; unification of the mechanisms of apoptosis in mammalian cells and programmed cell death in the worm C. elegans; discovery of the cellular inhibitor of apoptosis (IAP) proteins, and isolation of the first mammalian IAP antagonists Diablo and HtrA2. He has published many papers in top journals such as Nature with a significant impact in the field of apoptosis. He has been invited to give many seminars in apoptosis conferences (both national and international scientific meetings) including the Nobel Symposia on apoptosis in 2002. Dr. Vaux has collaborated with Dr. Wong on apoptosis since 1996.