Dr. Geoffrey Shapiro and Dr. Timothy Yap bring extensive expertise in targeting cell-cycle and DNA repair mechanisms in oncology drug development
NEW HAVEN, Conn., Oct. 22, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Cybrexa Therapeutics, a biotechnology company developing a new class of cancer therapeutics through its tumor selective technology platform that enables expedited development of potentially superior therapeutics and novel combinations of anticancer agents through safe, targeted drug delivery, today announced that it has expanded its Scientific Advisory Board with the appointments of Geoffrey Shapiro, M.D., Ph.D. Director, the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Timothy Yap MBBS, Ph.D., MRCP(UK), BSc (Hons), PgDip of The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.
Per Hellsund, President & CEO of Cybrexa, commented, “Cybrexa is currently at a major inflection point as we rapidly move toward entering the clinic with the first candidate generated from our paradigm-changing tumor-selective technology platform. Dr. Shapiro and Dr. Yap both bring a wealth of knowledge and experience that is critical as we transform into a clinical-stage company. In particular, Dr. Shapiro’s expertise in the preclinical and clinical development of molecules exploiting cell cycle and DNA repair-related proteins and Dr. Yap’s expertise in first-in-human and combinatorial development of molecularly targeted agents, especially those targeting of the DNA damage response, will be instrumental in our clinical development. These important additions further expand Cybrexa’s collective depth of knowledge and we look forward to their contributions.”
Dr. Shapiro currently serves as Director, Early Drug Development Center and Clinical Director, Center for DNA Damage and Repair, and an Institute Physician at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. His research focuses on the investigation of the role of cell cycle and DNA repair-related proteins in a variety of solid tumors, including breast, ovarian, pancreatic and lung, with clinical interests in developmental therapeutics and Phase I clinical trials. He is also a Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and serves as the Principal Investigator on the National Cancer Institute/Clinical Trials Evaluation Program (NCI/CTEP) Early Therapeutics UM1 Grant for Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center. He is a member of the NCI Investigational Drug Steering Committee and has served on scientific committees of both the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) and the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), as well as the European Society of Medical Oncology (ESMO) International Congress on Targeted Anticancer Therapies. Dr. Shapiro holds Ph.D. and M.D. degrees from Cornell University, and completed his postgraduate training in internal medicine at Beth Israel Hospital, Boston, where he served as chief medical resident, followed by a fellowship in medical oncology at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.
Dr. Yap is a Medical Oncologist and Physician-Scientist at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. He is also an Associate Professor in the Department for Investigational Cancer Therapeutics (Phase I Program), and the Department of Thoracic/Head and Neck Medical Oncology. Dr. Yap also is the Medical Director of the Institute for Applied Cancer Science, part of MD Anderson’s Therapeutics Discovery division, and the Associate Director of Translational Research in the Institute for Personalized Cancer Therapy. Prior to his current positions at MD Anderson, Dr. Yap was a Consultant Medical Oncologist at The Royal Marsden Hospital in London, UK and National Institute for Health (NIH) Research BRC Clinician Scientist at The Institute of Cancer Research, London. Dr. Yap holds a BSc degree with First Class Honors in Immunology and Infectious Diseases from the Imperial College London and was awarded the Huggett Memorial Prize. He holds a M.D. from Imperial College London and completed his medical training at Oxford.
Previously appointed members of Cybrexa’s SAB include:
Dr. Ranjit Bindra is a physician-scientist and biotech entrepreneur at the Yale School of Medicine and a co-founder of Cybrexa. Clinically, Dr. Bindra treats adult and pediatric primary CNS tumors, and he is a member of the Yale radiosurgery team, with expertise in treating brain metastases and benign tumors such as arteriovenous malformations. Dr. Bindra also runs Phase I and II clinical trials at Yale, which are largely based on discoveries from his own laboratory. Dr. Bindra’s group led four major laboratories at Yale discovering IDH1/2-mutant tumors harbor a profound DNA repair defect that renders them exquisitely sensitive to PARP inhibitors. This work was published in Science Translational Medicine and has received international attention with major clinical implications. As a biotech entrepreneur, Dr. Bindra has started two life sciences ventures over the last decade and is incubating a third company via a Program in Innovative Therapeutics for Connecticut’s Health (PITCH) award at Yale. Dr. Bindra received his undergraduate degree in Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry from Yale University, and both his M.D. and Ph.D. from the Yale School of Medicine. He completed his medical internship, radiation oncology residency, and post-doctoral research studies at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.
Dr. Peter Glazer is currently the Hunter Professor and Chairman of the Department of Therapeutic Radiology and Professor of Genetics at Yale. Dr. Glazer lab’s main focus has been on elucidating the regulation of DNA repair in cancer and developing novel agents to exploit DNA repair for cancer therapy. He is credited with making the seminal observation that tumor hypoxia promotes genetic instability, and he has systematically dissected the mechanism for this effect, revealing that DNA repair is dysregulated in hypoxic cancer cells. Dr. Glazer has also pioneered the use of triplex-forming oligonucleotides for targeted gene editing, with recent work demonstrating successful gene editing in a living animal by simple intravenous administration of oligonucleotide-containing nanoparticles, providing a potentially safer and simpler alternative to CRISPR. Dr. Glaser Glazer served as Chairperson of the Radiation Therapeutics and Biology Study Section for NIH, as well as on councils and program committees for several national societies. He has also led the Yale Cancer Center’s Radiobiology & Radiotherapy research program for more than 20 years. Dr. Glazer has received awards from the Radiation Research Society, the American Society for Photobiology, and the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, and was elected to the Association of American Physicians in 2014. In 2017, Dr. Glazer received the John Yuhas Award from the University of Pennsylvania in recognition of his work in cancer research and received an Outstanding Investigator Award from the National Cancer Institute. Dr. Glazer received a BA in Chemistry from Harvard, an MS in Biochemistry from the University of Oxford, and an M.D. and Ph.D. (in Genetics) from Yale.
Dr. Patricia LoRusso brings more than 25 years of expertise in medical oncology, drug development, and early phase clinical trials. Currently Dr. LoRusso is the Associate Director for experimental therapeutics at Yale University and the Principal Investigator of the National Cancer Institute/Clinical Trials Evaluation Program (NCI/CTEP) Early Therapeutics UM1 Grant for Yale University. Prior to this, Dr. LoRusso served in numerous leadership roles at Wayne State University’s Barbara Karmanos Cancer Institute, most recently as director of the Phase I Clinical Trials Program and of the Eisenberg Center for Experimental Therapeutics. She also serves on the Board of Directors for the American Association of Cancer Research (AACR) and on the Board of Scientific Council for the National Cancer Institute (NCI) Intramural Program. Previously Dr. LoRusso was co-chair of the NCI Cancer Therapy Evaluation Program (CTEP) Investigational Drug Steering Committee. She has also served on the education and scientific committees of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), the scientific committee of the AACR, and as a parent member of the NCI’s Quick Trials Clinical Subcommittee.
Dr. Ruth Plummer is Professor of Experimental Cancer Medicine at the Northern Institute for Cancer Research, Newcastle University and an honorary consultant medical oncologist in Newcastle Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. She is Director of the Sir Bobby Robson Cancer Trials Research Centre within the Northern Centre for Cancer Care, which is a dedicated clinical trials unit based within the regional cancer center. Dr. Plummer leads the Newcastle Experimental Cancer Medicine Centre and the CRUK Newcastle Cancer Centre. Her research interests are in the field of DNA repair and early phase clinical trials of novel agents, and is responsible for taking the first-ever PARP inhibitor into the clinic in 2003, ATR inhibitor in 2012 and MCT1 inhibitor in 2014. Nationally she chairs the Cancer Research UK New Agents Committee and sits as a member of Cancer Research UK’s Clinical Research Committee and until recently Science Committee. She is a member of the MRC Stratified Medicine Group. Dr. Plummer trained at Cambridge and Oxford Universities and obtained both a M.D. and scientific Ph.D.
Dr. Leonard Post has over 30 years of experience with all stages of drug development, from early discovery through FDA approval, with a particular focus on oncology and genetic diseases. Dr. Post was a founder and Chief Scientific Officer (CSO) of LEAD Therapeutics, which led to the discovery of Talazoparib (BMN-673) and was later acquired by BioMarin Pharmaceuticals where he then served as CSO. Previously, he served as Senior Vice President of Research and Development for Onyx Pharmaceuticals where he was responsible for the co-development through to FDA approval of Nexavar for renal cancer, and led Onyx’s oncolytic virus clinical program. Dr. Post is currently the CSO of Vivace Therapeutics, an oncology-focused portfolio-based drug discovery and development company adopting a capital-efficient and modality-indifferent approach to bring novel therapies to patients in need. Dr. Post holds a BS in Chemistry from the University of Michigan and a Ph.D. in Biochemistry from the University of Wisconsin, Madison.
Cybrexa is a privately-held biotechnology company dedicated to developing an entirely new class of small molecule DNA repair inhibitors and DNA damaging agents (TSDs) that directly target the tumor microenvironment. This approach will both improve the efficacy while at the same time reduce toxicity of existing cancer drugs. The Company has made significant progress since its inception and now has several drug candidates that are being run through its in vitro and in vivoscreening platform. The objective is to have at least one of its TSDs ready for a phase I clinical trial within two years. Cybrexa was founded by successful entrepreneurs Per Hellsund, Kevin Didden and Kevin Rakin, who most recently built and successfully exited Cyvek, Inc. For more information about Cybrexa, please visit www.cybrexa.com.