TP Therapeutics: Precision Medicine Company

TP Therapeutics, Inc. (TP) is a clinical-stage structure-based drug design company for the discovery and development of precision medicines for cancer and other diseases.  We are focusing on the design of novel chemical identities for established oncogene drivers with secondary resistant mutations, newly identified disease-driven targets, and potential targets regulating tumor microenvironment and tumor immunity.  Our lead therapeutic project, TPX-0005, is in clinical development (TRIDENT-1).  TP- Turning Point Medicines for Life!

J. Jean Cui, Ph.D., Scientific Founder and Chief Scientific Officer

Jean is a renowned oncology drug designer with more than 20 years of experience in drug discovery and project management at Big Pharma and biotech companies (Pfizer, Pharmacia/SUGEN, etc.).  Jean is the lead inventor of Pfizer’s precision oncology medicine, crizotinib, brand named XALKORI®.  She created the drug’s novel chemical scaffold based on co-crystal structure and designed the final clinical compound crizotinib.  XALKORI® was fast track approved by US Food and Drug Administration on August 26, 2011 for ALK positive late stage non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).  In addition to the invention of crizotinib, Jean worked on several other oncology projects, including SUTENT®.  She also created the clinical c-MET specific inhibitor PF-04217903 and designed the ALK second generation clinical compound lorlatinib (PF-06463922).  Her exceptional achievements in drug discovery and development have earned her many prestigious awards which include: the 38th National Inventor of the Year by Intellectual Property Owners’ Association (2011); Woman Worth Watching by Diversity Journal (2012); American Chemical Society Hero of Chemistry (2013); Pfizer Worldwide R&D Achievement Awards (2006 and 2012); Pfizer Innovation Award (2011); CABS K. Fong Award for Life Sciences (2013).  Her story of crizotinib invention was featured in a Wall Street Journal article titled “Drug Discovery Gets an Upgrade” on April 16, 2012.

Y. Peter Li, Ph.D., M.B.A., Co-founder, Chairman of the Board, President and CEO

Peter has extensive experience in biotech management.  Prior to co-founding TP Therapeutics in October 2013, Peter served as Executive Vice President at Epitomics, Inc., a leading antibody technology company specializing in rabbit monoclonal antibody development for reagent, diagnostics, and therapeutics (acquired by Abcam, plc in March 2012).  He spent more than 9 years at the company, initially as Vice President of Life Sciences, then Senior Vice President, and Executive Vice President.  At Epitomics, Peter successfully built its reagent business from concept to sizable operations in both U.S. (35 FTEs) and China (165 FTEs).  He oversaw all aspects of this business line which included R&D, manufacturing, QC, marketing/sales, customer services, and oversea distributor relationship.  Peter also made important contributions to corporate strategy and execution at Epitomics.  Prior to Epitomics, Peter was Vice President at Kenson Ventures, LLC.  He evaluated business plans and consulted for biotech startups on business strategies, operations, marketing and business development.  He has served as members of Board of Directors and observers to the Board for biotech companies. 

Brian L. Baker, CPA, Vice President of Finance and Administration

Brian Baker is a licensed CPA with over 21 years of progressive senior accounting and finance experience, primarily with venture-backed, biotechnology, drug discovery and development companies. He obtained “Big Four” public accounting experience during his tenure at Price Waterhouse where he was a senior assurance advisor. In addition to Price Waterhouse, Mr. Baker has held senior financial positions with Cleave Biosciences, Phenomix Corporation, and Cengent Therapeutics. He has significant fundraising experience in excess of $200 million in equity and $35 million in venture debt.  Mr. Baker earned a Master’s of Science degree in Business Administration – Information Systems from San Diego State University, and a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Business Administration – Accounting, also from San Diego State University.

John K.C. Lim, Pharm.D., Senior Vice President, Clinical Operations and Regulatory Affairs

John brings 30 years of work experience in clinical research and new drug development, principally in the oncology and biotechnology areas.  He joined TP Therapeutics after holding senior management positions at Senhwa Biosciences, Inc. and Cylene Pharmaceuticals, Inc.  John was responsible for Clinical Operations and Regulatory Affairs, for pre-clinical and clinical research, and for developing the corporate clinical plan and regulatory strategy.  Before Cylene, John worked at US Oncology Research, where he was Vice President for Research Operations.  US Oncology is the premier cancer care services company in the USA, and its network of research sites has contributed to the clinical development and approval of more than 20 new cancer agents over the past decade.  In the years before US Oncology, John held senior operational executive positions at Covance, Quintiles, Affiliated Research Centers, and Theradex.  Originally from New Zealand, John graduated from the University of Otago with a Pharmacy degree.  After completing his Doctoral degree at the University of Kentucky, he joined the faculty at the University of Otago Medical School, where he developed the University’s first Clinical Pharmacy teaching program.

Jeffrey P. Whitten, Ph.D., M.B.A., Senior Vice President of Pre-Clinical Development

Jeffrey has worked in many different executive roles in his 30 years within the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries. This started with his experience at Sandoz (now Novartis) and Glaxo in the UK where he worked on Salbutamol (Ventolin®), the first selective beta agonist for respiratory disease. He then came to the United States and worked for Marion Merrell Dow in their oncology and immunology programs. This included the first clinical compound as an aromatase inhibitor for breast cancer and cumulated with his work on Allegra®, a non-sedating antihistamine. Jeff then joined the biotechnology arena in San Diego where he has discovered and developed multiple innovative small molecule drug candidate’s that are currently in clinical trials around the world for auto-immune diseases and cancer. This includes Quarfloxin for solid tumors, the kinase inhibitor CX-4945 for liquid tumors, CX-5461 as an oncology pol. II inhibitor, CM-2489 for psoriasis and CM-4621 for pancreatitis. He has a BSc, PhD and Post-Doctoral fellowship from Manchester and Oxford Universities and a M.B.A. from The Ohio State University.

Y. Peter Li, Ph.D., M.B.A.

Co-founder, Chairman of the Board, President and CEO

Please see Senior Management section for Dr. Li’s background.

J. Jean Cui, Ph.D.

Scientific Founder, and Chief Scientific Officer

Please see Senior Management section for Dr. Cui’s background.

Carl Gordon, Ph.D., CFA

Partner, OrbiMed Advisors, LLC

Carl L. Gordon, Ph.D., CFA, is a founding Partner and Co-Head of Global Private Equity at OrbiMed.  He was a senior biotechnology analyst at Mehta and Isaly from 1995 to 1997.  He was a Fellow at The Rockefeller University from 1993 to 1995.  Carl received a Ph.D. in Molecular Biology from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1993) and a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Harvard College (1987).  Carl was included on the Forbes Midas List of top venture capital investors in 2014.

Hongbo Lu, Ph.D., M.B.A.

Partner, Lilly Asia Ventures

Dr. Hongbo Lu is a Partner at Lilly Asia Ventures (LAV).  Previously, Hongbo was with OrbiMed Advisors, serving as its Managing Director in Asia.  Hongbo has over 15 years of investment and operational experience in healthcare industry in the US and in China, including her tenures at OrbiMed, Piper Jaffray & Co. and Zyomyx.  Hongbo received a Ph.D. in BioEngineering from the University of Washington, an M.B.A. from the Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley, and graduated with honor from Tsinghua University in China.

Simeon George, M.D., M.B.A.

Partner, S.R. One, Limited

Dr. Simeon George joined SR One in 2007 and leads SR One’s investment activities on the West Coast.  Simeon is a director of Crispr Therapeutics (CRSP), eFFECTOR Therapeutics, Principia Biopharma, Progyny, and Birdrock.  Simeon previously was a director of Genocea (GNCA), HTG Molecular (HTGM) and Semprus Biosciences (acquired by Teleflex).  Prior to joining SR One, Simeon was a consultant at Bain & Company and an investment banker at Goldman Sachs and Merrill Lynch.  Simeon received his B.A. in neuroscience from the Johns Hopkins University, where he graduated Phi Beta Kappa.  Simeon received his M.D. from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and his M.B.A. (Mayer Scholar) from the University of Pennsylvania Wharton School.

Bihua Chen, M.S., M.B.A.

CEO and Portfolio Manager, Cormorant Asset Management

Bihua Chen founded Cormorant Asset Management LLC (“Cormorant”) in 2013 and currently manages  investments in public and private biopharmaceutical companies totalling over $800mm.  Prior to founding Cormorant, Ms. Chen managed a separately managed account focused on the healthcare sector as a sub-adviser to a large, multi-strategy hedge fund based in New York.  During Ms. Chen’s time managing the account (from 2005 through 2010) the account grew from $75 million to $800 million in assets.  Prior to that, Ms. Chen was a healthcare analyst/sector portfolio manager for American Express Asset Management Boston.  Ms. Chen has also served as a portfolio manager for the Asterion Life Science Fund (2001-2002), and equity analyst/portfolio manager for Bellevue Research (2000-2001) and an equity analyst for Putnam Investments (1998-2000).  Ms. Chen obtained an MBA from the Wharton School of Business in 1998 and graduated with a Master of Science, Molecular Biology, from the Graduate School of Biomedical Science at Cornell Medical College in 1994.  Ms. Chen also holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Genetics and Genetic Engineering from Fudan University, Shanghai, China, which she received in 1990.

George J. Lee, Ph.D.

General Partner, Amkey Ventures, LLC and Hercules BioVentures, LLC

George J. Lee, Ph.D. is a general partner and co-founder of AmKey Ventures, LLC, a venture management company specializing in investments in the biotech and pharmaceutical fields. AmKey Ventures has been dedicated to building a strong biotech portfolio in regions of the US and Asia over the last decade. Dr. Lee has extensive experience in the pharmaceutical industry having worked productively at a major pharmaceutical company (Syntex) for 13 years and early stage biomedical companies (Sonus and Shaman Pharmaceuticals) for 7 years. Dr. Lee is an internationally known pioneer in the field of steroid hormones research. His HPLC-RIA method has been recognized as the most accurate and sensitive method for the determination of trace amounts of steroid hormones in the complex biological matrices. Dr. Lee has in depth experience in analytical methods development and validation for New Drug Application (NDA) as well as various applications to the Food & Drug Administration. Dr. Lee earned his Ph.D. degree in chemistry from the State University of New York at Buffalo and his B.S. degree in agricultural chemistry from National Taiwan University, Taiwan.

Kenneth Fong, Ph.D.

Chairman, Kenson Ventures, LLC

Dr. Fong is the Chairman of Kenson Ventures, LLC. Kenson specializes in venture financing and strategic consulting to biotech companies. As of January 2003, Kenson has 18 investments that mostly fall into 3 major categories: a) Innovative Research Tools, b) Platform Technologies, and c) Drug Development. Prior to founding Kenson, Dr. Fong was the founder and CEO of CLONTECH Laboratories, that was acquired by Becton Dickinson (BD) in late 1999. CLONTECH was the leader in the Molecular/Cell Biology market and in the last 4 years before its acquisition, the company had experienced an average growth rate of 36% a year. The company also had 48 consecutive quarters of double-digit growth and profits. In 1994, 1995, 1998, and 1999, CLONTECH was selected as one of the fastest-growing companies in the San Francisco Bay Area. Dr. Fong’s past experience is best suited to young companies and to those that desire to grow more rapidly. He is also adept at crafting development strategy and realistic implementation plans to promote the long-term growth of a company. Under Dr. Fong’s leadership, companies that either were acquired or went public between 2007 and 2010 are: Epitomics (to Abcam); SA Biosciences (to Qiagen); DHI (to Quidel); Fermentas (to ThermoFisher); Panomics (to Affymetrix); Bioform (IPO); and Optimer (IPO). Dr. Fong obtained his Ph.D. from Indiana University. Currently, Dr. Fong sits on the board of several companies in addition to TP Therapeutics:  Apexigen Biopharm (Burlingame), Genewiz (New Jersey), GB HealthWatch (San Diego), System Biosciences (Mountain View)  and on the Advisory Board of  Advanced Cell Diagnostics (ACD, Hayward).

Daniel D. Von Hoff, M.D., FACP, FASCO, FAACR

Daniel D. Von Hoff, M.D., FACP, FASCO, FAACR, is currently Physician in Chief and Director of Translational Research at TGen (Translational Genomics Research Institute) in Phoenix, Arizona. He is also Chief Scientific Officer for US Oncology and for HonorHealth’s Clinical Research Institute.   He is also a Clinical Professor of Medicine, University of Arizona.

Dr. Von Hoff graduated from Carroll College and received his medical degree from Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. He went on to complete his internship and residency in internal medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, and a fellowship in medical oncology at the National Cancer Institute. Von Hoff became a professor in the departments of medicine and cellular and structural biology at the University of Texas Health Science Center, San Antonio. In 1989, he became the founding director of the Institute for Drug Development at the Cancer Therapy and Research Center in San Antonio and 10 years later he became the director of the cancer center and professor of medicine at the University of Arizona.

Dr. Von Hoff’s major interest is in the development of new anticancer agents, both in the clinic and in the laboratory.  He and his colleagues were involved in the beginning of the development of many of the agents we now use routinely, including:  mitoxantrone, fludarabine, paclitaxel, docetaxel, gemcitabine, irinotecan, nelarabine, capecitabine, lapatinib and others.  At present, he and his colleagues are concentrating on the development of molecularly targeted therapies for patients with pancreatic and other advanced cancers.

Dr. Von Hoff has published more than 648 papers, 138 book chapters and over 1085 abstracts.  Dr. Von Hoff received the 2010 David A. Karnofsky Memorial Award from the American Society of Clinical Oncology for his outstanding contributions to cancer research leading to significant improvement in patient care.

Dr. Von Hoff was appointed to President Bush’s National Cancer Advisory Board in 2004-2010. Dr. Von Hoff is the past President of the American Association for Cancer Research (the world’s largest cancer research organization), a Fellow of the American College of Physicians, and a member and past board member of the American Society of Clinical Oncology.  Dr. Von Hoff is founder and the Editor Emeritus of Investigational New Drugs – The Journal of New Anticancer Agents; and, past Editor-in-Chief of Molecular Cancer Therapeutics. He is a co-founder of the AACR/ASCO Methods in Clinical Cancer Research Workshop.   He is also proud to have been a mentor and teacher for multiple medical students, medical oncology fellows, graduate students, and post-doctoral fellows.

Sai-Hong Ignatius Ou, M.D., Ph.D.

Dr. Sai-Hong Ignatius Ou completed his MD and PhD degrees at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, Texas; his internal medicine residency training at Duke University Medical Center, Durham, North Carolina; and his hematology-oncology fellowship training at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School in Boston, Massachusetts. Dr. Ou is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Medical Oncology by the American Board of Internal Medicine. Dr. Ou joined the University of California Irvine School of Medicine immediately after completing his fellowship as an assistant clinical professor of medicine in 2003 and has been promoted to health science clinical professor of medicine in 2015. He has published about 110 peer-reviewed manuscripts in journals including New England Journal of Medicine, Lancet Oncology, Journal of Clinical Oncology, Cancer Discovery, Nature Medicine, and JAMA Oncology primarily in the field in targeted therapy in lung cancer including resistance mechanisms and the prognostic and predictive significance of smoking status and ethnicity in the outcome of lung cancer. In particular, Dr. Ou is one of the seven original principal investigators for the still ongoing phase I crizotinib trial that has led to the approval of crizotinib for the treatment of anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK)-rearranged non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Recently, the activity of crizotinib in ROS1-rearranged NSCLC has been reported in New England Journal of Medicine in which Dr. Ou is co-first author. Currently Dr. Ou is involved in many early phase clinical trials involving novel and second-generation tyrosine kinase inhibitors in NSCLC driven by receptor tyrosine kinase rearrangement or mutations including as the lead author of of a global phase 2 study of a second generation ALK inhibitor, alectinib. Dr. Ou is also involved in the clinical trial of immunotherapy in numerous tumor types including squamous and non-squamous NSCLC. Dr. Ou is on the editorial board of Critical Reviews in Oncology/Hematology, Annals of Oncology, Clinical Lung Cancer, and Translational Lung Cancer Research. Dr. Ou is a scientific program committee member for the metastatic NSCLC track for the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) annual meeting from 2016 to 2018. Finally, Dr. Ou has been voted as one of America’s Best Doctors five years in a row since 2009.