About Us ++ Who We Are
Biotheryx is a biopharmaceutical company discovering and developing a portfolio of first-in-class protein degraders, including bifunctional degraders and molecular glues. Our initial focus is deploying the differentiated potential of degraders towards validated targets in cancer and inflammatory disease. Members of our founding and scientific teams previously developed the first U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved modulators of Cereblon, the most widely validated E3 ligase involved in protein degradation, and we have applied our expertise in Cereblon binding to build our proprietary PRODEGY platform.
About Us ++ Mission
We are a purpose-driven team, passionate about leveraging our PRODEGY platform to discover and develop targeted protein degraders to address severe unmet patient needs. In doing so, we seek to build Biotheryx into a leader in next-generation targeted protein degradation.
About Us ++ Team
Dr. Leah Fung has served as CEO of Biotheryx since July of 2023. After becoming Chief Scientific Officer in 2021, she proved to be pivotal in the design and implementation of the Company’s PRODEGY protein degradation platform. She also created Biotheryx’s Cereblon binder library and directed research that resulted in more than 25 issued U.S. patents covering an extensive range of small molecule protein degraders. Prior, Dr. Fung served as Vice President of Medicinal Chemistry at NovoMedix, where she led drug discovery research efforts to discover antifibrotic and breast cancer development candidates. Dr. Fung was also Associate Director of Medicinal Chemistry at Structural Genomix and Assistant Director of Medicinal Chemistry at Structural Bioinformatics. At both companies, she led multi-disciplinary research teams to discover novel cancer therapeutics using fragment-based approaches for lead discovery, as well as crystallography and computational methods for lead optimization. Dr. Fung also held leadership positions in research at Signal Pharmaceuticals and Celgene. She was among leading scientists who pioneered high-throughput parallel synthesis technologies and combinatorial chemistries and has authored over 20 peer-reviewed publications. Additionally, she is co-inventor on more than 40 issued U.S. patents and hundreds of international patents. Dr. Fung received her Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of California, Irvine.
Dr. Jeremy Barton joined Biotheryx as Acting Chief Medical Officer in August 2023. He is responsible for the Company’s program development activities, including clinical and non-clinical operations, regulatory affairs and medical strategy. Dr. Barton has over 30 years of global oncology drug development experience. He previously served as Chief Medical Officer of Biogen (formerly Biogen Idec), eFFECTOR Therapeutics and Mirati Therapeutics. Prior, he worked at Pfizer as Head of Oncology, Biotechnology Clinical Development, overseeing the transition of all oncology compounds from research through investigational new drug applications to proof of concept studies. Dr. Barton holds an M.S. in physiological sciences from Oxford University and an M.D. from University College Hospital Medical School in London. He trained in internal medicine and clinical oncology in the United Kingdom and practiced for 11 years in the National Health Service. Dr. Barton is Board Certified in internal medicine and clinical oncology, a member of the Royal College of Physicians in the United Kingdom, a fellow of the Royal College of Radiologists and a member of the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Medicine.
Dr. Aparajita Hoskote Chourasia joined Biotheryx in 2017 and became Vice President of Biology in October 2021 and Vice President of Preclinical and Translational Biology in April 2023. Aparajita leads the full preclinical biology effort for development of targeted protein degraders at Biotheryx. She has been instrumental in identifying targets and establishing assays to assist in drug discovery efforts and has contributed to the development of the Company’s intellectual property. She has accrued expertise in molecular pathways in cancer, tumor metabolism, tumor models, inflammation and assay development while working at Veridex (a Johnson & Johnson company), Novartis Institutes for Biomedical Research and the Brigham and Women Hospital (teaching affiliate of Harvard Medical School). Dr. Chourasia earned her Ph.D. in cancer biology from the University of Chicago, where her research focused on the tumor suppressive function of BNIP3 mediated mitochondrial autophagy in mammary and pancreatic tumorigenesis and its potential as a critical biomarker for early-stage disease diagnosis. Her work led to successful NIH-funded research awards and peer reviewed research articles and reviews. Dr. Chourasia received an M.S. in biochemistry and molecular biology from the University of Illinois, Chicago, and an M.S. in translational science from Howard Hughes Medical Institute.
Dr. Nuzhat Pathan joined Biotheryx in April 2023. Dr. Pathan is responsible for translational medicine, including biomarker identification and other elements of the translational and clinical development strategy for Biotheryx’s protein degrader programs. Dr. Pathan brings over 20 years of biopharmaceutical experience in oncology drug discovery and development. Previously, she was Senior Director, Early Development and Translational Oncology at Pfizer where she was responsible for clinical biomarker strategy for early and late-stage oncology studies in diverse tumor types including breast, lung, pancreatic cancer and melanoma. At Pfizer, she served as Translational Oncology Lead for multiple programs including gedatolisib, mavertinib, dacomitinib, encorafenib, binimetinib and for combination studies of kinase inhibitors with immuno-oncology agents such as avelumab and pembrolizumab. Prior, she served as Group Leader at the Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research where she led a biology team of discovery scientists in novel target identification, validation and drug candidate nomination. Before that, she worked at Biogen Idec as a principal scientist and discovery team lead for first-in-class oncology drug targets, both large and small molecules. She received the Leukemia and Lymphoma Fellowship for her postdoctoral studies with Dr. John C. Reed at the Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Institute. Dr. Pathan obtained her Ph.D. in Cancer Research with a focus on cell signaling from Purdue University.
Joe Ninosky joined Biotheryx as Executive Director of Chemistry, Manufacturing and Controls (CMC) in January 2023. Joe is responsible for supervising the development, scale up and tech transfer of Biotheryx’s drug development programs and overseeing multiple contract development and manufacturing organizations. He has 20 years of life sciences experience, previously including roles at pharmaceutical drug development and medical device/diagnostic companies. He has focused on process development and manufacturing within FDA-regulated environments and led numerous development, scale-up, and tech transfer projects, with experience involving peptide, oligonucleotide, small molecule and ganglioside drug substances and drug products. Joe holds a B.S. in chemical engineering from the University of California, San Diego and an M.S. in chemical engineering from Oregon State University.
David Pieters joined Biotheryx as Senior Director of Finance and Accounting in September 2021. David is responsible for leading the Company’s finance function. He previously held various finance roles in the biopharmaceutical industry, mostly with publicly traded companies. Prior, he worked at Mayer Hoffman McCann P.C. in the audit and assurance practice. David holds a B.S. in accounting from the University of the Free State in South Africa and an M.S. in accounting from San Diego State University. David is a CPA licensed in California.
Sarah Wheeler joined Biotheryx as Senior Director, Clinical Operations in August 2023. Sarah is responsible for leading the Clinical Operations function at Biotheryx. She has over 20 years of experience in Phase 1 through Phase 4 clinical trials and has deep expertise in oncology clinical development. Prior to joining Biotheryx, she was Executive Director, Clinical Operations at NiKang Therapeutics. Previously, she held positions of increasing responsibility at Turning Point Therapeutics (subsequently acquired by BMS). She has additionally built a breadth of clinical operations experience through her various roles at Effector Therapeutics, Ionis Pharmaceuticals and Allergan. Sarah holds a B.S. in Health Science from San Diego State University.
Dr. Shenlin Huang joined Biotheryx as Senior Director of Chemistry in June 2022. Shenlin oversees the Company’s Medicinal Chemistry department, including database, computational chemistry and ADME/PK research. He previously served as Group Leader at AbbVie Oncology Discovery, where he led the company’s protein degradation program. Prior, Shenlin worked as Senior Research Investigator at Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research where his team designed, synthesized and developed the FDA approved drug BRAFTOVI®. During this time, he also contributed to the development of several other clinical compounds. Prior, Shenlin was Senior Scientist at Johnson and Johnson Pharmaceutical. Dr. Huang received his Ph.D. in organic chemistry at the University of South Carolina and conducted his postdoctoral training at North Carolina State University.
Dr. Akinori Okano joined Biotheryx as Director of Medicinal Chemistry in March 2023. Akinori has been responsible for the discovery of preclinical development candidates and supporting IND-enabling studies. He previously served as Senior Scientist II at AbbVie where he led chemistry efforts for the discovery and development of small molecule drugs in multiple oncology discovery programs. Prior, he worked at Rapt Therapeutics where he was instrumental in the discovery of immuno-oncology agents, advancing preclinical and clinical assets. Before, he served as Assistant Professor at the Scripps Research Institute, developing novel antibiotics against resistant bacterial infections. Dr. Okano received his Ph.D. in pharmaceutical sciences from Kyoto University and conducted his postdoctoral research at the Scripps Research Institute.
Dr. Arvind Shakya joined Biotheryx in 2022 and became Director of Pharmacology in March 2023. He is responsible for conducting the Company’s preclinical and translational in vivo pharmacology studies. Dr. Shakya previously served as Principal Scientist at Celgene, where he provided pharmacology support to the molecular glue, bifunctional degrader and inhibitor programs. He has more than 15 years of experience developing immunology and oncology animal models as well as GEM models to support preclinical, translational and toxicological studies. Dr. Shakya received a DVM (BVSc and AH) from India and a Ph.D. from the University of Missouri-Columbia. He conducted postdoctoral research at the University of Utah.
Sumitra Gupta joined Biotheryx as Director of Business Development and Strategy in February 2023. Sumitra is responsible for the Company’s business development, corporate strategy and alliance management functions. Previously, Sumitra worked at Arena Pharmaceuticals across business development, corporate strategy, alliance management and integration planning through the $6.7B acquisition by Pfizer. Before Arena, Sumitra worked in public relations for biopharmaceutical companies at Canale Communications. Sumitra holds a B.S. in biopsychology from the University of California, Santa Barbara.
Dr. Venkat Mali joined Biotheryx as Director of Medicinal Chemistry in July 2022. Dr. Mali supports the Company’s discovery of targeted protein degradation-based drugs and molecular glue discovery programs. He previously worked at AbbVie, where he was a part of the team that discovered BTK degrader, ABBV-101. Prior, Dr. Mali worked at ChemoCentryx and Metabasis Therapeutics. At ChemoCentryx, he supported the discovery of small molecule drug candidates, which resulted in an FDA-approved drug, TAVNEOS™, three Phase 2 clinical compounds and one Phase 1 clinical compound. Additionally, Venkat has co-authored 48 publications and patents. Dr. Mali received a Ph.D. from the Indian Institute of Chemical Technology, Hyderabad, in synthetic organic chemistry. He conducted his postdoctoral research at the Scripps Research Institute.
About Us ++ Board of Directors
Dr. Rajeev Dadoo is a Managing Partner of SR One based in the San Francisco Bay Area. He joined SR One in 2004 and is an alum of the Kauffman Fellows Program. He has leveraged his broad operational and strategic experience to invest in a number of successful companies, both in the therapeutics space and in healthcare technology. His prior roles have included working in the Competitive Excellence group at GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) on various global projects and at Genentech in technology and clinical development. He has also held product development and business development roles at Bio-Rad Laboratories and Genome Therapeutics. Dr. Dadoo received his B.A. from Knox College, his M.B.A. from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and his Ph.D. in chemistry from Stanford University.
Jack Noelke is a Director at Biotheryx. He led the company’s Series D round at MSD Partners in 2020 and has more than a decade of experience in the investment industry, including prior roles at T. Rowe Price and Morgan Stanley. Mr. Noelke earned his B.A., cum laude, from Williams College.
Dr. David Stirling was a Co-Founder of Celgene, and its former Chief Scientific Officer and Executive Vice President, Pharmaceutical Research & Development. He was responsible for initiating the Thalidomide Clinical and Research Program, which led to Celgene’s first clinical product, Thalomid®. Under Dr. Stirling’s leadership, the blockbuster franchise of Thalomid® derivatives (Revlimid®, Pomalyst® and Otezla®) were developed, and these have played a major role in propelling Celgene into the top-tier of public biotechnology companies worldwide. Prior to joining Celgene, Dr. Stirling held various scientific and management positions within the biotechnology group of Celanese Research Company, from which Celgene was spun off. Dr. Stirling received his Ph.D. in biochemistry from the University of Warwick in England, where he studied the industrial applications of novel oxygenase enzymes. Dr. Stirling is the author of numerous publications and holds over 30 U.S. patents.
Nikhil Thatte is a Senior Principal with Lumira Ventures and has been with the firm since March 2019. Nikhil is primarily focused on next generation modalities including protein degradation, gene therapy, cell therapy, and gene editing. Nikhil represents Lumira Ventures as a board member or observer with a number of its portfolio companies including Specific Biologics, Alpina Biotechnology, XyloCor Therapeutics and PIC Therapeutics and co-led Lumira’s investment and successful exit in ESSA Pharma. Prior to Lumira Ventures, Nikhil was a Director with DRI Capital, a pioneer in royalty monetization solutions, where he managed relationships with inventors, academics, and companies, and played a key role in the due diligence process as part of the investment team. Prior to DRI Capital, Nikhil was a Consultant with ZS Associates, a global marketing and sales consulting firm where he provided expertise to over 20 pharmaceutical and biotechnology clients across a broad range of projects and therapeutic areas. He also served as an Analyst with Bayer AG and Health Canada. Nikhil holds a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from McGill University.
Dr. David Anderson is the Chief Scientific Officer of Immunophotonics, specializing in precision medicine drug discovery and development for oncology and autoimmunity/inflammation. With a history of co-founding and managing drug discovery companies, including Signal Pharmaceuticals (acquired by Celgene Corporation), Proprius Pharmaceuticals (acquired by Cypress Bioscience), and Capella Therapeutics (acquired by Nalo Therapeutics/Samsara BioCapital), he has overseen the development of six FDA-approved drugs, ten INDs, two NDAs, and two personalized diagnostic products. David has raised over $250M in funding, secured $150M in partnerships with biopharmaceutical companies, and received $4M in SBIR grants. He has 35 peer-reviewed publications, over 50 presentations/abstracts, 10 patents, and continues to make significant contributions to the field. David received his Ph.D. from the University of Missouri Medical School and has held academic positions at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center and The Scripps Research Institute.
About Us ++ Scientific Advisory Board
Dr. Aaron Ciechanover is a Distinguished Research Professor in the Technion–Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa. Following national service as military physician (1973-1976), he continued his studies to obtain a D.Sc., Technion in 1982. There, as a graduate student with Dr. Avram Hershko, they discovered that covalent attachment of ubiquitin to a target protein signals it for degradation. As a post-doctoral fellow with Dr. Harvey Lodish at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), he continued his studies on the ubiquitin system and made additional important discoveries. Over the years, it has become clear that ubiquitin-mediated proteolysis plays major roles in numerous cellular processes, and aberrations in the system underlie the pathogenetic mechanisms of many diseases, among them certain malignancies and neurodegenerative disorders. Consequently, the system has become an important platform for drug development. Among the numerous prizes Ciechanover received are the 2000 Albert Lasker Award, 2003 Israel Prize and the 2004 Nobel Prize (chemistry, shared with Drs. Hershko and Rose). Among many academies, Dr. Ciechanover is member of the Israeli National Academy of Sciences and Humanities, American Academy of Arts and Sciences (Foreign Fellow), American Philosophical Society, U.S. National Academy of Sciences and the Institute of Medicine of the U.S. National Academies (Foreign Associate), and the Russian Academy of Sciences (Foreign Member). He received his M.Sc. and M.D. from Hebrew University in Jerusalem.
Adrian is a board-certified physician scientist with more than 20 years of research and clinical development experience spanning oncology, infectious disease and neuroscience. He received his medical degree and Ph.D. from the University of Leeds, following scientific training in the laboratories at Genentech. Thereafter he completed his residency and fellowship through joint academic and clinical training at the John Radcliffe Hospital and University of Oxford, before joining the faculty of the Nuffield Department of Clinical Laboratory Sciences. He has devoted his career to building and leading high performing teams to accelerate clinical development for small and large molecule therapeutics in industry. Adrian has contributed to the development of approved products including Avastin®, Zemdri®, Tarceva®, Zelboraf®, and Cotellic®, and investigational medicines including MetMAb, Apo2L, anti-DR5, anti-LRRK2, anti-LILRB4, anti-CD96, anti-CD200R1, and anti-PPARG and has authored over 60 peer-reviewed papers.
Dr. Piro Lito is an Associate Attending Physician at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSK) and a Laboratory Head in MSK’s Human Oncology & Pathogenesis Program. He specializes in lung cancer. His research laboratory is focused on the study of proteins that drive cancer cell growth, with a particular emphasis on KRAS and other members of the MAPK signaling pathway. Dr. Lito is a Pew-Stewart Scholar in Cancer Research and a Damon Runyon Clinical Investigator. Additionally, he received the 2022 Seldin~Smith Award for Pioneering Research from the American Society for Clinical Investigation (ASCI), 2022 Pershing Square Sohn Prize for Young Investigators in Cancer Research from the Pershing Square Sohn Cancer Research Alliance, 2021 Trailblazer Prize for Clinician Scientists from the Foundation of the National Institutes of Health (FNIH) and 2018 Young Physician-Scientist Awards from ASCI. Dr. Lito received his B.S., Ph.D. and M.D. from Michigan State University. He completed his internship and residency in internal medicine at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Harvard Medical School. He completed his clinical fellowship in medical oncology and postdoctoral research at MSK.
Dr. Brenda Schulman is Director of the Department of Molecular Machines and Signaling at Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry, Honorary Professor at Technical University of Munich and adjunct faculty at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Dr. Schulman’s research group studies biochemical mechanisms underlying regulation by ubiquitin and autophagy pathways. Her lab has developed methods and tools to probe fleeting intermediates in ubiquitin and ubiquitin-like protein transfer cascades, and implemented them to determine the structural mechanisms of major families of E3 ligases, with a particular focus on dynamic multiprotein complexes including cullin-RING E3 ligases. Dr. Schulman is an elected member of American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the National Academy of Sciences, European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO), and the German National Academy Leopoldina and has been recognized by awards including most recently the Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Prize and Ernst Jung Prize for Medicine. Dr. Schulman received her Ph.D. from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) studying protein folding with Peter Kim before developing an interest in the regulation of protein degradation during her postdoctoral studies first at Mass General Hospital (MGH) Cancer Center with Dr. Ed Harlow, and then at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center with Nikola Pavletich.
Dr. Kevan Shokat is an Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Professor in the Department of Cellular and Molecular Pharmacology at the University of California, San Francisco and Professor in the Department of Chemistry at the University of California, Berkeley. Dr. Shokat’s research group is focused on the discovery of new small molecule tools and drug candidates targeting protein/lipid kinases, GTPases and RNA helicases. His laboratory utilizes the tools of synthetic organic chemistry, protein engineering, structural biology, biochemistry and cell biology. He was inducted into the National Academy of Sciences (2010), the National Academy of Medicine (2011) and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (2011). He has commercialized discoveries from his laboratory through co-founding several biotechnology companies, including Intellikine, Araxes, Wellspring Biosciences, Kura Oncology, eFFECTOR Therapeutics, Mitokinin, Revolution Medicines and Kumquat Biosciences. He received his B.A. in chemistry from Reed College and Ph.D. in organic chemistry at University of California, Berkeley with Professor Peter Schultz, and he carried out post-doctoral work in cellular immunology at Stanford University with Professor Chris Goodnow.