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Sporos Bioventures Announces Formation of Strategic Advisory Board

Jan 11, 2022 | Press Releases

Dr. Doug Williams to Chair SAB

Inaugural members include Drs. Keith Flaherty, Bing Yao, and Doug Hanahan to advise on company’s growing pipeline and discovery engine

HOUSTON, Texas., January 11, 2022 — Sporos Bioventures, LLC, (“Sporos” or the “Company”) a private biotechnology company catalyzing the rapid development of potential breakthrough therapies that target novel disease mechanisms in cancer and immune-related diseases, today announced the formation of a Strategic Advisory Board (SAB), consisting of renowned scientific and business leaders in precision oncology and immunology research, drug discovery, clinical development, corporate development, and commercialization. The inaugural SAB includes Douglas E. Williams, Ph.D., as Chair along with members, Keith T. Flaherty, M.D., Bing Yao, Ph.D. and Douglas Hanahan, Ph.D. The SAB will advise Sporos’ leadership team as it advances cutting-edge research with its discovery engine and portfolio companies.

“It is an honor to have the opportunity to work with such an esteemed group of scholars and entrepreneurs, who are at the forefront of pioneering research and precision medicine. The establishment of this Strategic Advisory Board represents an exciting step for Sporos as we continue to advance our programs for the benefit of patients,” said Jeno Gyuris, Ph.D., Chief Scientific Officer of Sporos.

“Sporos was built on over 15 years of biological insights and peer-reviewed science. As the research and treatment landscape continues to rapidly advance across precision oncology and immunology, companies such as Sporos are at the intersection of science, technology, and medicine to develop new therapies to address significant unmet medical needs in cancer and immune diseases,” said Douglas E. Williams, Ph.D., Chair of Sporos’ SAB and President and Chief Executive Officer of Codiak Biosciences. “I am thrilled to be joining such an esteemed group of scientists as advisors to the company and I look forward to collaborating with the SAB and the Sporos team.”

“The collective experience and commitment to innovation that Drs. Williams, Flaherty, Hanahan and Yao bring will be vital as we focus on advancing our research portfolio to bring new medicines to individuals living with cancer and serious immune diseases,” said Amit Rakhit, M.D., M.B.A., Chief Executive Officer of Sporos.

Douglas E. Williams, Ph.D.
Dr. Williams is President and Chief Executive Officer of Codiak Biosciences (NASDAQ: CDAK). He previously served as Biogen’s Executive Vice President, Research and Development from January 2011 to July 2015. Dr. Williams joined Biogen from ZymoGenetics, where he was Chief Executive Officer and member of the Board of Directors. ZymoGenetics was acquired by Bristol Myers Squibb during his time as Chief Executive Officer for $985 million. Previously, he held leadership positions within the biotechnology industry, including Chief Scientific Officer and Executive Vice President of Research and Development at Seattle Genetics Inc., and Senior Vice President and Washington Site Leader at Amgen Inc. Dr. Williams also served in a series of scientific and senior leadership positions over a decade at Immunex Corp., including Executive Vice President and Chief Technology Officer, Senior Vice President of Discovery Research and Vice President of Research and Development. Prior to joining Immunex, Dr. Williams served on the faculty of the Indiana University School of Medicine and the Department of Laboratory Medicine at the Roswell Park Memorial Institute in Buffalo, New York. Dr. Williams has served on numerous boards of directors for public and private companies in the biotechnology industry and is currently Chairman of the Board of AC Immune and is a Director for Panacea II.

Keith T. Flaherty, M.D.
Dr. Flaherty is Director of Clinical Research at the Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center, and Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. He is the principal investigator of the NCI MATCH trial, the first NCI-sponsored trial assigning patients to targeted therapy independent of tumor type on the basis of DNA sequencing detection of oncogenes. Dr. Flaherty joined the NCI Board of Scientific Advisors in 2018 and AACR Board of Directors in 2019. He serves as editor-in-chief of Clinical Cancer Research. Dr. Flaherty co-founded Loxo Oncology in 2013 and served on the board of directors through the acquisition by Eli Lilly in 2019. He co-founded X4 Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: XFOR) and privately held Strata Oncology (2015), Apricity Oncology (2017), C-Reveal (2020), and most recently, Scorpion Therapeutics (2020). He serves on the boards of directors for Clovis Oncology, Checkmate Pharmaceuticals and Kinnate BioPharma.

Douglas Hanahan, Ph.D.
Dr. Hanahan is a Distinguished Scholar of the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research (Zurich/New York), and Professor of Molecular Oncology in the Swiss Institute for Experimental Cancer Research (ISREC) of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne (EPFL). Dr. Hanahan trained at MIT and Harvard University. He worked at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory for a decade and then spent 21 years as a Professor at the University of California San Francisco before moving to EPFL in 2009. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences, a member of the US National Academies of Medicine and of Science, and of the European Molecular Biology Organization. He received an honorary degree from the University of Dundee (2011). In 2014, he was elected to the Academy of the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) and honored with the AACR’s Lifetime Achievement Award. Dr. Hanahan’s research is focused on elucidating mechanisms of tumor development and progression in genetically engineered mouse models of human cancer, a field he has helped pioneer, with a particular focus on functional contributions of the disparate cell types of the tumor microenvironment, and on applying knowledge of mechanisms to guide combinatorial therapeutic strategies with promise to improve the treatment of human cancers.

Bing Yao, Ph.D.
Dr. Yao is an accomplished executive and scientist with more than 25 years of experience in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industry. He was Chairman, CEO and co-founder of Viela Bio until it was acquired by Horizon Therapeutics in March 2021. Previously, he was the Senior Vice President, R&D and Head of Respiratory, Inflammation & Autoimmunity at MedImmune. Dr. Yao was also Senior Vice President, Head of Immuno-Oncology Franchise, AstraZeneca. During his tenure at MedImmune and Astrazenca, he played key leadership roles in the development and approval of multiple novel biologics for autoimmune, respiratory, and immune-oncology indications respectively. Prior to joining MedImmune, Dr. Yao led the project team leaders (PTL) group for immunology, neurosciences, virology and metabolism for Genentech, and prior to that served as Vice President of Research and Corporate Officer for Tanox before it was acquired by Genentech. Earlier in his career Dr. Yao held key roles at Aventis and Amgen. Dr. Yao has authored more than 50 peer-reviewed publications and holds over 20 patents and patent applications.

About Sporos Bioventures Sporos Bioventures is a private biotechnology company that aims to transform and accelerate the drug development process. Sporos’ pipeline of assets, which focuses on oncology and immune-related diseases, is generated through external partnerships and its internal biodiscovery platform. Program units are then established to intensely focus on the development of individual. The Company leverages a centralized infrastructure and strategically deploys people, capital, and access to operational resources across its program units, allowing them to focus the research and development of drug candidates. Sporos’ current pipeline is diversified across four program units and includes multiple clinical, preclinical, and discovery-stage programs being developed for the treatment of several indications across cancer and immune diseases. Sporos is headquartered in Houston with operations in New York and Boston.

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