Who we are
We are a clinical stage oncology focused company developing novel gene therapies focused on dermatological and visceral cancers.
Dr Clement Leong, PhD, MBA
Chief Executive Officer and Director
Dr Leong has a pharma/biotech and venture capital background in Australia and the United States (Schering Plough Biopharma/DNAX, Entelos, SciVentures Investments), and over 20 years of experience and in leading financings and therapeutic/device development programs.
Dr Leong received his PhD (Medicine) from the University of Western Australia and his MBA from the Australian Graduate School of Management.
Dr Geoffrey Pietersz, PhD
Vice President, Technology Development
Dr Pietersz has over 30 years of experience in the development of immunotherapies, gene therapies, engineered biologics and small molecule inhibitors at Prima Biomed, 4G Vaccines, IgaVax, Avipep, Ascend Biopharma, and EnVision Sciences. He is Professor at the Baker Institute.
Dr Pietersz received his PhD from the University of Melbourne.
Dr Jacqui Waterkeyn, PhD
Vice President, Clinical Operations and Regulatory Affairs
Dr Waterkyn has more than 25 years of regulatory affairs, clinical operations, and product development experience in the biotech and pharma sectors, including as the sponsor for a phase 1 unit (10 years at Nucleus Network), in contract research organisations and investigator-initiated trials. She has held operational and project oversight of more than 100 commercial and academic trials across multiple therapeutic areas.
Dr Waterkyn received her PhD from the University of Melbourne.
Dr Satish Menon, PhD
Vice President, Chemistry, Manufacturing and Controls (CMC)
Dr Menon has over 30 years of experience in process development and manufacture, including in roles as Technology Officer at Object Pharma and Allergan, Senior Consultant at PVP Biologicals and Senior Technology Consultant at Seq-Biomarque LLC. He has led and advised GMP development and manufacture of 10 biologics/gene therapies, from preclinical to Phase 3.
Dr Menon received his PhD in Biochemistry from the Indian Institute of Science and undertook his postdoctoral training at Harvard Medical School.
Dr Edward McKenna, PharmD
Dr McKenna recently retired from Genentech, Inc. after 18 years of service. He was formerly Principal Medical Science Director in US Medical Affairs and Medical Partner/Lead for the Skin Cancer Franchise. He has held positions at Roche and Genentech, Inc, where he led medical teams for colorectal cancer, gastric cancer and breast cancer as well as serving as a Medical Science Liaison for gastrointestinal and breast cancer.
Dr McKenna received his PhD from the University of Kentucky.
Michael Derby, MS, MBA
Mr. Derby is the Founder and Managing Partner at TardiMed Sciences, a company creation and investment firm in the life sciences space. He is a successful entrepreneur, investor and operating executive, having founded, led and exited a number of startup companies developing important biopharmaceutical products. He previously held commercial roles at Merck & Co. and Forest Laboratories, and served as a venture capitalist for several years investing in biopharmaceutical and medical technology companies.
Mr. Derby received an MS from the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry and an MBA from New York University’s Stern School of Business.
Scientific Advisory Board
Dr Lewis Lanier, PhD
Ph.D. (Microbiology and Immunology), University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.
Lewis Lanier, PhD, is chair and J. Michael Bishop MD Distinguished Professor of Microbiology and Immunology at UC San Francisco. Lanier has studied the immune system’s natural killer (NK) cells, a type of white blood cell that provides protection against microbial pathogens and tumors, for more than three decades. NK cells express a diverse array of inhibitory and activating receptors on their surface that bind to ligands expressed on the surface of potential target cells. His lab has identified and characterized many of these receptors, their ligands and associated signaling pathways, and has defined their role in innate and adaptive immune responses to pathogens and cancer. When NK cells encounter healthy cells, signals transmitted by inhibitory receptors dominate, preventing autoimmune responses. But the absence of ligands for inhibitory receptors or the upregulation of ligands for activating receptors in infected or malignant cells prompts NK cells to kill these abnormal cells and to secrete cytokines that induce a subsequent response by T-cells and B cells. Lanier hopes to apply this knowledge to the development of powerful NK cell-based cancer immunotherapies.
Dr Edward Mocarski, PhD
AB from Rutgers University and Ph.D. (Microbiology) University of Iowa, Chapel Hill.
Professor Mocarski serves as the Robert W. Woodruff Professor of Microbiology & Immunology in the Emory Vaccine Center of Emory University and is also Professor Emeritus and former Chair of Microbiology & Immunology at Stanford University. He also served as a Distinguished Fellow at MedImmune, a division of AstraZeneca, involved in the company’s vaccine pipeline research. Dr. Mocarski’s research has focused on the biology, pathogenesis and latency of cytomegalovirus (CMV), an opportunistic herpesvirus; in particular, on integrating biochemical, molecular, cellular and intact animal approaches to investigate the biological properties of this virus and its close relatives. He has made key contributions to the identification of replication functions, latent reservoir in myelomonocytic progenitors, immunomodulatory functions, and cellular response to viral infection. His research has also opened dramatic new understanding of cell death pathways in host defence where he has discovered that mammalian cell death machinery can be dysregulated to cause developmental failures and trigger inflammatory disease. He has published more than 180 peer-reviewed articles.
Dr Siddharth Balachandran, PhD
Ph.D. (Immunology and Molecular Pathogenesis) Emory University.
Associate Professor Siddharth Balachandran is Co-leader of Blood Cell Development and Function Program at the Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia, USA. He is also an Adjunct Associate Professor in the Departments of Microbiology and Immunology at Temple and Drexel Universities. Professor Balachandran’s laboratory studies how microbial and viral infections activate host innate immunity, with a focus on the role of cell death in these processes. His laboratory is particularly interested in a form of programmed cell death termed necroptosis, and seeks to exploit this form of immunogenic death for the treatment of human disease, whether infectious, inflammatory, or malignant.
Professor Balachandran currently serves, or has served, on the Editorial Boards of the journals Molecular and Cellular Biology, Cytokine, and Frontiers in Cell Death and Survival.
Clinical Advisory Board
Dr George J. Hruza, MD MBA
Dr Hruza is an Adjunct Professor of Dermatology and Otolaryngology at St Louis University. He received his medical degree from New York University, his MBA from Washington University and completed his dermatology residency at New York University Medical Center. This was followed by a laser surgery fellowship at Harvard Medical School and a Mohs and dermatologic surgery fellowship at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Before his current position, he was an Associate Professor of Dermatology, Surgery and Otolaryngology and Director of Dermatologic Surgery training at Washington University in St Louis. He currently serves on the American Society for Laser Medicine and Surgery Board of Directors, is President of the Missouri State Medical Association and is immediate Past President of the American Academy of Dermatology. He has contributed more than 180 publications to the medical literature.
Dr John Lear, MB ChB MD FRCCP(UK)
Dr John Lear is Consultant Dermatologist at BMI The Alexandra Hospital and the NHS. His main interest is in the diagnosis and management of skin cancer and precancerous lesions and the non-surgical management of these conditions. Having qualified in medicine in 1991 at Leicester University, Dr Lear underwent general medical training in Leicester, following which he undertook his dermatological training in the Midlands and the South West. He has published over 100 papers on the genetics, epidemiology and therapy of skin cancer.
Dr Sherrif F. Ibrahim, MD, PhD
Dr Ibrahim is a board-certified dermatologist and a fellow of the American College of Mohs surgery, the American Academy of Dermatology, and the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery. He is the founder of Rochester Dermatologic Surgery and an Associate Professor of Dermatology at the University of Rochester Medical Center. He completed his undergraduate education at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and received both his MD and PhD degrees from the University of Washington. He undertook his residency training at the University of Rochester, followed by a fellowship in Mohs surgery, facial reconstruction, laser surgery and cosmetic dermatology at the University of California, San Francisco.
Dr Gregory Siller, MBBS FACD
Dr Siller is an Associate Professor (Adjunct) of The University of Queensland and Practice Principal of Central Brisbane Dermatology. He is a senior visiting consultant dermatologist at The Princess Alexandra Hospital where he currently conducts multidisciplinary clinics for high risk transplant recipients. He brings over 20 years of experience in early phase clinical trials especially in the field of emerging non-surgical therapies for skin cancer and has been the lead investigator for the initial trials of ASN 002 in basal cell carcinoma. Awarded a Presidential Citation by the Australasian College of Dermatologists in recognition of his contributions, Dr Siller has also been a consultant to successful start-ups and multiple pharmaceutical companies. He also has a long standing interest in lasers and allergy patch testing.
Dr Michael R. Migden, MD
Dr Migden is a distinguished US-based dermatologist and Professor, Departments of Dermatology, Division of Internal Medicine and Head and Neck Surgery, Division of Surgery at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX, USA. At MD Anderson he is program director of the ACGME Fellowship:Micrographic Surgery and Dermatologic Oncology. He also serves as faculty for the Department of Ophthalmic Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery. He has served as a principal investigator for studies on the smoothened inhibitors sonidegib, vismodegib, and taladegib and.on immune therapy trials in non-melanoma skin cancer. Dr Migden has published numerous primary and expert review articles on basal cell carcinoma.
Dermatopathology Advisory Board
Dr Bruce Smoller, MD
Dr. Smoller began his career in pathology as a resident in anatomic and clinical pathology at Harvard’s Beth Israel Hospital. From there, he did a dermatopathology fellowship at Cornell Medical School/New York Hospital under the tutelage of Dr. Scott McNutt. He remained on faculty at Cornell for several years before relocating to Stanford University in 1990 to assume the position as Director of Dermatopathology and rose through the ranks to become a Professor of Pathology and Dermatology. In 1997, he relocated to the University of Arkansas where he became Aubrey J. Hough Endowed Chair of Pathology, in addition to his role as the Director of Dermatopathology. He remained there until 2011 when he was appointed to the position of Executive Vice President of the United States and Canadian Academy of Pathology. He spent three years in that position before accepting the position as Professor and Chair, Department of Pathology and Laboratory Services and Professor of Dermatology at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, a position he held from 2014 until recently. He remains a Professor of Pathology and Dermatology at the University of Rochester for Medical Sciences.
Dr. Phyu P Aung, MD
Dr. Phyu P Aung is an Associate Professor and director of the Oncologic Surgical Pathology Fellowship Program in the Department of Pathology at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. Dr. Aung earned her M.D. from the Institute of Medicine of Rangoon in Burma and her Ph.D. in Molecular Pathology from Hiroshima University School of Medicine in Japan. Subsequently, she completed a research fellowship at Cleveland Clinic in Ohio. Dr. Aung then completed her residency in Pathology at the National Cancer Institute, where she served as Chief Resident, and her fellowship in Dermatopathology at Boston Medical Center. Following her training, Dr. Aung joined the MD Anderson faculty in 2014.
Among Dr. Aung’s special interests are cutaneous neoplasms, and molecular diagnostics in dermatopathology. Her work in these areas has resulted in more than 190 original publications in peer-reviewed journals, 12 book chapters, and over 250 poster/platform presentations at national and international conferences, allowing her to reach 5577 citations and an h-index of 37 (Google Scholar, May 20, 2023).