A Gene Therapy Platform for Targeting Cancer
Cancer is caused by malfunctions in the cell’s regulatory machinery leading to uncontrolled cell growth. At Onconetics, we use these regulatory differences to target the expression of a kill gene to attack cancer from within.
By harnessing the cell’s regulatory network of a cell, Onconetics’ therapeutic approach facilitates the highly specific targeting of cancer cells in order to mitigate side effects and enhance the quality of life for patients.
Redefining the Field through Expertise and Innovation
Luke discovered his interest in biology when he began working in the lab of Dr. Dieter Gruenert at UCSF in 2013 on a variety of gene therapy projects. Recognizing the need for a new, transformative approach to treating cancer, it was here Luke developed the technology that is the basis for Onconetics’ pioneering approach. Luke’s passion lies not only in improving healthcare, but emphasizing the importance of an improved and dignified quality of life for individuals in need.
Luke brings several years of dedicated biomedical research experience, as well as rigorous training in the field by highly qualified professionals—and an unyielding dedication to transforming the healthcare industry and bettering the lives of patients. Luke founded Onconetics in honor of his father and his profound impact on Luke and the field of gene therapy.
Mike has 20+ years of experience in regenerative medicine, biotechnology and bioinformatics. He is currently a project management consultant to Big Pharma/Biotech, directing projects that reach broadly across manufacturing organizations. Clients include Genentech/Roche, Kiverdi, Polymedics Innovations, Collaborative Drug Discovery (CDD).
Previously, as President and Founder of Theregen he raised $10M and led the company through two Phase I clinical trials for the Anginera epicardial patch. He has extensive expertise in computational chemistry, drug discovery and bioinformatics from positions at Chiron Corporation (now Novartis), Kosan Biosciences and Affymetrix.
Mike has over 35 publications, ten issued patents in drug discovery, laboratory automation, bioinformatics, and regenerative medicine. He received his BS in Chemical Engineering from the University of Rochester, did graduate work in Computer Science at UCSD, and attended the BioExecutive Institute in the Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley.
Alexander (Sasha) Kamb, PhD
Dr. Alexander (Sasha) Kamb, Ph.D. served as Senior Vice President of Discovery Research at Amgen, Inc. until January 2017. Dr. Kamb joined Amgen to direct Oncology Research at their South San Francisco site in 2006. A year later, he took over the leadership of the Neuroscience Therapeutic Area and was promoted to Vice President, Research with the remit to build the Genome Analysis Unit, a specialized department within Amgen Research focused on cross-disease-area applications of next-generation sequencing. At the end of 2011, Dr. Kamb was promoted to Senior Vice President to head all of Amgen’s discovery research. Prior to joining Amgen, Dr. Kamb worked in the biotechnology sector for over a decade, specializing in the genetics of cancer and development of oncology pharmaceuticals and leading the Novartis Oncology Research Group.
Dr. Kamb carried out his postdoctoral work in protein crystallography with Nobel laureate Dr. Harold Varmus, Cynthia Kenyon and Robert Stroud at the University of California, San Francisco. Dr. Kamb received his Ph.D. from the California Institute of Technology and his B.A. from Harvard College.
Ronald F Richards, MBA, JD, CPA
Ronald Richards is currently Managing Director of Gray Wolf Partners, LLC, a strategic financial advisory firm. Mr. Richards provides turnaround, restructuring and general capital markets advice to his clients and has over 28 years of experience working with public and private companies in the areas of investment banking, corporate finance, law and accounting. Mr. Richards previously was Managing Director of Viking Asset Management, LLC. He also served as CEO of Egcell Scientific, Inc. and CFO and Senior Vice President of Business Development of Biopure Corporation.
Mr. Richards has also held various senior management and professional roles with Shoreline Pacific LLC, Wells Fargo Van Kasper, Seyfarth Shaw LLP and Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited. He is a Member of the State Bar of California and a retired Certified Public Accountant. Mr. Richards holds a JD, an MBA and a BA in Economics and Business from UCLA.
Michael Kamarck, PhD
Michael Kamarck is Chief Technology Officer at Vir. Previously, he was senior vice president of Global Vaccines and Biologics Manufacturing and president of Merck BioVentures where he was responsible for the establishment of Merck’s global biosimilars business. Prior to joining Merck BioVentures, Dr. Kamarck lead the development of the global biotechnology network with $3.5 billion of capital investment. While at Wyeth, he also was responsible for global technical operations for all of the Company’s businesses.
Dr. Kamarck graduated from Oberlin College where he currently serves as a Trustee. He received his Ph.D. in biochemistry from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and is the author of more than 50 peer-reviewed publications and 20 issued patents. He also holds an Honorary Doctorate of Science from University College Dublin.
Joxel Garcia, MD
Joxel Garcia is a physician and former 13th US Assistant Secretary of Health for the Bush Administration. Prior to serving in the US Government, Dr. Garcia graduated from the Ponce School of Medicine, Puerto Rico, and the University of Hartford Barney Schools of Business. Dr. Garcia ran a private practice out of St. Francis Hospital and Medical Center before becoming Commissioner of Public Health for the state of Connecticut in 1999.
In 2012, Dr. Garcia was named the Director of Health in the District of Columbia, and subsequently went on to serve as the Executive Director of the MD Anderson Cancer Control and Prevention Platform and Member of the Leadership Team of the MD Anderson Moon Shots program until 2017. Dr. Garcia currently serves as Vice President and Chief Medical Officer for American Express.
Tim Wesselman is the Founder and CEO of OnRamp BioInformatics, Inc. OnRamp provides storage and analysis of genomic information for academic and pharmaceutical researchers to turn genetic data into actionable insights. Tim brings more than 20 years of executive experience from Hewlett-Packard, Compaq, TI & DoubleClick. His diverse background has equipped him with executive and operations expertise ranging from corporate strategy to finance, investor relations, sales operations, marketing and engineering.
Tim holds a B.S. Mechanical Engineering degree from Texas A&M University, as well as certifications from multiple executive programs in Finance, Accounting, Investor Relations and Executive Marketing from Columbia University, Rice University and University of Michigan.
Scott Massey, PhD
Scott Massey is Founding Chairman and CEO of Global Action Platform, a leading university-business alliance that advances scalable, sustainable solutions for improving global food, health, and prosperity. Dr. Massey is the former President and CEO of The Meridian Institute (Indianapolis), a national think tank that focuses on economics, education, and healthcare. His other previous roles include President and CEO, The Learning Collaborative, President and CEO, The Indiana Humanities Council, and Founding President and CEO of the Leonard Bernstein Center.
Dr. Massey is also a published author, speaker, and Emmy-Award nominated television documentary producer. Dr. Massey is an expert in connecting academic, business, and government sectors to further economic development initiatives. Dr. Massey earned his PhD from Vanderbilt University with a focus on cybernetics and the philosophy of science and logic.
Remy Szykier is the worldwide managing director, founding member and member of the Board of Directors of Aegis Health Analytics. Ms. Szykier is ultimately responsible for all aspects of the firm’s strategy, team and operations across all worldwide offices.
Aegis is a global health sector advisory services firm which support clients in delivering better care, improving quality of life and operationalizing transformative business models. Ms. Szykier has championed the firm’s commitment to delivering the best record of client results in promoting and protecting health.
Peter Henig brings 12 years of experience in founding, funding and growing a variety of successful start-ups. Over the course of his career, Mr. Henig has led over ten companies from early stage business models through formative technology development to successful liquidity events.
Mr. Henig holds a BA in Economics from Georgetown University and a MA in Economics and Public Policy from Stanford University. As a former business journalist, Mr. Henig’s work has appeared in The Wall Street Journal, The Economist, Red Herring, and Venture Capital Journal. Mr. Henig is founder and general partner of Greenhouse Capital Partners, a Silicon Valley-based green technology venture capital firm.
W. Martin Kast, PhD
W. Martin Kast, PhD holds the Richter Cancer Research Chair and is a Professor of Molecular Microbiology & Immunology, Obstetrics & Gynecology and Urology and the Associate Dean of Academic Integrity as well as the Director of the Immune Monitoring Core Facility and the Tumor Micro-Environment Program at the USC/Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center in Los Angeles, CA. He studies cancer and viral immunology and designs therapeutic cancer vaccines. Several of his cancer immunotherapies are in clinical trials.
He has published over 275 articles that have been referenced > 23,000 times leading to an h-index of 82. He is the inventor on 18 patents and in the past worked for a biotechnology company. He is a recipient of the Antoni van Leeuwenhoek, the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the Mellon, Landsteiner and Dornsife awards. He currently serves on the advisory board of 7 biotechnology companies.
John Rossi, PhD
John Rossi has explored the mechanisms of action and therapeutic applications of RNAs for the treatment of HIV-1 and other diseases for the past 25 years. After earning his Ph.D. in Microbial Genetics from University of Connecticut, CT, and conducting a three-year post-doc at Brown University, Dr. Rossi began his professional career as a research scientist in 1980 in the Department of Molecular Genetics, City of Hope, Duarte, CA. He later went on to become director of the department and chairman of the Division of Biology at City of Hope, as well as chair and dean of the Irell & Manella Graduate School of Biological Sciences.
During his career, Dr. Rossi has held various professorships at City of Hope, Loma Linda University and University of California, Riverside. An AAAS Fellow in Medical Sciences, Dr. Rossi also serves on the editorial boards of numerous prestigious science publications. Dr. Rossi has published nearly research 300 articles in peer-reviewed journals, and is the current Editor in Chief of Nature Publication’s Molecular Therapies – Nucleic Acids.
James Cleaver, PhD
With over 50 years dedicated to research in the life sciences, Jim Cleaver has established himself as a first-rate authority in the fields of radiotherapeutics and dermatology. Dr. Cleaver earned his Ph.D. in radiotherapeutics from University of Cambridge in 1964, after which he worked as a researcher at Harvard Medical School and later at UCSF.
In 1968, Dr. Cleaver began his first of many professorships at UCSF in the Department of Radiobiology. Over the course of his career, Dr. Cleaver has published nearly 300 peer-reviewed articles, and is a member of the National Academy of Sciences. For the past 30 years, Dr. Cleaver has concentrated his research on genetic regulation of the mechanism of DNA damage and repair from radiations and chemical carcinogens. Cleaver’s findings have long since expanded beyond the realm of skin cancer, having strong influences on the modern concept of cancer.
Nils Walter, PhD
Nils Walter is a biophysical chemist and Francis S. Collins Collegiate Professor of Chemistry at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Dr. Walter graduated summa cum laude from the Technische Universität Darmstadt, Germany, with his Ph.D. in biophysical chemistry. During his graduate studies, Dr. Walter was concurrently enrolled at the Max-Planck-Institute for Biophysical Chemistry in the lab of Nobel laureate Prof. Manfred Elgen.
Dr. Walter’s lab studies both non-coding RNA and protein-coding RNAs, prominently using single molecule and super-resolution fluorescence microscopy tools, a scientific realm in which he is considered to be at the forefront. Dr. Walter has served on numerous editorial boards, received a multitude of grants, and was recently elected as a member of the AAAS. Dr. Walter is the author of over 160 articles and four patents.
Kevin Morris, PhD
Kevin Morris has been a luminary in RNA research for the past decade. As the first to recognize unique properties of non-coding RNA, Dr. Morris has since become a global leader within the field. Morris earned his B.S. in Cellular/Molecular Biology from Humboldt State University, Arcata, CA and his Ph.D. in Comparative Pathology, Microbiology and Immunology from UC Davis in California.
Formerly an associate professor at the Scripps Research Institute, Dr. Morris currently serves as a professor within the Center for Gene Therapy, Hematologic Malignancies and Stem Cell Institute at City of Hope, Duarte, CA. Dr. Morris’ lab is currently investigating the potential of RNA therapy to control and repress genes. With extensive experience in gene regulation and activation, Dr. Morris is well positioned to make further, far-reaching contributions to the field.
R Geoffrey Sargent, PhD
Geoff Sargent is a career scientist and healthcare executive with extensive experience in life science research and biotechnology business development. Dr. Sargent has worked with several early-stage biotechnology companies, including Pangene and EgCell Scientific. As Associate Director and Sr. Scientist at Advanced Cell Technology (ACT), Dr. Sargent managed the opening of the West Coast ACT laboratory, recruited and managed staff, led research teams, and co-authored numerous CIRM grants. While VP of R&D at EgCell, Dr. Sargent directed fundraising and commercialization efforts.
More recently, Dr. Sargent worked as a senior scientist at UCSF, developing novel gene therapy approaches. Dr. Sargent has published over 20 scientific articles in the fields of Gene Targeting, DNA Repair & Mutagenesis, Embryonic Stem Cells, and DNA Metabolism.