Ikena Oncology Assembles Multi-Disciplinary Scientific Advisory Board
Prominent Scientists and Clinical Investigators Bring Extensive Strategic Expertise in Targeted Oncology Across the Spectrum from Discovery and Translation to Development
Boston, Mass. – November 19, 2020 – Ikena Oncology, Inc. (“Ikena”), a clinical-stage biotechnology company that discovers and develops patient-directed, biomarker-driven therapies, today announced the formation of its multi-disciplinary Scientific Advisory Board (SAB). The SAB will work closely with Ikena’s senior management team to advance the Company’s portfolio of discovery-stage and preclinical targeted oncology programs, as well as clinical-stage immunotherapies. George Demetri, M.D., FACP, FASCO, Professor of Medical Oncology at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Co-Director of the Ludwig Center at Harvard will chair the SAB. Dr. Demetri will be joined initially by two world-class medical and scientific experts: Kevan Shokat, Ph.D., Professor, Department of Cellular and Molecular Pharmacology at UCSF; and Josep Tabernero, M.D., Ph.D., Head of the Medical Oncology Department at the Vall d’Hebron Barcelona Hospital and Director of the Vall d’Hebron Institute of Oncology. Ikena will continue to grow the SAB as the Company expands its targeted oncology pipeline.
“The creation of this Scientific Advisory Board is an important step for our continued growth as a leading innovative oncology biotechnology company. We are both excited and fortunate to have brought together such an esteemed group of prominent oncology advisors as we discover and develop novel, biomarker-driven therapeutic candidates,” said Mark Manfredi, Ph.D., President and Chief Executive Officer of Ikena Oncology. “We believe our newly assembled members of the SAB bring complementary areas of drug development expertise and will be invaluable as we deepen our pipeline and advance our current therapeutics into and through the clinic.”
“I am very enthusiastic to join Ikena’s Scientific Advisory Board as Chair, helping the company achieve its mission to bring innovative and highly effective targeted therapies to cancer patients in need,” said George Demetri, M.D. “Ikena’s translationally-driven approach resonates with my personal research strategy and experience. I look forward to working together with Professors Shokat and Tabernero to draw on our complementary expertise and insights to support a shared vision for Ikena.”
The Ikena Scientific Advisory Board members will include:
George D. Demetri, M.D. – Dr. Demetri currently serves at the Quick Family Chair in Medical Oncology and Director of the Sarcoma Center at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, as well as Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and Co-Director of the Ludwig Center at Harvard. He has dedicated his career to translational and clinical research aimed at developing clinical therapeutics from scientific mechanisms to treat life-threatening cancers. He is a pioneer in the development of multiple targeted cancer therapies, and research from his collaborative efforts has resulted in FDA and worldwide regulatory approvals of several cancer therapies, including imatinib (Gleevec®), sunitinib (Sutent®), regorafenib (Stivarga®), pazopanib (Votrient®), trabectedin (Yondelis®), and tazemetostat (Tazverik®). Dr. Demetri received his undergraduate degree in Biochemistry from Harvard College and medical degree from Stanford University School of Medicine, after which he completed his internal medicine residency and chief residency at the University of Washington Hospitals in Seattle, and subsequently trained in Medical Oncology at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Harvard Medical School. He is also Chair of the Science Policy and Government Affairs Committee of the American Association for Cancer Research.
Kevan M. Shokat, Ph.D. – Dr. Shokat currently serves as Professor, Department of Cellular and Molecular Pharmacology at the University of California, San Francisco, and Professor of Chemistry at the University of California, Berkeley. Dr. Shokat is an innovator in the development of chemical methods for investigating cellular signal transduction pathways, with a particular focus on protein kinases and lipid kinases. After receiving his Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry at UC Berkeley with Professor Peter Schultz, and post-doctoral work in immunology at Stanford University with Professor Chris Goodnow, Dr. Shokat began his independent research career at Princeton University. He has been an investigator with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute since 2005.
Josep Tabernero, M.D., Ph.D. – Dr. Tabernero currently serves as Head of the Medical Oncology Department at the Vall d’Hebron Barcelona Hospital and the Director of the Vall d’Hebron Institute of Oncology. His research group aims at potentiating molecular therapies targeting specific oncoproteins and accelerating more effective personalized cancer medicines for patients displaying genetic lesions or pathway dysregulation. Dr. Tabernero has held leadership positions in many other organizations devoted to advancing cancer research, including Past President of the European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) from 2018-2019. He holds MD and PhD degrees from the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Spain.
About Ikena Oncology
Ikena Oncology is a clinical-stage biotechnology company that discovers and develops patient-directed, biomarker-driven therapies for cancer patients who need life-saving treatment, by understanding what drives their disease. Ikena is advancing five clinical, preclinical, and discovery programs: IK-007, an EP4 receptor antagonist; IK-175, an AHR antagonist; IK-412, a kynurenine-degrading enzyme (“Kynase”); a TEAD inhibitor targeting the Hippo signaling pathway; and a discovery-stage Ras-signaling program. Ikena has entered into a global strategic collaboration with Bristol Myers Squibb on the AHR antagonist and Kynase programs. Ikena has raised capital from top tier investors OrbiMed Advisors and Atlas Venture.