Shasqi, a clinical-stage biotechnology company developing click chemistry-activated oncology therapeutics, today announced the additions of Steve Abella, M.D., as Chief Medical Officer and Scott Wieland, Ph.D., MBA, as Senior Vice President of Clinical Development.
"To maximize the potential of our novel, click chemistry-based platform and continue expanding our portfolio of programs, clinical experience and leadership are critical," said José M. Mejía Oneto, M.D., Ph.D., Founder and CEO of Shasqi. "As we reach the end of dose escalation of SQ3370, we will initiate Phase 2 studies in advanced sarcomas and other solid tumors. In addition, we are rapidly advancing our second program toward the clinic, which activates high doses of monomethyl auristatin E, a commonly used antibody-drug conjugate payload, at the tumor. Now is the perfect time to add the deep expertise in clinical strategy and execution that both Steve and Scott bring to the team. We look forward to their contributions and working with them."
"Shasqi has made tremendous progress advancing SQ3370 into and through the clinic and building a robust pipeline of click chemistry-activated therapeutics to harness potent payloads and target them precisely to the tumor," said Dr. Abella. "I'm excited to join the company's mission and help expand the reach of their platform."
"A click chemistry-based approach has enormous potential to dramatically improve the efficacy of powerful therapies that can be localized at the tumor site using a variety of delivery methods such as direct injection or biomarker targeting," said Dr. Wieland. "I look forward to seeing where we can take this technology and what the next iterations of Shasqi's approach can achieve in improving the cancer therapeutic landscape and the lives of patients."
Dr. Steve Abella
Dr. Abella has been working in oncology clinical research for nearly 35 years, including more than 12 years in the pharmaceutical industry. Before joining Shasqi, he served as Chief Medical Officer at Vida Development Sciences. Prior to Vida, Steve served as Chief Medical Officer at BioClin Therapeutics. Prior to that, he served as Senior Director at Gilead Sciences where he led the non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and leukemia drug development efforts and served as a core member of the oncology senior leadership team. Prior to Gilead, he served as Executive Director at Amgen, predominately responsible for the white cell franchise (Neulasta/Nepogen) and led global development efforts across clinical research and medical affairs. Before he joined the biopharmaceutical industry, he spent 15 years in academic oncology, serving as a Professor of Pediatric, Oncology, and Medicine at the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute where he focused on stem cell transplantation and oncology clinical trials. Steve completed his fellowship and residency training at Wayne State University School of Medicine after graduating with a degree in medicine from the Universidad Central del Este. He attended the University of Pennsylvania for undergraduate studies.
Dr. Scott Wieland
Dr. Wieland is a biopharmaceutical veteran with over 30 years of experience in the biopharmaceutical industry. Over the course of his career, Scott has served in a variety of roles and responsibilities, most recently as Executive Vice President of Development at Nanobiotix, a nanomedicine company based in Paris, France. Scott started his career leading the Behavioral Pharmacology lab at CoCensys, then moved into a variety of positions across several small biopharmaceutical companies. Scott has been responsible for drug discovery, safety pharmacology, toxicology, bioanalytical development, manufacturing, formulation, clinical supply and distribution, regulatory affairs, and all aspects of clinical trials and development during his career. Scott received a bachelor's degree in Physiological Psychology from UC Santa Barbara, CA. He received his master's and Ph.D. in Psychology/Biopsychology with a minor in Neuropharmacology from the University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ, and an MBA in Management from Webster University, St. Louis, MO.
About CAPACTM and SQ3370
SQ3370 is the first click chemistry-based treatment to be tested in humans. It utilizes Shasqi's proprietary CAPAC platform, an approach that activates cancer drugs at a tumor with decreased systemic toxicity. Shasqi is validating its platform with SQ3370, which is designed to activate a powerful chemotherapeutic, doxorubicin, at the tumor site. The investigational product is based on the chemical reaction between a drug protected through a trans-cyclooctene modification (a protodrug) and a tetrazine-modified biopolymer. The biopolymer is injected into the target tumor lesion, where it precisely activates an intravenously infused protodrug. Shasqi believes its click-chemistry approach can improve the efficacy and safety of many existing therapeutics across various modalities with a limited therapeutic window.
Shasqi is a privately held, clinical-stage biotechnology company whose mission is to enable patients to beat cancer with tumor-localized therapies. Shasqi leverages its proprietary CAPAC Platform to develop precision oncology therapeutics designed to deliver unprecedented doses precisely focused at the tumor with an uncharacteristically mild safety profile - breaking through the historical ceiling of dose-limiting toxicities. Shasqi's CAPAC Platform is highly modular and can be applied to a broad range of cancer drugs that are otherwise limited by toxicity, enabling the exploration of therapeutic biology in ways that were not previously possible.
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