Lewis T. “Rusty” Williams, MD PhD; CEO
Dr. Williams is co-founder, Chairman and CEO of Walking Fish Therapeutics, a private early stage cell therapy company, and is a venture partner of Quan Capital, LLC. Prior to Walking Fish, Dr. Williams was Founder of Five Prime Therapeutics. He served as a Director since 2002 and was Executive Chairman from 2002 until 2011. He served as President and Chief Executive Officer from April 2011 until his retirement in December 2017. Previously, Dr. Williams spent seven years at Chiron Corporation, a biopharmaceutical company now known as Novartis Vaccines and Diagnostics, Inc., most recently as its Chief Scientific Officer. He also served on Chiron’s board of directors from 1999 to 2001. Prior to joining Chiron, Dr Williams was a co-founder of COR Therapeutics, Inc, a public biotechnology company focused on Cardiovascular Disease. Dr. Williams was a professor of medicine and Investigator at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute at the University of California, San Francisco, and served as Director of the University’s Cardiovascular Research Institute and Daiichi Research Center. Dr. Williams also has served on the faculties of Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital where he practiced cardiology. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Dr. Williams was previously a member of the board of directors of COR Therapeutics, Inc., and Beckman Coulter, Inc., each of which was a public company during his service. He has also served on the Boards of Trustees of Duke University, Rice University and the Berklee College of Music. Dr. Williams received a B.S. from Rice University and an M.D. and a Ph.D. from Duke University.
Mark Selby, PhD; VP Immunology
Mark received his Ph.D. at UCSF having studied Nerve Growth Factor in the laboratory of Dr. William J. Rutter. Thereafter he completed postdoctoral studies with B. Matija Peterlin at UCSF, working on the role of TAT in modulating transcription from the HIV LTR. Mark then joined Chiron as a scientist in the Vaccines division. There he worked on HCV with Dr. Michael Houghton and DNA delivery platforms with Dr. Jeffrey Ulmer. In 2001 Mark left to work with Dr. Alan Korman at Medarex, a company with a platform that could generate fully human antibodies from immunized transgenic mice. Medarex was acquired by BMS in 2009. Mark left BMS in December of 2018 as a Senior Director and joined Walking Fish Therapeutics in 2019.
Mark is a co-inventor of the anti-PD-1 antibody Nivolumab (Opdivo) which is approved in multiple oncology indications. Mark directed much of the preclinical work that led to the identification of the clinical candidate and derived supporting data from mouse tumor models. Mark is also a co-inventor of the combination of Nivolumab and Ipilimumab, which is approved and continues to be explored in multiple indications. Mark is also co-inventor of the anti-LAG-3 antibody, Relatlimab as well as PD-L1, GITR and TIM-3 antibodies. He contributed to other programs including TIGIT, CD137, ICOS, an ADCC enhanced CTLA-4 antibody, and many others. He is a co-inventor on 49 patents, many of which are issued. Mark co-authored 67 scientific publications.
Tom Brennan, PhD; VP Preclinical Development
Tom served as the head of pharmacology at FivePrime Therapeutics Inc. from 2005 to 2018. At FivePrime he led preclinical pharmacology validation efforts for dozens of programs leading to 5 IND’s and championed the start of the FPT155 (CD80-Fc) program which entered into a phase 1 clinical trial in 2018. During his tenure at FivePrime he also led and managed the in vivo target discovery program which led to the identification of multiple leads for metabolic, fibrotic, and oncology indications. Prior to FivePrime Tom was CEO and cofounder of a privately held biotech company focused on murine models to identify new targets for CNS disorders, and was a founding scientist at Deltagen Inc. Tom received his PhD in the laboratory of Eric Olson where he studied myogenin and the regulation of muscle cell fate at the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston.
Seenu Kothakota, PhD; VP Strategy
Dr. Kothakota was recently a leader in the Innovation Group at FivePrime Therapeutics where he worked for 15 years and had an active role in developing the discovery platform. He played a key role in using this platform for discovery of new therapeutic proteins for cancer, diabetes and regenerative medicine. He formerly worked at Protein Pathways and as a scientist at Chiron. Dr. Kothakota completed his postdoctoral training with Professor Lewis Williams at University of California San Francisco, his doctoral work at University of Massachusetts with Professor Maurille Fournier and an MBA at Anderson School of Business, UCLA.