SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO, Calif., Aug. 31, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- FLX Bio, Inc., a biopharmaceutical company focused on the discovery and development of novel cancer immunotherapies, announced today that it has appointed Brian Wong, M.D., Ph.D., as Chief Executive Officer and William Ho, M.D., Ph.D., as Chief Medical Officer. Drs. Wong and Ho join an experienced management team led by veterans of Flexus Biosciences, Inc., FLX's predecessor company: Jordan Fridman, Ph.D., Chief Scientific Officer; Jay Powers, Ph.D., Vice President, Drug Discovery; and Steve Young, Ph.D., Vice President, Technology.
FLX Bio also announced today the initiation of a Phase 1 study in patients with relapsed or refractory acute myeloid leukemia (AML), under an Investigational New Drug (IND) application for FLX925 (previously known as AMG 925), a dual inhibitor of FLT3 and CDK4/6.
"We are delighted to welcome Drs. Brian Wong and Bill Ho to the management team at FLX Bio as the company advances its growing oncology pipeline into the clinic. The organization will benefit greatly from the experience of these accomplished executives in discovering and developing innovative therapies for cancer," said David V. Goeddel, Ph.D., of FLX Bio's Board of Directors.
Brian Wong, M.D., Ph.D. and William Ho, M.D., Ph.D. Bring Immuno-Oncology Expertise and Leadership to Advance FLX Bio's Programs
Dr. Wong most recently served as Senior Vice President, Research and Head of Immuno-Oncology at Five Prime Therapeutics, which he joined in 2009. There he led the discovery of novel immuno-oncology therapeutics, one of which has progressed to clinical trials in combination with Opdivo™. Prior to Five Prime, Dr. Wong served as Director of Research in the Inflammation Disease Biology Area at Roche Palo Alto from 2005 to 2009. He led the development of Roche's Rheumatology discovery portfolio, consisting of ~20 biologics and small molecule programs in phases from discovery to mid-stage clinical development. From 2000 to 2005, Dr. Wong held various leadership roles at Rigel Pharmaceuticals, where he identified and developed clinical candidates against multiple novel targets for allergic, autoimmune and respiratory disorders. Dr. Wong received an M.D. from the Weill Cornell Medical College and a Ph.D. in Immunology from The Rockefeller University under Dr. Yongwon Choi, Ph.D., a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator, and in collaboration with Nobel laureate Dr. Ralph Steinman, M.D.
"I'm very excited to join the FLX Bio team," said Dr. Wong. "With a clinical-stage asset, a rich pipeline of immuno-oncology agents targeting regulatory T cells, an exceptional management team and scientific staff, and strong support from The Column Group, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and Celgene, FLX Bio is positioned to become a key player in the immuno-oncology space."
Dr. Ho most recently served as Vice President of Clinical Development at Igenica Biotherapeutics, leading the clinical development of antibody-based therapeutics. Prior to Igenica, he was a Senior Medical Director in the Exploratory Clinical Development (BioOncology) group at Genentech, where he spent seven years leading the clinical development of multiple small molecule, antibody and antibody-drug conjugate programs at stages ranging from IND filing to Phase 3, including clinical development of Gazyva® (obinutuzumab). Dr. Ho received an A.B. in Molecular Biology from Princeton University and holds both an M.D. and a Ph.D. in Microbiology and Immunology from the Stanford University School of Medicine, where he studied cellular immunology in the laboratory of Mark Davis, Ph.D., a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator. He continued his medical training at the University of California, San Francisco and at the University of Washington and Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, where he studied adoptive immunotherapy methods to treat leukemia, including early work contributing to current CAR-T technology.
Initiation of Phase 1 Trial of FLX925, a Selective Inhibitor of FLT3 and CDK4/6 in Acute Myeloid Leukemia
FLX925 is a selective inhibitor of fms-like tyrosine kinase 3 (FLT3) and cyclin-dependent kinases 4 and 6 (CDK4/6) that was licensed from Amgen. The preclinical data for FLX925 are consistent with a potential best-in-class profile in the treatment of certain cancers that are driven by abnormal levels of FLT3 and/or CDK4/6 activity.
"Acute myeloid leukemia remains a disease with great unmet medical need," said Beth Seidenberg, M.D., of FLX Bio's Board of Directors and General Partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. "We believe FLX925 has the potential to bring meaningful benefit not only to patients with AML, but also to patients with other malignancies driven by CDK4/6."
For more information about the clinical trial, including enrolling centers, please visit www.clinicaltrials.gov under trial identification number NCT02335814.
About FLX Bio
Founded in 2015 following the acquisition of its predecessor company, Flexus Biosciences, Inc., by Bristol-Myers Squibb, FLX Bio, Inc. is a privately-held biopharmaceutical company focused on the discovery, development and commercialization of novel cancer immunotherapies. The company is leveraging unexploited insights in immunology to discover novel agents that combat cancer by reversing tumor immunosuppression. This disruptive approach to cancer therapy targets that which is common to all tumors: the host immune system.
Located in South San Francisco, Calif., and funded by leading investors, including Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers (KPCB), The Column Group (TCG) and Celgene, FLX Bio has assembled a management and R&D leadership team with a proven track record of success and an advisory group and team of scientists with substantial knowledge and expertise in drug discovery and translational areas essential to execute on this approach. For more information, please visit www.flxbio.com.
Contact: Timothy Lin, firstname.lastname@example.org
SOURCE FLX Bio, Inc.