Who's Who Bios (Founders, Board of Director and Scientific Advisors)

Grace Wong

Dr. Grace Wong, PhD, CEO

ActoKine Therapeutics, Boston, USA
(Former Genentech, Millennium, AstraZeneca and Serono)

Dr. Grace has spent her entire career on biologics, specifically on cytokines, at Genentech, Millennium, AstraZeneca and Serono. Her PhD project was on biologics at The Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research, Australia. Her post-doc projects were also on biologics with Dr. David Goeddel (who cloned and expressed human insulin, human growth hormone, tissue plasminogen activator, interferon-alpha and interferon-gamma etc) at Genentech. She continued working on biologics in a variety of diseases at Genentech, Millennium, AstraZeneca and Serono.

Dr. Grace successfully shepherded basic research discoveries to product development at Genentech in 1993 and was appointed Head of Apoptosis Research at Millennium in 1996. Grace joined AstraZeneca as Section Head of Molecular Genetics for Alzheimer’s disease. At Serono, Grace was Director of Cytokine Genomics for infertility and Women’s diseases. Her work with biologics have made her valuable to biotech and pharma, receiving also job offers from Glaxo, Biogen, Human Genome Sciences and Cell Therapeutics, in addition to the positions she was able to accept.

Dr. Grace has been invited to present at 167 international conferences including the Nobel Symposium in Sweden in 1994. Grace received 13 scholarships and 5 Recognition Awards from Genentech. She published 93 papers (including 3 Nature, 1 Science, 3 Cell, 5 PNAS and 7 J. Immunol) and an inventor for 28 patents. Dr. Grace founded ActoKine Therapeutics to discover new biologics for radioprotection and protection against a board spectrum of viral infection (www.actokine.com). She also founded Student Vision (www.studentvision.org) and Nobel-Pauling (www.pauling.us & www.nobel-pauling.org) to inspire students of all ages in biotechnology. She creats a Nobel-Pauling Christmas Dim Sum Symposium to give students, postdocs and scientists who cannot be with their families for Christmas, the opportunity to gather together to seek advice from many biotech pharma experts, to mix the arts with science and share the holiday.

Linus Carl Pauling Jr

Dr. Linus Carl Pauling Jr, MD

Board of Director, Student Vision, Nobel-Pauling

Dr. Linus Pauling Jr is Chairman and Board of Trustees, Linus Pauling Institute of Science and Medicine. He served in the U.S. Army Air Force during World War II, then did his undergraduate study at Pomona College. He received an M.D. at Harvard University and served as an intern and psychiatric resident at The Queen¡¯s Hospital and The Territorial Hospital in Honolulu. Dr. Pauling has worked as a psychiatrist in private practice and has held positions in mental health organizations, including as president of the Hawaii Mental Health Association. He has also served on the boards of many organizations including the Foundation for Nutritional Advancement, Washington DC and Student Vision, Boston. He is a member of the American Psychiatric Association, Harvard Medical Alumni Association and American Civil Liberties Union.

Hing Leung Sham

Dr. Hing Leung Sham

Ph.D, Sr. VP, Elan Pharmaceuticals (former Abbott)

Before joing Elan as Sr VP, Dr Hing Sham was a Director/Distinguished Research FellowMetabolic Disease Research, Global Pharmaceutical R and D, at Abbott, Dr. Hing Leung Sham, Ph.D received a B.S. in Chemistry from the University of Minnesota, an M.S. in Physical Organic Chemistry from Iowa State University, and a Ph.D in Synthetic Organic Chemistry from the University of Hawaii. He has worked for many years in medicinal chemistry at Abbott. Dr. Sham is the primary inventor of Kaletra (lopinavir/ritonavir), the well-known advanced-generation protease inhibitor for the treatment of HIV infection, and a co-inventor of Norvir (ritonavir), Abbott's first protease inhibitor drug. He currently directs Abbott's medicinal chemistry research efforts in metabolic diseases, including diabetes and obesity. Dr. Sham has published many scientific articles and is a named inventor on 60 issued and 10 pending U.S. patents. He has served as an editor and reviewer, and is a member of many scientific associations. Dr. Sham received the 2003 Heroes of Chemistry Award from the American Chemical Society (for his Kaletra discovery), the National Inventor of the Year award from the Intellectual Property Owners Association (for Norvir), and twice the Inventor of the Year award from the Intellectual Property Law Association of Chicago (for Norvir and Kaletra).

Claude G. Biava

Dr. Claude G. Biava, MD

MD, Chief Medical Officer, ActoKine Therapeutics (former Abbott)

Dr. Biava has more than 30 years of experience in pre-clinical and clinical research studies. From 1968-1971, as the Director of the Department of Pathology and Toxicology in the Experimental Therapy Division at Abbott Laboratories, he was responsible for pre-clinical safety evaluation of new drug candidates and their approval for clinical testing, preparation of data for submission of INDs and NDAs. As Vice President for R&D and Clinical Research in the Hospital Products Division at Abbott Laboratories from 1971-1973, he was responsible for R&D and clinical studies of hospital products, including anesthetics, intravenous therapeutics, urological products, and intraperitoneal dialysis kits. From 1973 to 1993, he was an Associate Professor and Director of the Laboratory of Ultrastructural and Renal Pathology Services at the University of California, San Francisco Medical Center. Dr. Biava received his M.D. from Louvain University in Belgium and completed his residency as a Royal Canadian Research Fellow at Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario. He is the author of more than 50 publications.

Robert Allen Lewis

Dr. Robert Allen Lewis, MD

MD, Former Aventis Pharmaceuticals

Dr. Robert A. Lewis was educated at Yale (BA, chemistry, 1967), the University of Rochester (MD, 1971), and Harvard (Internship, Residency in Pediatrics, Children's Hospital Med Center; Fellowship in Immunology, Harvard Med. School). After two years as a staff rheumatologist and allergist in the US Air Force, Dr. Lewis joined the faculty of Harvard Med. School, where he remained for over a decade, conducting research on mast cells, prostaglandins and leukotrienes, in collaboration with his department chairman, Dr. K. Frank Austen, a colleague from pulmonary medicine, Dr. Jeffrey Drazen, the Sheldon Emory Professor of Chemistry at Harvard University, Dr. E J Corey, and a number of talented post-doctoral fellows and students. In 1986, Dr. Lewis left Harvard to join Syntex Corporation as director of basic research, from which he advanced to become President of Discovery Research; there, he and his colleagues developed several drugs, including myocophenolate mofetil for prevention of acute transplant rejection, and gancyclovir and valgancyclovir for therapy of cytomegalovirus infections. In 1995, approximately a year after Roche Holdings acquired Syntex, Dr. Lewis moved to Cell Therapeutics in Seattle, as Chief Scientific Officer, where, with his colleagues, he developed polyglutamic acid polymer conjugates with taxanes and other hydrophobic cancer drugs and cloned many of the critical human enzymes involved in the turnover of phospholipids, with focus on their effects in oncogenesis. There, with colleagues, he also began exploring gene expression during T-cell subtype differentiation. In 2000, Dr. Lewis moved to Aventis Pharmaceuticals at the Bridgewater, NJ campus, to create and direct a center for expertise in immunology research, termed the Immunology Platform, which has become the center for expression profiling of human immunocytes at Aventis. For the past six months, Dr. Lewis has also been acting Sr VP and Site Head for the Aventis US Research Site. Dr. Lewis is the author or coauthor of 160 scientific papers and book chapters on cell biology and biochemistry in immediate hypersensitivity and related disorders. He has served on the faculties of Harvard, Stanford, and UCSF medical schools and has been an invited speaker at numerous national and international meetings over the past 25 years, including the invited professorial lectureship of the Japanese Society of Allergology in 1983.

Martin A. Wasserman

Dr. Martin A. Wasserman, PhD

Former Aventis, GSK, BMS, Roche

Dr. Wasserman is an internationally recognized and accomplished biomedical scientist and pharmaceutical executive with 35+ years of industrial research and development experience. He retired voluntarily as Senior Vice President of Discovery Research and Chief Scientific Officer at AtheroGenics, Inc., in Alpharetta, GA, where he remains a Consultant. Prior to joining AtheroGenics, Dr. Wasserman was Vice President and Senior Distinguished Scientist in the Respiratory and Rheumatoid Arthritis Disease Group within the U.S. Drug Innovation and Approval Organization (R&D) at Sanofi-Aventis Pharmaceuticals (1995-2001) and, earlier, he was a valued and productive colleague at Pfizer (1972-1981), GlaxoSmithkline (1981-1988), Bristol-Myers Squibb (1989-1991) and Hoffmann-La Roche (1992-1995). He has a B.S. degree in Pharmacy from The Ernest Mario School of Pharmacy at Rutgers University (formerly Rutgers University College of Pharmacy) in NJ and was awarded M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in Pharmacology and Toxicology from the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, TX (from which he was also honored with the Distinguished Alumnus Award in 1986). His areas of biomedical R&D expertise and experience encompass a broad range of therapeutic disciplines including: bronchopulmonary, allergy, cardiovascular, inflammation, immunology, renal, oncology, endocrinology, and gastroenterology. His academic distinctions are numerous. Dr. Wasserman was appointed Adjunct Professor of Medicine at Emory University in 2002 and formerly held four additional Adjunct Professorships: The University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, The Ernest Mario School of Pharmacy at Rutgers University, Philadelphia College of Pharmacy and Sciences, and Seton Hall University School of Graduate Medical Education. He is on the Editorial Boards of several journals, e.g., The Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics and the Yearbook of Pharmacology. He has published 84 peer-reviewed research papers in international scientific journals as well as authoring or co-authoring 137 abstracts and 23 book chapters and scientific reviews. Additionally, he has been a Visiting Professor at: Boston University School of Medicine (1985), Vanderbilt University School of Medicine (1986, 1987), Medical College of Georgia (2004) and Georgia Institute of Technology (2004).

John S.K. Lo

Dr. John S.K. Lo, PhD

OBE, JP, former VP of the Hong Kong Science and Technology Park

John S.K. Lo, OBE, JP was the Vice President of Marketing & Admission, the Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation. He is also a Director of several private sector companies in Hong Kong and China.

He has over 30 years of senior management experience in various manufacturing fields in Asia, ranging from consumer, industrial to aerospace military specification products manufacturing. His working experience covered Australia, Singapore, Malaysia, Taiwan, Hong Kong, United Kingdom, Europe, U.S.A., Japan, China, Indonesia and Vietnam. His work requires him to travel extensively in these regions.

He is also the Honorary Chairman of the Hong Kong Quality Assurance Agency, the Honorary Chairman of the Hong Kong Standards & Testing Centre Ltd. and an active member of several important government appointed committees.

Lex Van der Ploeg

Dr. Lex Van der Ploeg, PhD

Former head of Merck Research Laboratories- Boston

Dr. Lex Van der Ploeg was Vice President, Basic Research, and Site Head, Merck Research Laboratories- Boston (MRL-Boston). Dr. Van der Ploeg has twenty-five years of experience in biochemistry and genetics, the larger portion of which have been focused on drug development research with Merck Research Laboratories.

Prior to joining Merck Research Laboratories- Boston in December 2003, Dr. Van der Ploeg served as vice president MRL Basic research and Site Head of MRL - San Diego. Through December 2002, Dr. Van der Ploeg served as Executive Director of the Department of Obesity and Metabolic Research at Merck’s research facility in Rahway, New Jersey. Dr. Van der Ploeg joined Merck in 1991 as Director of the Department of Genetics and Molecular Biology. Prior to joining Merck, Dr. Van der Ploeg was a tenured faculty member in the Department of Genetics and Development at Columbia University’s College of Physicians and Surgeons where he currently holds an adjunct faculty position.

Dr. Van der Ploeg received his M.S. degree in Biochemistry in 1980 from the University of Amsterdam and his PhD in Biochemistry/Enzymology/Genetics in 1984 from the University of Amsterdam/Netherlands Cancer Research Center. Dr. Van der Ploeg received numerous awards and grants for his research and has published over 300 research articles. He is an inventor on over 40 patents and patent applications.

Scott Wadsworth

Dr. Scott Wadsworth, PhD

Johnson & Johnson.

Scott Wadsworth obtained an A.B. in Biology in 1980 from Hamilton College, and an M.S. in Agricultural Biochemistry from the University of Delaware in 1983. After working 2 years at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, he entered the graduate program in immunology at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, obtaining his PhD in 1989.

His postdoc was in the Lab of Molecular Structure, NIAID, NIH, Bethesda, where he studied cell adhesion molecules involved in T cell development. Following a Staff Fellow position at the NIH from 1992-1993, he joined Johnson & Johnson. He has been at J & J Pharmaceutical Research and Development since 1995, working primarily in the areas of signal transduction and immunology. He was the biology project leader for the p38 kinase inhibitor program and has recently been involved with research into novel drug/device combinations, such as drug-coated coronary stents.

Gunther Winkler

Dr. Gunther Winkler, PhD

Former VP, Strategic Initiatives, BiogenIdec

Dr. Winkler joined Biogen as a Research Scientist in 1988, served as Director of Medical Operations from 1991-1997 and as Program Executive and Senior Director of Program Management from 1997-2002. Dr. Winkler has contributed to a number of Biogen Idec's drug development programs, most significantly to the AMEVIVE® program, the AVONEX® program and the ANGIOMAX program. His international experience includes Europe, Japan, Australia and a number of Asian countries.

Dr. Winkler was credited with leading the program development team for AMEVIVE®, Biogen Idec’s novel anti-inflammatory compound for treatment of moderate-to-severe chronic plaque psoriasis. He oversaw the integrated development program through the research, clinical development and registrational phases. AMEVIVE® was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 2003 and is also available in several overseas markets.

A native of Austria, Dr. Winkler received a Masters degree and PhD in Biochemistry from the University of Vienna. He was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey. His scientific work focused on virology and vaccine development. He has published more than 30 articles and presented at more than 100 conferences. Dr. Winkler is listed in Who’s Who in the World, Who’s Who in America and others.

Dr. Winkler is a well-known photographer who has exhibited in several individual and group shows. He is married and the father of two children.

Morten Soegaard

Dr. Morten Soegaard, PhD, Pfizer

Executive Director, Head Biotechnology & Precision Medicine, External R&D Innovation, Worldwide R&D, Pfizer

Following 3 years of post-doctoral studies at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York, Morten moved to Pharmacia in Sweden, where he was section head and project leader for oncology antibody therapeutics. In 1998, Morten moved to AstraZeneca in Lund and later Molndal (Gothenburg) as head of the Molecular Sciences Department  leading about 100 scientists conducting genomics, proteomics, genetics and protein family research. At that time he also headed AZ’s global nuclear receptor program.  In 2004  Morten moved to  Boehringer Ingelheim in Ridgefield, CT  as VP and global head of enabling technology and a member of  BI’s global research leadership team. In this role he helped build a world-wide enabling technology function comprising global technology skill centers, research informatics and an infrastructure for biologics research, and briefly served as Head of R&D Informatics. Morten has been with Pfizer since 2009.

Role at Pfizer: In close collaboration with Pfizer’s CSOs,  External R&D Innovation identifies, evaluates and funds Pfizer’s large R&D collaborations. Morten’s team is responsible for technology and oncology collaborations. Morten has recently been leading a Pfizer-wide strategy initiative on Precision Medicine and spearheaded a Pfizer-internal white paper on this topic.

Training/Education: Morten received his Cand Scient in Biochemistry as well as his Ph.D. degree from University of Copenhagen, Denmark. Morten did both Cand. Scient and Ph.D research at the Carlsberg Laboratory, Dept. of Chemistry.

Dr. Howard A. Young, PhD, NCI

Laboratory of Experimental Immunology, Head, Cellular and Molecular Immunology Section, Deputy Laboratory Chief, NCI-Frederick

Dr. Howard Young obtained his Ph.D. in microbiology at the University of Washington and carried out postdoctoral research at the NCI under Drs. Edward Scolnick and Wade Parks. He was a member of the Laboratory of Molecular Immunoregulation, NCI, from 1983 to 1989 prior to joining the Laboratory of Experimental Immunology in 1989. He was President, International Society for Interferon and Cytokine Research (2004-2005) and served as Chair of the Immunology Division of the American Society for Microbiolgy. He has also served as Chair of the NIH Cytokine interest Group and co-Chair of the NIH Immunology Interest Group. He is a two time recipient of the NIH Director's Award for Mentoring (2000, 2006) and in 2006 he received the National Public Service Award. In 2007 he was named Deputy Chief, Laboratory of Experimental Immunology.

Reinhard Ebner

Reinhard Ebner, PhD, former Genentech

VP of Biomarkers, ActoKine Therapeutics
A research contractor at the cancer genomics section at NIH

Having served as a research manager and senior investigator in both academic and corporate settings, Dr. Reinhard Ebner has extensive scientific, technical and strategy experience, combined with a broad knowledge of modern biology and the biomedical and biotechnology industry, with a recent focus in contemporary oncology.

He received his undergraduate degree in Biology from the University of Regensburg and his doctorate in Microbiology and Genetics from the University of Osnabrück, Germany, where he then served on the faculty of the Genetics department.

In 1989, Dr. Ebner was awarded a research fellowship to work as a visiting scientific specialist at Genentech, Inc. in San Francisco. There, he identified and cloned the long elusive first type I TGF-b receptor. He was first to show TGFß-induced epithelial-mesenchymal-transitions (EMTs) in cells in culture and, in the years following, made a series of substantial contributions to the fields of cytokine biology, receptor-ligand interactions and intracellular trafficking, cell differentiation, early development and tissue repair, first at Genentech and then at the University of California, San Francisco and at Stanford University Medical School.

After moving to Human Genome Sciences in 1995, Dr. Ebner became one of the most productive novel gene finders there and the inventor of all the HGS targets now in clinical trials and discovered many other important proteins around which HGS established pre-clinical and clinical development programs, including such molecules as DR4, the first and long sought after receptor for the cytotoxic ligand TRAIL, as well as LIGHT, IL-17B and its receptor, BlyS and TR6. In 2000, he joined Avalon Pharmaceuticals – hired as the first scientist following the company founders, where he was instrumental in the initiation of intramural and external research programs and contributed to corporate and scientific infrastructure development, working predominantly in the fields of chemical genomics, cancer research, data mining and HTS assay development. He also coordinated the company’s therapeutic antibody target discovery alliances and has a long-standing interest in alternative and novel drug discovery paradigms and development strategies.

Dr. Ebner is a frequently invited plenary speaker at national and international conferences and member of several scientific advisory panels and has served on state and national study sections.He has authored more than 50 original research publications, with several thousand citations by others. He is a recipient of grant and manuscript peer review service awards and society memberships, an ad hoc reviewer and editor for scientific journals, has over 44 issued US patents and is the primary inventor on more than 600 patent applications world wide. Several of his discoveries have led to new therapeutics now in the clinic or on the market.

Since 2008, he has consulted with a variety of public and private laboratories and institutions, providing assistance on business strategy, investment decisions, competitive and intellectual landscape analyses, technology development and other science projects, drawing from his expertise in genomics, biomarkers, personalized medicine, stem cells, small molecule as well as biologics drug development, alternative energy generation and general cell biology.

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