Former Chief Medical Officer at Pharmacyclics, Proteolix and Loxo Oncology Brings Expertise in Immuno-Oncology Drug Development and Commercialization
SAN DIEGO, – Sept. 10, 2015 – Tocagen Inc., a clinical-stage immuno-oncology company, today announced that Lori Kunkel, M.D., has joined the company’s board of directors. Dr. Kunkel has more than twenty years of experience in oncology and immunology drug development and commercialization, including serving as chief medical officer at Pharmacyclics (acquired by AbbVie) and Proteolix, Inc. (acquired by Onyx Pharmaceuticals), which ultimately resulted in the global approvals of cancer therapeutics IMBRUVICA® and Kyprolis®, respectively.
“Lori’s deep experience developing successful clinical and regulatory strategies leading to the global commercialization of oncology products will be a great addition to our board, and we are delighted to have her join our team,” said Faheem Hasnain, chairman of the board of directors of Tocagen and former president and chief executive officer of Receptos, Inc (acquired by Celgene). “Her knowledge and insights surrounding oncology drug development, in addition to her strategic consulting and corporate board experience, will be invaluable as Tocagen starts enrollment in its pivotal trial and enters its next phase of growth.”
Dr. Kunkel added, “Tocagen’s immuno-oncology platform has a unique ability to target and kill cancer cells while activating the immune system through multiple mechanisms, and holds great potential for the treatment of cancer. I look forward to helping guide the development of Tocagen’s highly differentiated platform and product candidates as the company advances towards commercialization of their lead product, Toca 511 & Toca FC, for patients with high grade glioma.
Dr. Kunkel presently serves on the board of directors of Loxo Oncology, where she was previously the acting chief medical officer. Prior to that role she was the chief medical officer of Pharmacyclics, the chief medical officer of Proteolix, and the vice president of clinical development at Xencor, Inc. Previous to these positions she was a clinical scientist at Genentech where she worked on the development of RITUXAN®. Additionally, as a clinical drug development specialist, Dr. Kunkel has advised multiple clients including Chiron (acquired by Novartis), Genentech/Roche, Salmedics (acquired by Celgene), and currently is an advisor to Curis, Inc., Stemcentrx, Inc. and Amphivena Therapeutics.
Prior to joining the biotechnology industry, Dr. Kunkel spent ten years in academic medicine and served as a faculty member at the Bone Marrow Transplant Unit in the Division of Hematology/Oncology at University of California, Los Angeles. Dr. Kunkel obtained a medical degree from University of Southern California and a bachelor’s degree in biology from University of California, San Diego. She is board certified in internal medicine and held board certifications in hematology and oncology.
About Tocagen Inc.
Tocagen is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company pursuing the discovery, development and commercialization of products built upon a broadly applicable, highly cancer-selective immuno-oncology platform. The company’s lead investigational combination product, Toca 511 & Toca FC, is advancing into a pivotal Phase 2/3 study in 2015 for patients with recurrent glioblastoma or anaplastic astrocytoma. The FDA has granted Toca 511 & Toca FC both Fast Track and orphan drug designations. A study evaluating Toca 511 & Toca FC in five additional metastatic solid tumor indications is planned for 2016.
Tocagen has received grant support from leading brain cancer foundations, including Accelerate Brain Cancer Cure (ABC2), National Brain Tumor Society (NBTS), American Brain Tumor Association (ABTA), Musella Foundation and Voices Against Brain Cancer (VABC). For more information about clinical trials please visit www.clinicaltrials.gov using the identifiers NCT01470794, NCT01156584, NCT01985256, or NCT02414165. For more information about Tocagen please visit www.tocagen.com or follow @Tocagen.