XinThera is a small molecule drug discovery company
XinThera’s mission is to identify new insights from the latest science to create new opportunities and discover new therapies to treat cancer and immunological diseases. It has built a team of world-class drug developers and experienced biotech leaders. The company was founded in 2021 by Stephen Kaldor, Ph.D., Qing Dong, Ph.D., and Gene Hung, M.D., and is headquartered in San Diego, California’s biotech hub.
Board of Directors
Scientific Advisors & Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs)
CSO, Chairman, & Co-Founder
Qing Dong, Ph.D., co-founded XinThera in 2021 and serves as its Chairman of the Board, President and CSO. Mr. Dong is a passionate drug hunter with more than 25 years of experience in drug discovery. He has particular strength in the structure-based design of oncology and inflammation drug candidates and has contributed to five marketed drugs and more than 15 clinical phase compounds. Prior to co-founding XinThera in 2021, he co-founded small molecule inflammation biotech FronThera in 2015 and served as its President & CSO through its successful acquisition in February 2021. From 2010 to 2015, Mr. Dong was CSO at Hengrui and played an integral role in building this leading Chinese pharmaceutical company’s small molecule portfolio. Earlier in his career, he worked as a medicinal chemist at both Takeda and Triad Therapeutics. Mr. Dong received his Ph.D. in organic chemistry at Rice University and completed his post-doctoral training at Harvard Medical School.
Steve was an accomplished pharmaceutical and biotechnology industry executive having started his career in 1990 as a chemist with Eli Lilly where he co-invented three marketed drugs along with multiple other compounds currently in clinical development. Prior to co-founding XinThera in early 2021, Steve was founding CEO of precision oncology biotech Kinnate Biopharma (NASDAQ: KNTE) from 2018 through 2020 and also served on its Board through 2021. Steve contributed to other companies including Quanticel, where he served as CEO from 2010 until it was acquired by Celgene in 2015, Ambrx, where he served as President and CEO from 2007 to 2010, and Syrrx where he was President and CSO, until its 2005 acquisition by Takeda. Steve served on several Boards throughout his career including Amira Pharmaceuticals (acquired by BMS in 2011), Crinetics (NASDAQ: CRNX), Crown Biosciences, and Furiex Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: FURX, acquired in 2014 by Forest/Actavis). He also acted as an advisor to FronThera Pharmaceuticals, Foresite Capital, Versant Ventures and Thomas, McNerney and Partners. Steve was a chemist by training, having received a B.A. in chemistry from Columbia University and a Ph.D. in organic chemistry from Harvard University.
Senior VP of Research & Co-Founder
Gene Hung, M.D., co-founded XinThera in 2021 and serves as its Senior Vice President of Research. He is a seasoned veteran in the field of drug discovery. Previously Gene co-founded small molecule inflammation biotech FronThera in 2015 and served as its Senior Vice President of Biology and Drug Discovery through its successful acquisition in February 2021. He was an executive director at Ionis Pharmaceuticals for over a decade, where he led the drug discovery programs contributing to creating Spinraza, the first drug approved for spinal muscular atrophy (2016), and HTTRx, which advanced to Phase 3 for Huntington’s disease. Gene also served as Director at Arena Pharmaceuticals. His prior tenure at House Ear Institute/USC as assistant professor in gene therapy exemplifies his true passion in patient outcome care. Gene obtained his M.D. from Tianjing Medical College, achieved his residency in Tong Ren Hospital, and acquired his Post-Doc at USC. He is a co-inventor on eight patents and a co-author of fifty publications.
Chief Executive Officer
Chris LeMasters is the Chief Executive Officer of XinThera, where he is responsible for the company’s strategic, financial and operational functions. Prior to XinThera, he was COO of Amplyx Pharmaceuticals, where he led the strategic efforts that resulted in the company’s successful sale to Pfizer in April 2021.
Mr. LeMasters was previously EVP & CBO of Mirati Therapeutics, where he was responsible for corporate development, strategy, and investor relations. During his three years in this role, he oversaw the successful expansion of the company and its market capitalization from $100 million in 2016 to nearly $5 billion in December 2019. He also served as the CEO of Promosome, a privately held mRNA re-engineering company co-founded by Nobel Laureate Dr. Gerald M. Edelman.
Over his 30+ year career, Mr. LeMasters has co-founded and served as a management team member for multiple biotechnology companies, including Cabrellis Pharmaceuticals (acquired by Pharmion), Conforma Therapeutics (acquired by Biogen IDEC), Tragara Pharmaceuticals (acquired by Cothera), and Aarden Pharmaceuticals. Earlier in his career, Mr. LeMasters worked in the corporate business development group at Eli Lilly & Company and as a management consultant with Coopers & Lybrand and Owens-Corning. He received a BS from Indiana University and an MBA with honors from the University of Chicago. Mr. LeMasters currently serves as a board member of the Hoosier Cancer Research Network, a clinical research organization, and January Therapeutics.
Bob Hoffman joined the XinThera team in 2021 and serves as its Vice President of Chemistry. Bob is a highly accomplished medicinal chemist with expertise in Structure-Based-Drug-Design, Cheminformatics and Property-Based-Drug-Design. Bob was a key contributor to the discovery of Lorbrena® the 12-membered macrocyclic kinase inhibitor approved for the treatment of patients with ALK-positive metastatic non-small cell lung cancer. Additionally, Bob was the project co-lead or inventor on seven additional clinical candidates including the CDK2/4/6 inhibitor ebvaciclib, the CDK2 selective inhibitor PF-07104091, and the SARS-CoV-2 Mpro inhibitor lufotrelvir. Bob is an author of over 40 patents and papers and the 1999 recipient of the ACS Technical Achievements in Organic Chemistry award and the 2021 ACS Heroes of Chemistry award. Bob received a B.S. in Chemistry from Andrews University in 1989.
Craig A. Murphy, Ph.D., is Vice President, Immunology at XinThera. A driven immunologist and leader with more than 20 years of experience in the biotechnology/biopharmaceutical industry, Dr. Murphy has helped discover and characterise small molecule, biologics, and peptide therapeutics, several of which have advanced to the clinic. Prior to XinThera, Craig was leader of the GI, IL-23, and Innate Immunology Translational Science teams at Janssen R&D supporting programs and strategy across the Immunology portfolio. Craig’s career has been underlined by succession to positions of increasing responsibility at Schering-Plough Biopharma, Amgen, Inc., and Protagonist Therapeutics, Inc. where he served as Head of Discovery Research. He also served as Senior Director of Immunology and Gastrointestinal (GI) Research at Ferring Pharmaceuticals and lead the GI Immunology Research team at Takeda. Craig received B.Sc. (Hons) and Ph.D. degrees in Immunology and Microbiology from the University of Adelaide, Australia and conducted his postdoctoral at DNAX Research, Inc. in Palo Alto, California.
VP Program Management
Kyle Fraher, M.S., joined XinThera in March 2022 serving as its Vice President, Program Management. Kyle has more than 20 years of experience in drug development, from preclinical and clinical development through product approval. Her expertise is in R&D operations, project management, and program leadership. Prior to XinThera, Kyle was the Vice President, Project Management at Lengo Therapeutics, until its acquisition by Blueprint Medicines in December 2021. She previously worked in clinical operations, development and program management/leadership at Intercept Pharmaceuticals, Arena Pharmaceuticals, Biogen, and Genentech. Kyle received a B.S. in Anthropology and Human Biology from Emory University in 1993 and a M.S. in Biostatistics and Epidemiology from Georgetown University in 1995.
Dr. Jing Liu
VP Technical Operations
Dr. Jing Liu joined XinThera in March 2022 as the Vice President of Technical Operations, leading all CMC and clinical supply chain activities. Jing brings extensive experiences in drug substance and drug product R&D, manufacturing, CMC regulatory filing, and supply chain. Prior to joining XinThera, Jing was the Executive Director of CMC at Turning Point Therapeutics from 2017 to 2022. As the founding member of the CMC department, Jing oversaw the development of lead asset, repotrectinib, from initial development to commercial launch preparation. He also played instrumental roles in the advancement of three additional clinical candidates. Previously Jing held positions of increasing responsibilities at Janssen Pharmaceuticals and Dart Neuroscience and helped to bring multiple compounds from discovery into development. Jing received his B.S. degree in chemistry at Peking University and Ph.D. in organic chemistry at University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.
VP Non-Clinical Development
Donavon McConn, PhD, is a seasoned biotechnology professional currently serving as VP of Non-Clinical Development at XinThera, where he leads its immunology program. Prior to this role, Donavon was an entrepreneur-in-residence with Takeda Ventures and the former Chief Operating Officer of Solent Therapeutics. In his 20+ years of industry experience, Donavon has submitted >30 INDs and taken numerous assets into clinical development, including 3 marketed products. Donavon’s career, which includes roles at GSK, Theravance and Takeda, spans the full drug discovery paradigm from target identification and validation up to and including NDA and MAA submissions across multiple modalities and therapeutic areas.
Donavon earned a B.S. in Physiology and Biochemistry at UC Davis, and received a PhD in Pharmaceutics at the University of Washington.
VP Informatics & IT
Matthew Pustelnik joined XinThera in early 2021 serving as its Vice President of Informatics & IT where he has headed the establishment of its IT infrastructure and Informatics platform. Matthew has more than 25 years’ experience in the Biotech/Pharma industry. He started his career at Affymax Research Institute/GSK as a bench scientist and then transitioned out of the lab into Informatics as a software engineer. He then joined Syrrx in San Diego and led the establishment of an Informatics platform to support SBDD and compound progression. After the acquisition of Syrrx by Takeda, Matthew led his team in the technology transfer of the Informatics platform to Takeda headquarters. After 11 years at Syrrx/Takeda, he joined Global Blood Therapeutics as the head of Informatics and established the research Informatics platform that supported the discovery and development of Oxbryta and three additional clinical candidates. He supported the clinical development and commercialization of Oxbryta for the treatment of sickle cell disease Matthew received a B.A. in Microbiology/Genetics from University of California, Santa Barbara.
Dr. Michael Rome joined Foresite Capital in 2016 and leads the therapeutics investing practice. Michael is a board director at Kinnate Biopharma (Nasdaq: KNTE), Remix Therapeutics, XinThera, Theseus Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq: THRX), and KinnJiu Pharma. Michael was a board director at Alumis where he led the acquisition of Fronthera Biopharma, and served on the board of Pharvaris (Nasdaq: PHVS), Turning Point Therapeutics (Nasdaq: TPTX, observer), and Nurix Therapeutics (Nasdaq: NRIX, observer). Michael served as Vice President for Foresite Development Corporation II which successfully merged with Pardes Biosciences (Nasdaq: PRDS). Prior to Foresite Capital, he was an analyst at DAFNA Capital Management, covering therapeutics companies. He earned a BS in Molecular, Cell, and Developmental Biology from UCLA and obtained his PhD in Biochemistry at Caltech as an NSF Fellow.
Jim Tananbaum is the founder and chief executive officer of Foresite Capital, a U.S.-focused healthcare investment firm founded in 2011 that has approximately $3.5 billion in assets under management. Jim assembles the people, ideas and money needed to launch products that save lives and improve healthcare. He is always looking for visionary entrepreneurs with insights into therapeutics, devices, diagnostics or services that could, with the right support, change the world.
During the last three decades Jim has been a thought partner for some of the most impactful and fastest growth companies of their generation including: 10x Genomics (Nasdaq: TXG), Amerigroup (Nasdaq: ANTM), and Jazz Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq: JAZZ).
Carl L. Gordon, PhD, CFA, is a founding Partner and Co-Head of Global Private Equity at OrbiMed. For the last six years (2014 to 2019) Forbes® Magazine named Dr. Gordon one of the top 100 venture capitalists in the world when it placed him on the “Forbes Midas List”. He received a PhD in Molecular Biology from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1993) and a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Harvard College (1987), and was a Fellow at The Rockefeller University from 1993 to 1995.
Timothy Yap, MBBS, PhD, FRCP
MD Anderson Cancer Center
Geoffrey Shapiro, MD, PhD
Gary Firestein, MD
UC San Diego
Philip J. Mease, MD
Swedish Medical Center
Matt Brown, MD
Iain McInnes, CBE, PhD, FRCP
University of Glasgow
San Diego Biotech Veteran