iOx Therapeutics

Founded in February 2015 by Professor Cerundolo, iOx Therapeutics is a spin-out from the University of Oxford started to commercialise discoveries made as part of a long-running collaboration between Oxford and the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research. iOx intends to develop and commercialise multiple synthetic lipid compounds discovered by a research team led by Professor Cerundolo.

Preliminary research indicates that these compounds activate invariant natural killer T-cells (iNKT cells), which, a large body of evidence suggests, play an important role in anti-tumour immune responses. iNKT cells are a distinct class of T lymphocyte displaying a limited diversity of T-cell receptors. They recognise lipid antigens on the surface of tumour cells and produce large amounts of cytokines within hours of stimulation without the need for clonal expansion. Furthermore, iNKT cells activate multiple immune system components, including dendritic cells, T-cells and B-cells and stimulate an antigen-specific expansion of these cells.

SalvaRx has worked with Professor Cerundolo since 2014 in order to develop a comprehensive drug development strategy for iOx, and it has put in place an board of directors with expertise in pharmaceutical development, licensing, M&A and product development. The scientific advisory board has extensive experience in the development of multiple immunotherapy products which form the current standard of care, as well as the mechanism of new immunotherapy, formulation of combinations and clinical experience in the first generation of NKT therapeutics.

iOx Board of Directors and Senior Management

  • Declan Doogan, MD

    Chairman of iOx Therapeutics
    Dr. Declan Doogan has over 30 years of industry experience in both major pharma and biotech. He was the Senior Vice-President and Head of Worldwide Development at Pfizer, where many multibillion dollar programs were delivered (e.g., Viagra, Lipitor and Zoloft). He has held a number of executive positions in Pfizer in the US, the UK and Japan. Since leaving Pfizer in 2007 he has been engaged in executive roles in small pharma. Declan was CMO and acting CEO of Amarin (AMRN: Nasdaq), transforming it from a failing Neuroscience company to a vibrant cardiovascular company with a market capitalization of over one billion dollars before his departure. He has also been Chief Medical Officer for Prometheus Laboratories, a molecular diagnostics company in San Diego. Declan is also an investor in emerging biotechnology and technology companies. He holds a number of Board appointments, principally in pharma companies, and has also held professorships positions at Harvard School of Public Health, Glasgow University Medical School and Kitasato University (Tokyo). Declan received his medical degree from Glasgow University in 1975. He is a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians and the Faculty Pharmaceutical Medicine and holds a Doctorate of Science at the University of Kent in the UK.
  • Ian B Walters, MD, MBA

    CEO and Director of iOx Therapeutics
    Ian B. Walters, M.D., M.B.A., is the Entrepreneur in Residence at Mediqventures and is part-time CMO of Intensity Therapeutics, Inc. Over his 16 year career, he has demonstrated both leadership and expertise in drug development, including the advancement of multiple cancer compounds from research stages through approval.

    Ian specialises in the evaluation, prioritization, and the innovative development of new therapies for the treatment of severe diseases. He has worked at PDL BioPharma, Inc., Millenium Pharmaceuticals, Inc., and Sorrento Therapeutics, Inc., leading corporate development, translational medicine, clinical development and medical affairs.

    Ian spent seven years at Bristol-Myers Squibb, where he managed physicians overseeing the international development of more than eight oncology compounds (including Nivolimab (anti-PD-1), Ipilimumab (anti-CTLA-4), brivanib (anti VEGF/FGF), anti-IGF/IR, VEGFR2 biologic, Elotuzimab (antiCS1), as well as biomarker and companion diagnostic work. He was a core member of Bristol- Myers Squibb’s Strategic Transactions Group evaluating and executing licensing agreements, mergers and acquisitions, clinical collaborations, and the company’s immuno-oncology strategy.

    Before entering the private sector, Ian was a lead investigator at the Rockefeller University and initiated advanced immunology research to understand the mechanism of action of several compounds. Ian received his MD from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine and an MBA from the Wharton School of The University of Pennsylvania.
  • Vincenzo Cerundolo, MD, PhD

    Director, Member of Scientific Advisory Board.
    Professor Cerundolo is Professor of Immunology at the University of Oxford and Director of the MRC Human Immunology Unit at the Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine. Professor Cerundolo was the first to show the mechanism of ligand binding of lipids to CD1d molecules and their subsequent presentation to lymphocytes. In addition, Professor Cerundolo was able to demonstrate the importance of iNKT cells in enhancing antigen specific T and B cell responses and their ability to abolish the immuno-suppressive activity of myeloid derived suppressor cells. This work led to the development of the engineered iNKT agonists being developed by iOx as potential immunotherapy candidates. Professor Cerundolo discovered the technology that is the basis for iOx Therapeutics and acts as scientific advisor to iOx.
  • Annalisa Jenkins, MBBS, MRCP

    Director of iOx Therapeutics.
    Dr. Annalisa Jenkins, MBBS, MRCP is the chief executive officer of Dimension Therapeutics.  A biopharma thought leader with nearly 20 years of industry experience, Dr. Jenkins has built and led teams advancing programs from scientific research through clinical development, regulatory approval and into healthcare systems globally.

    Prior to joining Dimension, Dr. Jenkins served as executive vice president, head of Global Research and Development for Merck Serono. She also led Global Medical Affairs and Quality and was a member of Merck Serono’s Pharmaceutical Executive Committee. Previously, Dr. Jenkins pursued a nearly 15-year career at Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS), attaining the role of senior vice president and head of Global Medical Affairs. She began her career as a medical officer with the British Royal Navy during the Gulf conflict, rising to the rank of Surgeon Lieutenant Commander. Dr. Jenkins graduated in medicine from St. Bartholomew’s Hospital London and trained in cardiovascular medicine in the UK National Health Service.

    Dr. Jenkins is a member of the Board of Directors of Ardelyx, Biothera, MedCity, and Viventia Bio, Inc. She also is a member of the European Commission’s Scientific Panel for Health, a science-led expert group tasked with helping to achieve better health and wellbeing for all. In addition, Dr. Jenkins is a committee member of the Science Board to the U.S. Food & Drug Administration, which advises FDA leadership on complex scientific and technical issues.
  • Jonathan Skipper, PhD

    Director of iOx Therapeutics
    Dr. Jonathan Skipper is the Executive Vice President for Technology Development at the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research, with responsibility for developing and executing value-creating partnering and licensing strategies for product opportunities emanating from Ludwig’s research programs across a range of technologies and therapeutic areas. He manages Ludwig’s intellectual property and clinical trials operations and has successfully completed transactions with numerous pharmaceutical and biotechnology partners.

    He has been instrumental in establishing seven international start-up oncology companies formed to develop different Ludwig technologies. These include: monoclonal antibody companies Recepta BioPharma S.A, Brazil, Life Science Pharmaceuticals Inc, US, Vegenics Ltd, currently a subsidiary of Circadian Technologies Ltd, Australia and CT Atlantic A.G, Switzerland; personalized medicine-biomarker companies Serametrix Inc (US) and Activiomics Ltd (UK) and drug development company iTeos Therapeutics, (Belgium).

    Dr. Skipper currently serves on the boards of Recepta BioPharma, Serametrix Inc. and iTeos Therapeutics. Dr. Skipper obtained a Ph.D in Immunology from University College London and completed further research at the University of Virginia and the University of Oxford.
  • Robert Kramer, PhD

    Chief Scientific Officer of iOx Therapeutics
    Rob has 24 years’ experience in the pharmaceutical industry and is the former Head of Oncology Discovery Research at both Bristol-Myers Squibb and Janssen Pharmaceuticals, part of the Johnson & Johnson group of companies. He has been responsible for enabling the transition of 35 drugs from discovery into the clinic. Rob championed immunotheraphy at Bristol-Myers Squibb, resulting in the acquisition of Medarex, Inc. in 2009 and its portfolio of immune therapeutics that included Ipilimumab and Nivolumab. He received his PhD in pharmacology from the University of Vermont and undertook his post doctorate studies at the US National Cancer Institute. Rob held an Assistant Professorship at the Harvard Medical School.