Viracta is committed to advancing new medicines to benefit patients with viral-associated cancers and other serious diseases.
Viracta’s proprietary platform is a highly targeted combination therapy approach for virus-associated malignancies. Our initial focus is on cancers associated with the Epstein Barr Virus (EBV). We will also expand into additional applications to utilize this approach for a range of cancers and virus-associated diseases.
Our team possesses deep, cross-functional experience and longstanding commitment to develop new medicines to benefit patients.
Jim brings over 25 years of pharmaceutical research and management experience. He is a General Partner at Latterell Venture Partners. Jim held senior roles within the industry, including that of Chairman and founding CEO of Oncomed Pharmaceuticals; President of Roche Bioscience; Chief Scientific Officer and Senior Vice President of Research and Development for Centocor (Janssen); and as Commanding Officer and Director of the US Naval Medical Research and Development Command. Jim has been responsible for a wide range of medical research and development activities ranging from transplantation research to infectious diseases. He was responsible for the surveillance, detection and therapy for all Biologic Warfare Agents and Infectious Diseases in the first Gulf War, and was awarded the US Navy Legion of Merit for his service. Jim holds a medical degree from Loma Linda University, trained in Pediatric Immunology at Duke University and Children’s Hospital in Boston (Harvard), and holds a Ph.D. in Immunology from the University of London, England. He has authored or co-authored over 140 publications.
An over 30-year veteran of venture capital investing, Mr. Fleming has helped raise and manage six venture funds totaling more than $500 million and has served on the boards of 19 venture-backed companies. He served as the initial president and CEO of Triangle Pharmaceuticals (acquired by Gilead Sciences, Inc. [NASDAQ:GILD]), Actigen (now part ofCorixa/GlaxoSmithKline [NYSE:GSK]), GenQuest Corixa/GlaxoSmithKline [NYSE:GSK]), and CombiChem (acquired by DuPont [NYSE:DD]). Mr. Fleming was a founding board member of Arizeke Pharmaceuticals, Ciphergen Biosystems (now Vermillion, Inc. [NASDAQ:VRML]) and Ambit Biosciences (acquired by Daiichi Sankyo) Gryphon Therapeutics, and served on the boards of Acorda Therapeutics [NASDAQ: ACOR], and was a founding director of Nereus Pharmaceuticals. He earned his BA from Amherst College and his MBA from the UCLA Graduate School of Management.
Richard brings over 20 years of drug development experience. He currently serves as Senior Vice President of Clinical Development at MEI Pharma. As a hematologist and oncologist, Richard has held several executive positions in the pharmaceutical industry, including Chief Medical Officer at Denovo BioPharma, HemaQuest Pharmaceuticals, Novalar Pharmaceuticals, and Favrille. He also served as Medical Director of the Bone Marrow Transplant Center of Rush University Medical Center. Richard holds a medical degree from the French School of Medicine in Lebanon, a M.S. from the University Paris XI and a M.B.A. from the University of Washington in Seattle. He has authored or co-authored more than 125 manuscripts, book chapters and scientific publications.
Sam Murphy currently serves as VP and Head of International Business Development for Salubris Pharmaceuticals and its US subsidiary SalubrisBio. His role encompasses origination, evaluation, and execution of licensing transactions, strategic investments and acquisitions outside of China. He leads the externally-facing efforts ongoing at Salubris to pivot towards an innovation-driven product portfolio and a global presence. Prior to joining Salubris, Sam worked for ten years in strategy consulting and transaction advisory services across several global firms including IMS (now IQVIA) and Simon-Kucher & Partners. Sam’s commercial strategy engagements encompassed 18 of the top 25 pharmaceutical companies, as well as numerous small and mid-sized biotech companies, with an emphasis on pricing and market access. Sam’s transaction advisory work included licensing and acquisitions collectively exceeding $2B USD in value, and he also supported early-stage financing for a number of emerging pharma/biotech companies. Sam completed his B.A. in Biochemistry, Ph.D. in Molecular Biology and Post-Doctoral Fellowship in Gene Therapy and Translational Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, where he focused principally on gene therapy during his 13 years of bench research. Sam was also awarded a Presidential Management Fellowship in which he supported policy development around a $1B congressional initiative to build the national biodefense stockpile. Sam is currently a board member at GO Therapeutics, Viracta Therapeutics, and MedAlliance S.A., and a board observer at Mercator Medsystems.
In addition to his roles and accomplishments, described below, Ivor was founding Managing Partner with Forward Ventures.
Dr. Simon has served as Director for Viracta since July 2017. He has served as NantKwest’s President and CEO from 2007 to 2015, as its President and COO since 2015 and presently serves as its President and CAO and as a Director. Dr. Simon also presently serves as the Chairman of the Board for Cue BioPharma (NASDAQ: CUE). Previously, Dr. Simon held Vice President, senior level and advisory positions at F. Hoffmann-La Roche (VTX: ROG), Roche Labs, Connetics Corp. (NASDAQ: CNCT), Immunomedics (NASDAQ: IMMU), Immusol, NorthSound Capital, LLC, and HealthPro BioVentures. Dr. Simon has broad experience in the public and private settings, having led product and portfolio divestitures and acquisitions, strategic licensing and joint ventures, as well as commercial product launches, IND & BLA regulatory filings, human-enabling programs, manufacturing, quality control and life cycle management. Dr. Simon worked across several therapeutic areas including oncology, virology, ophthalmology and dermatology on products launches including Xeloda®, Pegasys®, Fortovase®, Tamiflu®, Camptobell®, Boniva®, Fuzeon®, Valcyt®, and Accutane®. Dr. Simon attended corporate training programs by the London School of Business and the Amos Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College. Dr. Simon trained clinically in Infectious Diseases, Anesthesiology and Internal Medicine and received his M.D. from the SUNY Downstate, Health Sciences Center in New York.
Michael L. Huang currently serves as the Managing Partner of Taiwania Capital Management Company's Life Science Fund and on the board of Frequency Therapeutics (NASDAQ: FREQ), Elixiron Therapeutics, and Annji Pharma. Prior to joining Taiwania, Michael was the Co-founder and CEO of NeuroVive Pharmaceutical Asia, Inc. (NVP Asia), a new drug development company focusing on the development of mitochondria-related diseases. During his tenure, NVP Asia had successfully reached out-licensing deals with Sihuan Pharmaceutical and Sanofi Korea. Prior to NPV Asia, he had served as head of IR for TWi Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a specialty generics company in Taiwan, and had played a critical role during TWi's IPO process. Before working in the industry, Michael had over 12 years of experience as a venture capitalist, focusing on investments in life science startups in US, Taiwan and Japan. Some of his notable deals include Coley Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (Nasdaq Listed then acquired by Pfizer), MediciNova (Dual listing on Nasdaq and Osaka Stock Exchange)、Nellix, Inc.(acquired by Endologix)、Mycenax Biotech, Inc. (TPEx)、Savior Lifetec Corp. (TPEx)、PharmaEngine, Inc. (TPEx)、Apex International Co. (Acquired by Paraxel).Michael's expertise is in investing and managing early to late stage biotech and medical device companies in the Greater China, Japan, Europe and North America regions. He earned his MS degree in Chemistry from the University of Texas at Arlington and an MBA degree from Rice University's Jones Graduate School of Business.
Dr. Royston is the President and CEO of Viracta Therapeutics, a San Diego-based biotechnology company focused on novel therapies for viral-associated cancers. Previously, Dr. Royston was a Managing Partner (1990-2017) of Forward Ventures, a San Diego specialized life science venture capital firm, and the founding President and CEO of the Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center (1990-2000). Prior to the above, he was Director of Clinical Immunology of the University of California, San Diego. Cancer Center. Dr. Royston was the co-founder of Hybritech, Inc., San Diego’s first biotechnology company, which developed the PSA test for prostate cancer; and the co-founder of IDEC Corporation, which developed the first monoclonal antibody therapy for cancer, and which subsequently merged with Biogen to form Biogen Idec, now Biogen [NASDAQ: BIIB].
Dr. Royston has been instrumental in the formation, financing, and development of numerous biotechnology companies. Today, he serves on the boards of Biocept [NASDAQ:BIOC] and Viracta.
Dr. Royston received his B.A. and M.D. degrees from Johns Hopkins University and completed post-doctoral training in internal medicine and medical oncology at Stanford University. Dr. Royston’s honors include the San Diego Entrepreneur of the Year Award, the appointment by President Clinton to a six-year term on the National Cancer Advisory Board, and the induction into the San Diego Entrepreneur Hall of Fame.
Mr. Chevallard joins Viracta from Regulus Therapeutics Inc. where he held various key positions including Chief Financial Officer, Vice President, Finance and Accounting and Vice President, Accounting and Financial Reporting. At Regulus, Mr. Chevallard led the finance and operations teams, played a key role in the execution of $270M in equity and growth capital financings, and implemented all integrated finance functions. Prior to Regulus, Mr. Chevallard spent seven years at Prometheus Laboratories Inc. (acquired by Nestlé Health Science) where he held senior roles in corporate finance. Prior to joining industry, Mr. Chevallard spent five years in public accounting at Ernst & Young, LLP. Mr. Chevallard has a Bachelor of Accountancy from the University of San Diego and is a Certified Public Accountant in California.
Dr. Rojkjaer joins Viracta from Nordic Nanovector, a publicly traded precision oncology company located in Oslo, Norway, where she served as Chief Medical Officer and led the clinical development and medical affairs functions. Prior to that, she served in several senior positions focused on theadvancement of small molecule and biologic programs, from Phase 1 - Phase 4 development, for hematology/immunology indications, and brings significant US and ex-US regulatory experience. She served as Global Clinical Program Head, Oncology Global Development at Novartis Pharmaceuticals, Chief Medical Officer at Molecular Partners, Vice President, Head of Clinical Development at Morphosys AG and both Director of Clinical Development, Hematology in the US and Head, Global Medical Affairs, Biopharmaceuticals for Novo Nordisk. Dr Rojkjaer received her medical degree from the University of Toronto and is board-certified in both internal medicine and hematology.
Dr. Deng joins Viracta from Kura Oncology, Inc. and Wellspring Biosciences, where he was Senior Director, Head of CMC. Dr. Deng led the CMC function - including development, manufacture, quality control, and clinical supply - of multiple programs through various phases of development (I, II and III and registrational). Prior to Kura, Dr. Deng spent thirteen years at Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson in various roles of increasing responsibility associated with process chemistry R&D, CRO management, and project management of discovery/preclinical development. He has more than 30 peer-reviewed journal publications, a book chapter and 14 issued patents to his credit. Dr. Deng holds a Ph.D. in organic chemistry from Emory University and MS and BS in chemistry from Fudan University.
Prior to joining Viracta, Robert conducted Business Development for a global clinical research organization, working closely with many biotech organizations. Robert’s experience includes roles in clinical operations and management of global clinical trials in rare disease and immunology related indications across all phases of development. Robert also conducted molecular biology and microbiology research at Wright State University and was the recipient of a fellowship from The Oak Ridge Institute for Science Education in areas of biodefense interest with The United States Air Force Research Laboratory.
SAB Chairman; scientific founder for Viracta’s therapeutic approach; former Director Boston University School of Medicine’s Cancer Center and Vice Chairman of the Division of Medicine.
Professor and Head of the Lymphoma Program at Ohio State University, and member of Blood and Marrow Transplant Clinical Trials Network.
Chief Medical Officer at Infectious Disease Research Institute (IDRI), and Co-Director of University of Washington/Fred Hutch Center for AIDS Research.
Director of the Ivy Center for Advanced Brain Tumor Treatment in Seattle; pioneered the concept of the potential role of cytomegalovirus in cancer pathogenesis and therapy.
Richard W. Vague Professor in Immunotherapy, Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine; Director of the Center for Cellular Immunotherapies; Director of Translational Research, Abramson Cancer Center at the University of Pennsylvania.
Professor and Director of the Lymphoma Program at Stanford University School of Medicine; Associate Director of Translational Science for the Stanford Cancer Institute; former Chief of the Stanford Division of Medical Oncology; member of the National Academy of Medicine and the National Academy of Sciences.
Director of the Hematologic Malignancies and Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation Division in the Department of Medical Oncology for Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center at Thomas Jefferson University.
Professor of Microbiology at Penn Institute for Immunology at University of Pennsylvania bringing expertise in viral models of immune responses, epigenetics and T cell exhaustion.
Physician-in-Chief and Distinguished Professor at the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen); Professor of Medicine, Mayo Clinic; Senior Consultant-Investigations, City of Hope; member of President Bush’s National Cancer Advisory Board and past President of the American Association for Cancer Research.
Vice President and Director of the Warwick Cancer Research Centre at University of Warwick, UK, distinguished by work in the roles of the Epstein-Barr virus in nasopharyngeal carcinoma and other cancers; Fellow of the UK Academy of Medical Sciences.