Pearl Huang, Ph.D., has more than 30 years of leadership experience in pharma and biotech and is now the President and CEO of Dunad Therapeutics.
Pearl earned a bachelor’s degree in biology from MIT and went on to complete her PhD in molecular biology from Princeton University. She began her professional career as a senior research biochemist at Merck Research Labs in 1990 before moving to DuPont Pharmaceuticals as the director of cancer biology. Huang then joined GlaxoSmithKline as VP of BIology for the MMPD CEDD before returning to Merck to serve as VP and oncology franchise integrator, a strategic role heading up translational medicine to create the then-nascent oncology pipeline. In 2010, Huang co-founded Beigene in China, where she served as Chief Scientific Officer until 2012. She then returned to big pharma, holding leadership roles at GlaxoSmithKline and Roche before joining Cygnal Therapeutics, where she served as President and CEO. She was also a venture partner at Flagship Pioneering, the venture creation firm that founded Cygnal Therapeutics. In addition to her role with Dunad, she is an active member of several boards.
PATRICK T GUNNING
Founder CEO, Director
Patrick is the acting CEO and CSO of Dunad Therapeutics, Full Professor of Chemistry at the University of Toronto, Canada Research Chair in Medicinal Chemistry, and founder and Chief Scientific Director of the Centre for Medicinal Chemistry (UofT). Patrick obtained his PhD at the University of Glasgow in 2005 under the supervision of Profs. Robert Peacock and Andrew C. Benniston, and conducted post-doctoral studies at Yale University with Prof Andrew Hamilton.
Patrick has published ~120 research papers, won 19 research awards including Canada’s Top 40 under 40, the 2010 Boehringer Ingelheim Young Investigator Award, the 2012 RSC MedChemComm Emerging Investigator Lectureship by the Royal Society for Chemistry, and the 2016 Canadian Society for Chemistry’s Bernard Belleau award.
Patrick has founded four biotech companies with over $26M in funding, including Janpix Inc, which became a Centessa Pharmaceuticals’ company in 2021. He has developed a dynamic and diverse medicinal chemistry program focused on covalent therapeutics, protein degradation, and targeting protein-protein interactions.
Founder, COO, Director
Diana, a co-founder and Chief Operating Officer of Dunad, brings to the Dunad team years of leadership and hands-on cross-disciplinary biotech experience spanning areas of company building, scientific & IP program strategy, and operations.
Diana completed Honors BSc Degree in Molecular Biology and PhD in Medicinal Chemistry from the University of Toronto, following which, as a research manager of the Centre for Medicinal Chemistry, she was involved in multiple drug discovery programs and provided oversight over the build-out of the >$100 M integrated drug discovery infrastructure at the University of Toronto. Having transitioned from academia into the world of Biotech entrepreneurship, and prior to Dunad, Diana has co-founded two other biotechs, including Dalriada Drug Discovery. At Dalriada, Diana pioneered a new Turn-Key model in drug discovery support, and under her leadership the company has grown to over 60 people within 3 years.
During her time in academia and biotech, Diana worked on diverse small molecule programs across protein-protein interactions, epigenetics, GPCRs, covalent inhibitors, and is an inventor on several patents. Diana is the recipient of several entrepreneurship awards, including RBC Prize for Innovation & Entrepreneurship and the 2018 MNP Future Leaders awards.
Liz joined Epidarex Capital as a Partner in 2013. She has more than 20 years of experience in the Life Science and Healthcare industry, either as a venture investor or an operating executive. She has led a number of venture capital investments in early stage biotech, and has held senior operational roles, from Chair of Board to senior management positions. She focuses on shaping and building early stage life science opportunities into successful companies and investments.
Prior to joining Epidarex, Liz was Head of Business Development and part of the management team at Chroma Therapeutics Ltd., an Oxford-based venture-backed drug discovery and development company focused on inflammatory disorders and oncology. Liz led the establishment of several major company-building alliances including a multi‐target deal with GlaxoSmithKline around Chroma’s novel platform. She is a former executive with the life science venture capital team at the Investments Division of The Wellcome Trust. She is also a former member of the Life Science team at Atlas Ventures, London.
Liz currently serves on the Board of Directors of AdoRx Ltd. (Chair), Nodthera Ltd., Mironid Ltd., Caldan Therapeutics Ltd., Exeed Ltd. (Chair), EM Imaging Ltd., Macomics Ltd. and Dunad Ltd. She holds a B.Sc. (Hons) in Biochemistry (1st class) from the University College Cork, and a Ph.D. from the Imperial Cancer Research Fund.
Oskar joined BioGeneration as a partner in 2016 strengthening the team with his commercial, business development and consulting experience. Oskar started his career in McKinsey & Company as a management consultant. After that he held positions in Crucell first as business development director and later he became responsible for the Pediatric Franchise. After the acquisition of Crucell by Johnson & Johnson, Oskar led the Vaccines & Infectious Diseases business unit in Johnson & Johnson’s pharma joint venture Xian Janssen in Beijing, China. Prior to joining BioGeneration he was Chief Commercial Officer of Avantium, a leading chemical technology company and a forerunner in renewable chemistry.
Oskar has a degree in chemical engineering from the Twente University (NL) and holds a MBA from INSEAD.
SVP Drug Discovery
As Senior Vice President, Head of Drug Discovery at Dunad Therapeutics, Graham is responsible for all of the drug discovery activities from target identification to pre-clinical development. Prior to Dunad, Graham was Head of Drug Discovery and Partnerships at GTN Ltd, an AI-drug discovery biotech harnessing the power of deep learning and quantum physics to transform drug discovery. He also worked as an independent drug discovery and medicinal chemistry consultant at Daring BioLtd.
Previously, Graham was Scientific Fellow/Scientific Leader at GlaxoSmithKline where he led medicinal chemistry and programme teams supporting hit-to-lead and lead optimisation for anti-bacterial, inflammatory, metabolic and oncology programmes. He was programme leader for an oncology supportive care programme which achieved pre-clinical proof-of-concept and played a key role in evaluating and introducing innovative platform technologies to GSK including fragment-based drug discovery, stabilised peptides and chemical biology approaches. He has published 20 papers and patents in the fields of medicinal chemistry and drug discovery and was awarded Pharmavoice Top 100 Most Influential People in Pharma Industry.
Graham has a B.Sc. (Hons, First Class) in organic chemistry from University of Strathclyde and a Ph.D. in organic chemistry from the University of Bristol. He also spent two years studying organic synthesis as an 1851 Royal Commission and Fulbright Distinguished Postdoctoral Fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Xavier Jacq has extensive industry experience and a track record in early stage small molecule drug discovery, protein degradation and covalency, resulting in the development of highly innovative drug target classes for oncology, metabolism and CNS.
Xavier Jacq’s career has spanned time in biotech and pharma: at Kudos Pharmaceuticals/AstraZeneca, the company responsible for the discovery of the first PARP inhibitor (Lynparza®), he lead the preclinical ATR project; as co-founder at Mission Therapeutics (Cambridge, UK), at Hybrigenics (Paris, France), and most recently at Almac Discovery he gained his deep understanding of the ubiquitin proteasome pathway, specifically targeting Deubiquitinases. Xavier has also worked for Sanofi-Synthelabo in Paris and Lectus Therapeutics in Cambridge, UK.
Prior to an oncology-focused post-doctoral role at Columbia University in the City of New York, USA, Xavier received his Ph.D. in Biochemistry from Louis Pasteur University in Strasbourg, France.
SVP Medicinal Chemistry
Giles Brown has over 20 years' experience in the pharmaceutical industry and a proven track record of achievements from early hit-to-lead projects up to preclinical candidate nomination.
Prior to joining Dunad Therapeutics Giles was VP, Medicinal Chemistry at OMass Therapeutics, helping to build the organisation and utilize the company’s novel native mass spectrometry platform in drug discovery. Previously at Heptares Therapeutics Giles was Head of Medicinal Chemistry where he helped develop the StaR® structural biology platform as a new approach to structure-based drug design for GPCRs. He co-led the teams which identified the first selective M1 and M4 agonists taken into clinical development for the treatment of cognition in Alzheimer’s disease and a SSTR5 agonist peptide taken into clinical development for endocrine disorders. He is also a co-inventor of the A2A antagonist, Imaradenant, an immuno-oncology candidate taken into clinical development for metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer with AstraZeneca. Prior to Heptares Giles worked for Cambridge BioTechnology as a Medicinal Chemistry Team Leader to help establish the chemistry team and advance the internal pipeline. Previously he worked for Evotec as a Senior Scientist, a role he took on after completing a two-year postdoctoral position at the University of Pennsylvania. Giles obtained his PhD in organic chemistry from the University of Bristol and has an MBA from Henley Business School. Giles is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry and an author of over 60 patents and peer reviewed publications.
Senior Director Alliance & Project Management
Jane Wilton has extensive experience in the management of biotech-pharma alliances.
Jane was previously Director of Alliance Management and Business Development at the antibody therapeutics company Kymab Ltd, Cambridge, UK, where she managed a diverse portfolio of partnerships with pharma and biotech collaborators, in addition to playing a key role coordinating and driving business activities that led to the acquisition of the company.
Previously Jane was Director of Business Development at Philogen S.p.A., Siena, Italy, a company that develops antibody-guided therapeutics, where she played a lead role in the execution and management of agreements with top-tier pharma companies. Prior to this, Jane joined the start-up team at Cambridge Antibody Technology, Cambridge, UK, as Senior Scientist then graduated to other roles including Head of Lead Generation for Internal Programs, Head of Research Communications and finally Associate Director R&D Communications after the company was acquired by AstraZeneca. Jane is a co-inventor of the blockbuster therapeutic Humira®, and was part of the scientific team that generated Benlysta®.
Jane did her post-doctoral training at the Medical Research Council, London, UK, and the Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden, and obtained her Ph.D. from Aston University, Birmingham, UK.
Director of Computational Sciences
Mirco Meniconi has extensive experience in computational chemistry, cheminformatics and data management both in industry and academia.
Before joining Dunad Therapeutics, Mirco was Head of the in silico Medicinal Chemistry group at The Institute of Cancer Research, London (UK). His team provided in silico science and data management to all oncology drug discovery programs in the Cancer Therapeutics Unit and contributed to discovering new chemical entities and molecular mechanisms of action on several oncology-related biological targets.
Previously, Mirco worked in the CADD group at Evotec UK, focussing on computational medicinal chemistry, cheminformatics and computational ADMET. He contributed to delivering clinical candidates for potential use in Rheumatoid Arthritis and helped to standardize corporate workflows for HTS data analysis and hits triaging.
Mirco's experience in the pharma industry started in 2006 when he joined the computational chemistry group at GSK, Verona (Italy) and worked on psychiatry drug discovery. Mirco obtained a European Doctorate in chemistry and technology of drugs issued by the Università degli Studi di Perugia (Italy), Vienna (Austria) and Granada (Spain).
Associate Director in Computational Chemistry
Conor Scully’s expertise includes implementing structure-based drug design, cheminformatics, structural bioinformatics and data analysis methods to support drug discovery efforts.
Conor has over 10 years' experience using computational chemistry in academic and industrial drug discovery programs. Most recently, he was a Principal Scientist in the Molecular Modeling and Design group at Novo Nordisk, Malov, Denmark where he contributed to pre-clinical programs in the obesity, metabolic and CVD disease areas. Prior to that, he was part of the Computational Chemistry team at Sosei Heptares in Cambridge, UK and before that, worked as an independent consultant in drug discovery with Encycle Therapeutics Inc in Toronto, Canada. He also held Research Associate positions with the Yudin group in University of Toronto, Canada and the Fairlie group at Institute for Molecular Bioscience, The University of Queensland, Australia studying the synthesis, structure and medicinal chemistry applications of peptides, macrocycles and small molecules.
Conor holds a B.Sc. (Hons) and Ph.D. in organic chemistry from University College Dublin. He is the author of more than 30 published papers and patents in the chemistry and drug discovery fields.
Chief Financial Officer
Margaret has been providing CFO services to Biotech start-up companies since co-founding Bradshaw Daniel Limited in 2012. Prior to Bradshaw Daniel Limited, Margaret worked for a number of years in both International and UK Groups. Margaret is a Chartered Management who also holds a certificate in Company Direction from the Institute of Directors.
Head of Finance and Operations
Grant Andrews brings with him many years of experience across a variety of Financial, Accounting and Operational disciplines. Grant brings a passion for teamwork and a desire to contribute to colleagues’ and the company’s growth.
After obtaining his Business Degree and Accountancy ACCA qualification, Grant’s first role in biotech was working as an Accountant at KuDos Pharmaceuticals, the company responsible for the discovery of the first PARP inhibitor. His career then moved into the Technology industry, with Vix Technology Ltd, where he rose from a Project Analyst role to Head of Finance and Purchasing UK&IR, covering a multitude of disciplines.
Bernhard is a Professor of Proteomics and Bioanalytics and Head of the Bavarian Biomolecular Mass Spectrometry Center, Technical University of Munich. Bernhard performed his D. Phil. research at the University of Oxford supervised by David Harvey and Raymond Dwek on the analysis of glycoproteins by mass spectrometry. His post-doctoral career in proteomics took him to the EMBL in Heidelberg and the University of Southern Denmark, Odense. In 2000, he joined Cellzome (now GSK) where he made major contributions to the large-scale analysis of protein-protein and protein-drug interactions.
In 2007, he became Professor of Proteomics and Bioanalytics at the Technical University of Munich and Director of the Bavarian Biomolecular Mass Spectromtery Center in 2009. His research team characterizes cancer proteomes, studies how molecularly targeted cancer drugs interact with all proteins in a cell, and develops analytical and bioinformatic tools to study proteomes. The group’s research has led to the first map of the human proteome, elucidated the target landscape and mechanism of action of hundreds of clinical kinase inhibitors and artificial intelligence enabled software and databases for pre-clinical drug discovery. He is the academic co-founder of the proteomics CRO OmicScouts and the AI company MSAID.
With over 220 published papers and patents, he is a co-recipient of the Discovery in Proteomic Sciences Award, Human Proteome Organization (2015) and the Life Science Award of the German Mass Spectrometry Society (2019).
JEFFREY W KEILLOR
Targeted Covalent Therapeutics
Jeffrey W. Keillor obtained his PhD in 1993 at the University of Alberta, studying enzyme model mechanisms under the supervision of Dr. R.S. Brown. He then carried out postdoctoral studies in enzymology, under the direction of Dr. W.P. Jencks at Brandeis University. In 1995 he took a position as assistant professor in the Chemistry Department at the Université de Montréal, where he was promoted to associate professor in 2000 and full professor in 2006. He was also appointed as an adjunct professor in the Biochemistry Department in 2001. In 2011 he moved to the Department of Chemistry and Biomolecular Sciences of the University of Ottawa, where he held a University Research Chair in Bioorganic Chemistry until 2021.
His research program is situated at the interface of chemistry and biochemistry, in the fields of chemical biology and medicinal chemistry. His recent contributions have focussed on the development of novel site-specific protein-labelling methods and of targeted covalent inhibitors of tissue transglutaminase, for the treatment of cancer stem cells.
In 2007 he won the Merck-Frosst Award for his contributions to organic chemistry and biochemistry, and in 2017 he won the Bernard Belleau Award for his work in the field of medicinal chemistry. In 2020 he was named a Fellow of the Chemical Institute of Canada (FCIC). For the Canadian Society for Chemistry (CSC), he served as Director of Awards from 2012-2015, as Chair of the Biological & Medicinal Division from 2015-2017, and as Director of Subject Divisions from 2019-2022.
Mike carried out his PhD research on the computer-aided design and synthesis of selective kinase inhibitors (CDK5, GSK3B and ERK2) at The University of Nottingham, supervised by Professor Peter M. Fischer. He began his industrial career at Eastman Kodak, in the design of heterocyclic photographic dyes before moving to Eli Lilly. There he worked for several years at their UK Centre of Excellence for Neuroscience Research, exploiting his skills in medicinal and computational chemistry to support projects, contributing to compounds which entered Clinical Selection.
In 2008, he moved to Evotec to focus on delivering CADD support across a wider therapeutic portfolio and to build their CADD capabilities. He was instrumental in developing Quantum Mechanical and Artificial Intelligence approaches to drug discovery where he was Head of Computational Chemistry for Evotec UK. He has published extensively in these areas and taught at many international workshops on aspects of CADD, including AI and Fragment-, Structure- and Ligand-based Drug Discovery. In 2016, he founded NovaData Solutions Ltd., a contract-research organisation specialising in supporting early discovery medicinal chemistry projects. His research team have been successful in developing cutting-edge AI approaches, winning the 2018 Molecular Modelling and Graphics Society’s prize for their Deep Learning algorithm.
Mike is the Director of NovaData Solutions Ltd, Honorary Lecturer at the School of Natural and Computing Sciences, University of Aberdeen, Scotland. Mike has over 40 published patents, peer-reviewed publications and book chapters, he is a Fellow of the Royal Chemical Society and a Fellow of the Royal Statistical Society.
Business Development Adviser
Jane has over 30 years’ experience in the life science industry across biotech, pharma and agrochemicals. Her past roles include Chief Business Officer at F-star, Vice President of Business Development at Cellzome, and Director of Business Development at MedImmune (formerly Cambridge Antibody Technologies). She serves on the boards of Spirea, PharmEnable, Macomics and Nanosyrinx and is the Chair of the Sir Richard Stapley Educational Trust.
Jane holds an MA and PhD in Natural Sciences from Cambridge University, as well as an MBA from the Cambridge Judge Business School.