CAMBRIDGE, Mass.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–DEM BioPharma, Inc. (DEM Bio), an oncology company developing therapies that target signals on cancer cells and macrophages to eliminate tumors, established its C-suite and scientific leadership teams with the appointment of Nenad Grmusa as Chief Executive Officer and Christophe Quéva, Ph.D., as Chief Scientific Officer. The company simultaneously announced the prior appointment of Loise Francisco-Anderson, Ph.D., as SVP and Head of Biology. Mr. Grmusa, Dr. Quéva and Dr. Francisco-Anderson join experienced industry leader John McCabe who serves as Chief Financial Officer and Chief Operating Officer.
Mr. Grmusa succeeds David Donabedian, Ph.D., Co-founder and start-up Chief Executive Officer of DEM Bio, and Operating Partner of Longwood Fund, who will continue to serve in an advisory capacity to the Company.
“We welcome Mr. Grmusa, Dr. Queva and Dr. Francisco-Anderson whose combined expertise in immuno-oncology, drug discovery and development, business development, and R&D portfolio management will be critical to our team as we progress DEM Bio forward,” said Jan Skvarka, Ph.D., Executive Chairman of DEM Bio. “The addition of these three exceptional leaders underscores our recent momentum following our successful launch with $70 million in financing in June of 2022 and puts us in a position to build a leading next-generation immuno-oncology company.”
“I am thrilled to join DEM Bio and to work alongside this world-class team of leaders in the emerging and highly promising field of innate immune system checkpoint inhibitors,” said Mr. Grmusa. “DEM Bio’s successful launch has positioned the Company to continue pioneering the next generation of therapeutics.”
Mr. Grmusa brings 20 years of industry experience in business development, pharmaceutical portfolio management, R&D finance and financial planning and analysis. Prior to joining DEM Bio, Mr. Grmusa led the R&D Strategy and External Innovation (RSEI) group at Takeda, after supporting the Head of R&D in managing Takeda’s diverse pipeline as Head, Center for External Innovation (CEI). Previously, Mr. Grmusa supported Millennium Pharmaceuticals, Inc. in various financial planning and analytical roles with increasing responsibilities, and 3 years with Boston Biomedical Consultants. Mr. Grmusa holds an M.A. in International Economics and Finance from Brandeis University and a B.S. in Finance from West Virginia University.
“The identification of unexplored ‘don’t eat me’ (DEM) signals on cancer cells and macrophages using DEM Bio’s proprietary CHoMP™ platform (Co-culture with Human Myeloid Phagocytes) has the potential to enhance cancer cell elimination through increased phagocytosis,” said Dr. Quéva. “I am honored to join this team of innovators and work towards the development of immunotherapeutics to target novel innate immune system checkpoints.”
Dr. Quéva joins DEM Bio with nearly 20 years of experience in successful immuno-oncology portfolio-building from target identification through clinical development and regulatory approval. Prior to joining DEM Bio, Dr. Quéva held the role of Chief Scientific Officer and Senior Vice President, Research at Oncorus, Inc. Previously, Dr. Quéva led the generation of an innovative immuno-oncology portfolio of small molecule and antibody programs as the Chief Scientific Officer at iTeos Therapeutics, and has held successive senior positions at AstraZeneca, Amgen and Gilead Sciences. Dr. Quéva holds a Ph.D. in Life and Health Sciences from the University of Lille, France, and trained as a post-doctoral fellow at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle.
Dr. Francisco-Anderson is an experienced senior leader with a demonstrated history of working within the biotech industry. She brings to the DEM Bio team 17 years of experience in immuno-oncology, drug development, oncology, and immunology, with special emphasis in immune checkpoint inhibition and dendritic cell biology. Prior to joining DEM Bio, Dr. Francisco-Anderson held several positions of increasing responsibility at Evelo Biosciences, working first as Senior Director of Immuno-oncology Research and later as VP of Discovery, Innovation and Oncology. Previously, Dr. Francisco-Anderson served as Scientific Group Leader and Senior Principal Investigator, Immunology, at GSK. Dr. Francisco-Anderson received her Ph.D. in Immunology from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and completed her post-doctoral training at Harvard Medical School in the laboratory of Dr. Arlene Sharpe.
“On behalf of the entire board, I would like to thank David for his significant contributions as co-founder and start-up CEO to DEM Bio,” said Christoph Westphal, M.D., Ph.D., Founding CEO, DEM Bio, and Founding Partner of Longwood Fund. “Under David’s leadership, the Company has raised $70 million and attracted a top tier syndicate of investors, identified incubator lab space and built out the scientific and leadership team. I look forward to working with David on our next Longwood new company.”
About DEM BioPharma Inc.
DEM Bio is pioneering the next generation of immunotherapeutics that unleash the innate immune system to eliminate tumors by targeting ‘don’t eat me’ (DEM) and ‘eat me’ (EM) signals on cancer cells, macrophages and other myeloid effector cells. Founded by Longwood Fund, the company’s approach builds on the groundbreaking functional genomics research and discoveries in macrophage biology from its scientific co-founders: Drs. Jonathan Weissman and Kipp Weiskopf of the Whitehead Institute and Dr. Michael Bassik of Stanford University. The proprietary CHoMP™ platform (Co-culture with Human Myeloid Phagocytes) utilizes CRISPR-based functional genomic screens in human cancer cells and/or primary macrophages to discover and validate new DEM and EM signals that could profoundly induce and enhance cancer cell elimination through increased phagocytosis. For further information, see: https://dembiopharma.com/.