After launching its first in-house R&D program last month, cancer drug-testing startup Notable Labs has brought on two biopharma executives to take charge of its clinical operations and drug development work.
Incyte’s Hiroomi Tada joined as chief medical officer, while Aquinox’s Lloyd Mackenzie will serve as chief development officer.
Tada was most recently vice president of targeted therapies and translational sciences at Incyte, where he helped guide the company’s oncology portfolio. Before that, he was a medical director for clinical development in oncology at GlaxoSmithKline, and a director of clinical research at AstraZeneca.
Mackenzie will help Notable identify drug development opportunities. He was most recently chief operating officer and VP of R&D at Aquinox, after 11 years at the company. There, he helped oversee clinical and nonclinical operations, including chemistry, manufacturing and controls, as well as quality assurance. Prior to Aquinox, he was a research scientist at QLT and Inflazyme Pharmaceutical.
“I’ve been watching the company since it launched, and I was really excited to have the opportunity to come on board to help shape the direction of its growth,” Mackenzie said in a statement.
The company’s automated laboratory works to evaluate thousands of drug combinations on cancer cells and compares them to healthy cells, to prioritize the most specifically active drugs for treatment. Its first validation trials have focused on blood cancers.
"Notable's testing platform is truly a precision medicine approach to individualize cancer care and has the potential to change the way treatment decisions are made," Tada said.
Its first drug development program, ND-1000, targets adult and pediatric blood cancers, specifically B-cell malignancies that relapse after antibody treatments or CAR-T immunotherapies. Notable plans to begin its first clinical trial for ND-1000 later this year at The University of Kansas Cancer Center, in partnership with the university’s Institute for Advancing Medical Innovation.
The Foster City, California-based company has also opted to donate the commercial rights to its future price, manufacturing and distribution in pediatric leukemia to the nonprofit Cures Within Reach, which works to repurpose drugs, devices and research toward additional unmet needs.