SAN DIEGO, August 16, 2018 – Synthorx, Inc., a biotechnology company using a first-of-its-kind Expanded Genetic Alphabet platform to discover and develop innovative protein therapeutics for cancer, autoimmune disorders and other serious diseases, today announced the appointment of Joseph Leveque, M.D., as chief medical officer. Dr. Leveque brings over 20 years of biotechnology management and therapeutic development experience to Synthorx, with a particular focus on immuno-oncology (IO).
“Dr. Leveque joins us with a deep-rooted knowledge of the immuno-oncology space, notably with his experience at ARMO BioSciences leading the pivotal Phase 3 trials of the company’s lead IO drug candidate, as well as his involvement in the development and commercialization of Opdivo®, Yervoy®, and Bavencio®, during his time at Bristol-Myers Squibb and Merck KGaA,” said Laura Shawver, Ph.D., chief executive officer of Synthorx. “Dr. Leveque is an invaluable addition to our leadership team as we advance our Synthorin™ cytokine pipeline, including moving our IL-2 Synthorins into clinical trials, where we expect to demonstrate proof of clinical activity in our initial studies in oncology and autoimmune indications.”
Dr. Leveque joins Synthorx from his previous role as chief medical officer of ARMO BioSciences, a late-stage immuno-oncology company that was acquired by Eli Lilly in May 2018. Prior to this, he was chief medical officer of EMD Serono, the North American subsidiary of Merck KGaA and the vice president and head of U.S. medical oncology at Bristol-Myers Squibb, where he was involved in the development and commercialization of the first generation of immuno-oncology therapeutics. Before his role at Bristol-Myers Squibb, Dr. Leveque was the vice president of medical and scientific affairs at Onyx Pharmaceuticals. Earlier in his career, he served as vice president of medical and scientific affairs at Cephalon Oncology and as medical director at Amgen, where he worked on several therapeutic programs for solid tumor and hematological malignancies.
Dr. Leveque earned a Medical Doctorate from The University of Texas School of Medicine in Houston, TX and completed his post-graduate medical training in internal medicine at the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, a teaching affiliate of the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). In addition, Dr. Leveque holds a Master of Business Administration from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.
Synthorx, Inc. is a biotechnology company that is using a first-of-its-kind Expanded Genetic Alphabet platform technology to discover and develop innovative protein therapeutics for cancer, autoimmune disorders and other serious diseases. The Synthorx platform expands the chemical and structural repertoire of protein therapeutics and uncovers new ways to modulate pharmacological properties of biologics. The company’s platform has the ability to drive site-specific incorporation of multiple synthetic amino acids into proteins, thereby tuning receptor specificity important for optimizing efficacy and safety. This unique platform generates these improved proteins, called Synthorins, including lead product candidate, THOR-707, an IL-2 Synthorin with planned development in oncology. The company was founded based on important discoveries in Dr. Floyd Romesberg’s lab at The Scripps Research Institute. The company is headquartered in La Jolla, Calif.