Dr. Trifan and Dr. Chen, who both have significant experience in complex drug development, will help Totus Medicines advance its first drug program — TOS-358 — to the clinic in 2022. A revolutionary breakthrough in cancer treatment, TOS-358 treats PI3K-alpha, an oncogene that mutates in more than 500,000 people in the U.S. every year, causing a significant percentage of breast, colon, lung, bladder, stomach, and other cancers.
"The addition of Dr. Trifan and Dr. Chen as our CMO and CSO is a major step forward for Totus," said Dr. Dhawan. "Dr. Trifan's experience steering the clinical development of multiple oncology drugs, and Dr. Chen's understanding of advancing small molecule drug candidates into clinical trials, will be crucial for our team as we stand on the cusp of clinical trials for our first candidate. As leaders on the Totus team, Dr. Trifan and Dr. Chen will help us to fulfill our vision of creating medicines for previously undruggable targets."
Dr. Trifan brings to Totus extensive oncology clinical drug development experience. Over his career, he's held leadership roles at Bristol-Myers Squibb, Onyx Pharmaceuticals, and Apexigen, where he led or contributed to the development of several medications, some of which are now used in clinical practice. He will lead the advancement of TOS-358 and Totus' pipeline of novel drug candidates into the clinic.
"I am very excited about Totus' cutting-edge drug discovery platform and its tremendous potential for developing novel, safer, and more effective drugs for cancer treatment," Dr. Trifan said. "The science at Totus, coupled with the ambitious vision and focus on delivering results, could dramatically change lives. I am looking forward to joining this outstanding team and taking TOS-358 — as well as our other innovative medicines — to patients who need them."
Dr. Chen brings to Totus over 20 years of medicinal chemistry and drug discovery experience. At Totus, he will be tasked with utilizing his expertise to further develop Totus' vision, managing the company's strategic initiatives and planning, and optimizing partnerships and investments to ensure the Totus mission of treating all disease is accomplished. Before coming to Totus, Dr. Chen served as a senior leader at both Pharmacyclics/Abbvie and CuraSen Therapeutics, where he successfully built high-performance drug discovery teams and led the efforts resulting in first-in-human clinical trials.
"I have tremendous respect for Neil and the mission of Totus Medicines," said Dr. Chen. "To be able to utilize Totus' peerless platform to develop drug candidates that can treat our world's most threatening diseases is a very exciting prospect, and I look forward to helping lead Totus toward our first round of clinical trials."
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