President and CEO, Deka Biosciences
After earning his Bachelor’s Degree from Menlo College, John received a MS from Stanford University and both a MS and PhD from MD Anderson Cancer Center where he discovered that IL-10 directly activates anti-tumor CD8+ T cells. John conducted post-doctoral work for a year at DNAX Research Institute and became a Scientist at Schering Plough where he developed PEGylated IL-10 (AM0010) as an immunoncology asset. He then founded Targenics, later merged with ARMO BioSciences (briefly a publicly traded company), to clinically develop AM0010 and other immune oncology assets. ARMO BioSciences was acquired by Eli Lilly in 2018 for $1.6B up front deal. As a founder and Senior Director of Technical Operations at ARMO, John led the manufacturing and pre-clinical research teams.
John served as the Director of Immunoncology R&D at Medimmune LLC and is the author of 28 peer reviewed manuscripts and 28 granted or pending patents. After reviewing the immunoncology space for two years at MedImmune and developing such diverse projects as innate and T cell agonists, CART and other cell therapy projects as well as novel immunostimulatory antibody drug conjugates, John has most recently founded Deka Biosciences. Deka is the next generation cytokine development company created to solve all of the challenges associated with harnessing the massive potential of cytokine therapy. With the most recent failures of all the T cell agonists, and the development and functional challenges associated with cell therapy programs, it is likely that cytokine combinations coupled with targeting modalities administered in conjunction with precision patient selection will be clear value drivers for the pharmaceutical industry for years to come.