SCIENCE + IMAGINATION
Decoy Biosystems values science-driven, imaginative approaches and embraces entrepreneurial spirit.
Decoy Biosystems has evolved from over a century of immunotherapy advances. It is a thoroughly modern, science-driven, re-invention of Coley's Toxins, the world’s first immunotherapy. Throughout his career of 7 years of cutting edge microbiology research, followed by over 35 years devoted to innovative cancer drug discovery and development, Decoy's founder, Dr. Michael Newman has maintained one overarching belief: the keys to curing life-threatening diseases lie in nature. In particular, our highly evolved natural defense mechanisms can provide clues to guide us in choosing and optimizing potential therapeutics.
Many of the mechanisms involved in immunological surveillance and elimination of viral and bacterial infections are also involved in surveillance and elimination of early stage cancers. Unfortunately, in some instances, surveillance of either infectious agents or tumor cells is unsuccessful, resulting in death. Despite the same outcome, the immunological “failure” is sometimes very different in these two situations. Advanced tumors avoid immune surveillance by suppressing our immune response, but death from infection can occur as a result of septic shock, or over-stimulation of the immune system by bacterial or viral products. This may explain why advanced tumors sometimes spontaneously regress in the presence of infection, a situation where the immune system may have been safely over-stimulated. This is likely to be a rare occurrence in modern times due to both the low chance of acquiring an infection, as well as the chance of succumbing to the infection or the infection being cured by modern medicine, but it may provide us with a clue about how to harness this natural phenomenon.
Physicians in ancient Egypt treated cancer by inducing infection, and this approach culminated in the 1890’s with Dr. Coley’s successful use of killed bacteria.* Dr. Coley's preparation worked best when administered intravenously but over-stimulated the immune system, producing toxicity and forcing him to use intratumoral administration, which produced highly variable results.
Dr. Newman recognized that modern research on the mechanism of action of Coley’s Toxins provides a novel path to modify and kill non-pathogenic bacteria, rendering them both safe and effective when administered intravenously. The resulting Decoy20 product has the potential to revolutionize immunotherapy of both cancer and infectious diseases.
Inspired by nature, guided by science, powered by passion.
*Review articles are on Decoy's website, in"Relevant Literature" page under "Science."
Michael J. Newman, Ph.D.
Founder & CEO
Dr. Michael Newman, CEO and founder of Decoy Biosystems, has over 35 years of experience carrying out and managing oncology drug discovery through early development in academia, pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies. Michael has also served as a consultant for ~35 companies, assisting with target identification and prioritization, management of R&D, fundraising, and in/out-licensing. His previous positions include faculty appointments in Biochemistry at Brandeis University and the Roche Institute of Molecular Biology, Senior Associate Director of Oncology at Sandoz Pharmaceuticals (world-wide head of Cancer Biology), Executive Director of Oncology at Novartis Pharmaceuticals (Head of Cancer Biology in the US), and senior management positions at several Biotechnology companies, where he also managed drug discovery programs in inflammation, diabetes and infectious disease. Michael received a Bachelor’s degree in Biology from the University of California at San Diego, a Ph.D. in Cell and Developmental Biology from Harvard Medical School (National Science Foundation Pre-doctoral Fellow) and carried out post-doctoral research at Cornell University.
Stella M. Sung, Ph.D.
Chief Business Officer
Decoy’s Chief Business Officer, Dr. Stella Sung, is a Life Science/Biotech executive with 25 years of experience in both operating and venture roles, with an emphasis on oncology companies. Dr. Sung has been a "C-level" executive (CEO/CBO) at multiple life science companies, including ImmunoActiva, Tauriga Sciences, Avita Medical, PliCare Therapeutics and Cylene Pharmaceuticals. Dr. Sung has negotiated numerous transactions, agreements, and partnerships, and she has structured and led financings. She also has built companies as a venture investor. Dr. Sung has a successful track record as a General Partner or Managing Director at several venture firms, including Oxford Bioscience Partners, Coastview Capital and Pearl St. Venture Fund, where her experience also includes ten Board of Directors positions, including five as Chairperson of the Board. Dr. Sung received her Ph.D. in chemistry from Harvard University, where she was a National Science Foundation Pre-Doctoral Fellow, and her B.S. in chemistry from The Ohio State University, Phi Beta Kappa.
Neil J. Clendeninn, Ph.D., M.D.
Chief Medical Officer
Previously Heron Therapeutics, Agouron Pharmaceuticals, Burroughs-Wellcome Company
William T. Lee, Ph.D., R.A.C.
Head of Regulatory Affairs
Vice President, Regulatory Affairs, Cato Research, Previously Viagene, Chiron
Richard K. Stewart, Ph.D.
Head of Toxicology
Senior Director, Nonclinical Safety Development and Principal Toxicologist, Cato Research, Previously ITR Labs
Randal R. Lane, M.B.A., R.A.C.
Head of Manufacturing / CMC
Vice President, Pharmaceutical Development, Cato Research / Previous Maxim Pharmaceuticals, ACCUMETRICS, Pacific Pharmaceuticals, Pacific Biotech/Eli Lilly, Hybritech
BOARD OF DIRECTORS & ADVISORS
Hoonmo Lee, M.B.A. (Director) - Currently CEO of TY BIO Investment, Former head of BD for the Korea Drug Development Fund (“NIH” of Korea), CHA Health Systems, Eli Lilly
Brian O’Callaghan, M.B.A. (Director) - Currently CEO of Petra Pharma, Former Sonrgy, Acucela, Sangart, BioPartners, Pfizer, Novartis, Merck Serono, NPS and Covance
Francis Chisari, M.D. - Emeritus Professor of Virology and Immunology, The Scripps Research Institute; Pioneer in elucidation of the mechanisms of hepatitis B and C virus infection and pathology
Michael Grace, Ph.D. - Former Advaxis, NPS, BMS, Schering-Plough, P&G; Biologics/Bacterial pharmaceutical manufacturing (CMC) and regulatory expert
Lee Helman, M.D. - Former Scientific Director for Clinical Cancer Res. at the US National Cancer Inst.
Daniel Hoth, M.D. - Former Chief, NCI Investigational Drug Branch and Director AIDS Division at US NIAID; Consultant to FDA and NIH; Teaches oncology drug development at UCSF
Igor Puzanov, M.D. - Professor of Oncology, Roswell Park Cancer Institute, Immunotherapy expert
Mario Sznol, M.D. - Professor, Medical Oncology, Yale University School of Medicine, Former
Co-Chair Immunotherapy Task Force of the NCI Investigational Drug Steering Committee, President Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer (SITC)