"I am constantly inspired by my many colleagues here at Genentech and their dedication to bringing new therapies to patients. Through their passion for science and creative energy, difficult objectives such as curing cancer, seem possible. I find it very rewarding to contribute to these multi-disciplinary teams that are working diligently towards such a vision."
I joined Genentech in 1993 as a scientist in what is now known as the Discovery Chemistry Department. I was originally attracted to Genentech because of the company's reputation for innovative research and its focus on science. The bright and enthusiastic people, the "work hard-play hard" atmosphere, and the unique corporate culture, continue to make Genentech a terrific place to work.
Early in my career here, I worked in collaboration with the Cardiovascular Department, designing and discovering novel small molecule anti-thrombotics and anti-platelet agents, with a specific focus on inhibitors of Tissue Factor/VIIa and antagonists of IIbIIIa. Today, as a Senior Director in the Discovery Chemistry Department I am involved in many therapeutic areas but much of my work focuses on the discovery of small molecule drugs for cancer. The effort requires working in multi-disciplinary teams with the unified goal of identifying novel, small molecule inhibitors of cancer signaling. Using molecular structure-driven approaches, Genentech medicinal chemists design and synthesize new molecules that selectively bind to the desired biological target and, in turn, are tested for their effect upon a particular cancer signaling event. The discovery process involves multi-parameter optimization of molecules for optimal potency, selectivity, pharmacokinetics (PK) and pharmaceutical properties.
In addition to my responsibilities as senior director of Discovery Chemistry, I also have responsibilities in leading research project teams, leading and sitting on development project teams. All of my responsibilities here in Genentech Research and Early Development allow me a unique opportunity to observe and participate in many aspects of drug discovery and development.
Journal of Medicinal Chemistry 2013 (May 10th, ASAP web publication)
Much of my recent scientific work has been centered around the PI3K/mTor pathway. Phosphoinositide 3-Kinase (PI3K) is a lipid kinase that produces a key signaling molecule, PIP3, that signals downstream leading to cell proliferation, survival and growth. The pathway is often “hijacked” by cancers leading to uncontrolled growth and metastasis. Activating and transforming mutations in the p110alpha catalytic subunit PI3K are some of the most common mutations in cancer. Because this biochemical pathway is such a compelling target for intervention, a series of inhibitors of the pathway have been designed by Genentech scientists. I have had the great opportunity to lead the Genentech Research Team in the design and discovery of several different types of molecules designed to inhibit PI3K. I have also been fortunate enough to also lead several of the teams responsible for the early clinical development these PI3K inhibitors.