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 Zhiqiang An, PhD: Co-founder

Professor at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth)

Dr. An joined UTHealth in 2009 after more than 15 years in the biopharmaceutical industry. He is the Professor of Molecular Medicine, the Robert A. Welch Distinguished University Chair in Chemistry, and Director of the Texas Therapeutics Institute (TTI) at the Brown Foundation Institute of Molecular Medicine. TTI’s research is funded by grants from federal and state agencies and private foundations such as NIH, CPRIT, ETF, UT System Star awards, and the Welch Foundation, and has established major collaborations with industry partners on a variety of drug discovery projects. Previously, Dr. An served as Chief Scientific Officer at Epitomics, Inc. and was Director of the Biologics Research at Merck Research Laboratories where he managed monoclonal antibody (mAb) drug discovery platforms and led multiple mAbs from preclinical to clinical development. He started his biopharmaceutical career at Millennium Pharmaceuticals.

Dr. An’s Lab focuses on the discovery and development of therapeutic antibodies and antibiotics against human diseases including five major research areas in cancer and infectious diseases: 1) cancer drug resistance mechanisms in the human epidermal growth factor receptor (HER/ErbB) signaling pathways using mAbs as platform technology; 2) the interactions between proteases and anti-tumor antibodies in the tumor microenvironment to delineate the roles of proteases play in tumor resistance to antibody immune therapies; 3) biomarkers for therapeutic mAbs targeting the HER/ErbB signaling pathways; 4) high throughput technologies for cloning and characterization of antibodies from animals and humans in response to experimental vaccines, and 5) Pnemocandin biosynthesis and biocombinatorial chemistry approach for natural products drug discovery. In addition to the research projects, Dr. An’s team has established a comprehensive antibody drug discovery platform with a focus on antibody lead optimization technologies such as antibody phage display, deep sequencing of antibody encoding genes from individual antibody expressing B cells, affinity maturation and humanization.

Dr. An is co-inventor of several mAb drug related patents and he is well published in the therapeutic mAb field. He is also the editor of Therapeutic Monoclonal Antibodies: from Bench to Clinic (Wiley Publishers).

Dr. An received his Ph.D. degree from the University of Kentucky, Lexington, and his postdoctoral training at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. 

 Adan Rios, MD: President and Co-founder 

Associate Professor, the Division of Oncology at The University of Texas Health Science Center Medical School.

Dr. Rios received his medical degree from the University of Panama. He completed his fellowship in Medical Oncology at The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, where he served for a decade in a variety of roles, including director of clinical research and academic affairs of the AIDS Program at the Institute for Immunological Disorders, the first clinical center in the United States devoted to the management and treatment of AIDS patients. He is internationally renowned for his work in HIV-associated malignancies and treatment of tumors with biological response modifiers. He is a general oncologist with a special interest in lymphoma, leukemia and immune compromised related malignancies. His work has been recognized with several awards and distinctions, among them, the 2001 MD Anderson Cancer Center Distinguished Alumnus Award, the 2003 George Washington University Presidential Medal Award and  the 2008 University of Texas Health Science Center Minority Services Award for his efforts on behalf of the education of minority students in the science and health fields.

Philipp E. Scherer, PhD: Co-founder

Professor and Director of the Touchstone Diabetes Center, the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas

Philipp Scherer is Professor and Director of the Touchstone Diabetes Center at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas. Current efforts in his laboratory are focused on the identification and physiological characterization of novel proteins that serve as potential links between the adipocyte, liver, the pancreatic beta cell and cancer, inflammation and the processes of whole body energy homeostasis. He holds the Gifford O. Touchstone Jr. and Randolph G. Touchstone Distinguished Chair in Diabetes Research in the Department of Internal Medicine at UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas and is the winner of the 2015 Banting Award for Scientific Achievement of the American Diabetes Association.  

Dr. Scherer has published more than 350 papers in the areas of diabetes, cardiovascular disease and obesity/cancer, has been cited more than 36,000 times and has an h-factor of 94. He is amongst the 100 most highly cited researchers from 2004-2014 according to Thompson-Reuters.

Dr. Scherer received his Ph.D. degree from the University of Basel, Switzerland, followed by post-doctoral training the Whitehead Institute at MIT in Cambridge.