The Center for Molecular and Translational Medicine invites the participation of faculty and advisors from across the University of California, venture capital firms, private donors and foundations, patients’ advocacy groups, and biotech and pharmaceutical companies.
Current advisors are helping shaping the focus and direction of this initiative, while ad hoc consultants will be engaged on a case by case basis for specific projects or disease areas.
Scientific and Medical Advisory Chair, ALS Association
Eugene P. Brandon, Ph.D., is a leading expert in cell therapy, gene therapy, stem cell biotechnology, and translational medicine. Brandon is currently senior director of strategic relations at ViaCyte, where he has been integral in the development of an innovative stem cell-based product for diabetes. Prior to ViaCyte, he was at Ceregene, pursuing gene therapy for neurodegenerative diseases including Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, and ALS. Brandon has secured over $60M in research grants for his respective institutions and his scientific work has yielded numerous publications and several patents. He serves on the communications committee of the Alliance for Regenerative Medicine and is also board chair of the Greater San Diego Chapter, as well as research committee vice chair for the ALS Association. Brandon received his B.S. from Tufts University, earned his Ph.D. in pharmacology and neurobiology at the University of Washington School of Medicine, and did his post-doctoral training at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies. He holds a certificate in biotechnology project management as well.
Chief Scientific Officer, Small Molecules, COI Pharmaceuticals
David Campbell, Ph.D., has more than 15 years of industry experience in drug discovery and development focused on oncology and CNS applications of proprietary PAK inhibitors, anti-bacterial drugs, kinase inhibitors, obesity, osteoporosis, and diabetes. He currently serves as chief scientific officer, small molecules, at COI Pharmaceuticals and is an entrepreneur in residence at Avalon Ventures. Campbell has served as the interim chief scientific officer of RQx, an Avalon portfolio company that developed novel anti-bacterial drugs and was partnered with Genentech. Campbell served as a member of the Phenomix executive team since 2003, most recently as an executive officer and senior vice president, discovery and development with responsibility for all drug discovery and development through early clinical trials to human proof of concept. Under his leadership, a DPP4 inhibitor (Dutogliptin) for the treatment of type 2 diabetes was developed through a successful phase 3 clinical trial, and an NS3 protease inhibitor for the treatment of hepatitis C was discovered and developed through phase 1. He was a member of the executive team that raised a total of $95M in two venture rounds, and successfully partnered Dutogliptin North American rights to Forest Laboratories and European rights to Chiesi Farmaceutici. Campbell was the senior vice president of chemical sciences at ActivX Biosciences from 2001 to 2003, where he directed the company’s internal drug discovery programs as well as the development of ActivX-activity-based chemical probes for labeling and capturing members of several key protein families, most notably the kinase family. From April 1998 to April 2001, Campbell was director of discovery chemistry at Bayer Corporation where he directed the research efforts of the 41-scientist group. Campbell began his career at Affymax Research Institute, a combinatorial chemistry company that was purchased by Glaxo Wellcome in 1995 for $533M. As director his group’s focus was designing libraries targeting proteases and to optimize leads that were identified. Campbell has a Ph.D. in organic chemistry from Cornell University and a B.S. in chemistry from Harvey Mudd College, then received post-doctoral training under then-University of California, Berkeley Professor Peter Schultz.
Founder and Chairman of Nascent Biotech, Inc.
Mark Glassy, Ph.D. graduated from University of San Francisco in 1974 with a B.S. in biology and chemistry. He then attended University of California, Riverside and received his Ph.D. in biochemistry in 1978. He did his post-doctoral studies in molecular immunology at the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla. Glassy joined the faculty of the Department of Medicine and Cancer Center at UCSD in 1980 and is currently in the Translational Neuro-Oncology Department. In addition to UCSD, Glassy has held several upper management positions in commercial biotechnology. Currently, he is the founder and chairman of Nascent Biologics, Inc. and serves as director and professor at the Integrated Medical Sciences Association Foundation. He has prepared and directed several FDA approved clinical trials involving human monoclonal antibodies to cancer. Glassy has over 160 publications in the scientific and medical literature, is the inventor of several issued patents in the human antibody field, is the editor-in-chief of the journal, Human Antibodies, and the program chairman of the meeting series, "The International Conference on Human Antibodies and Hybridomas." Glassy is the inventor of Pritumumab, the first human antibody used to treat a cancer patient and is the recipient of the 2003 Arthur Furst Award (citation: “Outstanding research advancing science for the betterment of humanity”). He is also the author of the books "The Biology of Science Fiction Cinema," "Movie Monsters in Scale," and "Biology Run Amok!"
Vice President, Drug Discovery, Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute
Chris Larson currently serves as the vice president for drug discovery at Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute and served as U.S. head and associate global head of the Cardiovascular and Metabolic Diseases Drug Discovery Unit at Takeda Pharmaceuticals, holding strategic and operational responsibility for Takeda’s cardiovascular and metabolic disease research activities in the U.S.
Prior to Takeda, Larson held research positions of increasing responsibility at several private and public biotechnology companies. He has authored numerous peer-reviewed scientific publications, reviews, book chapters, and patents; is an active peer reviewer for several journals; and has been an invited speaker at scientific and medical conferences. He serves on the boards of directors for the San Diego chapters of the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association and American Diabetes Association, and on the early-career grants review committee of the Obesity Society. Larson has mentored a number of undergraduate and doctoral research dissertations and also teaches men’s health courses to the residents of the San Diego Rescue Mission.
Director, President and Chief Executive Officer, Arena Pharmaceuticals
Amit Munshi has served as a member of the board of directors of Arena Pharmaceuticals since June 2016, and as the president and chief executive officer since May 2016. Previously, he served as president and chief executive officer and a director of Epirus Biopharmaceuticals, Inc. from May 2012 to May 2016. Prior to Epirus, Munshi served as chief executive officer of Percivia LLC, a biotechnology company, from 2011 to 2012, was a co-founder and served as chief business officer of Kythera Biopharmaceuticals, Inc., from 2005 to 2010, and held multiple leadership positions at Amgen Inc. from 1997 to 2005, including general manager of Nephrology Europe. He holds a B.S. in economics and a B.A. in history from the University of California, Riverside, and an M.B.A. from the Peter F. Drucker Graduate School of Management at Claremont Graduate University. Munshi has more than 25 years of global biopharmaceutical industry experience in executive management, business development, product development and portfolio management. he serves on the boards of Oxeia Biopharmaceuticals, Inc., and Cytrellis Biosystems, Inc., both privately held companies.
Robert Zaugg, M.B.A., Ph.D. is an entrepreneurial biopharma executive with experience spanning large pharmaceutical, large and small cap biotech, and non-profit operating environments. He has negotiated and closed numerous strategic partnerships with large biopharma clients including Pfizer, Merck, J & J, Aventis, Baxter, Genzyme, with aggregate value exceeding $500 million. Over the past 18 years in San Diego, Zaugg served as head of business development at the Sanford-Burnham Prebys Institute for Medical Research, as founder and general manager of a startup that developed high-throughput protein expression technology, and as the business development executive at Vical Inc., the pioneer in DNA vaccine technology.