Vincerx Pharma is a clinical-stage life sciences company focused on leveraging its extensive development and oncology expertise to advance new therapies intended to address unmet medical needs for the treatment of cancer. Vincerx Pharma’s executive team has assembled a management team of biopharmaceutical experts with extensive experience in building and operating organizations that develop and deliver innovative medicines to patients.
Executive Leadership Team
Ahmed Hamdy, MD is the Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the board of directors of Vincerx. Dr Hamdy has served as Vincerx’s Chief Executive Officer and as a member Vincerx’s board of directors since March 2019. Before that, Dr Hamdy co-founded Acerta Pharma, a pharmaceutical development company and member of the AstraZeneca plc, and served as its head of early clinical development from January 2015 to June 2019, as chief executive officer from February 2013 to January 2015, as chief medical officer from February 2013 to January 2015 and as a member of the board from February 2013 to February 2016. Before that, Dr Hamdy served as chief medical officer of Pharmacyclics LLC, a biopharmaceutical company, from March 2008 to June 2011. Dr Hamdy has served as a clinical advisor and member of the board of directors of Andes Biotechnologies, a nucleic acid-based drug discovery and development company, since September 2016, as a member of the Dean’s Council of the Jack Baskin School of Engineering at the University of California, Santa Cruz, since April 2019, and as a member of the Palo Alto Medical Foundation President’s Council since March 2016.
Dr Hamdy received a MBBCH from the KasrAlainy School of Medicine at the University of Cairo, Egypt.
Raquel Izumi, PhD is the Chief Operations Officer and President of Vincerx and a member of the Vincerx board of directors. Dr Izumi has served as Vincerx’s Chief Operations Officer and as a member Vincerx’s board of directors since March 2019. Before that, Dr Izumi co-founded Acerta Pharma and served as its executive vice president of clinical development from February 2013 to May 2020. Dr Izumi also co-founded Aspire Therapeutics LLC and served as its chief scientific officer from June 2011 to February 2013. Before founding Aspire Therapeutics, Dr Izumi served as senior director of clinical development at Pharmacyclics LLC, a biopharmaceutical company, from February 2010 to May 2011, where she worked on designing and implementing seven clinical studies across various hematologic malignancies (including three studies that garnered breakthrough therapy designation) for the first BTK inhibitor (IMBRUVICA®) to enter clinical trials. Dr Izumi began her research career at Amgen, where she held positions of increasing responsibility and participated in a successful BLA filing and approval for ARANESP®.
Dr Izumi was a Howard Hughes Predoctoral Fellow at the University of California, Los Angeles where she obtained a PhD in microbiology and immunology. She received honors and distinction for her BA in biological sciences from the University of California, Santa Barbara.
Alexander Seelenberger, MBA is the Chief Financial Officer of Vincerx. Mr Seelenberger has been a managing partner at Aurus Capital, a leading Latin American venture capital firm, heading its healthcare venture capital practice, since March 2009. In that role, Mr Seelenberger has co-founded and has been an executive director in several healthcare companies. From August 2007 to January 2009, Mr Seelenberger served as an associate at Athelera LLC, a New York-based boutique investment bank offering financial advisory services to clients in the United States, Latin America and Europe. Mr Seelenberger has served as a member of the board of directors of Andes Biotechnologies, a nucleic acid-based drug discovery and development company, since September 2009, Trigemina Holdings, Inc., a pharmaceutical company, since March 2012, Levita Magnetics, a magnetic surgical platform development company, since January 2012, Echopixel, Inc., a medical imaging device development company, since September 2012, and Algenis, a bioactive molecule development company, since December 2012.
Mr Seelenberger received a BBA in business from the University of Chile and an MBA with high distinction from Harvard Business School, where he graduated as a Baker Scholar.
Xiaoming Zhang, PhD is the Chief Technical Officer of Vincerx. Before Vincerx, Dr Zhang served as Senior Vice President of CMC at Menlo Therapeutics, responsible for strategy, planning and execution of all CMC and pharmaceutical development activities. Previously, Dr. Zhang was a Venture Partner at Velocity Pharmaceutical Development, where he played an integral role in the launching and development of several project-focused companies, including Menlo Therapeutics, Corsair and Spitfire. Early in his career, Dr. Zhang held various scientific and program leadership positions at Roche, Millennium Pharmaceuticals and Portola Pharmaceuticals, where he contributed to the discovery and development of several new molecular entities.
Dr Zhang received a PhD from the University of Maryland, College Park, in the field of synthetic organic chemistry and pursued postdoctoral research at the University of California, Berkeley. He is an inventor on 55 issued US patents.
Stuart Hwang, PhD is the Chief Business Officer of Vincerx. Before Vincerx, Dr Hwang was the President of Digestome Therapeutics and the managing partner at Third Pillar Associates, a corporate development advisory firm that supported numerous established and emerging biotech/pharma companies with corporate strategy and business development transactions, such as licensing, partnerships, fundraising, company creation, restructuring and M&A from October 2012 to December 2020. From December 2014 to December 2016, he was the Chief Business Officer at Quadriga Bioscience, a preclinical oncology company and a Managing Director at Mavericks Capital, a healthcare investment bank. Earlier, he led business development at Astex (acquired by Otuska) from January 2007 to September 2012. Previously, he led drug and diagnostic R&D teams at SuperGen, Cor Therapeutics, Millennium, Celera and at UCSF/LBNL supporting multiple NME INDs and the development of several marketed drugs. As a founding scientist at Celera Genomics, he developed deep sequencing and genome partitioning algorithms and at Agilent several first whole genome arrays.
Dr Hwang is an inventor on several patents, has authored numerous publications and presented at global scientific and business conferences. He received a PhD in Endocrinology at University of California, Berkeley, Cancer Research Lab (NCI Fellowship). He completed his postdoctoral work with Dr JW Gray at UCSF & LBNL as a Distinguished Human Genome Postdoctoral Fellow (DOE). He received high honors for his BA in biological sciences from the University of California, Santa Cruz.
Tasheda Navarro is Vice President of Clinical Operations of Vincerx. Before joining Vincerx, Ms Navarro was the senior director of clinical operations of Acerta Pharma from March 2014 to August 2020. Ms Navarro led the clinical operations department as well as the global chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) program for CALQUENCE®, which was one of the fastest joint approvals in US, Canada, and Australia. Before that, Ms Navarro was the lead clinical trial manager of a global phase 3 trial of a novel immuno-oncology prostate cancer drug at Bavarian Nordic from April 2012 to March 2014. Before that, Ms Navarro worked at Pharmacyclics LLC from March 2010 to March 2012 as the senior clinical trial manager who managed the ibrutinib phase 2 trial in CLL that lead to an accelerated approval in CLL in 2014. Tasheda has also worked on various hematology and oncology programs at Astex, Amgen, and Genentech.
Tasheda graduated with a BS in Cell and Molecular Biology from University of Washington in Seattle.
Elsa Johnson is the Vice President of Program and Portfolio Management of Vincerx. Ms Johnson is the principal for Goal Management Consulting, a consulting company assisting small pharmaceutical startups in Seattle and the Bay Area develop and execute on their development plans, since December 2018. Before that, Ms Johnson was a senior director of program management at Acerta Pharma from June 2014 to July 2018 and was part of the initial management team that led to a successful Astra Zeneca acquisition and subsequent CALQUENCE® approval. From October 2008 to January 2014, Ms Johnson was director of project management for HemaQuest Pharmaceuticals, a clinical development stage company developing small molecules for the treatment of life-threatening hematologic disorders. From May 2006 to August 2008, Ms Johnson was a senior project manager for Nastech Pharmaceuticals, a company developing nasal delivery formulations. From December 2003 to May 2006, Ms Johnson was senior project manager at Corus Pharma where she supervised the overall cross functional activities of an inhaled antibiotic orphan drug program for the treatment of cystic fibrosis, CAYSTON®. From March 1990 to November 2003, Ms Johnson has held different positions of increasing responsibility from data management, clinical research, clinical operations management and clinical project management.
Ms Johnson received her BS in Economics from Southern Methodist University and MBA from Lake Forest Graduate School of Management.