Turbine strengthens R&D capabilities with key appointments

28 April 2021

Biotech entrepreneur Mark Velleca is Board Chair, seasoned cancer biology advisors Gordon Mills and Klaus Hoeflich join Scientific Advisory Board

London, UK, Budapest, Hungary, 28 April 2021: Turbine, a company developing a cell behavior simulation platform to uncover targets for the most challenging cancers, today announced that it has appointed Dr. Mark Velleca as Chair of the Board of Directors. The company also announced that Professor Gordon Mills and Dr. Klaus Hoeflich have joined its Scientific Advisory Board (SAB). Drawing on their combined track record of 5 FDA approvals, 20 patents and over 1,000 publications, these advisors will help Turbine leverage its platform to advance its internal drug discovery programs.

Through a multidisciplinary team that unites machine learning and molecular biology, and the world’s most intricate simulation of cellular signaling, Turbine can identify targets for cancers that have proven difficult with current experimental tools. The Simulated Cell™ platform drives the drug discovery process from uncovering novel biological insights across known and novel targets, through identifying patients most likely to respond to the treatment and rational ways to stave-off resistance. “Over the last 16 months, our team has identified 3 targets – and advanced 2 to hit finding phase – against previously unexplored resistance mechanisms in DNA Damage Response” said CEO Szabolcs Nagy. “Drs. Velleca, Mills and Hoeflich joining us will help steer our programs as we grow our drug discovery capabilities”, he added.

“I am joining the Turbine Board of Directors at an important phase of the company’s growth”, commented Dr. Mark Velleca. “The team has made significant progress with their AI-powered simulation platform, and Turbine now has unique insights into cancer cell signaling that can be exploited for its internal drug discovery programs.” As the first Chair of the Board of Directors, he adds more than 20 years’ experience in biotech entrepreneurship to Turbine. Most recently, in his role as CEO of G1 Therapeutics, he led the company’s IPO and oversaw the development of trilaciclib (Cosela) from IND filing to FDA approval. Previously, Dr. Velleca was a co-founder and Senior Vice President of CGI Pharmaceuticals, where he managed the company from its inception through clinical trials of multiple drug candidates to its acquisition by Gilead.

Professor Gordon Mills, and Dr. Klaus Hoeflich join biopharma veterans, Drs. Annalisa Jenkins, Mihriban Tuna and Alan Barge on Turbine’s SAB. Professor Mills, who established the first systems biology of cancer department in the US, is excited to see Turbine applying a systems biology approach to identify novel targets. Dr. Mills, a multi-award winner and in the top one percent of all authors in medicine, is currently the Director of Precision Oncology and SMMART Trials at the Knight Cancer Institute. Dr. Klaus Hoeflich was previously Senior Vice President and Head of Biological Sciences at Blueprint Medicines and brings with him 20 years of cancer biology and R&D experience. His teams have delivered transformative therapies to patients in the areas of oncology, immunology and rare genetic diseases. He shares the Turbine team’s passion about new methods to identify and exploit tumor vulnerabilities with the aim of developing next-generation precision medicines.

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Head of Lab Csilla Laczka, PhD, DSc and Co-Founder, Translational Scientist Iván Fekete M.D. will present our poster about a novel drug target and its mechanism of action at European Association for Cancer Research (EACR) Congress in Rotterdam, from June 10.
Read our poster for EACR 2024! - The Simulated Cell™ identifies LIG4 as a novel target in PARPi resistance via the modulation of NHEJ deficiency