Arthur T. Sands, M.D., Ph.D.
Chief Executive Officer and Board Director
Arthur T. Sands, M.D., Ph.D. has served as the Chief Executive Officer at Nurix and a member of the company’s board of directors since September, 2014. In 2015, Dr. Sands and his management team completed a strategic collaboration with Celgene for the discovery, development and commercialization of novel small molecule therapeutics in oncology, inflammation and immunology that included an upfront payment of $150 million and significant milestones, royalties and options for commercialization of drugs. Prior to joining Nurix, Dr. Sands co-founded Lexicon Pharmaceuticals and served as President, Chief Executive Officer and a Director from 1995 to 2014. At Lexicon, Dr. Sands pioneered the development of large-scale gene knockout technology for use in drug discovery and guided the evolution of Lexicon from a research-stage company to a drug development company Dr. Sands holds an M.D. and a Ph.D. from Baylor College of Medicine and a B.A. in economics and political science from Yale University.
David Lacey, M.D.
David Lacey joined Amgen in 1994 where, during the last five years of his tenure, he was the Head of Discovery Research, and managed more than 1200 employees. At any given time, Dr. Lacey oversaw over 100 actively-managed preclinical projects across four therapeutic areas: hematology/oncology, inflammation, metabolic disorders and neuroscience. Scientifically, he played a fundamental role in the discovery of the OPG/RANKL/RANK pathway at Amgen, which led to the development of the anti-RANKL human mAb denosumab, a blockbuster for both osteoporosis (Prolia) and cancer-related bone diseases (XGEVA) that had combined sales of $2 billion in 2015. Following his retirement in 2011, he has continued to be active in the biopharmaceutical industry. His current activities include advising academic institutions, biotechnology companies and venture capital firms. Dr. Lacey received both his undergraduate and medical degrees from the University of Colorado. Following the completion of his training, he served on the faculty at Washington University in St. Louis.
Leon Chen, Ph.D.
Dr. Chen joined The Column Group in 2019. Previously, he was a Venture Partner at OrbiMed focusing on company creation and investing in early stage biotech companies. In this capacity he took on interim management roles at E-Scape Bio, TranscripTx and Adicet. He also served on the board of Pionyr Immunotherapeutics and Logic Bio.
Prior to that Dr. Chen was a Partner at Skyline Ventures and an entrepreneur in residence at Venrock. Dr. Chen started his career in 2002 as a founder of KAI Pharmaceuticals, which was acquired by Amgen in 2012 and led to the approval of Parsabiv in US, Europe, and Japan. He earned his BA in Biochemistry from UC Berkeley, PhD in Molecular Pharmacology from Stanford School of Medicine, and MBA from Stanford Graduate School of Business.
Ms. Gregory formerly served as president and CEO of Five Prime Therapeutics, CEO of ContraFect Corporation and as executive vice president, corporate development and CFO of Lexicon Pharmaceuticals. Ms. Gregory currently serves as chair and CEO of biotechnology financial and management advisory firm, Isometry Advisors, Inc. and senior advisor to M.M. Dillon & Co., Inc. Ms. Gregory also has twenty years of investment banking experience, starting at Dillon, Read & Co. and subsequently at Punk, Ziegel & Company, where she served as the head of investment banking and head of its life sciences practice. Ms. Gregory has recently served as executive chair of Cavion, Inc. until its sale to Jazz Pharmaceuticals and also serves on the Board of Directors at Biohaven Pharmaceuticals, Cell Medica, Iconic Therapeutics, IMV, Inc. and the Sosei Group Corporation. Ms. Gregory obtained an MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, and earned her B.A. in International Affairs and International Economics at the George Washington University.
Lori A. Kunkel, MD
Dr. Kunkel holds more than 20 years of experience in oncology and immunology drug development. She joins Nurix Therapeutics after serving on the board of directors of Loxo Oncology, Inc. until the sale to Eli Lilly. She currently serves on the board of directors of Curis, Inc., Maverick Therapeutics, Inc., and Tocagen, Inc. She previously held positions of acting chief medical officer at Loxo Oncology, chief medical officer at Pharmacyclics, LLC, ACT, Syndax and Proteolix, Inc. as well as in senior clinical roles at Chiron, and Genentech, Inc. Prior to her career in biotechnology, Dr. Kunkel spent approximately 10 years in academic medicine and served as a faculty member at the Bone Marrow Transplant Unit in the Division of Hematology/Oncology at University of California, Los Angeles. She has held board certifications in hematology and oncology and holds a B.A. in biology from the University of California, San Diego and an M.D. from the University of Southern California.
Jeff Tong, Ph.D.
Jeff Tong is a partner with Third Rock Ventures where he focuses on drug discovery and development across the portfolio. He brings significant operational experience in building and growing early-stage biotechnology companies.
Prior to joining Third Rock, Jeff was Executive Chairman of the Board of Delinia, a company developing novel therapeutics for the treatment of autoimmune diseases. From 2010 to 2015, Jeff was the President and Chief Executive Officer of Nora Therapeutics. Prior to that, he was a member of the founding management team at Infinity Pharmaceuticals where he led its corporate as well as product development activities. Over the course of his career, Jeff has raised significant capital from both equity markets and pharma partnerships, led teams from preclinical through Phase 3 development, and developed integrated science/business strategies for building innovative biotechnology companies. Earlier in his career, Jeff worked at McKinsey & Co. and was a founding researcher at the Harvard Bauer Center for Genomics Research. Jeff received his educational training at the interface of molecular biology, organic chemistry and medicine and holds A.B. and M.M.S. degrees from Harvard College and Harvard Medical School, respectively, as well as A.M. and Ph.D. degrees from Harvard University.
Robert Tjian, Ph.D.
Dr. Tjian joined The Column Group as a Discovery Partner in September 2016. Prior to that he served as President of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute from 2009-2016. Dr. Tjian discovered the first transcription factors, human proteins that bind to specific sections of DNA and play a critical role in regulating how genetic information is expressed into the thousands of biomolecules that keep cells, tissues and organisms alive. Dr. Tjian’s laboratory has focused on disruptions in the process of transcription that cause diseases such as cancer, metabolic syndromes and neuro-degenerative diseases. Dr. Tjian joined the University of California, Berkeley faculty in 1979, where he assumed several leadership roles, including Director of the Berkeley Stem Cell Center, Faculty Director of the Li Ka Shing Center for Biomedical and Health Sciences, and Head of the Siebel Stem Initiative. He currently serves as scientific advisor to the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative and the BioHub. Dr. Tjian is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and has received numerous awards including the Alfred P. Sloan Prize and the Louisa Gross Horwitz Prize.