- Dr. Annalisa Jenkins, Dr. Mihriban Tuna and Dr. Alan Barge appointed to guide Turbine’s scientific strategy
- Turbine aims to use simulation technology to transform trial-and-error approach to cancer drug discovery
Budapest, Hungary, 08 January 2020: Turbine, a simulation-first drug discovery company, today announced the formation of its Scientific Advisory Board (SAB) with the appointments of Dr. Annalisa Jenkins, Dr. Mihriban Tuna, and Dr. Alan Barge. The first members of the SAB together bring 70 years of pharma and biotech leadership expertise and drug development insight, with over 20 approved drugs between them. The globally recognised scientists will help Turbine transform the costly and failure-prone oncology drug R&D into a series of rational steps, guided by the company’s AI-powered simulation platform.
Turbine aims to redesign anticancer drug discovery and development by simulating complex biological problems before crucial points at which drug discovery programmes usually fail today. Dr. Annalisa Jenkins, Dr. Mihriban Tuna, and Dr. Alan Barge will play an instrumental role in Turbine’s endeavour, employing decades of global industry experience advancing scientific research through clinical development, regulatory approval, and incorporating research into healthcare systems. Having led teams and programmes across biotech and pharma, the newly appointed SAB members understand the complexity of cancer biology, and the translational challenges of drug discovery. Serving as scientific advisors, they will help Turbine grow its simulation-based oncology pipeline relying on the Company’s Simulated Cell technology. This proprietary simulation platform has the capacity to uncover novel biology, while cutting the cost and time of discovery compared to wet lab-heavy methods.
Dr. Annalisa Jenkins commented: “The use of AI-enhanced technology combined with scientific wisdom and guidance from pharma R&D expertise is a step change opportunity to shape the future of the industry. I am delighted to join forces with this young, entrepreneurial team at Turbine, who have already made remarkable progress demonstrating the value of their simulation-first discovery platform through collaborations with pharmaceutical companies.”
Dr. Annalisa Jenkins is a biopharma thought leader with over 25 years of industry experience. Her leadership roles have included the Global Head of R&D at Merck Serono, as well as several senior positions at Bristol Myers-Squibb. Dr. Jenkins is also a committee member of the Science Board to the US Food & Drug Administration (FDA).
Dr. Mihriban Tuna is currently Chief Scientific Officer at Adaptate Biotherapeutics and has over 15 years of experience in biologics drug discovery and development. Previously, she held the position of Senior VP of Drug Discovery at F-star, overseeing all internal and collaborative bispecific antibody discovery programs.
Dr. Alan Barge is a Partner at Delin Ventures, the leading investors behind Turbine’s recent €3 million seed funding round. Dr. Barge has led pharmaceutical R&D teams for more than 30 years. He was previously VP of Clinical Development, and Head of Oncology and Infection at AstraZeneca, responsible for building and managing the global oncology portfolio. In this role, he oversaw the acquisition of Kudos, which yielded the drug olaparib (Lynparza).
Turbine’s CEO, Szabolcs Nagy added: “Simulation-first drug discovery’s greatest promise is effective, efficiently developed cancer drugs that truly improve outlook for certain patient groups. Our newly appointed Scientific Advisory Board members have faced the scientific and commercial challenges of traditional drug discovery numerous times. With their help, we will use our cell simulations to make better decisions at the most failure-prone points in drug discovery, enabling the development of the right therapies for the right patients.”
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About Turbine www.turbine.ai
Turbine is a simulation-first oncology drug discovery company with a mission to transform the trial-and-error approach to pharmaceutical R&D.
To this end, Turbine has built a dynamic computational model of the human cell: the Simulated Cell. This proprietary technology provides routes to novel targets, biomarkers and precision medicines based on a mechanistic understanding of cancer. The team have partnered with leading pharmaceutical companies to help develop their drug discovery process, with many in-silico predictions now in the clinical validation phase. Turbine is also running their own discovery project, focussed on targeting DNA damage response (DDR) pathways.
Turbine was incorporated in 2015 and has built a team of 50 expert biologists, bioinformaticians, data scientists, software engineers, medical doctors and project managers. The Company is headquartered in Budapest, Hungary.
Biographies for Scientific Advisory Board
Dr. Annalisa Jenkins, M.B.B.S., F.R.C.P.
Dr. Annalisa Jenkins is a biopharma thought leader with over 25 years of industry experience. She has extensive experience in building and financing biotech companies pursuing cures for the most challenging rare diseases to address important medical issues globally. Dr. Jenkins has consistently built and led teams advancing programs from scientific research through clinical development, regulatory approval, and into healthcare systems globally.
Dr. Jenkins served as President and CEO of Dimension Therapeutics – a leading gene therapy company which she took through to listing on NASDAQ, and subsequently sold to Ultragenyx. Prior leadership roles have included Global Head R&D at Merck Serono, and several senior positions at Bristol Myers-Squibb over 15 years – including serving as Senior VP and Head of Global Medical Affairs.
Dr. Jenkins is a board member of several growing companies, including Ardelyx, iOX Therapeutics, Thrombolytic Strategies, PhESi, Oncimmune, AVROBIO, COMPASS Pathways, AOBiome, AgeX, PlaqueTec, Sensyne Health (Acting Chair), Cocoon Biotech (Non-Executive Chair), Cellmedica (Non-Executive Chair), and Vium (Executive Chair). She is a committee member of the Science Board to the FDA, which advises on complex scientific and technical issues. She is board member at FasterCures, a centre of The Milken Institute, and Chair of The Court at The London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.
Dr. Mihriban Tuna
Dr. Mihriban Tuna has over 15 years’ experience in biologics drug discovery and development across biotech and pharma. Currently she is the Chief Scientific Officer of Adaptate Biotherapeutics. Previously, she held the position of Senior VP of Drug Discovery at F-star, overseeing all internal and collaborative bispecific antibody discovery programmes. Prior to F-star, Dr. Tuna led selection and optimisation of domain antibodies, as well as technology development initiatives at Domantis and GSK Biopharm. Dr. Tuna made the transition from academic research to industry after completing her PhD with Professor Dek Woolfson at the University of Sussex, where she focused on the structure/stability engineering and design of small globular proteins.
Dr. Alan Barge
Dr. Alan Barge is an oncologist and haematologist with more than 30 years of experience in cancer drug development, spent primarily at AstraZeneca and Amgen. Dr. Barge spent over 12 years at AstraZeneca, where he held senior including most recently as VP of Clinical Development, and Head Oncology and Infection. There, he was responsible for building and managing large development groups and for the execution of AstraZeneca’s oncology portfolio globally. This included the development of Iressa (gefitinib) for non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and the acquisition of Kudos, which yielded the drug olaparib (Lynparza).
Prior to that, Dr Barge was Medical Director at Amgen where he was responsible for European approval and label extensions for several of Amgen’s cancer therapies. More recently, Dr Barge has been actively involved in the biotech sector including CMO of Carrick Therapeutics, a company focussed on early-stage oncology assets where he helped raise $95 million in a combined Series A/B initial round of funding. In 2011, he co-founded ASLAN Pharmaceuticals, a Singapore-based biopharmaceutical company which focuses on Asia-prevalent cancers. He is currently Non-Executive Director of Turbine and is a Partner at Delin Ventures.0