Our Story

Empowered by a Promise

At the heart of all we do lies an unyielding dedication to deliver powerful new cancer therapies to patients. Our dedication, present from the very start, has resulted in a drive to understand a new therapeutic approach. Our goal is to leverage our scientific founders’ insights to develop novel therapies that activate the immune system, helping patients defeat their cancer.

Our Beginnings

The therapeutic potential of the innate immune system, the first line of defense against cancer, was not well understood and appreciated when Irv Weissman and his colleagues at Stanford University identified CD47-SIRP-alpha as a novel immune pathway. This discovery has the potential to lead to new therapies and empower patients to fight cancer with their own immune cells, in the hopes of one day saving lives.

This is the spirit and the legacy that Forty Seven was built on.

Founded on Conviction

In 2015, we founded Forty Seven on the belief that there is a more effective and compassionate way to target cancer. Our new class of immunotherapies offers a new pathway to people living with cancer, who may have no other option. We have partnered with leading experts in drug development to achieve our goal to bring anti-CD47 and other immunotherapies to people everywhere.

We have partnered with patients and their clinicians to enhance the value of our research, with the hope that we will one day bring anti-CD47 and other immunotherapies to patients in need.

Driven to Heal

Everyday more people are diagnosed with cancer adding to the multitudes who hope for a cure. In service to them, we will engage in this battle to defeat cancer and work to deliver life-saving therapies developed from cutting-edge science.


Leadership

Mark McCamish, M.D., Ph.D.

President & Chief Executive Officer

Mark is President and Chief Executive Officer of Forty Seven. He is an international expert in biosimilars and biologics. Mark is passionate about mentoring and developing people while focusing on meeting patient needs through efficient, commercially viable efforts. He is a senior executive with extensive experience at multiple companies including Protein Design Labs, Abbott, Amgen and Novartis-Sandoz. He led pioneering efforts in filing and launching biosimilars worldwide. He has demonstrated a commercial mindset in establishing research and development strategies leading to approvals and commercial success in multiple therapeutic areas and regulatory categories including biologics, biosimilars, drugs, devices and medical foods. He held professorships at the University of California, Davis and The Ohio State University. After completing his Ph.D. in Nutritional Sciences from Penn State and M.D. from the University of California, Los Angeles, he completed Residency and Fellowship Training at the University of California, Davis. Mark received his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from University of California, Santa Barbara.

Chris H. Takimoto, M.D., Ph.D, F.A.C.P.

Chief Medical Officer

Chris has over 20 years of experience in clinical oncology development and is the Chief Medical Officer of Forty Seven. Prior to Forty Seven, he held various positions at Johnson & Johnson ultimately becoming Vice President of Experimental Medicine Early Development in Oncology at Janssen. In 2000, he became an Associate Professor at the University of Texas Health Science Center San Antonio (UTHSCSA), where he subsequently held the Zachry Chair for Translational Research at the Institute for Drug Development/Cancer Therapy & Research Center. He was also a Professor (Adjunct) of Pharmacology at UTHSCSA, and in 2007, he helped to found an independent Phase 1 oncology clinical research center called South Texas Accelerated Research Therapeutics (START). While in San Antonio, he was a principal or co-investigator on over 250 early phase oncology clinical trials. Prior to START, Chris served as a Senior Investigator in the National Cancer Institute’s (NCI) Medicine Branch, where he also completed fellowships in Medical Oncology at the NCI and Clinical Pharmacology at the Uniformed Services University. Chris received his M.D. from the Yale University, his Ph.D. in Pharmacology from Yale University and received his Bachelor’s degree in Chemistry from Stanford University. He has published over 160 research articles, reviews, editorials and book chapters and he has served on the editorial board of numerous oncology publications.

Ann D. Rhoads

Chief Financial Officer

Ann has spent over 20 years in the life science industry and serves as the Chief Financial Officer of Forty Seven. Ann previously served as Executive Vice President, CFO, Treasurer and Secretary of Zogenix. In these roles, she oversaw all areas of financial management of Zogenix, raising approximately $400 million through Zogenix’s initial public offering, subsequent public equity and debt financings and facilitating the in-licensing of Zogenix’s lead product candidate, ZX008. Prior to joining Zogenix in 2010, Ann was CFO of Premier, where she executed a long-term strategic plan that resulted in 91% revenue growth from 2000 to 2009 and led the acquisition of two companies. Earlier, she worked as a Vice President at Sprout Group, a venture capital affiliate of Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette, as a consultant for Bain & Company and as a member of the leveraged buyout and principal investment group at Merrill Lynch. Ann holds an M.B.A. from the Harvard Business School and a B.S. in Business Administration, with a concentration in Finance, from the University of Arkansas.

Craig Gibbs, Ph.D., M.B.A.

Chief Business Officer

Craig has spent 28 years in the biopharmaceutical industry including 24 years at Genentech and Gilead in a variety of research and business roles. Craig serves as the Chief Business Officer of Forty Seven. He is passionate about translating scientific innovation into benefits for patients. Craig also serves on the Board of Directors of Aridis Pharmaceuticals and previously was on the Board of Directors and was Chairman of the Scientific Advisory Board of Tobira Therapeutics (acquired by Allergan). Prior to that, Craig spent 21 years at Gilead in leadership roles including Vice President of Commercial Strategy/Planning and Operations, Senior Director, Corporate Development and Senior Director, Biology Research, where he contributed to the development and launch of 12 FDA approved drugs. Prior to Gilead, Craig spent three years in the Protein Engineering Department at Genentech as a Visiting Post-doctoral Scientist. Craig has published over 50 scientific articles and is an inventor on three issued patents. He received his Ph.D. in Molecular Biology from the University of Glasgow, Scotland, a B.S. (Hons) in Biochemistry from Massey University, New Zealand and a M.B.A. from Golden Gate University in San Francisco.

Norman Kruse, Ph.D., J.D.

Chief Patent Counsel

Norm has more than 20 years of experience as a patent attorney in the biotechnology industry. Prior to joining Forty Seven, he was Vice President of Intellectual Property and Chief Patent Counsel at Verinata Health, and, after Verinata’s acquisition by Illumina, was a Senior Director of Intellectual Property at Illumina. Prior to that, Norm was Vice President of Intellectual Property and Chief Patent Counsel at Maxygen. During his 11 years at Maxygen, he developed, defended and enforced an industry-leading patent portfolio in directed molecular evolution (ranked #1 in the MIT Technology Review Patent Scorecard in 2003 for biotechnology patent estates). This patent portfolio also formed the basis for several successful companies spun out or sold by Maxygen including, Codexis (IPO in 2010), Verdia (acquired by DuPont) and Avidia (acquired by Amgen). Prior to Maxygen, Norm was a patent attorney at Chiron Corporation where he was responsible for Chiron’s gene therapy patent portfolio. He began his legal career as an attorney at Townsend and Townsend and Crew, working on biotechnology patent prosecution and strategy. He holds a Ph.D. in Biochemistry from the University of Washington, a J.D. from Golden Gate University School of Law in San Francisco, and received a B.S. in Biochemistry from the University of California, Davis.

Kyle Elrod

SVP Planning and Operations

Kyle has over 28 years of experience in the pharmaceutical, diagnostic and life science industries. As the Senior Vice President of Planning and Operations of Forty Seven, Kyle manages company operations, project management, human resources and alliance management. Prior to joining Forty Seven, Kyle spent eight years at Virobay where he was the Senior Vice President of Project Management and Operations. In that role, he was responsible for alliance management and company operations and successfully brought three protease inhibitors into clinical trials. Prior to Virobay, Kyle worked at Life Technologies as both an R&D Leader and a Program Director developing high throughput genetic sequencers. Prior to Life Technologies, Kyle served in positions of increasing responsibility at Celera Pharmaceuticals in South San Francisco culminating in a position as the Director of Research and Development Projects. During his 12 years at Celera, Kyle published over 22 scientific articles and was an inventor on four issued patents. He received a B.A. in Microbiology and Immunology from the University of California, Berkeley.

Jens-Peter Volkmer, M.D.

Founder and VP Research and Early Development

Jens is a founder of Forty Seven and serves as the company’s Vice President of Research and Early Development. He oversees the company’s research to support ongoing clinical trials and leads the development of new therapeutic programs. He is a physician-scientist with more than 10 years of experience conducting translational research in urology and immuno-oncology. Jens has played a leading role in developing the anti-CD47 antibody through all stages of preclinical drug development to the first-in-human clinical trials. He conducted and directed proof-of-concept studies showing that anti-CD47 antibody therapy leads to a profound anti-tumor response by the innate and adaptive immune systems in various tumors. He has authored many publications and patents related to the CD47 program. Jens trained in Urology at the University of Duesseldorf and received his medical degree from the Heinrich-Heine University in Duesseldorf, Germany.

Mark Chao, M.D., Ph.D.

Founder and VP Clinical Development

Mark is a founder of Forty Seven, and serves as the company’s Vice President of Clinical Development. He plays a leading role in the management of the company’s clinical trials and clinical development strategy. Mark is a physician-scientist who has spent over 15 years conducting translational research in hematology/oncology and stem cell biology. Mark has played a key scientific and clinical role in the development of the anti-CD47 antibody and subsequent first-in-human clinical trials. He conducted seminal research identifying the role of CD47 in cancer immune evasion and proof of concept studies demonstrating therapeutic efficacy of an anti-CD47 antibody in acute myeloid leukemia, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and several solid tumors. He has authored numerous publications and patents in the CD47 field. Mark received his medical degree, Ph.D. in Cancer Biology and completed his hematology fellowship training at Stanford University. He received his B.A. in Biology at Case Western Reserve University.

Qinghai Zhao, Ph.D.

VP Technical Development & Manufacturing

Qinghai has over 25 years of experience in biological CMC development and manufacturing and is the company’s Vice President of Technical Development and Manufacturing. Prior to Forty Seven he was Vice President of CMC/Manufacturing at AnaptysBio. Prior to that, he held various CMC leader positions including Head of CMC at NGM Biopharmaceuticals, Director of CMC Management at Teva Biologicals USA and Associate Director of Process Development at Cogenesys. Qinghai has extensive knowledge of all biological CMC functions with executive experience of developing CMC strategy from early stage to late stage for commercialization. Prior to Cogenesys, he was a Sr. Scientist of Lead Development at Human Genome Sciences and a Research Fellow at National Institute of Health and Georgetown University Lombardi Cancer Center. Qinghai received his Ph.D. for Biomedical Research at Uppsala University, Sweden.


Board of Directors

Kristine Ball

SVP of Corporate Strategy and CFO, Menlo Therapeutics
Kristine Ball is Senior Vice President, Corporate Strategy and Chief Financial Officer at Menlo Therapeutics. In her roles at Menlo Therapeutics, she oversees all of Menlo’s general and administrative functions, including strategic planning, finance, corporate development, commercial planning, legal, human resources and investor relations. Kristine led Menlo’s initial public offering, which closed in January 2018. Prior to joining Menlo in 2017, Kristine was SVP and CFO of Relypsa, where she raised over $675 million in various equity and debt financings and co-led the cross-functional teams responsible for closing partnerships with Sanofi and Vifor Fresenius Medical Care Renal Pharma and the company’s acquisition by Galencia. In addition, Kristine previously served as SVP Finance and Administration and of KAI Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (acquired by Amgen) and Vice President of Finance at Exelixis, Inc. Before joining Exelixis, She was a senior manager in Ernst & Young’s life sciences audit practice. Kristine holds a B.S. from Babson College and is a CPA. She also serves on the Board of Directors of the National Kidney Foundation Northern California Chapter.

Jeff Bird, M.D., Ph.D.

Managing Director, Sutter Hill Ventures
Jeff Bird's investment expertise focuses on healthcare, including biotechnology and medical devices. In addition to Jeff's service on the Board of Directors of Forty Seven, Inc., his recent Series A investments include XIOS Therapeutics (small molecular immune-oncology). In the genomics space, Jeff is a co-investor with Illumina in Helix (consumer genomics marketplace) and GRAIL (cancer screening test). Jeff was CEO and an investor at Verinata Health (noninvasive prenatal diagnosis). After Verinata's acquisition by Illumina in early 2013, he served as their GM for a year. He currently severs on the Board of Directors of NuGen Technologies (research reagents), Portola Pharmaceuticals (PTLA, a spin-out of Cor/Millennium focused on cardiovascular therapeutics), Restoration Robotics (aesthetic surgery devices) and Teneobio (next generation antibodies). He also represents the Sutter Hill's investments in Acceleron Pharmaceuticals (XLRN, metabolic therapeutics) and Pacific Biosciences (PACB, DNA sequencing). Jeff was formerly a director at Horizon Pharma (HZNP), Akarx Inc., (acquired by MGI Pharma in 2008), BARRX Medical, Inc. (acquired by Covidien in 2012) and Idun Pharmaceuticals, (acquired by Pfizer in 2005). Jeff was previously Senior Vice President, Business Operations at Gilead Sciences, where he worked from 1988 to 1990 and again from 1992 to 2000. He was primarily responsible for several alliances with major pharmaceutical companies and helped Gilead acquire NeXstar in a $550 million transaction. His commercial responsibilities included direct sales in the US and Europe. Jeff received a B.S. in Biological Sciences from Stanford University in 1982, a Ph.D. in Cancer Biology in 1988 from Stanford University and an M.D. in 1992 from Stanford Medical School.

Ian Clark

Former CEO Genentech
Ian Clark recently served as Chief Executive Officer of Genentech. Ian previously held several senior management positions, including Head of Global Product Strategy, Chief Marketing Officer, SVP, General Manager of BioOncology and EVP, Commercial Operations. Before joining Genentech, Ian spent 23 years in the pharmaceutical industry in senior roles at Novartis, Ivax Pharma and Sanofi in the United Kingdom, France and Eastern Europe. He started his career at Searle, a subsidiary of Monsanto Corporation, holding positions in sales and marketing. Ian currently serves on the Board of Directors of Agios Pharmaceuticals, Corvus Pharmaceuticals, Shire and the Gladstone Foundation. He previously served on the Board of Directors of the Biotechnology Industry Organization. He was a former Economic Advisor to the West Coast Federal Reserve and he holds a B.S. and an honorary Ph.D. in Biological Sciences from Southampton University.

Dennis Henner, Ph.D.

Chief Scientific Advisor, Clarus
Dennis Henner is the Chief Scientific Advisor of Clarus Ventures, prior to which he served as Managing Director of Clarus for 12 years beginning in 2005 from the firm’s inception. Prior to Clarus, Dennis was a General Partner at MPM Capital, a healthcare venture capital firm. He has over 30 years of direct industry and investment experience within the healthcare sector. From 1981 to 2001, Dennis was an executive at Genentech where he held various positions including SVP of Research, and was a member of Genentech's executive committee. Dennis received his Ph.D. in Microbiology from the University of Virginia and did postgraduate training at the Scripps Clinic and Research Foundation. Currently Dennis is on the Board of Directors at Cleave Biosciences and Imago BioSciences. Dennis is also a member of the Board of Trustees of Reed College. He has previously served on the Board of Directors of Aerie Pharmaceuticals (AERI), Cellerant, Ceregene, Inc. (acquired by Sangamo BioSciences), CoMentis, Inc., Ferrokin Biosciences (acquired by Shire), KaloBios, Pelikan Technologies, Rinat (acquired by Pfizer), Rigel (RIGL), SARcode (acquired by Shire), Synergia and Tercica (acquired by Ipsen).

Ravi Majeti, M.D., Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Medicine, Chief, Division of Hematology, Stanford University School of Medicine
Ravi Majeti is an Associate Professor in the Department of Medicine, Chief of the Division of Hematology at Stanford University, Ravi is also a member of the Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine at Stanford. He was an undergraduate at Harvard University, earned his M.D. and Ph.D. from the University of California, San Francisco, and trained in Internal Medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. Ravi completed his Hematology Fellowship at Stanford, and is a board-certified hematologist. While at Stanford, he completed post-doctoral training in the laboratory of Irving Weissman, where he investigated acute myeloid leukemia (AML) stem cells and therapeutic targeting with anti-CD47 antibodies. With Dr. Weissman, he developed a humanized anti-CD47 antibody, initiated first-in-human clinical trials, and in 2015, co-founded Forty Seven. The Majeti laboratory focuses on the molecular/genomic characterization and therapeutic targeting of leukemia stem cells in human hematologic malignancies, particularly AML. Ravi is a recipient of the Burroughs Wellcome Fund Career Award for Medical Scientists, the New York Stem Cell Foundation Robertson Investigator Award and the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society Scholar Award.

Mark McCamish, M.D., Ph.D.

President and Chief Executive Officer of Forty Seven
Mark McCamish is President and Chief Executive Officer of Forty Seven. He is an international expert in biosimilars and biologics. Mark is passionate about mentoring and developing people while focusing on meeting patient needs through efficient, commercially viable efforts. He is a senior executive with extensive experience at multiple companies including Protein Design Labs, Abbott, Amgen and Novartis-Sandoz. He led pioneering efforts in filing and launching biosimilars worldwide. He has demonstrated a commercial mindset in establishing research and development strategies leading to approvals and commercial success in multiple therapeutic areas and regulatory categories including biologics, biosimilars, drugs, devices and medical foods. He held professorships at the University of California, Davis and The Ohio State University. After completing his Ph.D. in Nutritional Sciences from Penn State and M.D. from the University of California, Los Angeles, he completed Residency and Fellowship Training at the University of California, Davis. Mark received his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from University of California, Santa Barbara.

Chris Schaepe

Partner, Lightspeed Venture Partners
Chris Schaepe is a founder of Lightspeed Venture Partners. He has 26 years of venture capital experience with investment interests in the areas of enterprise, consumer and medical technologies. Chris has been named to the Forbes Midas List of top venture capital investors 11 times since its introduction in 2001. He has also backed over 10 first-time CEOs who have led their startup companies though successful IPOs. Prior to entering the venture industry, he served in corporate finance and capital markets roles at Goldman, Sachs & Co. after working as a software engineer at IBM. Chris has served as a director of over 30 private and public companies. He holds B.S. and M.S. degrees in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from MIT and an M.B.A from the Stanford Graduate School of Business.

Irv Weissman, M.D.

Director of the Stanford Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine
Director of the Stanford Ludwig Center for Cancer Stem Cell Research
Irving L. Weissman, is the Director of the Stanford Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine and Director of the Stanford Ludwig Center for Cancer Stem Cell Research. He is a founder of Forty Seven and was a member of the founding Scientific Advisory Boards of Amgen, DNAX and T-Cell Sciences. He co-founded, was a Director and chaired the Scientific Advisory Board at SyStemix, StemCells, Inc. and Cellerant. His research encompasses the biology and evolution of stem cells and progenitor cells. His lab was first to prospectively isolate mouse and human blood stem cells, and he also was a co-isolater of the human brain forming stem cells. At SyStemix and Stem Cells, Inc, these cells were brought into successful early stage clinical trials. He is also engaged in isolating and characterizing the rare cancer and leukemia stem cells. He discovered that cancer stem cells express CD47, the ‘don’t eat me’ signal, to overcome prophagocytic signals that arise during cancer development. Irv is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Medicine and the American Association of Arts and Sciences. He has received many awards, including the Pasarow Award in Cancer Research, California Scientist of the Year, the De Villiers International Achievement Award of the Leukemia Society of America, the Robert Koch Award, the Rosenstiel Award, the Max Delbruck Medal, and the Jessie Stevenson Kovalenko Award of the National Academy of Sciences. He has several honorary doctorates.


Scientific Advisory Board

James Allison, Ph.D.

Dr. Allison is the Chair of the Department of Immunology, the Vivian L. Smith Distinguished Chair in Immunology, Director of the Parker Institute for Cancer Research, and the Executive Director of the Immunotherapy Platform at MD Anderson Cancer Center. He has spent a distinguished career studying the regulation of T cell responses and developing strategies for cancer immunotherapies. Among his most notable discoveries are the determination of the T cell receptor structure; the co-stimulatory molecule CD28, which signals the T cell to launch an immune response to a bound antigen; and the immune system inhibitory checkpoint molecule CTLA-4, which inhibits activated T cells from attacking, leading to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)’s approval of the first checkpoint inhibitor for cancer patients. In October 2018, Dr. Allison was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his work in the discovery of cancer therapy by inhibition of negative immune regulation.  He earned his Ph.D. in Biological Sciences and his B.S. in Microbiology from the University of Texas, Austin and did his postdoctoral fellowship in Molecular Immunology at Scripps Clinic and Research Foundation.

Ronald Levy, M.D.

Ronald Levy is the Robert K. and Helen K. Summy Professor of Medicine at Stanford University, where his work focuses on the study of malignant lymphoma, therapeutic monoclonal antibodies and cancer immunotherapy. Dr. Levy’s research led to the development of rituximab, the first FDA-approved antibody for the treatment of lymphoma. Over the course of his career, Dr. Levy has received numerous awards, including the National Cancer Institute’s Outstanding Investigator Award (2016) and the King Faisal International Prize in Medicine (2009). Dr. Levy holds his M.D. from Stanford University and his B.A. in Biochemistry from Harvard University.  He completed his internship and residency at Massachusetts General Hospital, and his Fellowship at Stanford University School of Medicine.

Padmanee Sharma, M.D., Ph.D.

Dr. Sharma is a Professor in the Department of Genitourinary Medical Oncology and the Department of Immunology, Division of Cancer Medicine at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center as well as Scientific Director, Immunotherapy Platform and Co-Director of the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy at MD Anderson Cancer Center. She is a medical oncologist and immunologist, and a leading clinical investigator in immunotherapy trials, which allows her to further investigate immune responses and pathways that are critical for eliciting anti-tumor responses and clinical benefit in cancer patients. Dr. Sharma has received numerous awards in her field, including MD Anderson Physician-Scientist Award, Prostate Cancer Foundation Challenge Award, MD Anderson Team Science Award, Emil-Frei Award for Translational Research, SU2C-CRI Dream Team Award in Immunotherapy, Julie and Ben Rogers Award for Excellence, and the Coley Award in Tumor Immunology.  Dr. Sharma holds a Ph.D. in Immunology and an M.D. from Pennsylvania State University. She also holds a B.A. in Biology and an M.A. in Biotechnology from Boston University.

Louis Weiner, M.D.

Dr. Weiner is the Director of the Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center at Georgetown University, an Associate Vice President at Georgetown University Medical Center, Chair of the Oncology Department at Georgetown’s Medical School and Clinical Director of Cancer Services at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital. Dr. Weiner is an internationally-recognized medical oncologist specializing in the treatment of gastrointestinal cancers and an accomplished researcher, whose work focuses on developing laboratory-crafted monoclonal antibodies to recognize specific cancer cells in the hopes of mobilizing a patient’s immune system to fight cancer.  Dr. Weiner earned his M.D. from Mount Sinai School of Medicine and his B.A. in Biology, with honors, from the University of Pennsylvania. He completed his internship and residency at the University of Vermont’s Medical Center Hospital and held clinical and research fellowships in hematology and oncology at Tufts University School of Medicine.


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