SAN DIEGO, June 19, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Ambrx, Inc., a clinical stage biotechnology company that discovers and develops first-in-class and best-in-class optimized protein therapeutics known as bio-conjugates, today announced the appointment of Dr. Tiecheng (Alex) Qiao as CEO, effective immediately.
Ambrx also announced that Dr. Feng Tian, formerly vice president of science and technology, China, has been promoted to the newly-created position of chief science officer, effective immediately. Dr. Tian will report directly to Dr. Qiao.
The appointments come as Ambrx marks an important milestone. On June 17, 2015, Ambrx closed a merger with a Chinese consortium consisting of entities affiliated with Shanghai Fosun Pharmaceutical Group, HOPU Investments, China Everbright Limited's healthcare fund, and WuXi PharmaTech. The merger combines the resources of leading China-based life science companies and investors with a leading U.S.-based innovator in biologics development. With the agreement now in place, Ambrx has additional resources to advance the technology and product pipeline under development in its U.S. research center and to build a new global product development center in China.
"Drs. Qiao and Tian are ideally qualified to lead Ambrx," said Bing Li, a member of Ambrx's board of directors. Dr. Qiao has founded and managed companies with U.S. and China technology operations, and Dr. Tian has a deep knowledge of Ambrx and has acquired over 10-plus years of increasing responsibility for the company's technology development."
Dr. Qiao has over 15 years of experience as an entrepreneur and senior manager in the life sciences, finance, and technology industries. Prior to joining Ambrx, he was a partner at Coentre LLC, a private angel investment firm. Before this, he co-founded and was CEO of NNCrystal, a life sciences and alternative energy technology company with U.S. and China operations. He was also CEO of NN-Labs, which develops nanomaterials for the life sciences industry, and was a co-founder and the president of G3 Technology Innovations, which develops nanomaterials for the textile industry. An accomplished inventor with 26 U.S. patents, Dr. Qiao conceived and oversaw the development of biochips, rare cell separation, and molecular imaging platforms for Eastman Kodak Company's Health Group (now Carestream Health). He earned an M.S. in chemistry from Jilin University in China, a Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of Rochester, and completed his postdoctoral training in biochemistry at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Dr. Tian joined Ambrx in 2004. He earned a Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of Florida and completed his postdoctoral training at the Scripps Research Institute, where he developed catalytic antibodies and biosensors.
Ambrx is a clinical stage biopharmaceutical company that develops first-in-class and best-in-class optimized protein therapeutics known as bio-conjugates. The company's proprietary technology platforms enable attachment of pharmaceutically active molecules to specific sites within proteins more precisely than prior generations of bio-conjugates and with precision similar to that used to design small-molecule drugs. Ambrx has developed a pipeline of novel product candidates that includes antibody-drug conjugates, or ADCs, bi- and multi-specific drug conjugates, and long-acting therapeutic proteins.
ADCs are expected to be one of the most important areas of monoclonal antibody development in the next decade, especially in targeted therapies for oncology, an area where Ambrx has a strong internal pipeline. The company's most advanced internally developed product is ARX788, a site-specific ADC targeting Her2-positive breast cancer that Ambrx expects to begin clinical trials on in 2015.
In addition to its internal pipeline, Ambrx collaborates with leading pharmaceutical companies, including Bristol-Myers Squibb, Merck, Eli Lilly, and Agensys. Ambrx's most advanced collaboration product candidate in human health is ARX618, a long-acting fibroblast growth factor 21 for type 2 diabetes that collaboration partner Bristol-Myers Squibb is conducting Phase 2 clinical trials on in the United States.