About

TEMPEST THERAPEUTICS IS A DEVELOPMENT-STAGE BIOTECHNOLOGY COMPANY ADVANCING SMALL MOLECULE THERAPEUTICS THAT MODULATE ANTI-TUMOR IMMUNITY PATHWAYS.

Tempest has a balanced and deep pipeline consisting of first-in-class and best-in-class small molecule therapeutics, which modulate distinct immune response pathways relevant to mounting an effective anti-tumor response. The molecules were developed by Inception Sciences, a Versant Ventures affiliated drug discovery engine. Tempest has assembled a highly experienced team of small molecule and immuno-oncology drug developers to advance these programs to the clinic across diverse cancers representing significant unmet medical need. Tempest is backed by a syndicate of leading US and China based venture capital firms.

Tempest Leadership Team

Highly Experienced Team of Small Molecule Oncology Drug Developers

Thomas W. Dubensky photo

Tom Dubensky

President & Chief Executive Officer

Thomas W. Dubensky Jr., Ph.D. has served as the President & CEO of Tempest Therapeutics since joining the company in 2017. He brings significant expertise in the discovery, development and translation of novel immune therapies for the treatment of cancer. Prior to Tempest, Tom served as the Chief Scientific Officer of Aduro Biotech, where he led the development of first-in-class STING (stimulator of interferon genes) agonists. His leadership was instrumental in securing Aduro’s $750M collaboration with Novartis for the STING program. Before his role at Aduro, Tom served as Chief Scientific Officer of Immune Design, where he was responsible for leading the development of immune therapies based on proprietary molecularly defined adjuvants and dendritic cell targeting vaccine platforms. Prior to this, in 2007 he co-founded and served as Chief Scientific Officer of Anza Therapeutics, a biotechnology company that was spun out from Cerus Corporation. Tom has also served scientific leadership and strategic roles at Viagene, Chiron Corporation and Onyx Pharmaceuticals. Tom has co-authored more than 75 scientific papers and is an inventor on 44 issued U.S. patents with multiple pending applications. He received his B.A. in Bacteriology and Immunology from the University of California, Berkeley, and his Ph.D. at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center. He conducted his post-doctoral fellowship at Harvard Medical School in the Department of Pathology.

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Ginna G. Laport

Chief Medical Officer

Dr. Ginna Laport is Chief Medical Officer and brings significant expertise in Hematology/Oncology and clinical drug development. Prior to Tempest, Dr. Laport was Vice President, Clinical Development at Corvus Pharmaceuticals, leading the clinical development of small molecules and antibodies targeting the adenosine pathway for the treatment of advanced solid tumors. Dr. Laport launched multinational early stage clinical trials after securing clearance from FDA and global Health Authorities. Additionally, Dr. Laport was a member of the Executive Committee and oversaw clinical development and operations. Prior to Corvus, Dr. Laport was faculty in the Stanford University School of Medicine, most recently as Professor of Medicine in the Division of Blood and Marrow Transplantation (BMT). Her research focused on adoptive immunotherapies for malignant diseases and she served as Director of Clinical Research in the BMT Division and as an Associate Director of the Stanford Cancer Institute. Prior to Stanford, Dr. Laport was an Assistant Professor in Hematology/ Oncology at the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Laport served on the FDA Oncology Drug Advisory Committee (ODAC), was national Chair of the NIH-sponsored BMT Clinical Trials Network directing multicenter clinical trials, and has co-authored over 80 publications.

Dr. Laport received her M.D. from the University of Texas-Houston and a B.A. from Baylor University. She completed her Internal Medicine residency and fellowship in Hematology/Oncology at The University of Chicago.

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Alicia Levey

Chief Business Officer

Alicia Levey, PhD serves the role of Chief Business Officer at Tempest. Prior to Tempest, Alicia was Vice President of Business Development at Inception Sciences, a small molecule drug discovery company formed in collaboration with Versant Ventures, a global venture capital firm focused primarily on early stage investing and biotechnology company creation. While at Inception, Alicia led business development and alliance management activities across companies under the Inception umbrella and led or played key roles in new company incubation efforts and in establishing multiple enabling Pharma partnerships. Alicia is also a member of the Versant Ventures investment team and is currently an Operating Principal in the San Francisco office. Since joining Versant in 2011, she has led diligence on multiple deals including several that have been acquired (Novira) or are now public (Audentes). Before joining Versant, Alicia worked as a Project Leader in the San Francisco office of The Boston Consulting Group where she focused primarily on biopharma and global health strategy. Alicia’s academic background is in Cancer Biology, earning a PhD from the Stanford University School of Medicine where she focused on the development of novel activity based protease probes for non-invasive imaging in cancer, work that led to multiple peer reviewed publications and US patents. Originally from Colorado, Alicia graduated Summa Cum Laude with dual degrees in Molecular Biology and Biochemistry from the University of Colorado at Boulder where she was a Boettcher and Norlin Scholar.

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Chan Whiting

Senior Vice President, Research and Development

Chan C. Whiting, Ph.D. is the Senior Vice President of Research and Development at Tempest. Prior to Tempest, Chan was Director and Head of Immune Monitoring and Biomarker Development at Aduro Biotech where she established key partnerships, brought in cutting edge technologies and built up a department of highly effective immunologists that was responsible for all clinical immune monitoring and biomarker development efforts for clinical trials at Aduro. Chan also led the development of Aduro’s personalized medicine program targeting patient-specific neoantigens using Aduro’s attenuated Listeria monocytogenes-based LADD platform. Prior to Aduro, Dr. Whiting has led target identification and validation programs for systems biology companies including Entelos, Inc. and Ingenuity Systems (currently Qiagen) in the development and application of mathematical mechanistic models and other in silico computational tools for autoimmunity, infectious diseases and oncology.

Chan received a B.S. degree in Biochemistry and a Ph.D. in Biochemistry and Immunology from University of California, Los Angeles and completed postdoctoral studies at Tularik and Stanford University.

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Jennifer McDevitt

SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT, CLINICAL SCIENCE AND CLINICAL OPERATIONS

Jennifer McDevitt, Ph.D. PharmD, is the Senior Vice President of Clinical Science and Clinical Operations at Tempest. She has over 10 years of industry experience in oncology clinical development, most recently at MedImmune where she played an active role in the clinical development planning of immunotherapy, antibody-drug conjugates, and tumor targeted antibody assets. She served as the clinical lead for the first antibody-drug conjugate program evaluated in the clinic by MedImmune. In addition, prior to this industry experience, Jennifer led the Scientific Development with the Geriatric Oncology Consortium. There she focused on tackling age-based cancer challenges, including supporting investigations into the biology and barriers to treatment of geriatric cancer subjects. Jennifer began her training at the University of Maryland, where she received her PharmD and PhD and completed an oncology pharmacy post-doctoral fellowship at Tower Hematology/Oncology (U.C.L.A.) and Amgen.

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Elia Borbas

VICE PRESIDENT, CLINICAL OPERATIONS

Elia Borbas brings over 25 years of experience in Clinical Operations in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industry. She has broad experience in all phases of clinical development from early clinical through successful NDA and BLA filings and has also led successful regulatory agency inspections.

Her expertise reaches across multiple therapeutic areas including Hematology/Oncology, Cardiac, Pulmonary, Endocrine, Renal, Pain Management and CNS.

Prior to Tempest, Elia served as Executive Director of Clinical Operations at Jazz Pharmaceuticals where she was responsible for the strategy and management of several global clinical programs. Elia has held management positions at SurroMed, Inc., and consulted at Bristol Myers Squibb, Genentech and Chiron. She attended University of Michigan and earned a B.S. in Nursing at Catholic University of America. She was the CEO of her own consulting company working with Bay Area biotech startups, midsize and pharmaceutical companies.

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Amanda Enstrom

Senior Director, Research and Development

Amanda Enstrom is the Senior Director of Research and Development at Tempest. Prior to Tempest, Amanda was Director and Head of Immune Monitoring and Biomarker Development at Aduro Biotech where she led central laboratory management and companion diagnostic efforts in addition to leading a team of biologists responsible for biomarker studies across clinical trials. Prior to Aduro, she was a manager at Bavarian Nordic in the Clinical Immunology group which was responsible for the GxP clinical immune monitoring, pharmacodynamic, and mechanism of action program for a global Phase 3 immuno-oncology program in addition to Phase 1/2 studies. Amanda received a Ph.D. in Immunology from University of California, Davis and was a project scientist at the MIND Institute in neurological and neurodevelopmental disorders.

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Derek Metzger

Senior Director, Program Leadership and Program Management

Derek Metzger is the Senior Director of Program Leadership and Program Management at Tempest. Derek has worked in oncology drug development for over 10 years, most recently in roles at Aduro Biotech and Onyx Pharmaceuticals. He has held roles spanning many different functions, including business development, strategic planning, life cycle management, and market planning. At Tempest, Derek will work with the clinical and research teams to formulate the development strategies for the portfolio and will also serve as project manager. Derek graduated from Brown University with a degree in Economics.

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Peppi Prasit

Acting Chief Scientific Officer/Director

Peppi Prasit, Ph.D., is CEO of Inception Sciences, acting CSO and Director at Tempest Therapeutics. Previously, he was founder and CSO of Amira Pharmaceuticals, which was acquired by Bristol-Myers Squibb in a significant transaction. Peppi has more than 20 years of experience in pharmaceutical research and management serving in various positions with Merck Frosst Canada and then Merck San Diego. During this time, he played a pivotal role in the discovery of multiple marketed drugs and is widely recognized for his accomplishments as a drug hunter.

Peppi received his B.Sc. from UCL, London University, and his Ph.D. from Victoria University of Wellington in New Zealand and was a postdoctoral fellow at Princeton University.

Board of Directors

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Brad Bolzon

Chairman, Managing Director, Versant Ventures

Brad Bolzon, Ph.D., is a Managing Director and chairman of the investment team at Versant. He is a native of Guelph Ontario, and began his academic and industry career in Canada. Brad combines 13 years of global pharmaceutical industry experience and a similar tenure as a venture capitalist. His track record consists of successive outlier returns including Amira, Okairos, Speedel, Quanticel, Novira, Flexion, Crispr, Biotie and he continues to manage several other promising investments. Brad is the architect of Versant’s global investment strategy, Inception Sciences discovery engine, and the firm’s build-to-buy investment model that has now delivered the industry’s most significant return in this category.

Prior to joining Versant, Brad served as Executive Vice President, Global Head of Business Development, Licensing & Alliances at Roche. Under his leadership, Roche established alliances with over 75 venture-backed biotech companies worldwide and transformed its R&D pipeline into an industry leader. Prior to that, Brad held executive roles at Eli Lilly in drug discovery, clinical research, regulatory affairs and business development. He earned Master of Science and Ph.D. degrees in Pharmacology from the University of Toronto.

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Tom Woiwode

Director, Managing Director, Versant Ventures

Tom Woiwode, Ph.D., has been working with Versant since 2002, and has served in both operational and investment roles during that tenure. Tom pioneered the role of Operating Principal at Versant serving as the start-up CBO for Amira, Synosia and Flexion. Tom was most recently the COO of Okairos where he led the process for the company’s acquisition by GSK. Since being promoted to Managing Director at Versant in 2014, Tom has led several investments including Audentes, Crispr, Annapurna (merged to form Adverum), Gritstone, Crinetics, Anokion, Therachon, Vividion and Tempest.

Prior to joining Versant, Tom was a medicinal chemist at XenoPort, a start-up biotech company that completed an IPO in 2005. Tom earned his Ph.D. in Chemistry from Stanford University.

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Robert Weisskoff

Director, Partner, F-Prime Capital

Robert Weisskoff, Partner, joined F-Prime Capital in 2004.  Robert has worked extensively in both academia and the bioscience industry for thirty years. Prior to F-Prime, he held various senior roles in R&D and Business Development at both pharmaceutical and medical device companies. In his academic career, Dr. Weisskoff was Associate Professor of Radiology at Harvard Medical School, on the faculty of the Harvard-MIT Health Sciences Technology (HST) Program, and performed research at Massachusetts General Hospital, where he was Associate Director of the MGH-NMR Center. There he worked at the intersection of basic research, medical technology development, and clinical research in a variety of areas. Robert is the author of over 100 peer-reviewed scientific papers, and an inventor on 6 US patents.

Robert holds a Ph.D. in Physics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and an M.B.A. from Columbia University. He received his A.B. degree in Physics from Harvard University, graduating magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa.

Robert serves on the Board of Directors of Caribou Biosciences, Plasmagen Biosciences, Tempest Therapeutics, Trivitron Healthcare, and Zenflow, Inc. He has previously served on the boards of Accuri Cytometers (acquired by Becton Dickinson), Laurus Labs (NSE:LAURUSLABS), Surface Oncology, Tetraphase (NASDAQ:TTPH), Transave (NASDAQ:INSM), Topaz (acquired by Sanofi Pasteur), and ViewRay (NASDAQ:VRAY).

See more at: http://fprimecapital.com

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Stella Xu

Director, Managing Director, Quan Capital

Dr. Stella Xu is a Managing Director of Quan Capital, a life sciences venture fund with  deep expertise in cross-board value creation and global investments, and a Board Director of ARMO Biosciences and Centrexion Therapeutics.  Prior to Quan, Stella was a core member of the global management team for Roche’s Immunology, Inflammation & Infectious Diseases Areas, and VP/Site Head of Roche Innovation Center Shanghai.  From 2012-2017, she led the integrated research & early development site of ~200 scientists, successfully delivered a world-class innovative pipeline from Discovery to global Clinical Development in 3 years, and pioneered novel development strategies in China.  In addition, Stella had extensive global business development and licensing leadership experiences across deal types and disease areas in the US and Asia with Roche Partnering.  Stella joined Roche from McKinsey US where she led management consulting engagements in diverse healthcare sectors from R&D to commercialization.  Earlier in her career, Stella worked in biotech R&D in oncology & inflammation. 

Stella received her Ph.D. in Immunology from Northwestern University, and B.S. in Biophysics from Peking University.

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Judith J. Li

Board Observer, Partner, Lilly Asia Ventures (LAV)

Judith J. Li, is a Partner at Lilly Asia Ventures (LAV), based in Hong Kong / Shanghai and focused on early and growth stage investments across biopharmaceuticals, medical devices, and diagnostics both domestically and cross-border. Judith holds board appointments at a variety of LAV’s portfolio companies, including Nextcure, Just Biotherapeutics, Gritstone Oncology, and Tmunity. Her prior experience includes McKinsey’s New York office, hospital administration at Partners Healthcare, and co-founding an interventional nephrology medical device venture. Judith holds a B.A. in Neurobiology from Harvard and M.B.A. from Harvard Business School, and currently resides in Hong Kong, splitting her time between Hong Kong, Shanghai, and the Bay Area.

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Brett Zbar

Board Observer, managing director, Foresite Capital

Brett Zbar is a managing director of Foresite Capital with more than 15 years of healthcare private equity and consulting experience. 

Prior to joining Foresite Capital, Brett was a partner at Aisling Capital, a life sciences-dedicated venture capital and private equity firm that also manages the investments of the Perseus-Soros Bio Pharmaceutical Fund. Over the course of more than a decade at Aisling Capital, Brett served as a member of the board of directors of Aragon Pharmaceuticals, Seragon Pharmaceuticals and Planet Biopharmaceuticals, and as a board observer at Catalent Pharma Solutions, among other companies.

Previously, Brett was an associate principal at McKinsey & Company and a senior member of the Pharmaceuticals and Medical Products practice. While at McKinsey, he worked closely with management of large pharmaceutical companies based in the U.S., Europe and Japan. His work focused on pharmaceutical/biotech alliances, product launch planning, product growth strategy and market assessments across multiple therapeutic areas.

Brett is a member of the Oversight Committee for the Technology Development Fund at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City.  He also serves as a member of the Strategic Portfolio Optimization Committee at the City of Hope National Medical Center in Duarte, CA. He is a life member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

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Will Liu

Board Observer, Partner, Eight Roads Ventures

Will Liu is a Partner of Eight Roads Ventures China, specializing in China healthcare therapeutics. He was previously Head of Neuroscience and Head of Asia, Worldwide Business Development at GSK.

Will holds a PhD degree in Organic Chemistry from the University of Michigan.

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Tom Dubensky

President & CEO

Thomas W. Dubensky Jr., Ph.D. has served as the President & CEO of Tempest Therapeutics since joining the company in 2017. He brings significant expertise in the discovery, development and translation of novel immune therapies for the treatment of cancer. Prior to Tempest, Tom served as the Chief Scientific Officer of Aduro Biotech, where he led the development of first-in-class STING (stimulator of interferon genes) agonists. His leadership was instrumental in securing Aduro’s $750M collaboration with Novartis for the STING program. Before his role at Aduro, Tom served as Chief Scientific Officer of Immune Design, where he was responsible for leading the development of immune therapies based on proprietary molecularly defined adjuvants and dendritic cell targeting vaccine platforms. Prior to this, in 2007 he co-founded and served as Chief Scientific Officer of Anza Therapeutics, a biotechnology company that was spun out from Cerus Corporation. Tom has also served scientific leadership and strategic roles at Viagene, Chiron Corporation and Onyx Pharmaceuticals. Tom has co-authored more than 75 scientific papers and is an inventor on 44 issued U.S. patents with multiple pending applications. He received his B.A. in Bacteriology and Immunology from the University of California, Berkeley, and his Ph.D. at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center. He conducted his post-doctoral fellowship at Harvard Medical School in the Department of Pathology.

Peppi Prasit photo

Peppi Prasit

Acting Chief Scientific Officer/Director

Peppi Prasit, Ph.D., is CEO of Inception Sciences, acting CSO and Director at Tempest Therapeutics. Previously, he was founder and CSO of Amira Pharmaceuticals, which was acquired by Bristol-Myers Squibb in a significant transaction. Peppi has more than 20 years of experience in pharmaceutical research and management serving in various positions with Merck Frosst Canada and then Merck San Diego. During this time, he played a pivotal role in the discovery of multiple marketed drugs and is widely recognized for his accomplishments as a drug hunter.

Peppi received his B.Sc. from UCL, London University, and his Ph.D. from Victoria University of Wellington in New Zealand and was a postdoctoral fellow at Princeton University.

TARGETS

Unique portfolio of small molecule therapeutics for novel and key emerging targets in immuno-oncology

PPARa Antagonist

Tempest is advancing TPST-1120, a first-in-class antagonist against peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor alpha (PPARα). PPARα is a transcription factor that regulates fatty acid oxidation (FAO) and inflammation.

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Tempest is advancing a novel EP2-EP4 dual antagonist, which has a unique profile and higher potency compared to other single EP4 antagonists in clinical development. The molecule is now advancing into IND enabling studies and is anticipated to be in the clinic in late 2019 / early 2020.

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Early Stage Program

Tempest has an early stage program with a unique approach to activate the innate immune system selectively in the tumor microenvironment.

Discovery Programs

Pipeline

Tempest Therapeutics is building a pipeline of first-in-class and best-in-class small molecules that disrupt pathways used by tumors to evade immune detection.

Investors and Partners

Versant Ventures logo

F-Prime Capital logo

Quan Capital logo

Lilly Asia Ventures logo

Foresite Capital logo

Eight Roads Venture Capital logo

Inception Science logo

 

Scientific and Clinical Advisors

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Nina Bhardwaj, M.D., Ph.D.

Scientific Advisor

Dr. Nina Bhardwaj is an immunologist who has made seminal contributions to human dendritic cell biology, specifically with respect to their isolation, biology, antigen presenting function and use as vaccine adjuvants in humans. She is the Director of Immunotherapy at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai (ISMMS) and holds the Ward Coleman Chair in Cancer Research. Dr. Bhardwaj brings expertise in human immunology and a variety of immune therapies, having developed Toll Like Receptor (TLR) agonist- and dendritic cell-based vaccines for the treatment of both cancer and infection in several Investigator-Initiated studies.

Dr. Bhardwaj is an elected member of the American Society of Clinical Investigation and the American Association of Physicians, a recipient of the Doris Duke Distinguished Scientist Award and was named one of the Scientific American Magazine’s Top 50 Researchers, receiving the Award for Medical Research in 2004. She received the Fred W. Alt Award for new discoveries in Immunology in 2015 from the Cancer Research Institute. Dr. Bhardwaj is a senior editor of the AACR Cancer Immunology Research journal, senior editor for Frontiers in Immunology and consulting editor for the Journal of Clinical Investigation. She has also served on NIH Study Sections and multiple advisory councils. This past year, Dr. Bhardwaj was chair of the Cancer Immunology Steering Committee of AACR. Dr. Bhardwaj has also successfully acquired multiple federal and foundation grants and has authored over 200 publications.

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Jason J. Luke, M.D., F.A.C.P.

Clinical Advisor

Jason J. Luke, M.D., F.A.C.P. is an Assistant Professor of Medicine at the University of Chicago where he specializes in the management of patients with melanoma and early phase drug development (particularly novel immunotherapeutics and biomarkers of immunotherapy activity). Dr. Luke has been a lead national investigator on clinical trials of immunotherapy agents including but not limited to anti-PD1/L1, CTLA4, LAG3, TIM3, GITR, OX40, CD137, CD40, inhibitors of indolamine-dioxygenase (IDO), adenosine A2a receptor and arginase as well as agonists of STING and oncolytic virus. Dr. Luke’s major research translational research is focused on using large scale informatics to advance the field of cancer immunotherapy. Dr. Luke received his M.D. from Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science in Chicago. He then pursued internship and residency at the Boston University Medical Center followed by medicine and medical oncology fellowships at Weill Cornell Medical College and Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City. Following fellowship, Dr. Luke was a tenure-track, Type 1 Instructor in Medicine at Harvard Medical School as well as Staff Physician at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Dr. Luke is actively involved in several professional societies including the Society for Melanoma Research, the Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer, the American Association for Cancer Research and the American Society for Clinical Oncology (ASCO). Dr. Luke has served as the chair of the education committee and as a member of the scientific committee for the melanoma track of the ASCO annual meeting. Dr. Luke has received several awards including a Department of Defense Career Development Award, the Paul Calabresi Career Development in Clinical Oncology Award (K12), an ASCO Merit Award as well as Young Investigator Awards from the Melanoma Research Alliance, the Cancer Research Foundation and the Conquer Cancer Foundation of ASCO. Dr. Luke’s research has been supported by ASCO, the National Comprehensive Cancer Network and the National Cancer Institute.

Contact

Tempest Therapeutics
One Sansome Street
Suite 3690
San Francisco, CA 94104

Business Development
partnering@tempesttx.com