Advances in both cancer diagnosis and treatment over the past decade have resulted in increased survival rates and a growing population of cancer survivors. However, most cancers eventually develop resistance to therapy and relapsed patients typically have reduced survival. ORICís scientific focus is to understand the mechanisms which lead to treatment resistance and develop therapies that address these mechanisms and meaningfully improve clinical outcomes in these patients.
Over the past decade numerous laboratories have reported a link between glucocorticoid receptor (GR) expression and/or activity and resistance to targeted agents, chemotherapy and radiation across a variety of cancers of epithelial origin. Published accounts have shown than an increases in the cortisol secretion, the GR ligand, correlates with poor survival in ovarian, metastatic breast and lung cancer. Our lead compound, ORIC-101, a GR antagonist has demonstrated preclinical efficacy in the five tumor types tested to date, maintaining sensitivity to cancer treatments. Further as both natural (cortisol) and synthetic (dexamethasone) glucocorticoids are immune suppressive, experiments suggest that ORIC-101 treatment leads to an immune stimulatory effect that can potentially be leveraged to sensitize tumors to immunotherapies.
Ashraf Hanna is a biopharmaceutical executive with over 20 years of industry experience. Dr. Hanna was previously the Vice President, Commercial and Medical Affairs Finance at Genentech, and CFO of the Genentech Foundation. He also held leadership roles as VP of Genentechís Alliance Management and Portfolio Planning groups, and was a member of Genentechís Commercial Leadership Committee (CLC).
Dr. Hanna previously headed strategy and business development at Tanox, where he successfully partnered their lead drug with Novartis and Genentech, and prior to that was at McKinsey and Company. He has a Ph.D. in Physics from Harvard University and an M.D. from the University of Massachusetts. He studied Physics and Economics at the University of Chicago as an undergraduate.