About Us

Overview

Cend is a clinical-stage biotech company focused on a novel approach to provide more effective treatments to address a range of solid tumor cancers.

We focus on solid tumor cancers where the tissue surrounding the tumor, or stroma, is a primary impediment for drugs to reach tumor cells for effective treatment. Cend’s targeted approach penetrates the stroma to more effectively treat solid tumor cancers. Cend’s treatment approach also alters immunosuppressive tumor microenvironments so that patients’ immune system and/or immunotherapies can more effectively fight cancer.

Management


  • Erkki Ruoslahti, MD, PhD

    Scientific Founder & Chairman

    Dr. Ruoslahti is a former Distinguished Professor and had been President of the at Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute. He has pioneered several important areas in biology, biochemistry and cancer research. He was one of the discoverers of fibronectin, discovered the RGD cell adhesion sequence in fibronectin and RGD-directed integrins. He subsequently developed in vivo phage display screening to identify tissue-specific targeting peptides, which resulted in the discovery of tumor-penetrating peptides, such as iRGD, and the CendR transport system in his laboratory. Dr. Ruoslahti is a member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, and National Academy of Medicine. His scientific awards include the Canadian Gairdner International Award and the Japan Prize. On the entrepreneurial side, Dr. Ruoslahti is an inventor of about 150 patents and a fellow of National Academy of Inventors. He has started a number of biotech companies as a founder, including Cend Therapeutics.


  • David Slack, MBA

    President & CEO

    Mr. Slack is an industry veteran with over 25 years’ experience in public and private biotech as well as large pharmaceutical companies. He has been responsible for numerous company financings, strategic alliances and other partnerships. He joined the Cend Therapeutics’ Board in October 2019 and was appointed President and CEO in June 2020. Most recently, David served as co-founding Chief Business Officer at Viracta Therapeutics. Previously, David served as Vice President for Business Development at leading antisense drug company, Ionis Pharmaceuticals. David served in senior management positions as Rhône-Poulenc Rorer, RPR Gencell and Aventis Pharmaceuticals.


  • Harri Järveläinen, PhD, DVM

    Chief Operating Officer

    Dr. Järveläinen has more than 25 years of diverse scientific, managerial and executive experience, including 20 years in biopharma industry. His track record includes over 50 drug development programs, as well as senior management positions in companies including AstraZeneca and Nestle Health Sciences. Harri was appointed Chief Operating Officer of Cend Therapeutics in July 2017. He received his Veterinary Medicine and PhD degrees at University of Helsinki and undertook postdoctoral training at New York University Medical Center and Max Planck Institute. He is an author on over 40 peer-reviewed scientific publications, book chapters, and patents, and has served as an Adjunct Professor at University of Helsinki since 2004.


  • F. Andrew Dorr, MD

    Chief Medical Officer

    Dr. Andy Dorr is a medical oncologist with a long history of successful cancer drug development experience, with leadership roles in the successful development of drugs for prevention and treatment of breast cancer including Taxol (paclitaxel), Nolvadex (tamoxifen) and Evista (raloxifene), and Talzenna (talazoparib for treatment of germline BRCA-mutation related metastatic breast cancer). He has also played central roles in the development of Gemzar (gemcitabine) in pancreatic and non-small cell lung cancers, Treanda (bendamustine) in chronic lymphocytic leukemia and non-Hodgkin lymphoma as well as Avastin (bevacizumab) in glioblastoma. Andy has had a successful consulting business in cancer drug development since 2005.


  • Marietta Franco

    VP Clinical Operations / Project Management

    Marietta Franco has more than 20 years of clinical strategic planning and management experience in global Phase I-IV clinical development programs. She was responsible for operational oversight of multi-phase registrational studies across various indications resulting in marketing approvals. Previously, she held leadership positions at multiple biopharmaceutical companies including Orbus Therapeutics, Sorrento Therapeutics, Spectrum Pharmaceuticals, and Fibrogen. Marietta holds a B.S. degree in Biology from San Diego State University and an M.S. degree in Clinical Physiology from Northeastern University.


Scientific Founder & Chairman

Erkki Ruoslahti, MD, PhD

Dr. Ruoslahti is a former Distinguished Professor and had been President of the at Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute. He has pioneered several important areas in biology, biochemistry and cancer research. He was one of the discoverers of fibronectin, discovered the RGD cell adhesion sequence in fibronectin and RGD-directed integrins. He subsequently developed in vivo phage display screening to identify tissue-specific targeting peptides, which resulted in the discovery of tumor-penetrating peptides, such as iRGD, and the CendR transport system in his laboratory. Dr. Ruoslahti is a member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, and National Academy of Medicine. His scientific awards include the Canadian Gairdner International Award and the Japan Prize. On the entrepreneurial side, Dr. Ruoslahti is an inventor of about 150 patents and a fellow of National Academy of Inventors. He has started a number of biotech companies as a founder, including Cend Therapeutics.

President & CEO

David Slack, MBA

Mr. Slack is an industry veteran with over 25 years’ experience in public and private biotech as well as large pharmaceutical companies. He has been responsible for numerous company financings, strategic alliances and other partnerships. He joined the Cend Therapeutics’ Board in October 2019 and was appointed President and CEO in June 2020. Most recently, David served as co-founding Chief Business Officer at Viracta Therapeutics. Previously, David served as Vice President for Business Development at leading antisense drug company, Ionis Pharmaceuticals. David served in senior management positions as Rhône-Poulenc Rorer, RPR Gencell and Aventis Pharmaceuticals.

Chief Operating Officer

Harri Järveläinen, PhD, DVM

Dr. Järveläinen has more than 25 years of diverse scientific, managerial and executive experience, including 20 years in biopharma industry. His track record includes over 50 drug development programs, as well as senior management positions in companies including AstraZeneca and Nestle Health Sciences. Harri was appointed Chief Operating Officer of Cend Therapeutics in July 2017. He received his Veterinary Medicine and PhD degrees at University of Helsinki and undertook postdoctoral training at New York University Medical Center and Max Planck Institute. He is an author on over 40 peer-reviewed scientific publications, book chapters, and patents, and has served as an Adjunct Professor at University of Helsinki since 2004.

Chief Medical Officer

F. Andrew Dorr, MD

Dr. Andy Dorr is a medical oncologist with a long history of successful cancer drug development experience, with leadership roles in the successful development of drugs for prevention and treatment of breast cancer including Taxol (paclitaxel), Nolvadex (tamoxifen) and Evista (raloxifene), and Talzenna (talazoparib for treatment of germline BRCA-mutation related metastatic breast cancer). He has also played central roles in the development of Gemzar (gemcitabine) in pancreatic and non-small cell lung cancers, Treanda (bendamustine) in chronic lymphocytic leukemia and non-Hodgkin lymphoma as well as Avastin (bevacizumab) in glioblastoma. Andy has had a successful consulting business in cancer drug development since 2005.

VP Clinical Operations / Project Management

Marietta Franco

Marietta Franco has more than 20 years of clinical strategic planning and management experience in global Phase I-IV clinical development programs. She was responsible for operational oversight of multi-phase registrational studies across various indications resulting in marketing approvals. Previously, she held leadership positions at multiple biopharmaceutical companies including Orbus Therapeutics, Sorrento Therapeutics, Spectrum Pharmaceuticals, and Fibrogen. Marietta holds a B.S. degree in Biology from San Diego State University and an M.S. degree in Clinical Physiology from Northeastern University.

"Cend aims at transforming the treatment of solid tumor cancers. The Company’s CendR technology takes advantage of a pathway that is normally utilized for nutrient uptake by tissues, and that tumors shave hijacked to serve their own nutrient needs . By activating this pathway in tumors, we harness it to specifically enhance drug delivery  to tumors. Importantly, the pathway is also active in tumor stroma, converting this  major impediment  to drug delivery into a conduit for drug entry into tumors."

Erkki Ruoslahti, MD, PhD

Scientific Founder & Chairman

Board of Directors


Scientific Advisory Board


  • Erkki Ruoslahti, MD, PhD

    SAB Chairman, Scientific founder of Cend; previously Distinguished Professor and had been President of the at Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute


  • Sangeeta Bhatia, MD, PhD

    Professor, MIT & HHMI, Director, Marble Center for Cancer Nanomedicine


  • Frank Slack, PhD

    Professor, Harvard Medical School, Director, Harvard Center for RNA Medicine


  • Michael Sailor, PhD

    Distinguished Professor, UCSD, Director, UCSD Institute for Materials Discovery & Design


  • Kazuki Sugahara, MD, PhD

    Physician and scientist at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons


  • Tambet Teesalu, PhD

    Professor of Nanomedicine and head of Cancer Biology at University of Tartu, Estonia


Clinical Advisory Board