Xilis Announces Formation of its Scientific Advisory Board

Updated on December 18, 2022

 Xilis, a pioneering biotech company advancing its proprietary MicroOrganoSphere™ (MOS) Platform to accelerate drug discovery and development and advance functional precision medicine for cancer patients, today announced the addition of four members to its newly formed Scientific Advisory Board (SAB). Xilis’ MOS Platform is the first patient tumor avatar platform designed to predict patient drug response in the clinic and recapitulate the complex tumor-immune biology necessary to further drug discovery and development of immuno-oncology, targeted, and cell therapies with high confidence of clinical success.

“With major Pharma collaborations and clinical trials underway, we have reached an inflection point in our growth,” said Dr. Xiling Shen, Co-founder and CEO of Xilis. “Right now, most oncology drugs fail clinical trials, and the majority of patients are taking drugs that won’t provide long-term benefits. We believe our technology has the potential to radically change the paradigm in cancer drug discovery for the pharmaceutical industry by testing their new drugs on MOS, predicting likely patient drug response in the clinic, and determining which drugs will or won’t work before starting clinical trials. We are pleased to have such an esteemed group of experts to advise us as we seek to shape a cancer-free future.”

The new members of the Xilis Scientific Advisory Board include:

●      Chairman of the SAB, Mike Varney, PhD: Dr. Mike Varney is the former Executive Vice President and Head of Genentech Research and Early Development (gRED) and a member of the Roche Corporate Executive Committee. He is a pioneer drug discoverer and biotech leader with deep expertise in diverse drug platform types, including cellular therapies. Currently, Dr. Varney is an Advisor, Board member and SAB member for ERASCA, Pardes Biosciences, Interline, Affini-T and Atomwise.

●      James Allison, PhD: Dr. James Allison was awarded the 2018 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, which he shared with Dr. Tasuku Honjo, “for their discovery of cancer therapy by inhibition of negative immune regulation.” He is Regental Chair of Immunology, Executive Director of the Immunotherapy Platform and Director of the James P. Allison Institute at MD Anderson. Dr. Allison studies the regulation of T cell responses and developing strategies for cancer immunotherapy. His research led to the development of the first immune checkpoint blockade therapy approved by the FDA.

●      Padmanee Sharma, MD, PhD: Dr. Padmanee Sharma is a Professor of Genitourinary Medical Oncology and Immunology, Scientific Director for the Immunotherapy Platform and Director of Scientific Programs for the James P. Allison Institute at MD Anderson. Her research enables development of novel immunotherapy strategies for the treatment of cancer patients.

●      David Tuveson, MD, PhD: Dr. Tuveson serves as the Director of the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Cancer Center, the Chief Scientist for the Lustgarten Foundation, Advisory Board Member for the National Cancer Institute, and is a medical staff affiliate at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. He was the former President for the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR). Dr. Tuveson’s work as the Director of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory is widely considered as leading the field for pancreatic cancer precision medicine models.

“Big Pharma is eager to develop the next generation of cancer treatments, but one of the biggest hurdles to overcome is identifying which new drugs have the highest potential to be effective,” said Dr. Mike Varney, Chair of the Xilis Scientific Advisory Board. “Xilis technology represents a quantum leap in re-defining a more rational drug development paradigm with improved economics for drug development.”

Xilis recently announced an $89M Series A with esteemed investors including Mubadala Capital Management, GV (formerly Google Ventures), EQT Life Sciences, Felicis Ventures, Two Sigma Ventures, Pear Ventures, FPV Ventures, Catalio Capital Management, 8VC, Alexandria Venture Investments, Duke Capital Partners, and other strategic partners.


Dr. Allison and Dr. Sharma receive compensation as members of Xilis’ SAB, and these financial relationships have been disclosed to MD Anderson’s Conflict of Interest Committee in accordance with institutional policy.


About Xilis

Based in Durham, North Carolina, Xilis, Inc. is a pioneering biotech company developing a functional precision oncology platform that guides treatment decisions for oncologists to improve cancer care outcomes for patients and enables drug discovery and development with pharmaceutical companies. Xilis’ proprietary MicroOrganoSphere™ (MOS) Platform generates miniature patient tumors that capture the full microenvironment and heterogeneity and provides an automated and scalable solution. Using MOS and AI-driven algorithms, Xilis is developing a Xilis Response Score™ for the clinic, enabling oncologists to make informed and timely treatment decisions. Additionally, the MOS Platform is speeding up the discovery and clinical development of new drug candidates. To learn more about Xilis, visit Xilis.com.

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