Management Team

 

Bor-Wen Wu, PhD, MBA
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Bor-Wen Wu spent 13 years as a biochemist at Agouron Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Warner-Lambert, and Pfizer. He worked mainly on HIV-related projects and, as a member of a structure-based drug design team, made significant contribution to the development of Viracept, an HIV protease inhibitor that was approved in 1996. In 2002, he founded DesigneRx Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a pilot cGMP facility for biologics in California. In 2003, he founded TDW Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a Taiwan-based pharmaceutical company developing treatments for cancer and gout. In 2004, he put together a group of investors to purchase Phoenix Pharmacologics, Inc., a company developing ADI-PEG 20, a promising novel biologics for cancers. In 2008, he co-founded Polaris Group and Polaris Pharmaceuticals, Inc. to continue the clinical development of ADI-PEG 20. Dr. Wu earned his Ph.D. in Molecular Biology and Biochemistry from the University of California, Irvine.

 

John Bomalaski, MD
Executive Vice President, Medical Affairs

John Bomalaski co-founded Phoenix Pharmacologics, Inc. in 1996 and had participated in the development of ADI-PEG 20 since 1990. Prior to that, he had been in academic medicine, rising to full professor of medicine. He has served on the faculties of Northwestern University, the Medical College of Pennsylvania and the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Bomalaski earned his M.D. degree from St. Louis University, and did post-graduate training at Northwestern University and the University of Pennsylvania. He is board-certified in internal medicine and in rheumatology.

 

Shaw Chen, MD, PhD
Executive Vice President, Regulatory Affairs

Dr. Chen spent over 26 years with the United States Food & Drug Administration (FDA) in new drug development as a primary/supervisory medical staff. He held the position of Deputy Director, Office of Drug Evaluation, Center for Drug Evaluation and Research at the FDA. His achievements included management of new drug review divisions, drafting and implementing FDA guidance for new class drug products and establishing modern drug review agency, as well as educating and training regulatory scientists in the Asian Pacific region. Dr. Chen received his M.D. degree from the University of Miami, and his Ph.D. in Biophysics from Johns Hopkins University. He undertook post-graduate training at Johns Hopkins, Yale University, the University of Minnesota, and the US National Institutes of Health. He authored numerous basic science and clinical papers, as well as drug regulatory guidance publications.

 

Wei He, PhD
Senior Vice President, Pharmaceutical Operations

Wei He had over 15 years of life science research and management experience when she joined TDW Pharmaceuticals in 2005. She has been directing the pre-clinical and clinical development of ADI-PEG 20 in China since 2007. Since 2013 her responsibility also extended to managing the manufacturing facility in Chengdu China for Polaris. Prior to this, Dr. He worked at several biotech and pharmaceutical companies in San Diego area. During early 90s Dr. He managed projects for genome mapping of asthma related genes and functional analysis of obesity related targets at Sequana Therapeutics and Axys Pharmaceuticals. She joined Pfizer in 1998 and spend 5 years there working on oncology drug target discovery and validation projects. Dr. He earned her Ph.D. in Biology from the University of California, Irvine.

 

James Thomson, PhD
Senior Vice President, Research & Development

Prior to joining Polaris in 2008, James Thomson spent 15 years as a biophysicist at Agouron Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Warner-Lambert, and Pfizer. He established and directed Biophysics Group in the Biochemical Pharmacology Department. He was involved in the development of research tools, such as algorithms for the de novo design of small molecule lead compounds, and used his expertise in protein biochemistry to develop biologics intended for the treatment of cancer and other diseases. Dr. Thomson has held the position of chair of the Molecular Interactions Research Group of the Association of Biomolecular Resource Facilities. He received Ph.D. in Biophysics from Texas A&M University and postdoctoral training at Yale University.

 

Amanda Johnston, PhD
Vice President, Clinical Affairs

Amanda Johnston joined Polaris in 2010 bringing with her 20 years of drug development experience in the pharmaceutical industry. She spent over 10 years at Agouron Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Warner-Lambert, and Pfizer where she led clinical and interdisciplinary project teams for oncology and ophthalmology drug candidates. Subsequently, she launched a consulting business that provided drug development services to pharmaceutical and biotech companies. Her experience encompasses drug development programs in oncology, ophthalmology, CNS, and infectious disease. Dr. Johnston earned her Ph.D. in Pharmacology from the School of Pharmacy, University of London.

 

Archie Prestayko, PhD
Vice President, Corporate Affairs

Archie Prestayko has over 40 years of experience in the discovery and development of therapeutic prescription drugs in the pharmaceutical industry. Most recently, he was Chairman and CEO of BioStratum Inc., and President and CEO of Medco Research. Prior to that, Dr. Prestayko directed research and development in a number of therapeutic areas at Bristol Myers Squibb and Glaxo SmithKline. He takes great pride in his contribution to the regulatory approvals for drugs such as Cisplatinum and other platinum-based drugs. Dr. Prestayko earned his Ph.D. from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN. He subsequently held a faculty position in the Department of Pharmacology at Baylor Medical School, Houston, TX.

 

W. Jenny Kung, PhD
Vice President, Product Compliance

Jenny Kung has over 35 years of research experience in academia and industry. Prior to joining DesigneRx Pharmaceuticals, Inc. in 2003, she was in charge of the Protein Core Facility at UC Davis Cancer Center. Dr. Kung has also been a project leader at Miles Laboratories/ Bayer Diagnostics and a group leader at BP Research. She originally joined DesigneRx Pharmaceuticals, Inc. as Vice President, Pharmaceutical Development where she was in charge of overseeing the construction of a pilot cGMP facility for therapeutic biologics in Vacaville, CA. Kung earned her Ph.D. degree in Chemistry from Columbia University and did her postdoctoral research work at Caltech and Stanford University