A journey without a map: lessons in building an oncology powerhouse where innovation thrives

What does it take to deliver the next generation of cancer therapies? And how to stay ahead in a field that’s constantly evolving?

These are the questions Astellas’ leaders have been answering during their decade-long journey to build an oncology powerhouse from the ground up. Today, oncology is the company’s largest therapy area of strategic focus and investment and the lessons learned are changing the face of innovation in oncology and beyond.

Join some of the key players in Astellas’ oncology journey to discuss:
  • Unlocking the potential of patient-centered science
  • Creating an environment where innovation thrives
  • Accelerating development through strategic partnerships
  • Applying learnings in oncology to breakthrough therapeutic areas
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Andrew Krivoshik

Andrew Krivoshik

President and Head of Development, Astellas Pharma Inc.

Dr. Andrew Krivoshik, M.D., Ph.D. is President and Head of Development at Astellas, with responsibility for leading the global Development organization and accelerating Astellas’ evolving pipeline across the globe to deliver value for patients.

Most recently, Andy served as senior vice president and Head of Development Therapeutic Areas, where he was responsible for providing strategic direction and leadership across all global therapeutic area clinical programs. Prior to that, he was senior vice president and Oncology Therapeutic Area Head at Astellas, leading the company’s global oncology therapeutic area across numerous clinical programs. He has experience in global clinical development, biomarker strategy, translational medicine, product and patient safety and medical affairs. Before joining Astellas, he was a senior medical director at Abbott.

Dr. Krivoshik holds a B.S.E. in electrical engineering with honors from Princeton University, an M.D. from the University of Illinois College of Medicine, and a Ph.D. in biophysics and computational biology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He received his clinical internship and residency training in pediatric and adolescent medicine at Mayo Clinic and clinical pediatric hematology and oncology fellowship training at Duke University. He is licensed in multiple jurisdictions as both a physician and professional engineer and has served as an invited speaker and session chair at international scientific congresses.

Peter Sandor

Peter Sandor

Senior Vice President, Primary Focus Lead, Primary Focus Immuno-oncology, Astellas Pharma Inc.

Dr. Peter Sandor, M.D., M.B.A, has 25 years of biopharmaceutical leadership experience and currently serves as the senior vice president, Primary Focus Lead, Primary Focus Immuno-oncology at Astellas.

In his role, he has responsibility for leading the strategic direction of Astellas’ early immuno-oncology research and development pipeline and plays an integral role in the expansion of Astellas’ presence in oncology. Peter has previously served as vice president, Head of Marketing Strategy, Oncology at Astellas.

Prior to Astellas, he was Head of Global Marketing Oncology at Amgen, held several global leadership positions at Bayer Healthcare, led the global launch of a key oncology compound for Berlex, and held multiple marketing roles with Schering AG in Germany and Hungary, respectively. He began his career in academia as a scientific advisor to the Hungarian Academy of Sciences.

Dr. Sandor earned his M.D. at the University of Pécs, Hungary, his M.B.A. from Middlesex University, London and Faculty of Business and Economy, University of Pécs, Hungary, and his Postgraduate Degree in Marketing from the University of Pécs, Hungary.

Michael Luther

Michael Luther

Global Head Search & Evaluation, Business Development, Astellas Pharma Inc.

Dr. Michael Luther, PhD., MBA, brings over 30 years of experience as an entrepreneurial scientist and executive in the biopharmaceutical industry, including various roles in biotech start-ups and the global pharmaceutical industry, and now serves as the Global Head of Astellas’ Search & Evaluation in Business Development. Previously, Mike was the Head of Early Stage Partnering for Astellas based in Cambridge, MA.

Before joining Astellas, Mike was the CEO and founder of Bantam Pharmaceutical, a biotech company focused on developing novel cancer therapeutics leveraging mitochondrial dynamic pathways and targets. In past roles, Mike was the senior vice president for Drug Discovery & Development at Curio and founding CEO for the North Carolina Research Campus.

Mike spent over 20 years in various senior executive roles in the global pharmaceutical industry including vice president roles and Head of Drug Discovery divisions at both Merck and GSK. At GSK, he led multiple discovery teams that resulted in the successful launch of five novel therapeutics in oncology and metabolic disease as well as initiating the pharmaceutical industry’s initial efforts in precision medicine and drug repositioning.

Dr. Luther holds a Bachelor of Science degree from North Carolina State University, a doctorate degree from St. Louis University School of Medicine, and an MBA from Duke University. He was the Carl Stone Muscular Dystrophy Fellow at The Salk Institute and is the author of over 70 publications and patents.

Gary Starling

Gary Starling

Chief Scientific Officer of Xyphos and Center of Excellence for Cancer Cell Therapy, Astellas Pharma Inc.

Gary Starling, Ph.D., is responsible for overseeing cancer cell therapy-related research activities, including convertibleCAR and tumor microenvironment programs to treat patients with cancer. Throughout his career, he has served in roles of increasing responsibility in the areas of biologics drug discovery, oncology, and immunology.

Most recently, his efforts at Merck Research Laboratories contributed to a robust pipeline of immuno-oncology, cardiovascular and infectious disease therapeutics moving through clinical development. Prior to this, he worked at Abbott Labs (now AbbVie), PDL BioPharma / Facet Biotech, CuraGen Corporation, and Bristol-Myers Squibb.

Gary completed post-doctoral work at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle. He completed his Ph.D. studies on Natural Killer cells at the Christchurch School of Medicine, University of Otago, New Zealand, following undergraduate studies at the University of Canterbury, New Zealand. Gary is an author or inventor on 60 scientific papers, book chapters, and patents and previously served as Associate Editor of The Journal of Immunology.

Arsalan Arif

Arsalan Arif

Founder & publisher, endpoints news

Arsalan Arif is a news media entrepreneur who set out in 2015 to build his vision of an independent biotech news company at Endpoints News.