Onconova Therapeutics is led by a management team with significant expertise in targeted cancer therapeutics, clinical development, and commercialization
Steven M. Fruchtman, M.D.
President & CEO
Dr. Fruchtman joined Onconova in January 2015 as Chief Medical Officer. He was promoted to President in July 2018 and to President & CEO in January 2019. He has extensive experience in large and small biopharmaceutical companies and has led successful clinical development programs while serving in senior positions at Ortho Biotech Products, Novartis, Allos Therapeutics, Spectrum Pharmaceuticals and Syndax Pharmaceuticals.
Previously, Dr. Fruchtman was on the faculty of the Mount Sinai School of Medicine and the Director of the Stem Cell Transplantation and Myeloproliferative Disorder Programs at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City. He is an author of more than 170 lectures, presentations, books, chapters, and abstracts and serves as an external reviewer for multiple medical journals.
Dr. Fruchtman received his medical degree from New York Medical College with the distinction of membership in the Alpha Omega Alpha honorary medical fraternity.
Chief Operating Officer and CFO
Mr. Guerin joined Onconova Therapeutics in September 2013 to augment the financial reporting, forecasting, and internal controls capabilities of the company following the IPO in July 2013. He was promoted to Chief Operating Officer and CFO in June 2022. Prior to joining Onconova, Mr. Guerin worked as an interim senior finance & accounting executive facilitating the post-acquisition integration activities of newly-acquired private equity portfolio companies.
Previously, Mr. Guerin was the VP Finance & CFO of Cardiokine, Inc. through that company’s filing of a New Drug Application and the sale of the company. Prior to joining Cardiokine, Mr. Guerin was Director, Financial Reporting & Internal Controls at Barrier Therapeutics, Inc. during Barrier’s IPO and follow-on offering. Mr. Guerin started his career at Coopers & Lybrand in Philadelphia. He received his bachelor’s degree in Accounting from DeSales University and has earned the CPA, CMA, and CFM professional certifications.
Michael Saunders, M.D.
Interim Chief Medical Officer
Dr. Saunders joined Onconova Therapeutics in January of 2021 as a consultant for medical monitoring and drug safety and pharmacovigilance. Upon the unexpected passing of Dr. Mark Gelder on April 3, 2023, Dr. Saunders assumed the role of Interim Chief Medical Officer (CMO) for Onconova. Dr. Saunders is a veteran of the pharmaceutical industry and has approximately 37 years of experience in clinical research and development, drug safety, and pharmacovigilance. He has held a variety of leadership positions and responsibilities for a number of clinical development plans, INDs, NDAs, new drug approvals and post-marketing development strategies for oncology, cardiology and critical care indications. Most recently, he was Executive Director of Drug Safety and Pharmacovigilance for Array BioPharma and Pfizer. Prior to his time at Array and Pfizer, Dr. Saunders held various leadership positions at Allos Therapeutics, Baxter Healthcare, Somatogen, Searle, Rhone-Poulenc Rorer and Fisons.
Dr. Saunders earned his M.D. from the University of Kansas School of Medicine and also completed his Internal Medicine residency at the University of Kansas School of Medicine-Wichita. He has received board certification in Internal Medicine and was Regulatory Affairs Certified (US) by the Regulatory Affairs Professional Society. Following a number of years practicing Internal Medicine, he entered the pharmaceutical industry in clinical research and development.
Adar Makovski Silverstein, Ph.D.
Senior Director and Head of Corporate Development
Dr. Makovski Silverstein joined Onconova in December 2021 as Director, Corporate Development, and was promoted to Senior Director and Head of Corporate Development in June 2022. Previously, Dr. Makovski-Silverstein worked at Amgen as Sr. Licensing Associate, Business Development, External R&D. She was responsible for evaluating external scientific opportunities across all therapeutic areas and managing processes within business development and cross functional teams. Prior to her time at Amgen, Dr. Makovski Silverstein interned as a member of the Research Program Management Team at Regeneron. She also worked as a marketing analyst graduate student consultant at Roche Sequencing Solutions. Dr. Makovski Silverstein earned her Ph.D. in Biotechnology from Bar-Ilan University in Israel and completed a post-doctoral fellowship at the City of Hope in Duarte, California.
Vice President, Clinical Operations
Mr. Parris joined Onconova Therapeutics in August 2018 as Senior Director, Clinical Operations, and is responsible for overseeing and managing the Clinical Operations team and the cross functional project teams. He was promoted to Vice President, Clinical Operations in January 2021.
Mr. Parris has clinical development experience in multiple therapeutic areas, with a focus on Oncology and Hematology indications across a wide variety of therapeutic agents. He has over 24 years of industry experience, initially in Europe and since 2003 in the United States, holding management positions in contract research organizations as well as small pharma companies.
Previously, Mr. Parris served as Director of Clinical Operations for Inovio Pharmaceuticals, Vice President of Clinical Development for Eleison Pharmaceuticals, and Director of Clinical Operations at Aegerion Pharmaceuticals. He has a Bachelor of Science Degree, with honors, from Imperial College in London.
Stephen Cosenza, Ph.D.
Lead Scientist and Study Monitor
Dr. Stephen Cosenza joined Onconova Therapeutics in January 2021 as Lead Scientist and Study Monitor. He is presently involved in the development of all compounds in Onconova’s pipeline, participates in business development activities, and assists with clinical operations. He has been a preclinical drug development consultant for Onconova since its inception in 1998. He has 36 years of experience in molecular biology, specializing in the regulation of the normal mammalian cell cycle and the initiation and progression of cancer cell growth. He has participated in preclinical and IND-enabling work for all of Onconova’s compounds that have been approved for clinical trials. Dr. Cosenza has extensive experience in cell culture and working with the in vitro and in vivo animal models required for the study and development of small molecular weight compounds as cancer therapeutics.
Previously, Dr. Cosenza worked at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mt. Sinai in the Department of Oncological Sciences and The Fels Institute for Cancer Research and Molecular Biology as Senior Researcher under the mentorship of Dr. E. Premkumar Reddy, one of Onconova’s founders. Dr. Cosenza has served as an external reviewer for various scientific journals and is an author of over 45 peer-reviewed articles.
Dr. Cosenza received his doctorate degree in the department of Microbiology and Immunology at Temple University School of Medicine. He performed his postdoctoral fellowship at the Wistar Institute and The Fels Institute for Cancer Research and Molecular Biology.
Onconova Therapeutics is advised by a group of thought leaders with significant expertise in targeted cancer therapeutics, clinical development, and commercialization.
Alan R. Williamson, Ph.D.
Dr. Williamson has extensive experience in pharmaceutical discovery. He served as Vice President of Basic Research and Vice President, Research Strategy Worldwide, for Merck. Previously he was with Glaxo, UCLA, University of Glasgow, and the National Institute for Medical Research, U.K. He is the recipient of the Colworth Medal of the Biochemical Society and a member of the EMBL. He was elected Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh in 1976 and Fellow of the Institute of Biology in 1982. Dr. Williamson sits on the scientific advisory board of Illumina. He is a consultant to the venture capital firm Abingworth Management Ltd.
David R. Parkinson, M.D.
Venture Partner at NEA
Dr. Parkinson is a Venture Partner at New Enterprise Associates (NEA). From 2007 to 2012, Dr. Parkinson served as President and CEO of Nodality Inc., a South San Francisco-based biotechnology company focused on the biological characterization of signaling pathways in patients with malignancy to enable more effective therapeutics development and decision-making. Previously, Dr. Parkinson was Senior Vice President, Oncology Research and Development at Biogen Idec. At Biogen he oversaw all oncology discovery research efforts and the development of the oncology pipeline. Previously he had served as Vice President, Oncology Development, at Amgen and Vice President, Global Clinical Oncology Development at Novartis. During his tenures at Amgen and Novartis Dr. Parkinson was responsible for clinical development activities leading to a series of successful global drug registrations for important cancer therapeutics, including Gleevec®, Femara®, Zometa®, Kepivance®, and Vectibix®. Dr. Parkinson worked at the National Cancer Institute from 1990 to 1997, serving as Chief of the Investigational Drug Branch, then as Acting Associate Director of the Cancer Therapy Evaluation Program, before leaving for Novartis. He has also held academic positions at the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, University of Texas and New England Medical Center of Tufts University School of Medicine. He received his M.D. as gold medalist from the University Of Toronto Faculty Of Medicine in 1977, with Internal Medicine and Hematology/Oncology training in Montreal at McGill University and in Boston at New England Medical Center. Dr. Parkinson is a past Chairman of the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) Biologics Advisory Committee and is a recipient of the FDA’s Cody Medal. He is a past President of the International Society of Biological Therapy, and past Editor of the Journal of Immunotherapy. He currently serves on the National Cancer Policy Forum of the Institute of Medicine and is a member of the FDA’s Science Board. He was recently elected to the Board of Directors of the American Association of Cancer Research, and he continues to serve as Chairman of the AACR Finance Committee.
George F. Vande Woude, Ph.D.
Van Andel Research Institute
Dr. Vande Woude served as research virologist for the US Department of Agriculture at Plum Island Animal Disease Center prior to his career at the National Cancer Institute (NCI) where he served successively as Head of the Human Tumor Studies and Virus Tumor Biochemistry Sections, Chief of the Laboratory of Molecular Oncology, and Director of the Advanced Bioscience Laboratories-Basic Research Program. He was Special Advisor to the Director of NCI and served to reorganize the intramural basic science at NCI. In 1999, he was selected to be the first Director of the newly created Van Andel Research Institute in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Dr. Vande Woude is the recipient of many awards honoring his contributions, is author of over 250 scientific research articles and over 60 articles in books or monographs, and is a member of the National Academy of Sciences.
Ross C. Donehower, M.D.
Johns Hopkins Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center
Dr. Donehower is Professor of Oncology, the Director of Medical Oncology/Hematology Fellowship Training program and a Director in the Division of Medical Oncology at the Johns Hopkins Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center. His current clinical interests lie in gastrointestinal cancers and drug development. Dr. Donehower performed his postgraduate training in internal medicine at Johns Hopkins, and has worked at the U.S. Public Health Service and at the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda. He is currently director of both the Division of Medical Oncology in the Department of Oncology and of the Medical Oncology Fellowship Training Program at the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center as well as a Professor of Oncology and Medicine. Dr. Donehower performed pioneering work in clinical studies of paclitaxel (Taxol®), one of the most important chemotherapy agents developed in the last several decades.
Stephen Nimer, M.D.
Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Miami Hospitals and Clinics
Dr. Nimer is a Professor of Medicine, Biochemistry & Molecular Biology and Director at the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Miami Hospitals and Clinics. He received his medical degree from the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine and completed his Internship and Residency in Internal Medicine at the University of California-Los Angeles (UCLA) School of Medicine, where he was named Chief Medical Resident. He remained at UCLA for his Fellowship in Hematology and Oncology. Dr. Nimer is a Fellow of the American College of Physicians and a member of the American Society for Clinical Investigation, the American Society of Hematology, the American Society of Clinical Oncology, and the American Association for Cancer Research. He is on the editorial boards of several journals, such as Leukemia Research and the American Journal of Oncology Review. He is a reviewer for the New England Journal of Medicine, Blood, and Nature Medicine. Dr. Nimer has published over 120 research articles and given numerous presentations at scientific meetings.
Anna Marie Skalka, Ph.D.
Fox Chase Cancer Center
Dr. Skalka is Professor, W.W. Smith Chair in Cancer Research and Senior Advisor to the President at the Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia. She is a leading expert in the molecular biology of retroviruses and the molecular basis of cancer. In recognition of her outstanding accomplishments, Dr. Skalka has been elected as a Fellow to the American Academy of Microbiology, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Academy of Arts and Science, and the New York Academy of Science.