Our Team

 

Management

J. Jean Cui, Ph.D.

Scientific Founder, President and CEO

Dr. J. Jean Cui is a renowned oncology drug designer who is the lead inventor of 3 FDA approved medicines and multiple clinical compounds.  Prior to BlossomHill, Dr. Cui is the scientific founder of Turning Point Therapeutics, Inc. (Turning Point), a San Diego based biotech company focusing on turning point medicines for cancer patients.  Turning Point went public on NASDAQ in April 2019 (Ticker: TPTX).  In June 2022, Bristol Myers Squibb announced the acquisition of Turning Point for $4.1 billion.  Dr. Cui served as Turning Point’s Chief Scientific Officer (October 2013-January 2020) and a member of Board of Directors (October 2013-June 2020).  Prior to that, she was Senior Principal Scientist and then Associate Research Fellow at Pfizer (2003-2013). Prior to that, Dr. Cui served as Project Leader and Group Leader at SUGEN, Inc., a Pharmacia Corporation (1999-2003).

Dr. Cui has made significant contributions in oncology drug discovery and development.  As scientific founder of Turning Point, she focused on solving drug resistance issues in targeted therapies and invented a unique macrocyclic platform to systematically address resistance issues.  This novel strategy and approach led to the creation of one FDA approved drug and two clinical compounds: Repotrectinib (TPX-0005), Elzovantinib (TPX-0022), and TPX-0046 within 6 years since founding the company.  Repotrectinib received 3 FDA Breakthrough Therapy Designations, 3 FDA Fast-Track designations, and 1 FDA Orphan Drug Designation.  On November 15, 2023, FDA approves Repotrectinib (AUGTYROTM) for locally advanced or metastatic ROS1+ NSCLC.  Elzovantinib (TPX-0022), a MET/CSF1R/SRC inhibitor, and TPX-0046, a RET/SRC inhibitor, entered into Phase 1 studies in 2019.  At Pfizer, Dr. Cui was the lead inventor of Crizotinib (XALKORITM) and Lorlatinib (LORBRENATM), and worked on several other oncology projects, including SUTENTTM.

Dr. Cui is an elected Member of the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) (2024).  Dr. Cui and her Crizotinib chemistry team at Pfizer were selected for the 38th National Inventor of the Year Award in 2011.  She received 2 Pfizer Worldwide R&D Achievement Awards (2006 and 2012) and Pfizer innovation award in 2011.  Dr. Cui was an honoree for the 2013 American Chemical Society (ACS)’s Heroes of Chemistry Program for the discovery and development of Crizotinib.  Dr. Cui received her 2nd Heroes of Chemistry Award from ACS in 2021 for the discovery and development of Lorlatinib.  Dr. Cui received the 2022 Distinguished Alumni Achievement Award from her Ph.D. alma mater.  She received 2022 San Diego BioPharma Achievement Award from SABPA in recognition of her outstanding contributions to San Diego biotech industry.  Dr. Cui is the recipient of the 2023 Distinguished Scientist Award by American Chemical Society San Diego Section.  She was an honoree for the Committee of 100 Circle of Excellence Award in Humanity in Science & Technology in 2023.  Dr. Cui was the winner of the inaugural CABS K. Fong Award in Life Sciences in 2013.  

Dr. Cui received her Ph.D. from Ohio State University, and her M.S. and B.S. from University of Science and Technology of China.  She obtained her postdoctoral training at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the University of California Berkeley.

Y. Peter Li, Ph.D., M.B.A.

Co-Founder, and Executive Chairman

Yishan (Peter) Li, Ph.D., M.B.A. is co-founder of Turning Point Therapeutics, Inc. (Turning Point), a clinical-stage biotech company, listed on NASDAQ (Ticker: TPTX). In June 2022, Bristol Myers Squibb announced the acquisition of Turning Point for $4.1 billion.  Dr. Li served as Chairman and CEO of Turning Point from October 2013 (founding) to September 2018 and continued to serve as a Director until Turning Point completed a successful $191 million IPO on Nasdaq in April 2019. As Chairman and CEO, Dr. Li led Turning Point for 5 years and successfully raised 4 rounds of venture financing for $147 million, in total, from leading biotech investors, Cormorant Asset Management, OrbiMed, S.R. One, Lilly Asia Ventures, Foresite Capital, venBio, HBM Partners, Nextech Invest, etc. Turning Point has built a strong pipeline with the lead compound Repotrectinib entering pivotal Phase 2 clinical trial and two additional projects in clinical development (TPX-0022, TPX-0046). On November 15, 2023, FDA approves Repotrectinib (AUGTYROTM) for locally advanced or metastatic ROS1+ NSCLC.

Prior to Turning Point, Dr. Li served as Executive Vice President at Epitomics, Inc., a leading antibody technology company specializing in rabbit monoclonal antibody development for reagent, diagnostics, and therapeutics (acquired by Abcam, plc in March 2012). Prior to Epitomics, Dr. Li was Vice President at Kenson Ventures, LLC. He served on Board of Directors and observers to the Board for biotech companies.

Dr. Li was a postdoctoral research fellow at the Department of Molecular and Cell Biology, University of California, Berkeley. He earned his M.B.A. from Haas School of Business, University of California, Berkeley. He received his Ph.D. in biochemistry from Ohio State University, where he was a University Presidential Fellow, and his B.S. from University of Science and Technology of China.  Dr. Li was an honoree for the Committee of 100 Circle of Excellence Award in Humanity in Science & Technology in 2023. 

Vincent Liptak, J.D., Ph.D., M.B.A.

General Counsel and Executive Vice President

Vincent Liptak, J.D., Ph.D., M.B.A. is General Counsel and Executive Vice President of BlossomHill Therapeutics, Inc. Vince has over 20 years of experience in the legal profession, with a focus on intellectual property. Prior to joining BlossomHill, Vince was a partner at Barnes & Thornburg, LLP, serving as outside counsel for many clients in the chemical and life sciences space. While at Barnes & Thornburg, Vince served as a co-Chair for the firm’s Life Sciences Practice Group. With pharmaceutical patents as his practice focus, Vince has written hundreds of patents covering various aspects of pharmaceutical compounds, including patents covering several FDA-approved products. Vince has worked with BlossomHIll’s Scientific Founder, President and CEO, Dr. J. Jean Cui for over 18 years, beginning together as colleagues at Pfizer, Inc in La Jolla, CA. Over the course of his career, Vince has written the patents that cover crizotinib (Xalkori®), lorlatinib (Lobrena®), repotrectinib, elzovantinib, as well as other compounds discovered by Dr. Cui and her colleagues at Pfizer, Turning Point Therapeutics, Inc., and BlossomHill.

Vince received a B.S. with a double major in chemistry and mathematics from Loyola University Chicago. He went on to receive his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees from The University of Chicago. Before entering the legal profession, Vince was a post-doc in the laboratory of Prof. Dennis Dougherty at California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, CA. After a few years working as a patent agent, Vince received a J.D. and an M.B.A. from the University of San Diego. Vince is a member of the California and Indiana bars and is registered to practice before the United States Patent and Trademark Office.

Zachary F. Zimmerman, M.D., Ph.D.

Senior Vice President, Clinical Development

Dr. Zimmerman is a hematologist and medical oncologist with broad experience in the clinical development of cutting-edge therapies for both solid tumors and hematologic malignancies.  Prior to joining Blossom Hill Therapeutics, Dr. Zimmerman was Vice President of Clinical Development at NiKang Therapeutics, where he was responsible for leading clinical development activities for multiple oncology programs across several solid tumor indications.  Previously, Dr. Zimmerman worked at Turning Point Therapeutics where he led clinical development of small molecule inhibitors for oncogene-driven solid tumors.  Prior to Turning Point, he had roles at Amgen in both medical affairs and global clinical development where his work on the development of the bispecific T-cell engager blinatumomab ultimately led to multiple approvals in pediatric and adult acute lymphoblastic leukemia indications in the US, EU, and Japan.

Dr. Zimmerman received a Ph.D. in immunology and M.D. from the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. He completed residency training in Internal Medicine at the University of Washington and fellowship training in hematology and medical oncology at the University of Washington/ Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle.

Armin Graber, Ph.D. Habil.

Senior Vice President, Translational Medicine, Companion Diagnostics and Biomarkers

Dr. Graber serves as SVP and Head of Translational Medicine, Biomarkers and CDx for BlossomHill Therapeutics.  He has 35 years of work experience in the pharmaceutical and diagnostic industries as well as academia with more than 160 peer reviewed publications, books, and patents. Most recently, he was SVP, Head of Translational Medicine at Turning Point Therapeutics, which was acquired by Bristol Myers Squibb in August 2022.  At Turning Point, he established the Translational Medicine department with functions for Biomarkers, CDx and Correlative Sciences to support the global development of the clinical stage pipeline, including Repotrectinib. 

Formerly, Dr. Graber was VP and Head of Research & Product Development and Medical Affairs at Genoptix (a Novartis company).  He held various global roles in Translational and Precision Medicine at Novartis, leading the development and implementation of biomarker, correlative sciences, MRD monitoring and CDx strategies to support worldwide approvals for products, such as for the treatment of hematological malignancies including RydaptTM (Midostaurin), GleevecTM (Imatinib) and TasignaTM (Nilotinib) and for the treatment of solid cancers such as TafinlarTM (Dabrafenib) and MekinistTM (Trametinib), ZykadiaTM (Ceritinib) and KisqaliTM (Ribociclib).  He also served as VP for Translational Research for BG Medicine, was CEO of Biocrates Life Sciences, Chair of the Institute of Bioinformatics and Translational Research as well as the Department of Biomedical Sciences and Engineering, and Chancellor and CEO of the University for Health Sciences, Medical Informatics and Technology (UMIT). 

Originally from Austria, Dr. Graber received a Master of Science degree in Technical Mathematics and Computer Science from the Technical University of Graz, a Ph.D. in Medical Informatics and Biostatistics from the University of Innsbruck, and a Priv.-Doz. in Bioinformatics and Translational Research from the UMIT.

Eugene Y. Rui, Ph.D.

Senior Vice President, Chemistry

Eugene Rui is the Senior Vice President of Chemistry at BlossomHill Therapeutics. Prior to joining BlossomHill, Eugene was an Associate Research Fellow in Oncology Chemistry Design at Pfizer La Jolla. During his nearly 25 years tenure at Pfizer, Eugene had led numerous projects, designed, and synthesized drug molecules to address unmet needs in the fields of oncology, antiviral and ophthalmology and contributed as a key designer to the delivery of 4 compounds (PF-0477736, PF-06821497, PF-06873600, PF-06939999) into clinical development. In addition, Eugene was the recipient of Pfizer’s La Jolla Discovery Innovation Award in 2006 for the design and synthesis of PF-04348733 for CAI project. Eugene received his BS in chemistry and MS in organic chemistry, both from Peking University. After working at Chinese Academy of Sciences for 2 years, Eugene came to the U.S. where he earned his Ph.D. at Purdue University in 1996. Eugene Rui is an inventor on 19 US patents and co-author on 28 publications. In his spare time, Eugene loves walking with his wife in their beautiful neighborhood and playing with their dog Muffin.

Z. Jesse Shao, Ph.D., R.Ph.

Vice President, CMC

Dr. Jesse Shao is the Vice President of CMC at BlossomHill Therapeutics. He has over 25 years of experience in Pharmaceutical R&D, notably in the area of controlled-release drug delivery. Dr. Shao has held various technical and leadership positions with increasing responsibilities at Schering-Plough, Pfizer, Arena Pharmaceuticals, and FibroGen. Prior to joining BlossomHill, he was Executive Director at FibroGen, where he contributed to the approval and launch of EVRENZOTM in the EU, Japan and China. At Arena Pharmaceuticals, he led the successful drug product technology transfer, approval and launch of BELVIQ® and BELVIQ XR®. Dr. Shao received his B.S. in Pharmacy from Peking University, M.S. in Physical Pharmacy from the University of Cincinnati, and Ph.D. in Industrial and Physical Pharmacy from Purdue University. Additionally, Dr. Shao is a registered Pharmacist in the state of New Jersey, an inventor of numerous patents, and has authored over 30 publications.

Antonio Garrido-Montalban, Ph.D.

Vice President, Drug Substance

Dr. Antonio Garrido-Montalban is the Vice President of Drug Substance at BlossomHill Therapeutics. Dr. Montalban started his industry career in San Diego as a medicinal chemist at Kemia and has since held positions as the Head of Early-Stage Drug Substance Development at Arena Pharmaceuticals, Executive Director and Site Head of STA Pharmaceutical, a WuXi AppTec Company and Senior Director and Head of Chemical R&D at Arena Pharmaceuticals. Before that, he was an Assistant Professor in the Department of Chemistry at Imperial College London. Notable process chemistry contributions during his tenure at Arena Pharmaceuticals were the approval and launch of BELVIQTM and development of Etrasimod for which Arena Pharmaceuticals was acquired by Pfizer in 2022 for $6.7 billion. Dr. Montalban has over 29 years of combined industrial and academic experience covering discovery all the way to late-stage development. Dr. Montalban received his Chemical Engineering degree from the University of Applied Sciences, Darmstadt, Germany and his M.Sc./Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry from the University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK.  Dr. Montalban is an inventor on numerous patents, co-authored over 35 peer reviewed scientific publications and written a book chapter.

Jihao Zhou, M.D., Ph.D.

Vice President, Biometrics

Dr. Jihao Zhou is the Vice President and Head of Biometrics at BlossomHill Therapeutics, Inc. Dr. Zhou has over two decades of experience in the biopharmaceutical industry and is a seasoned leader in clinical drug development, with a primary focus in biometrics.  Prior to joining BlossomHill Therapeutics, Dr. Zhou served as the Vice President of Clinical Development at Autobahn Therapeutics.  Prior to that, Dr. Zhou served as the Vice President and Head of Data Sciences at AnaptysBio, Inc., where he provided strategic leadership and analysis to the product development across broad therapeutic pipelines.  This includes the successful Phase 3 development of imsidolimab® in generalized pustular psoriasis.

Over the course of Dr. Zhou’s career, he’s held notable, impactful roles at Urovant Sciences, Allergan, and Pfizer, where he and his team made significant contributions to the development and approval of new pharmaceutical products.  This includes Pfizer’s blockbuster oncology drug SUTENT®, Allergan’s BOTOX® for therapeutic indications, and Urovant’s GEMTESA® for OAB, among others.  Dr. Zhou’s innovation in clinical drug development is exhibited through his involvement as inventor and co-inventor in patent applications in multiple medical fields.

Dr. Zhou received an M.D. from Peking Union Medical College in Beijing and completed post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Münster in Germany. He went on to receive a Ph.D. in Biostatistics from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.  

Board of Directors

Bihua Chen

Bihua Chen is the founder of Cormorant Asset Management, LP (“Cormorant”), an investment firm focused on innovative biotech, medtech and life science companies with assets under management of over $3bn. Ms. Chen manages Cormorant’s public fund as well as its private funds. Prior to founding Cormorant, Ms. Chen managed a separately managed account focused on the healthcare sector as a sub-adviser to a large, multi-strategy hedge fund based in New York. Ms. Chen obtained an MBA from the Wharton School of Business and a Master of Science, Molecular Biology, from the Graduate School of Biomedical Science at Cornell Medical College. Ms. Chen also holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Genetics and Genetic Engineering from Fudan University, Shanghai, China.

J. Jean Cui, Ph.D.

Scientific Founder, President and CEO

(See Management)

Carl L. Gordon, Ph.D., CFA

Carl L. Gordon, Ph.D., CFA, is a founding member, Managing Partner, and Co-Head of Global Private Equity at OrbiMed Advisors LLC, an investment firm.  Dr. Gordon currently serves on the boards of directors of several public and private companies. He received a B.A. in Chemistry from Harvard College, a Ph.D. in Molecular Biology from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and was a Fellow at The Rockefeller University.

Timothy Stubbs, M.D.

Timothy Stubbs, M.D., B.Sc. is a Principal at Vivo Capital. Prior to Vivo, he was a Vice President at Morgan Stanley, where he worked in the Healthcare Investment Banking team for more than 7 years, in both London and San Francisco. At Morgan Stanley, he covered clients across multiple healthcare subsectors including large cap pharma, biotechnology, medical technology, diagnostics, and digital health. Dr. Stubbs has worked on a large number of high profile and cross-border M&A and equity transactions, including acquisitions, co-development and co-commercialization agreements, and IPOs, among others. Prior to Morgan Stanley, he worked as an NHS physician in London, where he spent time in medical and surgical specialties, as well as the ER.

Dr. Stubbs received his medical degree and bachelors of science in Anatomical Science (first class honors) from the University of Bristol, UK. During his medical career he also worked in research roles, contributing to clinical trials including the randomized Multicenter Uveitis Steroid Treatment (MUST) trial. He has presented and published work in various subspecialties, including vascular disease, ophthalmology and orthopedics.

Sundeep Agrawal, M.D.

Dr. Sundeep Agrawal is a General Partner at Colt Ventures, a leading US based private investment firm.  He has invested in several private and public biotech companies and has served on numerous company boards.  He is a physician with experience in principal investing, healthcare investment banking, clinical medicine and research. Previously, he was a Vice President at Longitude Capital, a $2 billion healthcare investment firm.  Prior to Longitude, he was an Executive Director in Healthcare Investment Banking at Oppenheimer & Co.  Dr. Agrawal holds an M.D. from the George Washington School of Medicine and a B.A. in Biology from George Washington University.

George J. Lee, Ph.D

George J. Lee, Ph.D. is a general partner and co-founder of Hercules Bioventure Partners, LLC, a venture management company specializing in investments in the biotech and pharmaceutical fields. Hercules Bioventure Partners has been dedicated to building a strong biotech portfolio in regions of the US and Asia over the last decade. Dr. Lee has extensive experience in the pharmaceutical industry having worked productively at a major pharmaceutical company (Syntex) and early-stage biomedical companies for years. Dr. Lee is an internationally known pioneer in the field of steroid hormones research. Dr. Lee has in depth experience in analytical methods development and validation for New Drug Application (NDA) as well as various applications to the Food & Drug Administration. Dr. Lee earned his Ph.D. degree in chemistry from the State University of New York at Buffalo and his B.S. degree in agricultural chemistry from National Taiwan University, Taiwan.

Y. Peter Li, Ph.D., M.B.A.

Co-Founder, and Executive Chairman

(See Management)