Neon Therapeutics, an immuno-oncology company developing neoantigen-based therapeutic vaccines and T cell therapies to treat cancer, has announced the appointment of Richard Gaynor, M.D., to president of research and development. Dr. Gaynor succeeds interim chief scientific officer Robert Tepper, M.D., a partner at Third Rock Ventures, who is continuing as a member of the company’s board of directors.
Dr. Gaynor recently retired from Eli Lilly’s oncology division, where he held the position of senior vice president of global product development and medical affairs since 2013. Over the past 15 years he held related senior roles at Lilly Oncology, where he led preclinical and early clinical research, directed the biomarker and research group and served on key company portfolio review committees.
“We are privileged to have Richard join the Neon Therapeutics team,” said Hugh O’Dowd, chief executive officer of Neon Therapeutics. “Richard brings an enormous depth of oncology experience, having overseen many innovative drugs through early research into clinical development and commercialization. His knowledge and leadership reinforces Neon Therapeutics’ leadership in neoantigen-based immuno-oncology treatments.”
“Throughout my career, I have witnessed the constant evolution in oncology approaches, particularly with the recent advances in immuno-oncology,” said Dr. Gaynor. “Neon Therapeutics is at the forefront of new technologies in this space, and is already in the clinic studying an individualized cancer vaccine that has the potential to dramatically change the standard of care in diverse tumor types. Neon has assembled leading scientific founders in immuno-oncology, as well as an impressive research and development team. I look forward to joining this team and guiding our programs prudently through research and development.”
Dr. Gaynor began his career in academia, spending nine years on the faculty at UCLA School of Medicine followed by 11 years on the faculty at UT Southwestern Medical School, including time serving as the chief of hematology-oncology and director of the Simmons Cancer Center. In 2002, Dr. Gaynor moved to Eli Lilly where he began his industry career overseeing both oncology drug discovery and early clinical development. Dr. Gaynor chaired the Lilly Oncology Research and Development Committee and helped oversee a variety of collaborations, including with Bristol-Myers Squibb, Merck, AstraZeneca and GE. He is the author of nearly 150 publications and participates on numerous boards and committees, including several with the AACR, the Stand Up To Cancer scientific advisory committee, the MD Anderson Moon Shots advisory board, the Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation and Accelerating Cancer Cures. Dr. Gaynor holds an M.D. from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School and, following his residency in internal medicine there, he completed fellowship training in hematology-oncology at the UCLA School of Medicine.