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TaiRx US Inc. is committed to developing novel therapeutics and precision medicine diagnostics for Nodal, a secreted protein that is normally only expressed in the embryo but that gets re-expressed in aggressive cancer progression and causes treatment resistance.

TaiRx US Inc. is a joint venture formed between TaiRx Inc., a publicly-traded pharmaceutical company headquartered in Taipei, Taiwan, and BioHealth Innovation, a regional innovation intermediary that facilitates the development of biohealth products and companies in the BioHealth Capital Region.

TaiRx US Inc. is an independent, Delaware C-Corp that has exclusive, worldwide rights to the patent estate on Nodal established by Mary J. C. Hendrix, Ph.D., the former President of the Stanley Manne Children’s Research Institute at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago and Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine, and now President of Shepherd University, who led the research delineating the critical role Nodal plays in cancer.

Meet the Team – HP

Stephen D. Wolpe, Ph.D.

President and CEO, TaiRxUS

Stephen D. Wolpe, Ph.D. – Steve received his undergraduate degree from Amherst College and his Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania. He conducted post-doctoral work at Rockefeller University, where he discovered a group of proteins called chemokines that are important mediators in immunology and inflammatory disease. After his post-doctoral work, Dr. Wolpe joined Genetics Institute (which is now part of Pfizer), where he worked on a variety of projects in hematology, inflammatory diseases and stem cell biology. In 1993 Steve joined the Wellstat family of companies, a group of privately-held biopharmaceutical companies whose CEO also founded Amgen, Applied Biosystems and IGEN/Bioveris. Steve led the largest research group at Wellstat and provided research support across all five companies – Therapeutics, Diagnostics, Biologics, Vaccines and Ophthalmics. Steve’s group played a major role in developing a novel drug for diabetes, leading to a $350 million dollar development deal in 2009 between Wellstat and Sanofi. In addition to his research work, Steve also worked closely with the CEO in business development, intellectual property assessment and licensing across all the companies. Steve left Wellstat in 2010 and worked as a biotech consultant for a number of different biotech companies in the US, Israel and Russia before joining BHI as an Entrepreneur-in-Residence. Steve has published 28 articles in the peer-reviewed literature and is an inventor on over 50 patents, primarily in the areas of stem cells, inflammatory disease and diabetes.

Mary J.C. Hendrix

Mary J.C. Hendrix, Ph.D.

Dr. Hendrix is Shepherd University’s sixteenth president and is the first graduate to lead the school in its history. She earned her Bachelor of Science degree from Shepherd in pre-med/biology and her PhD from George Washington University in anatomy. Subsequently, she was a National Institutes of Health Postdoctoral Research Fellow at Harvard Medical School in the department of anatomy and cell biology.

Before coming to Shepherd, she was president and chief scientific officer of the Stanley Manne Children’s Research Institute at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago and Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine. Prior to that, she held various leadership positions at The University of Iowa, St. Louis University, and The University of Arizona.

Dr. Hendrix has been a member of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Council of Councils, the National Human Genome Research Institute Council, and the National Cancer Institute (NCI) Board of Scientific Advisors. She is a Past-President of FASEB (Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology) consisting of more than 100,000 members—the largest coalition of biomedical research societies in the United States. She has testified before Congress numerous times in hearings regarding the budgets of the National Institutes of Health, Department of Defense, and National Science Foundation, and about human embryonic stem cell research. She also served as a co-founder and co-director of the Virtual Naval Hospital, a digital medical library created to provide critical information to service personnel deployed at remote sites.

Dr. Hendrix is a leading scientist in cancer research, with a goal of discovering new therapeutic strategies to inhibit metastasis. She has authored more than 280 publications on biomedical research and is the recipient of numerous awards, including a MERIT Award from the National Cancer Institute, the 2004 Australian Society for Medical Research Lecturer and Medal Recipient for research and advocacy, the 2006 Henry Gray Award by the American Association of Anatomists that recognizes unique and meritorious contributions to the field of anatomical science, the 2008 and 2012 Princess Takamatsu Cancer Research Lecturer Award in Japan, the 2012 Princess Takamatsu Memorial Lectureship from the American Association for Cancer Research, the 2014 Vision and Impact Award from the Regional American Committee for the Weizmann Institute of Science, a University of Iowa Award for Excellence and Achievement Among Women, and the Distinguished Woman Faculty Award from Northwestern’s Feinberg School of Medicine.

Du-Shieng Chen

Du-Shieng Chen, Ph.D.

President and CEO, TaiRx

Dr. Chien, the co-founder of TaiRx, Inc., received his Ph.D. in Biopharmaceutics and Pharmacokinetics from the University of Iowa in 1986. He has more than 30 years of knowledge and management experience in new drug research and development during his tenure with Allergan, Bayer, and Neurogen.
In 2002, Dr. Chien returned to Taiwan and joined the National Health Research Institutes as the Associate Director of the Division of Biotechnology and Pharmaceutical Research. He later served as the President and CEO of SunTen Phytotech. In 2010, he established Efficient Pharma Management Corp. to provide services in technical and regulatory consultation and project management for biotech industry. Efficient Pharma Management and Formosa Laboratories later formed TaiRx in 2011, Dr. Chien has since serves as the President and CEO of the company.

Yi-Wen Chu, Ph.D.

Senior VP, TaiRX

Dr. Chu, the co-founder of TaiRx, Inc., received her Ph.D. in Cancer Biology from University of Arizona. Her scientific specialty is molecular and cellular mechanism of cancer metastasis. She has more than 20 years of experience in research and management of scientific affairs. Dr. Chu served as the Chief of Planning and Evaluation Office, and Associate Director of Intramural Research Affairs at the National Health Research Institutes. She later joined SunTen Phytotech as Vice President, responsible for the management of new drug development programs and business development prior to establish the Efficient Pharma Management Corp. with Dr. Chien in 2010 and served as the President and CEO of the company. She now serves as the Senior Vice President in TaiRx, managing the company operation and strategic development.

Frank Shen, Ph.D.

Board Member

Frank Shen, Ph.D.  is the former Vice President, Data and Statistical Sciences, Global R&D AbbVie Inc.  Dr. Shen is also the Former Head, APAC Biometrics, Global Product Development, Roche/Genentech Inc and the Former Executive Director, Exploratory Development, Global Biometric Sciences, BMS.

Rich Bendis

Rich Bendis

CEO, BioHealth Innovation

Rich Bendis is an entrepreneur, corporate executive, venture capitalist, investment banker, innovation and technology ­based economic development leader, international speaker, and consultant in the technology and healthcare industries. He currently serves as the founding President and CEO of BioHealth Innovation, a Maryland public­-private partnership focused on accelerating the growth of commercially relevant science. He is also the founding President and CEO of Innovation America (IA), a national public­-private partnership focused on accelerating the growth of innovation economy in America. As one of the most recognized experts in the field of innovation economy, Mr. Bendis has served on numerous distinguished boards and task forces including the White House U.S. Innovation Partnership Advisory Task Force, the Small Business Innovation Research Committee, the Maryland Life Science Advisory Board, and the National Association of State Venture Funds board; State Science and Technology Institute, and the Ernst & Young Entrepreneurial Institute as a national/regional judge and EOY winner. Mr. Bendis was recently named one of The Daily Record’s Most Influential Marylanders.

Research

Our lead candidate is a novel, first-in-class monoclonal antibody that binds to Nodal and blocks the interaction with its receptor.

Nodal is a secreted protein normally only expressed in the embryo but gets re-expressed in aggressive cancers.  In those cancers it drives the stem cell phenotype and induces resistance to therapeutics.  The antibody that TaiRx US is developing has demonstrated anti-tumor activity in multiple in vivo models including melanoma and breast cancer.  In particular, the antibody reverses the resistant phenotype of aggressive cancers in vivo.   The TaiRx US anti-Nodal antibody therefore holds promise for improving the efficacy of targeted therapy and immune checkpoint inhibitors in non-responding patients.

The antibody is currently in final phase of humanization. We anticipate initiating a Phase I clinical trial by the first quarter of 2020.

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