Flag Therapeutics

Founded in 2013 and headquartered in Raleigh, North Carolina, FLAG Therapeutics, Inc is an early-stage oncology company focused on the development of therapies based on two investigational product platforms: the Anti-angiogenic & Anti-tubulin (AA/AT) platform and Purine Synthesis Inhibitor (PSI) platform.

These two platforms comprise thousands of investigational water-soluble small molecule compounds designed to target and destroy cancer cells through well-established mechanisms of action. Preclinical studies suggest that these investigational compounds hold the potential to treat multiple cancer types with greater efficacy and tolerability than observed in conventional therapies.

FLAG Therapeutics obtained exclusive worldwide rights to the technology from Duquesne University in November 2013, including a robust patent estate currently comprising 58 issued patents and 42 pending applications covering both matter composition and compound use.

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Management Team

 

Frank L. Sorgi, Ph.D., MBA

President and Chief Executive Officer

Frank L. Sorgi, Ph.D., president and chief executive officer, founded FLAG Therapeutics, Inc., in June 2013. He brings with him over 20 years of experience as an entrepreneurial scientist in the field of drug delivery and dosage form design and 15 years as a business executive in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries. Prior to founding FLAG, Dr. Sorgi served as vice president of global science and technology at Patheon Pharmaceuticals, a global contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO). While at Patheon, Dr. Sorgi was responsible for all early development activities from inception through Phase 2 product development. From 2006 to 2011, he served as vice president of research and development and chief scientific officer at DPT Laboratories, Ltd., a company he helped grow into the leading CDMO for liquids and semi-solids. At DPT, Dr. Sorgi managed all pre-commercial research and development activities. From 2004 to 2006, Dr. Sorgi worked at BioMarin Pharmaceutical Inc. as program director of the Orapred franchise and the Aldurazyme joint venture, overseeing all commercial product-related activities. From 1999 to 2004, Dr. Sorgi served in a number of increasingly responsible positions at OPTIME Therapeutics, acting ultimately as president, chief executive officer and board member. Dr. Sorgi received a Ph.D. in pharmaceutical sciences from the University of Pittsburgh and degrees from Duquesne University, including an M.S. in pharmaceutics, an MBA in management and a B.S. in pharmacy.

Dr. Sorgi has authored over 40 patents, book chapters and journal publications in the fields of formulation/development and drug and gene delivery. He has served on several corporate boards of directors, was on the scientific advisory board to the University of Texas at San Antonio and served as adjunct associate professor of pharmaceutics to the Feik School of Pharmacy at the University of the Incarnate Word in San Antonio, Texas. He was previously an adjunct professor in pharmaceutics at Roosevelt University and a member of the Dean’s Advisory Council at Duquesne University School of Pharmacy.

Ruhi Ahmed, Ph.D., RAC

Vice President, Regulatory and Government aFfairs

Ruhi Ahmed, Ph.D., serves as vice president of regulatory and government affairs. She has nearly 20 years of experience in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries, in global regulatory drug development as well as program and portfolio management of assets from the preclinical to the commercial stage.

Prior to joining FLAG, Dr. Ahmed held positions at Inozyme Pharmaceutical Inc., UltraGenyx Pharmaceutical Inc., BioMarin Pharmaceutical Inc. and Actavis Inc. (formerly Watson Pharmaceutical Inc.), where she led the preclinical, clinical and manufacturing strategy and submissions for multiple INDs and marketing applications for a variety of neuromuscular, respiratory, oncology and metabolic rare diseases. She also led the alliance management and program strategy for several investigational prodrugs, biologics and small molecules.

Dr. Ahmed earned her B.S. in biology and M.A. in biochemistry from The University of Texas at Austin and her M.S. in regulatory sciences and Ph.D. in molecular pharmacology and toxicology from the University of Southern California.

 

Jackie Walling, M.d., Ph.D.

Chief Medical Officer

Jackie Walling, M.D., Ph.D., serves as the company’s chief medical officer (CMO). With over 30 years of clinical oncology, she has a storied career of leading clinical development of new drugs for rare diseases.

Prior to her work with FLAG, Dr. Walling was the vice president of BioMarin where she led clinical development for an array of drugs for both rare genetic diseases and oncology. She was responsible for multiple worldwide studies at all stages of development (I to IV) and significantly contributed to successful regulatory interactions.

As medical director at Tularik and then as vice president, clinical research at Axys Pharmaceuticals, Dr. Walling defined and implemented worldwide clinical/product development strategy across different therapeutic areas.

Dr. Walling worked at Eli Lilly as the director, science and operations (oncology) where she was responsible for overall clinical and scientific strategy implementation for two novel antifolate compounds, one of which is now licensed in the treatment of mesothelioma and secondline NSCLC. Prior to her work as director, Dr. Walling worked for 7 years in various clinical oncology roles in increasing responsibility for Lily Industries.


Aleem Gangjee, Ph.D.

Scientific Director, AA/AT Program

Aleem Gangjee, Ph.D., serves as the scientific director for the Anti-angiogenic & Anti-tubulin (AA/AT) platform. A distinguished professor of medicinal chemistry at the Duquesne University School of Pharmacy, Dr. Gangjee is an internationally renowned scientist and author of dozens of U.S. and international patents. As a researcher, his broad expertise spans synthetic medicinal chemistry, computer-assisted drug design, antimitotic agents and antitumor agents.  

Dr. Gangjee earned his B.S. in chemistry and M.S. in organic chemistry from the Indian Institute of Technology and his Ph.D. in medicinal chemistry from the University of Iowa. Among his many honors, Dr. Gangjee was named the recipient of the 2012 Research Achievement Award in Drug Discovery and Development Interface from the American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists (AAPS).


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Larry Matherly, Ph.D.

Scientific Director, PSI program

Larry Matherly, Ph.D., serves as the scientific director for the Purine Synthesis Inhibitor (PSI) platform. He leads studies aimed toward drug discovery and translational studies of chemotherapy response and resistance. Dr. Matherly has been instrumental in the development of FLAG’s PSI platform and continues to push the first-in-class technology in new, innovative directions. His research has long focused on studies of transport processes for natural folates and folate analogs. These include the widely expressed reduced folate carrier (RFC), the proton-coupled folate transporter (PCFT) and the high affinity folate receptors (FRs).

In addition to his work with FLAG, Dr. Matherly serves as the associate center director for basic sciences at Karmanos Cancer Institute, the leader of the Molecular Therapeutics (MT) Program at Karmanos and as a professor in the Department of Oncology at Wayne State University School of Medicine.

Dr. Matherly earned his B.S. in biology from New Mexico State University and his Ph.D. in biochemistry from Pennsylvania State University. He was awarded the 2016 Eunice and Milt Ring Endowed Chair for Cancer Research.

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James Bauler, M.A.

Director, Corporate Development

James Bauler, director of corporate development, has 20 years of career experience building multinational organizations. James has held roles, including in government affairs, business development and corporate development, in early-stage healthcare companies. James completed his master’s degree in international relations at the Tufts University Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy and his B.A. in business investment finance at Wheaton College.

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Beth A. Slusar

Director, Program Management

Beth Slusar is currently FLAG’s Director of Program Management and has over 25 years of experience working in the pharmaceutical industry.  Before joining FLAG in 2014, Ms. Slusar was Director of Project Management at Cirrus Pharmaceuticals, a contract research organization, where she and her group managed all programs internally within Cirrus and served as the single point of contact with all clients.  Prior to Cirrus, she was a Project Manager at DPT Laboratories and at Phyton Biotech, a company which pioneered the production of taxanes from plant cell fermentation. While at Phyton, Ms. Slusar spent 15 years in positions ranging from analytical sciences, quality control, plant cell strain development, research and project management. Ms. Slusar received her degree in Chemistry from the State University of New York, Oswego.