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Apollomics Co-Founder & CEO Guo-Liang Yu on Treating Cancer, Going Public

Apollomics Co-Founder, Executive Director, Chairman and CEO Guo-Liang Yu, PhD

By Daniella Parra

IPO Edge: How did you build Apollomics? And what is your background in science and drug discovery? 

I have always been passionate about taking scientific discoveries and translating them into products that can benefit human health. I was training as a life scientist, I received my PhD from UC Berkeley where I contributed to the discovery and function of telomere and telomerase in Dr. Elizabeth Blackburn’s lab for which she won the Nobel Prize. I did my training at Harvard Medical School as a postdoctoral researcher adding to my knowledge not only in biochemistry and molecular biology but genetics. My first job was in a start-up company called Human Genome Sciences, where the mission was to identify drug targets for developing drugs to treat various diseases, I was lucky enough to find such a target called BLys, and involved in the development of a systemic lupus drug called Benlysta, which is now a blockbuster drug. I came away with a great deal of satisfaction out of the conversion of science to medicine for better human health.  

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Apollomics is the third company I founded and I lead a very capable team destined for success. My prior two companies were acquired and brought great returns to investors. Apollomics was actually a spin-off of Crown Biosciences, a company where I served as executive chairman. We built very comprehensive humanized cancer models in mice, called patient derived xenograft (PDX) models. These mice serve as avatars of cancer patients. Based on the scientific knowledge and our drugs discovery capabilities, we felt that we can develop drugs that can truly save lives of cancer patients.  

IPO Edge: Why are you focused on cancer? And what are rare and difficult to treat cancers? 

As I mentioned, building cancer PDX models in mice allowed us to have better insights into how cancers develop and evolve. The biggest challenge is not that there are no treatments, rather cancers are smart, they can develop resistance to a treatment. There are certain cancers that are difficult to treat because their special mechanisms of causing cancer, and drug resistance is a major challenge in fighting cancer. At Apollomics, we are working tirelessly to provide treatment options for people diagnosed with hard-to-treat, high mortality cancers. We will provide these individuals, many of whom feel left behind, with effective therapies and hope. 

IPO Edge: What does the company’s pipeline look like? 

We have 9 drugs under development, 6 of which are in human clinical studies. We have several scientific strategies including targeted therapy for specific genetic caused diseases, immune-oncology drugs as well as novel mechanisms that activate the immune system to fight cancers and preventing cancer cells from hiding in the bone marrow.  

Two of these drugs APL 101 and APL 106 are in late stages and we are anticipating discussions with the regulatory agencies. 

APL101 is a cMet inhibitor with very broad implications in various cancers. We have clinical results indicating superior activities in brain tumor and non-small cell lung cancers, we are also exploring clinical trials on other patients especially for those patients prone to resistance to existing treatments.  

Other molecules are also very promising in clinical and preclinical studies. 

IPO Edge: Who will Apollomics serve? 

Apollomics will bring innovation to cancer patients around the world addressing unmet medical needs, especially for difficult and recurrence cancers patients. 

IPO Edge: You are working to close a SPAC, what was the motivation to go public by a business combination? 

Working with an incredible institutional investor as a vehicle to enter the public market is a streamlined and efficient way to build upon the story of Apollomic’s success and ongoing potential as we work to develop assets in critically important areas of unmet patient need.  For that reason, we have been thrilled to partner with Maxpro to help usher us into our next phase of growth and reach our full potential as we continue developing solutions for patients with difficult-to-treat cancers. Proceeds from the transaction are expected to be used to fund growth initiatives and accelerate  the development and commercialization of our assets. 

IPO Edge: Why is Apollomics a good investment? 

We have a very strong pipeline with two clinically proven drugs near the finish line. We employ innovative scientific methods and technologies to develop novel drugs to treat difficult and recurring cancers. We have an experienced team capable of discovering and conducting clinical trials in dozens of countries. Our experiences enabled us to efficiently utilize capitals to maximize shareholder values and deliver drugs for patients. 

 

Contact:

IPO-Edge.com

daniellap@capmarketsmedia.com

Twitter: @IPOEdge

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