Scientific Advisors

Wellspring is focused on the discovery and development of small molecule drugs targeting signal transduction networks for the treatment of cancer and other diseases.

Kevan Shokat, Ph.D.

Kevan Shokat, Ph.D.

Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute
Professor and Chair, Department of Cellular and Molecular Pharmacology
University of California, San Francisco

Professor Shokat is a pioneer in the development of chemical methods for investigating cellular signal transduction pathways—with a particular focus on enzymes frequently activated in cancer such as protein and lipid kinases and GTPases. Dr. Shokat uses a combination of chemical synthesis and protein engineering to create uniquely traceable and regulatable kinases, allowing the function of over 100 different kinases to be uncovered across all disease areas including oncology, metabolism, and infectious disease.

Kevan is currently an Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Chair of the Department of Cellular and Molecular Pharmacology at the University of California at San Francisco. He also Professor in the Department of Chemistry at the University of California at Berkeley. After receiving his Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry at UC Berkeley with Professor Peter Schultz, and post-doctoral work in immunology at Stanford University with Professor Chris Goodnow, Kevan began his independent research career at Princeton University where he was promoted from Assistant to Associate Professor in four years. He has received numerous awards including being named a Fellow of several prestigious research foundations including the Pew Foundation, Searle Foundation, Sloan Foundation, Glaxo-Wellcome Foundation, and the Cotrell Foundation. He has also received the Eli Lilly Award, given to the most promising biological chemist in the country under the age of 37. He was inducted into the National Academy of Sciences (2010), the Institute of Medicine (2011), and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (2011).

Kevan has successfully commercialized discoveries from his laboratory. His development of chemical genetic tools for tracking and validating protein kinase drug targets is licensed by Artemis-Taconic for target validation of kinases in multiple disease areas. In 2007 he co-founded Intellikine to commercialize a series of PI3K and mTOR small molecule inhibitors for cancer and inflammatory disease. In four years Intellikine progressed three compounds into Phase I including IPI-145/INK1197 (PI3Kdelta/gamma)- partnered with Infinity Pharmaceuticals, MLN0128/INK128 (mTOR), and MLN1117/INK1117 (PI3Kalpha).

Frank McCormick, Ph.D., FRS.

Frank McCormick, Ph.D., FRS.

Professor and Director, UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center

Frank McCormick, PhD, FRS, is Director of the UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center. Prior to joining the UCSF faculty, Dr. McCormick held positions with Cetus Corporation (Director of Molecular Biology, 1981-1990; Vice President of Research, Research, 1990-1991) and Chiron Corporation, where he was Vice President of Research from 1991 to 1992. In 1992 he founded Onyx Pharmaceuticals, a company dedicated to developing new cancer therapies, and served as its Chief Scientific Officer until 1996.

At Onyx Pharmaceuticals, he initiated and directed drug discovery efforts that led to the approval of Sorafenib in 2005 for treatment of renal cell cancer, and for liver cancer in 2007, and the approval of ONYX-015 in 2006 in China for treatment of nasopharangeal cancer. Furthermore, Dr. McCormick’s group led to the identification of a CDK4 kinase inhibitor that is currently in Phase II clinical trials. In addition to his position as Director of the UCSF HDFCCC, Dr. McCormick holds the David A. Wood Chair of Tumor Biology and Cancer Research in UCSF's Department of Microbiology and Immunology. Dr. McCormick is the author of 285 scientific publications and holds 20 issued patents. He is on the advisory boards of Memorial Sloane Kettering, Dana Farber Cancer Center, the Canary Foundation, the University of Wisconsin Comprehensive Cancer Center, and the University of Texas, Southwestern Advisory Board.

Dr. McCormick is also the 2012-2013 President of the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) multiple disease areas.