Founder and President
Dr. Lambert has over 30 years of experience in cancer research and is the founder and president of Vona Oncology. His research team has spearheaded the efforts to develop VDX-111 as a viable clinical candidate for aggressive cancers. He formed Vona Oncology to commercialize the use of VDX-111, and analogs thereof, for aggressive cancers. Vona Oncology has been awarded an NIH NCI SBIR Fast Track award for moving VDX-111 toward clinical trials for TNBC. Vona Oncology is also the recipient of a State of Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade Advanced Industry Accelerator Early-Stage Capital Retention grant to further business development of Vona Oncology.
Dr. Duke is Chairman of the Board of Aurora Oncology and has an impressive track record in bringing basic science discoveries from the lab to the clinic. He is a founder of several successful startup biotechnology companies including Globeimmune, ApopLogic, and MenoGeniX. He established, and was the CSO for, the Colorado Institute for Drug, Device, and Diagnostic Development (CID4), a state funded seed initiative for regional biotechnology companies. He is the Principal Investigator of an NIH grant to establish the Colorado AMC Research Evaluation and Commercialization Hub (REACH Hub), one of five such commercialization hubs in the U.S. His business/biotech start up acumen will be an invaluable asset to Vona Oncology.
Chief Business Officer
Dr. Gari is serving as Chief Business Officer for Vona Oncology. He has held several executive leadership positions in Strategic Planning, Business Development and Commercial Operations at Roche Pharmaceuticals, Roche Diagnostics and as an Investor within Danaher Corporation’s early-stage venture fund. Dr. Gari is serving on several Biotech and Diagnostic start-up Boards. Prior to joining Roche and Danaher, Dr. Gari was Managing Partner at Avicenna LLC, a life sciences and private equity strategy consulting firm based in Denver, CO. He is a Cancer Biologist by training, with a PhD from the University of Colorado and a Master’s in BioScience Enterprise from Cambridge University.
Dr. Nordeen is an Emeritus Professor at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus with a long record of studies on mechanisms of steroid hormone action, particularly its dysregulation in the context of cancer. He is the founder of the Cancer Biology Graduate Training Program at the University. His more recent efforts have focused on developing novel therapeutic strategies for prostate cancer and for genitourinary syndrome of menopause. Dr. Nordeen has been actively involved in advancing studies on VDX-111 with Dr. Lambert and will serve as a scientific advisor on the design, execution, and interpretation of the studies.
Dr. Lucia is a genitourinary pathologist with over 20 years of research and clinical experience and has mentored and worked with Dr. Lambert for the past 25 years. He is currently a Professor in the Department of Pathology and the director of the Research Histology Shared Resource at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus. The Research Histology Shared Resource is a full-service histopathology core laboratory certified by the College of American Pathologists. This laboratory processes tissue sections and performs immunohistochemistry for several nationwide clinical trials. Dr. Lucia will provide pathological analysis of tissue specimens generated in the studies and has extensive experience with rodent models of cancer.
Dr. Borges is the Deputy Head, Division of Medical Oncology and the John F. and Patricia Young-Connor Endowed Chair in Young Women’s Breast Cancer Research at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus. Dr. Borges has over 20 years of experience as a translational researcher with expertise in clinical trials, preclinical translational tumor immunology and cancer biology, novel translational research clinical trial design, and epidemiologic outcomes. She has 20 years’ experience in developing drugs from Phase I to registration trials with >100 clinical trials led to date. Dr. Borges has been involved in the immediate transfer of drugs from the lab to first in man/breast cancer trials and has extensive experience with the development of companion correlative assays and biomarkers to ensure the pathways and targeting of those pathways by a drug is in place. Dr. Borges will help guide these studies and provide the VDX-111 research program with critical advice.
Dr. Elias has been involved in phase I-III clinical and translational oncology trials his entire career. He has been the Associate Director for Clinical Sciences for the University of Colorado Cancer Center from 2001-2012. As such, he had oversight over the entire clinical trials apparatus at the Cancer Center, including running the DSM Plan, Data Sharing Plan, Informatics, and a Cancer Center wide Biorepository. He has been a mentor of medical students, residents, fellows, doctoral candidates, postdoctoral candidates, and junior faculty. He has been involved with numerous grant review panels, including NCI SPOREs, DOD translational awards, ASCO CDAs/YIAs, and has had the opportunity to review many translational proposals developing new agents from the laboratory to the clinic.
Ms. Babbs is a Professional Research Associate (PRA) in Dr. Lambert’s laboratory. She has over twelve years’ experience as a PRA in a variety of laboratory settings. Her skills include a deep understanding of molecular, biochemical, and animal protocols with extensive experience in handling rodents and dogs.