OncoQuest Inc., a biopharmaceutical company focused on the development and commercialization of immunotherapies for the treatment of cancer is raising capital and attracting talent. It is supported by an experienced management team, a global network of collaborators, and an extensive patent portfolio. The company relies on The Chase Group to help it find key executives who can navigate the challenging field of immuno-oncology and the complex requirements of clinical studies.
Cancer immunotherapy is one of the most promising and exciting fields in cancer treatment today, with significant progress being made in the past decade alone.
OncoQuest is focused on identifying the most effective combinations of immunomodulatory agents and traditional chemotherapies to enhance the clinical benefit when treating the most pernicious types of cancer including ovarian, pancreatic, and metastatic breast cancer.
But it takes money and the right people to make it work. Hany Awadalla has been facilitating capital raises and evaluating management teams in the life sciences for the past 25 years. In fact, he has advised on over $15 billion of financing and M&A transactions in the healthcare sector.
As Chief Financial Officer of OncoQuest, he’s still focused on capital financing, but when it comes to finding the best biopharmaceutical executives for his team, he works with The Chase Group.
“I’ve spent years building banking teams, but this is a totally different job
when it comes to finding clinicians and scientists in a startup environment,” says Awadalla. “Having The Chase Group and their team advise us along the way has proven invaluable. They know the biopharmaceutical market and where to look for the best talent.”
Developing the Right Combination of Treatment Protocols – And Scientists Who Design Them
Executives with Awadalla’s connections and years of experience don’t have a need for many referrals as the network of trusted advisors is already deep and well-established, and Awadalla took note when he was referred to Chase.
“There aren’t many players in this highly-specialized area of finding senior biopharmaceutical executives, especially on the clinical side,” says Awadalla. “And my role here at OncoQuest is as much about building out the team as it is making sure we have the capital to do what we need to do. The strong referral from a well-respected venture capitalist, plus Chase’s experience and credibility in this space piqued my interest.”
Awadalla engaged Chase to perform a search for a Chief Medical Officer at OncoQuest. While the start was a bit bumpy, the combined team got on track quickly.
“Our hiring requirements changed over the course of this search and we moved the goal posts on the Chase team a few times,” says Awadalla. “But something that never changed was Chase’s commitment to speed, flexibility and persistence. They proved they could adapt and adjust as our needs changed.”
Awadalla says the Chase team did more than simply ask a standard set of questions and take notes.
“Their first project for my team was a success which, of course, is why we continue to work with them. The Chase Group has an overall professionalism and attitude that makes them easy to engage,” says Hougen. “The value and performance are always there, too.”
“Chase didn’t just want to collect requirements and go. They were more about guiding and advising and really working to uncover key characteristics that would make this person successful in our culture as well as our market segment.”
“Chase didn’t just want to collect requirements and go,” says Awadalla. “They were more about guiding and advising and really working to uncover key characteristics that would make this person successful in our culture as well as our market segment.”
A biopharmaceutical startup such as OncoQuest – founded in 2015 – is not for every executive. Optimal candidates with the desired credentials are often more comfortable in larger companies with well-developed pipelines.
“Chase made things happen very quickly; in a matter of just a couple of weeks they were sending over high-quality candidates,” says Awadalla. “And they knew people in companies of all sizes, so the variety gave us many great candidates to choose from.”
The Chase team was instrumental in the appointment of OncoQuest’s new Chief Medical Officer. With almost 20 years in the biopharmaceutical industry developing
- OncoQuest Inc., was founded in 2015 and is focused on commercializing a portfolio of immuno-modulatory antibodies for the treatment of cancer.
- OncoQuest has been able to demonstrate clinically that its antibodies enhance tumor-specific immune response and its lead drug candidate, oregovomab, for the treatment of frontline ovarian cancer, has yielded positive data in 2018.
- The Chase Group has helped OncoQuest hire a Chief Medical Officer who is now building out a larger clinical team to manage a promising pipeline and several proof-of-concept clinical studies focused on ovarian, pancreatic and metastatic breast cancer.
biologics and small molecule oncology drugs, the new executive is filling a crucial role.
“Not only is our Chief Medical Officer an excellent fit for us in his position, but he also brings with him a host of connections and qualified candidates for other positions we need to staff,” says Awadalla. “The best executives bring others who want to work with them, which is also a great benefit for us.”
Awadalla says the needs at OncoQuest will continue to grow, and the work with Chase will continue.
“We’re working on some very interesting science; our clinical trial results are showing great promise and we like the direction we’re headed. Chase’s work spearheading the successful search for our Chief Medical Officer went very well and they delivered beyond expectations,” says Awadalla. “We’re going to be adding more key executives and we look forward to working with Chase on those projects.”