At Xcovery, we solve for x, where x is “working toward agents that are more aggressive toward cancers but more compassionate toward people.”
Every day, we are not just inspired, we are called to build a pipeline of oncology medicines that better treat advanced malignant tumors while being less toxic for the patients who need them. In liaison with our global partners, we strive to design small-molecule targeted oncology therapies that not only work better and more safely but also eliminate the challenges associated with cancer-treatment resistance.
Passion for science
At Xcovery, our mission is simple: to employ advanced science to create leading-edge oncology therapies that are not only more effective than current options but are also less toxic and more tolerable for those who need them. By combining our passion for science with compassion for humanity, we work to ensure that life-changing agents move from research to real life as quickly as possible—so people courageously living with cancer can go on living with greater grace and dignity, and the oncology community can more effectively help patients live longer, happier, healthier lives.
“It’s incredibly challenging—and rewarding—to find new ways to treat cancer, the scourge on humanity. That’s why Xcovery is here, to leverage our advanced science and strategic partnerships to improve our understanding of cancer, and better humanize its treatment.”
Meet Our Diverse and Experienced Leadership Team
Lieming Ding, M.D., serves as Chairman of the Board at Xcovery and is also Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Betta Pharmaceuticals Co, Ltd, a company focusing on research and development of innovative drugs, which he founded upon his return to China from the United States in 2002. In August 2011, Betta Pharmaceuticals launched icotinib (Conmana), the first targeted therapy developed in China for non-small cell lung cancer, which was a milestone for the Chinese anticancer industry. In 2012 and 2014, the World Intellectual Property Organization and the State Intellectual Property Office of China issued the Gold Award for Chinese Outstanding Patented Invention to icotinib for its 2 patent programs. Icotinib then won the first prize of the National Science and Technology Progress Awards in 2016, which was the first time that the chemical and pharmaceutical industry won the prize. In the same year, icotinib also won the China Industry Award, the top accolade of the industry sector. To date, icotinib has a total sales revenue of over ¥5 billion ($46 million USD) and has benefited more than 100,000 patients. Dr. Ding’s accomplishments in the Chinese pharmaceutical industry have won him numerous honors, such as distinguished expert of the All-China Federation of Returned Overseas Chinese, Deputy of the 12th National People’s Congress, key member of Chinese National Key Special Program of Innovative Drugs, and Chairman of the China Pharmaceutical Innovation and Research Development Association. Dr. Ding completed his resident training in pathology at University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences.
Prior to joining Xcovery, Dr. Mao was the Vice President and Head of the Johnson & Johnson China Lung Cancer Center. Before that, Dr. Mao served as a professor and Chair of the Department of Oncology and Diagnostic Sciences and as Associate Dean for Research at the University of Maryland, in Baltimore. Dr. Mao has also served as Leader of the Experimental Cancer Therapeutics Program at the University of Maryland Marlene and Stewart Greenebaum Comprehensive Cancer Center. Previously, Dr. Mao was a professor in the Department of Thoracic/Head & Neck Medical Oncology at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, in Houston, Texas, and he currently serves as an adjunct professor. Dr. Mao has played a critical role in a number of landmark multi-institution research programs and has authored and coauthored more than 200 peer-reviewed articles that have been cited more than 24,000 times.
Dr. Selvaggi held positions of increasing responsibility at various global pharmaceutical companies prior to joining Xcovery. Dr. Selvaggi joined the pharmaceutical industry in 2010 as Medical Director in the MAGE-A3 lung cancer vaccine program at GSK. He then played an instrumental role in the successful development and registration of ceritinib (Zykadia) in ALK-translocated non-small cell lung cancer at Novartis. Most recently, Dr. Selvaggi was a part of the immunotherapy team at Bristol-Myers Squibb, serving as a program lead in different thoracic malignancies, with a focus on small cell lung cancer. Dr. Selvaggi received his medical degree at the University of Torino School of Medicine, in Torino, Italy, in 1992 and served as staff physician of thoracic oncology at the University Hospital in Torino, participating in several clinical trials in lung cancer and mesothelioma over a span of 16 years.
Chris Liang, Ph.D., is a cofounder of Xcovery. He is a leading scientist in the design of protein kinase inhibitors who has authored more than 40 scientific publications and secured more than 50 patents. While serving as Director of Medicinal Chemistry at SUGEN, Dr. Liang codeveloped sunitinib malate (Sutent), an FDA-approved multikinase inhibitor for resistant gastrointestinal stromal tumors; advanced renal cell carcinoma; and advanced, progressive, well-differentiated pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors. SUGEN and Sutent were later acquired by Pfizer. Additionally, Dr. Liang served as Director of Medicinal Chemistry at Scripps Research Institute, Jupiter, Florida, before starting Xcovery. Dr. Liang’s research focuses on the design of protein kinase inhibitors by combining computational modeling, medicinal chemistry, and broad knowledge in other areas of drug discovery. His recent work has focused on the reduction with toxicity in existing multikinase inhibitors. Dr. Liang holds a Ph.D. in theoretical chemistry from Princeton University.
Xcovery representatives were in attendance at this year’s IASLC World Conference on Lung Cancer on 07-10 Sept 2019 and at ESMO this year on 27 Sep–01 Oct 2019, both held in Barcelona, Spain. Posters displayed during these conferences can be found in the ‘Our Research’ pages.
Ensartinib at the 2019 European Lung Cancer Conference (ELCC); April 10-13, 2019; Geneva, Switzerland
Dr. Horn and colleagues presented an abstract entitled “Circulating tumor (ct) DNA analysis to monitor response and resistance to ensartinib in patients (pts) with ALK+ non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).”
Wakelee H, Reckamp KL, Leal TA, Patel SP, Blumenschein G, Shum E, Nieva J, Oxnard G, Sanborn RE, Waqar S, Zeman K, Dukart G, Harrow K, Liang C, Holzhausen A, Horn L. Intracranial activity of ensartinib in patients with anaplastic lymphoma kinase positive (ALK+) non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Ann Oncol. 2018;29(suppl 8):viii541 [abstract 1496P].
You can find more information on this and other ensartinib trials on the ClinicalTrials.gov website.
IASLC 18th World Conference on Lung Cancer; October 15-18, 2017; Yokohama, Japan
Xcovery is presenting a poster entitled “First-Line Ensartinib (X396) Versus Crizotinib in Advanced ALK-Rearranged NSCLC (eXalt3): A Randomized, Open-Label, Phase 3 Study.”
Wu YL, Mok TS, Reck M, Wakelee HA, Liang C, Tan F, Harrow K, Oertel V, Dukart G, Ding L, Horn L
The overall study objective is to evaluate the efficacy and safety of ensartinib vs crizotinib in patients with ALK-positive NSCLC who have received ≤ 1 prior chemotherapy regimen and no prior ALK TKI. Ensartinib exhibited favorable effectiveness in in vitro and in vivo studies, including in mutations that are resistant or become resistant to crizotinib. The eXalt3 trial was initiated in June 2016, and > 42 sites have been activated. Xcovery is presenting updated preliminary data on the efficacy and safety of ensartinib.
IASLC 18th World Conference on Lung Cancer; October 15-18, 2017; Yokohama, Japan
Xcovery is giving a mini-oral presentation entitled “Response to Ensartinib in TKI Naïve ALK+ NSCLC Patients”
Heather A. Wakelee, Rachel E. Sanborn, Jorge Nieva, Saiama Naheed Waqar, Christina E. Brzezniak, Jessica Bauman, Joel W. Neal, Gary Dukart, Fenlai Tan, Kimberly Harrow, Chris Liang, Leora Horn
Ensartinib has shown clinical activity in patients harboring an ALK alteration, including EML4-ALK fusion or point mutations such as T1151M, G1269A, L1196M, G1202R, and V1149M. Xcovery is presenting preliminary results from the ongoing eXalt2 phase 2 study. Overall response rates in the ALK TKI-naive subpopulation is 92% in next-generation sequencing–confirmed patients with ALK-positive NSCLC.
Durable responses and clinically meaningful intracranial responses were observed. Ensartinib was generally well tolerated, with the most common AE, rash, being easily treated. Responses are also seen in patients treated with ≥ 1 second-generation ALK TKI and in patients with prior crizotinib treatment. eXalt3, a phase 3 trial, is ongoing, comparing ensartinib with crizotinib in patients with TKI-naive ALK-positive NSCLC.
2019 American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Annual Meeting; May 31-June 4, 2019; Chicago, IL.
The Xcovery team was present at the 2019 ASCO conference in Chicago, Illinois, and met with many of our study PI’s, potential partners, and other pharma industry professionals. We displayed our clinical pipeline on the Xcovery booth while our leadership team was available to discuss our investigational products. Overall, ASCO proved to be a successful engagement with the global oncology community and helped demonstrate Xcovery’s footprint in the expanding indication of targeted therapies.
If you were not able to attend ASCO but would like to reach out to us for questions or inquiries, please email us at or call our main line +1 561-835-9356 and we’ll gladly respond to you in a timely manner.