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Clinical & Scientific Advisor (Former CSO)

Dr. Cance is a surgical oncologist and professor of Pharmacology and Toxicology at the University of Arizona, as well as the Chief Medical and Scientific Officer of the American Cancer Society. As an advisor on the project, he brings a wealth of knowledge and experience; he has studied FAK and its role in cancer since the 1990s. His lab was the first to clone the human gene for the protein and to demonstrate overexpression in invasive and metastatic tumors, and he is the principal investigator for a 25-year National Cancer Institute (NCI) grant focused on FAK. He holds eight patents and has participated in multiple entrepreneurial projects to bring his research advances to market. Dr. Cance received his medical degree and a BS in Zoology from Duke University. He completed a residency in general surgery at Barnes-Jewish Hospital/Washington University School of Medicine and a fellowship in surgical oncology at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.

William Cance


Medicinal Chemist & Peptide Drug Development Advisor

Dr. Sawyer has a long-standing scientific background developing peptide-based therapeutics (stapled peptides, macrocycles, peptidomimetics) for use in the clinic. Currently, Dr. Sawyer is Chief Drug Hunter & President of Maestro Therapeutics. He has over four decades of industrial drug discovery experience in both the pharmaceutical and biotech setting. He has made numerous significant contributions to the field, including ALRN-6924 (stapled peptide dual MDM2-MDMX antagonist currently under clinical investigation), Scenesse® (peptide superagonist of MCR1 for the treatment of the orphan skin disease known as erythropoietic protophyria and related indications), and Iclusig® (small-molecule inhibitor of Bcr-Abl kinase for the treatment of resistant forms of CML). Furthermore, he has contributed to over 600 publications, patents, and presentations, and has held several leadership positions at Merck Research Laboratories, Aileron Therapeutics, Pfizer, and ARIAD Pharmaceuticals.

Tomi Sawyer


Chief Scientific Officer

Dr. Babiker is a Medical Oncologist at the University of Arizona Cancer Center and Assistant Professor at the UA College of Medicine – Tucson.  He is also currently the Director of the Early Phase Clinical Trials Program at the University of Arizona Cancer Center (UACC) and in this role he oversees the Phase 1 team, conducts early phase clinical trials, and mentors junior faculty in early trials. His research interests are in new drug development generally (Early Phase Therapeutics and Phase 1 Trials) and in the treatment of pancreatic cancer and melanoma, specifically in the development of new biomarkers and targeted therapies. Dr. Babiker has been involved with over 120 Phase 1 oncology trials and will provide critical feedback/direction that will help advance FAKnostics’ clinical candidate towards IND approval.

Hani Babiker
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