Immune-Onc Therapeutics Appoints Two New Members to its Board of Directors

Austin L. Gurney, Ph.D. and Barbara J. Klencke, M.D. bring deep expertise in oncology drug discovery and development

Immune-Onc Therapeutics, Inc. (“Immune-Onc”), a private, clinical-stage cancer immunotherapy company developing novel biotherapeutics targeting myeloid checkpoints, today announced the appointments of Austin L. Gurney, Ph.D. and Barbara J. Klencke, M.D. to the company’s board of directors.

"We are excited and honored to welcome two well-known and respected biopharmaceutical leaders to our Board of Directors, joining us in our mission to develop novel myeloid checkpoint inhibitors for cancer patients,” said Charlene Liao, Ph.D., founder, chief executive officer and chair of Immune-Onc. "Austin and Barbara have a deep understanding of the discovery and development process for breakthrough cancer therapies, experience that both complements and expands the expertise of our Board. Our company and patients will benefit from their R&D leadership and perspectives."

“Immune-Onc’s pioneering role in developing myeloid checkpoint inhibitors as next generation immunotherapies has impressed me,” said Dr. Gurney. “I am excited to work with the team to advance its growing portfolio of first-in-class and potentially best-in-class molecules through research and development, and ultimately to patients.”

“Immune-Onc’s pipeline of novel myeloid checkpoint inhibitors represents a new and promising therapeutic approach for the treatment of solid tumors and hematologic malignancies,” said Dr. Klencke. “It is a privilege to join the Board and I look forward to working with the leadership team to help progress the clinical development of this exciting new class of immunotherapy.”

Austin Gurney, Ph.D. is a biotech industry veteran with over two decades of experience in the discovery and development of novel therapeutics. He was chief scientific officer, senior vice president of research at OncoMed Pharmaceuticals where he held various management roles of increasing responsibility between 2004 and 2017. During this time, he and his teams discovered and developed five first-in-class therapeutic agents. Prior to OncoMed, Austin worked at Genentech where his research led to the discovery of several growth factors and cytokines. He has authored or co-authored more than 60 published scientific papers and is listed as an inventor on over 600 patents related to therapeutic applications in immunology and cancer. Austin received his Ph.D. in biology from Case Western Reserve University.

Barbara J. Klencke, M.D. is a world-class drug developer and research & development expert, having made significant contributions to the oncology community with the development and approval of several first-in-class therapies. Since 2015, she has served as the chief medical officer of Sierra Oncology Inc., a publicly traded clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company recently acquired by GSK in 2022. From 2011 to 2015, Barbara served as senior vice president of global development at Onyx Pharmaceuticals, acquired by Amgen Inc. in 2013. She also led a variety of both early- and late-stage oncology programs while at Genentech, Inc. from 2003 to 2011.

Barbara received her M.D. from the University of California, Davis (UC Davis) and completed her internal medicine residency and hematology/oncology fellowship at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) and remained at UCSF as an assistant professor of medicine in oncology focusing on clinical research from 1995 – 2002.


Immune-Onc Therapeutics Inc. (“Immune-Onc”) is a private, clinical-stage cancer immunotherapy company dedicated to the discovery and development of novel myeloid checkpoint inhibitors for cancer patients. The company aims to translate unique scientific insights in myeloid cell biology and immune inhibitory receptors to discover and develop first-in-class biotherapeutics that inhibit immune suppression in the tumor microenvironment.

Immune-Onc has a differentiated pipeline with a current focus on targeting the Leukocyte Immunoglobulin-Like Receptor subfamily B (LILRB) of myeloid checkpoints. Immune-Onc’s focused platform approach has led to the development of several promising therapeutics across various stages of development. Those include IO-108, an antagonist antibody targeting LILRB2 (also known as ILT4), in Phase 1 clinical development for solid tumors and IO-202, a first-in-class antagonist antibody targeting LILRB4 (also known as ILT3), in Phase 1 clinical development for the treatment of acute myeloid leukemia (AML), chronic myelomonocytic leukemia (CMML), and solid tumors. Additional assets in Immune-Onc’s pipeline include IO-106 (first-in-class antagonist antibody targeting LAIR1), IO-312 (bi-specific antibody targeting LILRB4), and multiple undisclosed programs for solid tumors and hematologic malignancies.

Immune-Onc has established agreements with leading biopharmaceutical companies, including BeiGene and Regeneron, to support its global product development plans for IO-108 and IO-202. It has received research grants from the National Cancer Institute (NCI) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) and investment from The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society Therapy Acceleration Program® (LLS TAP®). Headquartered in Palo Alto, California, Immune-Onc has assembled a diverse team with deep expertise in drug development and proven track records of success at leading biopharmaceutical companies. For more information, please visit and follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn.

"We are excited and honored to welcome Austin L. Gurney, Ph.D. and Barbara J. Klencke, M.D., two well-known and respected biopharmaceutical leaders, to our Board of Directors,” said Charlene Liao, Ph.D., Founder, CEO and Board Chair.


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