About Us

Empowering Patients through Innovation, Together.

Making Lives Better

Vivacitas Oncology sprouted from a firm belief that science could improve the lives of those with challenging medical prognosis. Co-founded in 2015 by Infusion 51a Fund, and Dr Joseph Rubinfeld – an acclaimed lifetime biotech innovator – the company’s singular mission was to find tolerable solutions of care for patients challenged with the most aggressive of cancers and limited treatment options.

Formerly a co-founder of Amgen (NASDAQ: AMGN) and SuperGen, ‘Dr Joe’s’ ongoing passion for improving the comfort and quality of life of patients was always at the forefront of his scientific  inspiration, as it remains today in honor of his legacy.

Tackling the problematic discomfort associated with existing chemotherapies, the Vivacitas team developed an innovation platform charged with applying modified chemistries to existing compounds traditionally used in oncology.

Our chemical synthesis method

From a basis in the Camptotheca acuminata or “Happy Tree” plant, the next generation AR-67 molecule was derived. Vivacitas holds a proprietary chemical synthesis methodology, providing a level of independence from harvesting of seasonally variable plant-based raw materials and potentially fragile supply chains. The benefit of this is the potential for a more controlled, consistent, scalable and high quality product.

The novel lipophilic compound demonstrated improved tolerability in clinical studies of multiple solid tumor types and an improved efficacy signal in mid-stage studies of patients with recurrent glioblastoma. These findings led to Vivacitas gaining U.S. Orphan Drug Designation from the FDA for use in recurrent Glioblastoma Multiforme (reGBM).

An Enduring Life Spirit

Today, Vivacitas Oncology has grown to a powerful and unique team, united in our tenacity, vision and conviction to make lives better for those suffering from hard to treat cancers.

We are scientists, oncologists, biopharmaceutical experts, executives – and just plain devoted professionals committed to getting things done – hailing from multinational pharmaceuticals to venture-backed entities. Our expertise across multiple fields informs our holistic approach to cancer treatment.

The Vivacitas team continues developing next generation Camptothecin-based treatments, building our scientific arsenal against aggressive cancers. Our primary asset, AR-67 continues to lead the charge in our commitment to battle hard-to-treat tumors, while Rubitecan may offer a second or third line defense in the form of an oral Camptothecin.

Vivacitas’ balanced yet progressive ‘human-first’ approach to developing innovative biotechnological solutions for patients, caregivers, and physicians is helping us in the battle against cancer.

Executive Team

Mark Suseck

CEO &
Director

Scott VanderMeer, MBA

Interim CFO,
Director & Co-Founder

Tina Runk, MBA

EVP - Clinical Operations Director
& Co-Founder

Elise Brownell, PhD

EVP - Portfolio Management

Peter Seperack, PhD, JD

Executive Director Intellectual Property

Board of Directors

Chan Heng Fai

Chairman Emeritus
Alset International

Mark Suseck

CEO &
Director

Scott VanderMeer, MBA

Interim CFO,
Director & Co-Founder

Tina Runk, MBA

EVP -
Clinical Operations
Director
& Co-Founder

Jeff Stephens

Managing Director,
Infusion 51a
Director &
Co-Founder

Mamta Swaroop, MD

General Director, Infusion 51a
Founder, Sadanah Foundation
Director, Sadanah Trauma & Surgical Initiative

Frank D. Heuszel, JD

CEO Document Security Systems, Inc;
CEO American Pacific Bancorp

Medical & Scientific Advisors

Jai Grewal MD

NSPC Spine & Brain Surgery
Long Island, NY
Clinical Neuro-Oncologist
Executive Board Member American
Cancer Society

Andrew Lassman MD

Columbia University Irving Medical Center New York, NY John Harris Associate Professor of Neurology and Chief Neuro-Oncology, Columbia University Irving Medical Center

Katy Peters MD, PhD

Department of Neurology
Duke University School of Medicine Durham, NC
Associate Professor of Neurosurgery Director of Supportive Care

Michael Reardon MD

Dana-Farber Cancer
Institute: Harvard
School Boston, MA
Clinical Director,
Center for Neruo-Oncology

Volker Stieber MD

Novant Health Cancer Institute
Forsyth Medical Center
Winston-Salem, NC
Chair, IRB and Co-Chair, Neuro-Oncology Council

Gerard Blobe MD, PhD

Duke University School of Medicine
Durham, NC
Professor of Medicine
Associate Director,
Duke Cancer Institute

Erkut Borazanci MD, MS

HonorHealth Research Institute, University of Arizona College of Medicine
Scottsdale, AZ
Medical Oncology/Clinical Investigator
Clinical Assistant Professor, Internal Medicine

Next Generation Technology, Patient-First Focus

When it comes to the comfort of our patients, results matter. The initial preclinical and clinical evidence of chemical stability and reduced toxicity provided by our unique, patented technology continues to exhibit a viable solution for extended oncological treatment.

With our Phase II clinical data in recurrent glioblastoma (reGBM) patients, AR-67 has already demonstrated a high potential for improvement in progression-free survival in glioblastoma patients (6-29 months), while reducing severe side effects usually associated with this drug class (e.g., grades 3-4 diarrhea).

These results may represent an opportunity to provide the medical community with a new solution to treat those patients with challenging prognoses and limited treatment options.

Pipeline

Our team is focused on advancing the AR-67 Phase II clinical program in recurrent glioblastoma and other cancers to evaluate efficacy and tolerability compared to the current standards of care. 

Share our passion for innovation? Partner with Us.

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References

1. Novel silatecan displays high lipophilicity, improved blood stability and potent
anticancer activity. Bom D, et al J Med Chem 2000; 43:3970-3980

2. Silatecan DB-67 is a novel DNA Topo-1 targeted radiation sensitizer: Chen AY. Mol
Cancer Ther 2005; 4(2): 317-24.

3. Phase I study publication: Arnold SM, et al. Clin Cancer Res. 2010;6:673-680

4. Phase II study publication (abstract): Kumthekar P, et al. SNO 2019. Poster ACTR-40,
published in Neuro-Oncology(https://academic.oup.com/neuro-oncology)

5. Ubiquitin-dependent Destruction of Topoisomerase I Is
Stimulated by the Antitumor Drug Camptothecin*, Desai et al. The Journal of Biological Chemistry, Vol. 272, No. 39, Issue of September 26, pp. 24159–24164, 1997.  https://www.jbc.org

6. Metabolic Pathways of the Camptothecin Analog AR-67, Horn et al. Drug Metabolism and Disposition, Vol. 39, No. 4, 37390/3672838, 2011. https://dmd.aspetjournals.org