Jack Photo Interview

Get to know our Chief Medical Officer – Jack Welch


Oncorena is undergoing a first-in-human phase 1/2 clinical trial for ONC-175, and at the bow is Jack Welch, Chief Medical Officer (CMO), overseeing operations. With a longstanding career within oncology research, Jack looks forward to being a part of the potential breakthrough of ONC-175 as a treatment for patients with metastatic renal cancer.

Apart from advancing on medical aspects of strategy for product development on ONC-175, Jack’s work mostly concerns the ongoing first-in-human phase 1/2 clinical trial.

- The first part of the current clinical trial is designed to find the optimal dose to give patients. I’m looking forward to identifying that dose and then seeing responses in patients in terms of tumor shrinkage or disappearance. So far, the initial trial is going better than we could have hoped. The global interest has been high, and we have been able to maintain a steady influx of patients to the trial.

With an undergraduate degree in biology Jack went on to doctoral studies in molecular pharmacology at Roswell Park Cancer Institute, including a fellowship in Pediatric Hematology/Oncology at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, and laboratory research at the Abramson Cancer Center.

Oncology studies has clearly embossed Jack’s educational and professional career. Before coming to Oncorena, he spent ten years as a senior investigator at the US National Cancer Institute (NCI) in both the Cancer Therapy Evaluation Program (CTEP) and the Center for Global Health (CGH), managing international projects, trials, and research collaborations. Before NCI, he worked at the European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC), as a senior clinical research physician. Jack is currently employed by Theradex Oncology and functions as Oncorena’s Chief Medical Officer.

- For over two decades I have been involved operationally in clinical trials, so I know what’s practical and efficient. Having worked both in the US and Europe has given me a wide network including a good understanding of regulatory and administrative processes particular to each region.

It was the potential unique possibilities of ONC-175 that lead Jack to Oncorena.

- Most drugs are variations on existing drugs or target known pathways, but ONC-175 is the only drug in its class, so this is a chance to break new ground. Existing medical therapies for advanced renal cancer are generally not curative. There’s good reason to think that ONC-175 could be a breakthrough, delivering some real benefit to these patients.

The phase 1/2 trail will serve as proof-of-concept for Oncorena’s research. Furthermore, a strategy has been made for how Oncorena is to navigate successive clinical trials to generate the evidence required by regulatory bodies to bring ONC-175 to market.