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2018 Featured Talks » Robert MacLeod



Inhibition of Difficult to Drug Tumor Cell and Immuno-Oncology targets with Next Generation Antisense Inhibitors


Robert MacLeod, PhD
Ionis Pharmaceuticals






Robert MacLeod, PhD
Vice President Oncology Discovery
Ionis Pharmaceuticals


Dr. MacLeod is currently the Vice President of Oncology and ExploratoryDiscovery at Ionis Pharmaceuticals, a biotechnology company focused on RNA targeting therapeutics. In this capacity Dr. MacLeod is responsible for and actively involved in the discovery and preclinical development of antisense drug candidates in the several therapeutic areas including, oncology, thrombosis, inflammatory and muscle diseases. Prior to joining Isis Pharmaceuticals Dr. MacLeod held positions at Takeda Pharmaceuticals and MethylGene Inc., where he directed the efforts of multidisciplinary drug discovery teams that discovered numerous novel experimental therapeutics. Dr. MacLeod obtained his undergraduate degree in Chemistry and Biochemistry from Concordia University in Montreal and his doctoral degree from McGill University. As part of his Ph.D studies, Dr. MacLeod employed antisense strategies to demonstrate that the DNA Methyltransferase enzymes were bona fide cancer targets. In Dr. MacLeod’s Post Doctoral work at Isis Pharmaceuticals I explored novel terminating mechanisms for antisense drugs.

Dr. MacLeod gained his initial experience in antisense technology as a Post-Doctoral fellow at Ionis Pharmaceuticals under the supervision of Dr. Stanley T. Crooke (Chairman and CEO of Ionis). In this capacity he contributed to the identification of novel, non-RNase H terminating mechanisms for antisense drugs. Since returning to Ionis in 2008, Dr. MacLeod has been actively involved in the discovery and preclinical development of antisense drug candidates in the several therapeutic areas including, oncology, thrombosis, inflammatory and muscle diseases. These include the clinical stage compounds, FXIRX (now partnered with Bayer) for the treatment of thrombosis, DMPKRX for myotonic dystrophy (now partnered with Biogen) and the PKKRX for angioedema. Under his direction the oncology team identified and advanced into clinical development the first two Generation 2.5 cEt ASOs STAT3RX (now AZD9150) and ARRX (now AZD5312), where robust single agent antitumor responses were demonstrated with STAT3RX in several tumor types, ultimately leading to the creation of a broad strategic collaboration between Isis and AstraZeneca focused on discovery and development of antisense drugs for the treatment of cancer.