Management Team

Ming Wang, PhD, MBA
Ming Wang, PhD, MBA
President and CEO

Dr. Ming Wang is Founder, President and CEO of Phanes Therapeutics, Inc. based in San Diego. The company focuses on drug discovery and development to treat cancer and metabolic complications. Ming was formerly Vice President and Disease Area Leader of Diabetes/Metabolism in Janssen, the pharmaceutical sector of Johnson & Johnson, with global responsibility for the diabetes portfolio (from discovery stage to phase 2). In this role, he was responsible for setting strategies for internal innovation and external partnerships, making investment decisions and building a portfolio of assets for disease treatment and prevention. Under his leadership, J&J built a strong pipeline of metabolic assets ranging from discovery stage programs to clinical assets. During his tenure at J&J, Ming’s team built many external partnerships with biotech companies and academic institutions. Ming was also the champion in formulating a strategy for NASH (non-alcoholic steatohepatitis) and other metabolic disease areas for the group. Previously, Ming was Executive Director and Head of Diabetes Research at Amgen where he headed a group of ~50 scientists located in Amgen’s headquarter (Thousand Oaks) and San Francisco, working on developing novel therapies for metabolic diseases. Before joining Amgen, Ming championed drug discovery programs in cardiovascular and metabolic diseases and managed corporate partnerships in Parke-Davis, Pfizer and Pharmacia.

Ming served on multiple advisory boards, including the Scientific Advisory Board (SAB) of Amgen Ventures. He is a frequent organizer and speaker of biotech and pharma conferences and has 59 publications and a book entitled “Metabolic Syndrome: underlying mechanisms and drug therapies” (publisher: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.). He is an Associate Editor of Frontiers in Experimental Pharmacology and Drug Discovery. He holds a PhD in Biochemistry and a MBA in General Management.

Hui Zou, PhD
Hui Zou, PhD
Chief Scientific Officer (CSO)

Dr. Hui Zou is an experienced and accomplished oncologist in both academia of biological research and industry of drug development. Before joining the industry, Hui was a tenured Associate Professor of the Department of Molecular Biology at UT Southwestern Medical Center. He was awarded American Cancer Society Research Scholar and Kenneth G. and Elaine A. Langone Scholar of Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation. His work was supported by NIH R01 and other private and public foundations. Before joining UT Southwestern Medical Center, Hui was a postdoctoral fellow in the laboratory of Marc W. Kirschner at Harvard Medical School. He was a fellow of Jane Coffin Childs Memorial Fund for Medical Research. As a graduate student, postdoctoral fellow and independent PI, Hui made important discoveries in the mechanism of sister chromatid recombination, cohesion and separation during mitosis. His discoveries generated many important publications, including 4 manuscripts published in Science or Cell as first or corresponding author.
Hui joined the industry in 2012 to translate his scientific expertise into biomedical drug discovery and development. Hui joined Phanes in 2017 and currently is the Chief Scientific Officer (CSO) and Executive VP. As the Head of R&D, Hui oversees the drug discovery and the process development teams. As his first position in the industry, Hui became Senior Director at Crown Biosciences in 2012. He led a team of 20 biologists and chemists in two integrated service projects contracted by Eli Lilly. Both projects leveraged novel cell cycle regulators to treat cancers, one of which has been advanced by Lilly into clinical development.
Hui holds a PhD degree of genetics and development from Columbia University.

Harold M. Wright, PhD
Harold M. Wright, PhD
Senior VP of Clinical and Corporate Operations

Harold M. Wright, PhD, serves as Senior Vice President of Clinical and Corporate Operations at Phanes Therapeutics. Dr. Wright leads clinical development functions at Phanes, working with our Research and Process Development teams to advance Phanes’ lead molecules into the clinic. He is also responsible for general operations in the company.

Dr. Wright is a seasoned industry veteran with broad and in-depth experience in drug discovery, preclinical and clinical development/operations. Prior to joining Phanes, he served as Vice President Translational Medicine at Travere Therapeutics. There he led a cross-functional team responsible for the late-stage clinical development of sparsentan for two rare kidney diseases, Focal Segmental Glomerulosclerosis and IgA Nephropathy.  Dr Wright has spent nearly 20 years in the pharmaceutical/biotechnology industry holding leadership positions of increasing responsibility at Janssen/J&J, Forest Laboratories/Allergan, CytRx Corp., and Bayer Pharmaceuticals.

Dr. Wright earned his B.S. in Biology from Rhodes College and PhD in Pharmacology from the University of Tennessee. He completed his Post-Doctoral Fellowship at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Harvard Medical School.

Paul Chu, MBA
Paul Chu, MBA
Vice President of Business Development

Paul Chu, MBA, serves as Vice President of Business Development at Phanes Therapeutics. Paul leads business development at Phanes, working with the Management Team to execute on the company’s partnering and strategic initiatives.

Paul is an experienced life science executive with over 10 years of experience in the industry.  He has held senior leadership roles in both small biotech companies and large multi-national corporations. Paul has experience in deal-making across international geographies and therapeutic areas and has closed deals valued at over $6 billion with a portfolio that spans across oncology, eyecare, neuroscience, and medical aesthetics.  Prior to joining Phanes Paul was Vice President of Business Development at HUYABIO International where he in-licensed two oncology assets, a Wee1 inhibitor and a KRASG12C inhibitor, for development in solid tumors.  Prior to HUYABIO Paul held similar roles at AiViva BioPharma, a privately held pharmaceutical company, and UroGen Pharma, a public company traded on NASDAQ.  Earlier in his career Paul was Director of Business Development at Allergan, Inc. where he spearheaded multiple M&A transactions.

Paul holds an MBA from the University of Southern California’s Marshall School of Business and a BA in Finance and Business Administration from California State University, Fullerton.

Ramzi Melhem, MD
Ramzi Melhem, MD
Medical Director, Oncology Clinical Development

Dr. Ramzi Melhem, MD serves as Medical Director, Oncology at Phanes Therapeutics. Dr. Melhem supports clinical development functions at Phanes, working with our Research and Process Development teams to advance Phanes’ lead molecules into Phase I studies. He serves as medical monitor for Phanes clinical studies and manages relationships with our clinical investigators/sites.

Dr. Melhem has broad and in-depth experience in clinical development and operations , from early phase to expansive  global studies. Prior to joining Phanes, he served as Medical Director at Senseibio. There he led the clinical development of  an immunophage, first of its kind cancer vaccine, and the immuno-oncology clinical group .   He has spent more than 10  years in the pharmaceutical/biotechnology industry holding leadership positions of increasing responsibility at CROs managing several sponsor studies and investigative sites.

Dr. Melhem earned his B.S. in Biology and Doctorate of Medicine MD from the American University of Beirut. He completed his Post-Doctoral Fellowship at the University of California, Davis.

Kimberley A. Simonds, MT (ASCP)
Kimberley A. Simonds, MT (ASCP)
Director, Project Management

Kimberley A. Simonds, MT (ASCP) serves as Director of Project Management at Phanes Therapeutics. Kimberley leads clinical project management activities for Phanes’ early development programs.  Prior to joining Phanes, she served as the Director of Program Management at Mirati Therapeutics.  There she led cross-functional clinical teams and managed relationships with collaborative partners for the KRASG12C program.  Kimberley has over 19 years in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries.

Kimberley earned her bachelor’s degree in clinical laboratory science and is licensed in the State of California.

John Jia, PhD
John Jia, PhD
Sr Director, Research

John Jia serves as Sr Director of Research at Phanes. He worked on monoclonal antibodies, bispecific antibodies, and 3-D modeling of antibodies in Gensun Biopharma Inc.. Prior to that, he worked at California Institute for Biomedical Research (Calibr), focusing on therapeutic antibody discovery and engineering, hybridoma and single-cell sorting technologies, phage panning, and preclinical studies. He has deep knowledge of antibody library display designs for antibody affinity maturation. John also worked at the Scripps Research Institute on B cell lineage biology, especially immunoglobulin gene recombination and B cell immune response.