Founder, Executive Chairman, and President
A Company Built on Love
How is it possible to grasp the magnitude of a father’s love for his daughter? Especially when that daughter is facing the steep challenges of a deadly disease? In this instance, love translated into action. And, with that action, a daughter’s life was saved—and cancer patients around the world had reason to feel greater hope and promise.
Neuroblastoma is a rare cancer of the nerve tissue, which most commonly affects infants and children under the age of five. For decades, neuroblastoma mortality rates remained very high. Then, in the 1980s, investigators at Memorial Sloan Kettering (MSK) began treating patients with a unique antibody called 3F8, which significantly improved survival rates. Based on this early success, the MSK research team continued to optimize the 3F8 antibody, resulting in the novel fully humanized GD2 antibody (now known as naxitamab), which entered into Phase I clinical trials in 2012.
Thomas Gad founded Y-mAbs Therapeutics in April 2014, inspired by his own daughter, whose high-risk neuroblastoma had been successfully treated with naxitamab and omburtmab, an antibody used to treat brain metastasis stemming from high-risk neuroblastoma, at MSK. He secured seed capital for inception of the company and spearheaded the organization’s focus on developing important medicines like naxitamab and omburtamab for pediatric cancers with high unmet medical needs. Shortly thereafter in 2015, MSK licensed naxitamab and omburtamab to Y-mAbs Therapeutics.
Today, Y-mAbs has achieved many significant milestones, including Breakthrough Therapy Designations granted by the FDA for naxitamab (for treating relapsed/refractory high-risk neuroblastoma) and omburtamab (for treating CNS Leptomeningeal metastasis arising from systemic high-risk neuroblastoma). Now, after a successful public offering last fall, Y-mAbs is focused on getting these two immunotherapies approved—both drug candidates are in pivotal Phase II trials—in order to make sure all children will have access to these important treatments. Further, the company is developing a growing pipeline of both naxitamab and omburtamab and other important pediatric cancer therapies where there currently is no standard of care.
“I’m a dad,” Thomas says. “I just did what a father is supposed to do for their child—you do everything you possibly can.”