For this edition of The OncoZine Brief, Peter Hofland and Sonia Portillo sat down with Jonathan E. Lim, M.D. co-founder of IGNYTA, and its President and Chief Executive Officer since July 2012.

Lim is the Founder and Managing Partner at City Hill Ventures, a company he founded in 2010. He is also a Co-Founder of Bonti, Eclipse Therapeutics and served as the Chief Executive Officer and President of Halozyme Therapeutics from 2003 to 3, 2010 and its Executive Director from 2003 to 2010.

Lim was a recipient of a National Institutes of Health Postdoctoral Fellowship, during which time he conducted clinical outcomes research at Harvard Medical School. His prior experience also includes two years of clinical training/ residency in general surgery at the New York Hospital-Cornell Medical Center and Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center; Founding Editor-in-Chief of the McGill Journal of Medicine; and basic science and clinical research at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies and Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary. Lim has published articles in leading peer-reviewed medical journals such as the Annals of Surgery and the Journal of Refractive Surgery. He earned a B.S., with honors and M.S. in Molecular Biology from Stanford University, his M.D. degree from McGill University and his M.P.H. degree in Health Care Management from Harvard University.

As the co-founder of Ignyta, Lim focuses on the mission of developing precision medicines that can eventually eradicate residual disease in certain, well-defined, cancer populations.

This interview with Lim took place at during the 2017 Annual Meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) which took place June 2nd to the 5th in Chicago, Illinois. During our interview, Lim talked about some of the exciting data presented at ASCO, including the development of novel treatments that target gene fusions that drive tumor growth. These new approaches are focused on molecular targets rather than tumor histology, and they are changing the way we look at cancer treatment for a range of patients with unmet medical needs.

Among the drugs being developed by researchers at Ignyta is entrectinib, a drug that is designed to target precise causes of certain cancer types that are caused by multiple gene rearrangements or “fusions”, all with one single therapy.

During our interview, Lim explained that the company is running their clinical trials quite differently – in a form of a so-called “basket trial.” This means that they focus on a specific cancer cause regardless of the location or type of cancer.

And finally, Lim explained why for certain well-defined patient populations, attacking the genomic cause of disease may not only have the potential to shrink tumors, but to eradicate relapse and recurrence altogether.