The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society has announced that Louis J. DeGennaro, PhD, has been appointed as President and Chief Executive Officer, effective immediately. “Dr. DeGennaro has tirelessly dedicated himself for almost a decade of service to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society mission and to the patients whom we all serve, and this appointment is in recognition of his vision, leadership, and commitment to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society mission,” said the Society’s Board of Directors Chairman James H. Davis, PhD. “The opportunity to defeat blood cancer has never been greater. Several innovative blood cancer treatments have been approved in the last 12 months, and the research pipeline of exciting new therapies continues to grow. Over the past 65 years, the [Leukemia & Lymphoma Society] has played a significant role in funding promising research from bench to bedside, investing more than $1 billion in blood cancer research to date. Our patient support and advocacy programs help ensure that patients have affordable access to the latest therapies. Under Dr. DeGennaro’s leadership [Leukemia & Lymphoma Society] will continue to advance our mission and help save the lives of blood cancer patients not someday, but today,” Dr. Davis added.
Executive Leadership Team
Dr. DeGennaro has served as Interim President and Chief Executive Officer of Leukemia & Lymphoma Society since February 2014 and leads the operations of this $300 million cancer patient advocacy agency with headquarters in White Plains, New York. A critical member of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society executive leadership team, he joined Leukemia & Lymphoma Society in 2005 and was named Chief Mission Officer in 2009, with responsibility for leadership of Leukemia & Lymphoma Society mission functions of research, patient access, education, public policy and advocacy. Dr. DeGennaro is recognized as the key architect of Leukemia & Lymphoma Society cures and access agenda to help save lives of blood cancer patients and the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society Therapy Acceleration Program—a venture philanthropy endeavor that defined the role of nonprofit organizations in supporting drug discovery and development with the biotechnology industry.
Dr. DeGennaro has more than 25 years of research, drug development and executive management experience in academic and private sector settings. He received his doctorate in biochemistry from the University of California at San Francisco and did his post-doctoral research at the Yale University School of Medicine. His previous academic appointments include research group leader, Max Planck Institute in Munich, Germany, where his laboratory was among the first to clone genes expressed exclusively in the nervous system; and Associate Professor of Neurology and Cell Biology, University of Massachusetts Medical School.
Dr. DeGennaro’s private-sector positions include: Senior Director of Molecular Genetics at Wyeth Pharmaceuticals, Princeton, where his department contributed to the development of pantoprazole (Protonix) to treat acid reflux disease, venlafaxine (Effexor) for anxiety and depression, and gemtuzumab (Mylotarg) for leukemia; Executive Vice President for Research and Development, SynX Pharma, Inc. in Toronto, Canada, where he was responsible for the development of a point-of-care diagnostic test for congestive heart failure; and research manager at Streck, Inc., Omaha, where he helped develop an FDA-cleared diagnostic test for AIDS/HIV.
Translational Sciences Advisory Council
Dr. DeGennaro was appointed by the U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services in 2012 to serve as a member of the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences Advisory Council, and the Cures Acceleration Network Review Board at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). He also serves on the boards of BioTheryX, Inc., an early-stage biotechnology company and the Health Research Alliance, an alliance of non-profit funders of research.
Dr. DeGennaro’s appointment follows a thorough national search conducted by Russell Reynolds considering both internal and external candidates. ■