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Frank McCormick, Ph.D.

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Founder, Onyx

Dr. McCormick is a molecular biologist and nationally recognized research scientist in cancer biology. He currently serves as director of the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center. He has been the David A. Wood Chair of Tumor Biology and Cancer Research in the department of microbiology and immunology at the University of California, San Francisco and an associate dean of the UCSF School of Medicine since 1997. He is also a member of the UCSF Biomedical Sciences Program and the Herbert Boyer Program in Biological Sciences. Since 1998, Prof. McCormick has served as director of the UCSF Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Prof. McCormick is a distinguished cancer researcher focused on signal transduction pathways in cancer cells, and ways of treating cancer based on these pathways. He is an expert on tumor suppressor genes and the ras pathway.

Prof. McCormick founded Onyx Pharmaceuticals in 1992 and served as the Chief Scientific Officer from 1992 to 1996. He served as Vice President of Therapeutic Research at Chiron Corporation from 1991 to 1992. Prof. McCormick was a Vice President of Discovery Research at Cetus Oncology Corporation from 1981 to 1990, Director of Molecular Biology from 1981 to 1990, and Vice President of Research from 1990 to 1991. He served a variety of senior scientist positions at several biotechnology companies and hospitals, such as Onyx Pharmaceuticals Inc., Exelixis Inc., the Jackson Laboratory, the National Cancer Institute, and Massachusetts General Hospital, Lawrence where he has been the Senior Advisor of Research and Development since 2003.

Dr. McCormick served as the President of the Board of Director’s of American Association for Cancer Research and has served several vital roles on the scientific advisory boards of the following companies: NexGenix Pharmaceuticals Holdings, Inc., Aglaia Biomedical Ventures B.V., OncoCyte Corporation, Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, Inc., Jennerex Biotherapeutics, ORCA Therapeutics B.V., Aduro BioTech, Inc., Dicerna Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Fluidigm Corporation, Iconix Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Iconix Biosciences, Inc., Sagres Discovery, Inc., KineMatik Limited, BiPar Sciences, Inc., and Portola Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

He is a Co-Founder of DNAtriX, Inc. and currently serves as its Director. Prof. McCormick has been a Director of Exelixis Inc. since July 31, 2003 and serves as a member of its Scientific Advisory Board. Prof. McCormick has served as the Director of American Association for Cancer Research since 2008.

In 2002 Prof. McCormick received the prestigious 42nd AACR G.H.A. Clowes Memorial Award for his seminal contribution to studies of the structure and function of oncogenes, which has led to a myriad of novel therapeutic approaches. Prof. McCormick has authored more than 260 scientific publications, edited five books, and holds 21 patents. He has received numerous awards in recognition of his contributions to the field of cancer research. Prof. McCormick serves on the Editorial Board of some of the most prestigious international cancer publications and serves as a board member or advisor to multiple cancer research organizations.


Prof. McCormick was a postdoctoral fellow with Dr. Allen Smith at the Imperial Cancer Research Fund in London, England, and with Professor Seymour S. Cohen at the State University of New York, Stony Brook. Prof. McCormick received his Ph.D. in biochemistry from the University of Cambridge, England in 1975 and his B.S. in biochemistry from the University of Birmingham, England in 1972.