Global leaders in oncology, biotech join CureSearch Industry Advisory Council

Industry leaders collaborate to accelerate the pace of pediatric drug development 

Bethesda, Md. – November 3, 2021– CureSearch for Children’s Cancer announced today the addition of five new members to its Industry Advisory Council (IAC), as well as the appointment of Jeffrey Skolnik, MD, as the new Council Chair. The IAC includes leaders from global pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, and clinical research organizations who champion CureSearch and pediatric cancer programs within the drug development industry. 

Jeffrey Skolnik, IAC Chair

“With the leadership of Dr. Jeffrey Skolnik, a proven champion of drug development for children with cancer, and the addition of five strong, globally-recognized leaders in pediatric oncology, CureSearch is proud to continue its mission of facilitating the advancement of drug development for children,” said Chris Riley, national director of corporate healthcare partnerships at CureSearch.  

“It is an incredible honor to Chair the CureSearch IAC. CureSearch is in a unique position to bring together leaders of pediatric oncology drug development, across all functions, in order to accomplish its goals of delivering innovative medicines to children with cancer. I look forward to leading this remarkable team, and working together with the outstanding leadership at CureSearch.” said Dr. Skolnik. 

IAC members are on the council for two years and are allowed to serve a maximum of three terms. New Council members who will begin their term this November are:  

  • Debbie Chirnomas, MD, Arvinas 
  • Ruchi Gupta, Genentech 
  • Geoffrey Kannan, PhD, MD, Labcorp Drug Development 
  • Katherine Minson, MD, Parexel  
  • Justin Wahlstrom, MD, AbbVie 

Dr. Skolnik, who has served as a member of the IAC for five years, is senior vice president of clinical development for Inovio Pharmaceuticals. He is a practicing pediatric hematologist-oncologist with experience in large pharmaceutical and small biotechnology companies. Dr. Skolnik also has experience in early and late-stage clinical development, and in developing oncology drug programs for children. 

Dr. Chirnomas is a pediatric hematologist/oncologist, with a specialty in stem cell transplant, and VP of oncology clinical research at Arvinas. She was previously VP of clinical development and medical affairs at Gamida Cell. Prior to joining Gamida Cell, Dr. Chirnomas worked at Pfizer and was part of the team that brought Mylotarg (gemtuzumab ozogamicin) through a successful ODAC to approval in the US and EU. 

Dr. Gupta has more than 11 years of regulatory experience within the pharmaceutical industry. She is currently the regulatory program director for Genentech and leads teams in developing, implementing and delivering cross-functional regulatory strategy for projects – adult and pediatric drug development – and filing licensure applications with label updates.  

Dr. Kannan, a pediatric neuro-oncologist, is the senior medical director and oncology team lead for the Americas at Labcorp Drug Development. He also serves as a medical monitor in a wide variety of industry sponsored trials, and is also responsible for the training and professional development of other oncology physicians at Labcorp.  

Dr. Minson is a board-certified pediatric hematologist-oncologist and medical director at Parexel, with experience in academic clinical research and preclinical drug development. She is a member of the phase I/rare tumor and hematology therapeutic area sections within the overall Hematology/Oncology franchise, and is actively involved in the Pediatric and Cell and Gene Therapy working groups.  

Dr. Wahlstrom, pediatric development lead for AbbVie oncology, is a physician trained in pediatric hematology/oncology and hematopoietic stem cell transplantation, and has led clinical development efforts in pediatric oncology across multiple assets since 2017. Prior to joining AbbVie in 2017, Dr. Wahlstrom was an assistant professor in the pediatric bone marrow transplant division at the University of California and led clinical trials in pediatric stem cell transplantation. 

“We’re honored to have such a variety of industry leaders join the CureSearch team, and look forward to collaborating and advancing pediatric drug development,” said Jared Brancazio, chair of the CureSearch Board of Directors and vice president of investments at Brancazio Wealth Management of Raymond James. 

CureSearch is a national nonprofit that works to accelerate the development of less-toxic, more effective pediatric cancer treatments by investing in large-scale grants that address areas of critical unmet need. IAC members review potential research projects, offering unique insight and guidance around the needs and potential pitfalls emerging treatments might face in the drug development process. 

To learn more about the IAC, visit  


About CureSearch for Children’s Cancer 
CureSearch for Children’s Cancer, a national nonprofit organization based in Bethesda, Md., works to end childhood cancer by driving targeted and innovative research with measurable results in an accelerated time frame. CureSearch focuses on advancing the strongest research out of the laboratory and into clinical trials and development, where better, less-toxic treatments can quickly help children. To learn more visit 

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