Our Team

Western Oncolytics is led and advised by a distinguished group of company-builders and pioneers in the field of oncolytic viral immunotherapy

Leadership

Helena Chaye, Ph.D., J.D.
CEO

Helena has over 20 years of experience in biotechnology industry having held leadership positions in operations, corporate affairs, business development and IP management primarily in oncolytic virotherapy development. Most recently, Helena served as Chief Business Officer at SillaJen Biotherapeutics, Inc. where she managed all operations including corporate and business development strategies, R&D strategy and intellectual property. Prior to joining SillaJen, Helena was the VP of Corporate Affairs & IP at Jennerex Biotherapeutics where she held a variety of leadership positions including head of Op Tech where she oversaw first GMP production of Pexa-Vec (currently in Phase 3). Helena received her B.S. Biochemistry and her Ph.D. in Genetics from the University of British Columbia and her J.D. from Dalhousie University.

Stephen H. Thorne, Ph.D.
Chief Scientific Officer

Steve Thorne co-founded Western Oncolytics in 2014 and currently serves as Chief Scientific Officer. He is a leader in the field of oncolytic viral immunotherapy and previously co-founded Jennerex, which is currently advancing Pexa-Vec through late-stage clinical trials. Steve was previously a Professor of Cell Biology and Immunology at the University of Pittsburgh and received his B.A. from Oxford University, UK and Ph.D. from Imperial College of London. Steve has served in post doctorate roles at Surrey University, Cancer Research UK, and Stanford University and has authored more than 65 scientific publications in the field.

Board of Directors

Stephen H. Thorne, Ph.D.
Director

Steve Thorne co-founded Western Oncolytics in 2014 and currently serves as Chief Scientific Officer and acting CEO. He is a leader in the field of oncolytic viral immunotherapy and previously founded Jennerex, which is currently advancing Pexa-Vec through late-stage clinical trials. Steve was previously a Professor of Cell Biology and Immunology at the University of Pittsburgh and received his B.A. from Oxford University, UK and Ph.D. from Imperial College of London. Steve has served in post doctorate roles at Surrey University, Cancer Research UK, and Stanford University and has authored more than 65 scientific publications in the field.

Kurt Rote, M.B.A.
Director

Kurt Rote co-founded Western Oncolytics and led the company through technology licensing from the University of Pittsburgh, seed and Series A fundraising, and Western’s partnership with Pfizer for WO-12. Kurt previously served as Head of Product Development and Marketing at BiognoSYS AG and in Strategy and Business Development roles at Holcim US Inc. He holds an M.B.A. from the International Institute for Management Development in Switzerland and a B.S.E from Duke University.

Richard Jones, M.B.A.
Director

Rick Jones is a seasoned executive and serves on the board of several companies in addition to Western Oncolytics, including Pegasystems, Inc. and Colo5 LLC. He was a former President, COO, and Vice Chairman at Pegasystems. Rick has positions of Chief Executive Officer of Fleet Investment Services, Inc., Executive Vice President for FMR LLC, Principal at Booz Allen Hamilton, Inc., European Head at Hewitt Associates, Inc. and Member-Operating Committee at Barnett Banks, Inc. Rick holds an M.B.A. from Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and B.S. from Duke University.

Tom Leonard
Director

Tom Leonard is a serial entrepreneur with a successful track record of founding and leading companies in the tech space. In addition to Western Oncolytics, he serves on the boards of Caretta Data and DMEautomotive. Previously, Tom was COO and CIO of DMEautomotive. He has also co-founded and led several ventures including Clear Voice Research, Red Rocket Solutions, Encore Development, and TML Systems. Early in his career, Tom was a General Manager at Symantec and a Software Architect at Harris Corporation. He holds an M.S. and B.S. in Computer Sciences from Florida State University.