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Anne Borgman: Transforming Oncology Through Innovation

Anne Borgman
Anne Borgman, M.D., Chief Medical Officer, Sutro Biopharma, Inc.

Innovation and Progress intersect in the growing world of healthcare, where leaders like Anne Borgman, M.D. sets an example shining with expertise and dedication. As Chief Medical Officer at Sutro Biopharma, Borgman represents the fusion of experience, visionary leadership, and steady commitment to enhancing patient outcomes, particularly in the field of oncology and drug development.

Borgman’s journey is marked by a rich array of roles and experiences within the healthcare industry, each contributing to her unique perspective and skill set. From her early days as a pediatric hematologist-oncologist to her current position at Sutro Biopharma, she has consistently shown a deep-seated passion for making a tangible impact on patients’ lives.

Drawing on her extensive expertise and relentless drive for innovation, Borgman navigates the complexities of healthcare with precision and purpose. Her ability to pioneer new therapies, address challenges, and inspire those around her underscores her status as a leader and innovator in the field.

Let’s delve into the remarkable journey of Anne Borgman, M.D. — a seasoned professional with a blend of experience, leadership, and compassion. Shaping the future of oncology treatment and setting new standards of excellence in healthcare!

Transforming Healthcare Dynamics

Anne Borgman, M.D begins by tracing her path from childhood aspirations to her current role. As a pediatric hematologist-oncologist, her passion for medicine was ignited at a young age, solidifying her determination to pursue a career in oncology. Reflecting on her journey, she recalls, “I knew I wanted to be a physician since age 7. I knew I wanted to work in oncology, in cancer.”

Borgman’s transition into the pharmaceutical industry commenced over two decades ago at Abbott Labs, where she embarked on a program tailored for physicians new to the sector. Initially planning a brief tenure to gain insights into clinical trials, she found herself captivated by the vast landscape of drug development. She shares, “I got to Abbott and realized after 2 years that there was a whole wide world out there of developing drugs and cancer. And I’ve never, ever looked back.”

During her tenure at Abbott, she immersed herself in diverse roles, including safety physician, laboratory researcher, and phase one unit director. These experiences honed her expertise across various facets of drug development, laying a robust foundation for her subsequent endeavors. She remarks, “I learned all the different aspects of drug development; job experience in those different roles set the foundation for my skill set that has served me in small companies and larger organizations.”

Relocating to California from the Midwest, Borgman continued to excel in leadership positions within the Bay Area’s pharmaceutical landscape, spearheading teams focused on oncology products and leading teams to numerous drug approvals. Her multifaceted journey eventually led her to Sutro Biopharma, where she recognized a synergistic alignment between her skill set and the company’s mission. Joining Sutro in Feb 2023, she is dedicated to advancing the lead program aimed at addressing platinum-resistant ovarian cancer.

Borgman’s story highlights her steadfast dedication to utilizing her knowledge for significant advancements in healthcare. As she pioneers the field of biomedical innovation, her journey stands as a witness to the crucial impact of pioneering women in driving progress across the healthcare spectrum.

Mission Alignment and Impact

When asked about the resonance between Sutro’s mission and her personal values, Borgman emphasizes the profound connection she feels to the company’s work. She reflects on the intersection of her role as a drug developer with her intrinsic desire to make a tangible difference in patients’ lives. She notes, “Having the opportunity to contribute to drug development and witness its impact firsthand makes our work at Sutro feel deeply personal. We’re dedicated to serving numerous patients, and each step we take resonates with a profound sense of purpose.”

Central to Sutro’s ethos is a commitment to understanding the patient journey, exemplified by initiatives such as engaging with advocacy groups like the Ovarian Cancer Research Alliance (OCRA) and Project Stella, an organization created to address the unmet needs of underserved pediatric malignancies. She recounts a poignant encounter with individuals affected by ovarian cancer, highlighting the urgent need for targeted therapies in combating this disease. She underscores the challenges faced by patients with ovarian cancer, often characterized by delayed detection and limited treatment options compared to other cancer types.

The introduction of a folate receptor alpha targeted agent by Sutro represents a significant breakthrough in addressing ovarian cancer, offering tailored treatment for a substantial portion of affected women. Borgman emphasizes the transformative potential of this therapy, which not only targets ovarian cancer but also holds promise for treating a rare subtype of leukemia in infants and very young children. She elucidates the collaborative efforts undertaken by Sutro to provide compassionate access to this drug for pediatric patients worldwide, underscoring the company’s commitment to effecting positive change on a global scale. Sutro’s dedication to patient well-being is demonstrated by the extensive collaboration and coordination involved in responding to treating physicians’ requests for luvelta, particularly for patients with this rare subtype of AML. Working closely with healthcare authorities across different regions, Sutro’s team endeavors to swiftly provide this drug through compassionate use programs, aiming to support these children and their families without delay. She further highlights the commitment, mentioning ongoing efforts like the pivotal trial for ovarian cancer and the upcoming registration-enabling pediatric trial scheduled to commence later this year.

Driving Dedication and Purpose

When asked about her passion and dedication to improving cancer treatment outcomes, Borgman delves into her role at Sutro and the intrinsic motivation that fuels her and her team. She emphasizes the significance of maintaining a clear vision within her team, rooted in the understanding that their work directly impacts patients’ lives. She acknowledges the privilege of working in a field where the meaningfulness of their contributions is evident daily, which serves as a powerful motivator for her team.

Borgman elaborates on her approach to navigating challenges while staying true to the mission of enhancing patient outcomes. She underscores the importance of efficiency and patient-centric decision-making in their endeavors, ensuring that every action is optimized to maximize benefits for patients while minimizing resource expenditure. This mindset extends to critical decisions, such as protocol adjustments, where the focus remains on providing the best possible care for each individual.

In her leadership role, Borgman leverages her extensive experience to empower her team and steer them past unnecessary obstacles. She emphasizes the need to nurture a culture of empowerment and guidance, enabling team members to excel in roles that align with their unique skill sets. She likens her role to that of a conductor in an orchestra, orchestrating the talents of her team members to harmonize in pursuit of a common goal.

Borgman’s insights illuminate the intricate balance between empowerment and guidance, essential for navigating the complexities of healthcare innovation while remaining steadfast in the pursuit of transformative change.

Balancing Clinical, Regulatory, and Strategic Aspects

Acknowledging the complexity of her role, which requires juggling clinical, regulatory, and strategic considerations, Borgman emphasizes the importance of having experts in each area on her team. Drawing from her years of experience and successful approvals, she underscores the importance of considering regulatory pathways, competition, and unmet needs in decision-making. She describes her approach to balancing these aspects as more of an art than a science, relying on her extensive experience and intuition developed over the years. She compares it to the intuitive sense of a seasoned designer, effortlessly synthesizing various factors based on expertise.

“After years of experience, you develop an intuitive sense of how to balance these aspects. You understand how it works through the lens of experience,” she explains. Borgman attributes her proficiency to the knowledge and insights gained from leading teams and tackling diverse challenges. She highlights the importance of accumulated knowledge and integrated thinking in effectively managing her role. Essentially, Borgman’s perspective emphasizes the dynamic interplay between clinical, regulatory, and strategic elements, underscoring the necessity of expertise and holistic thinking in navigating her responsibilities as Chief Medical Officer at Sutro Biopharma.

Incorporating Emerging Trends in Cancer Treatment

Borgman discusses the significance of personalized therapies and precision medicine in the evolving landscape of cancer treatment. She highlights the increasing importance of antibody drug conjugates (ADCs) as an impactful mechanism in cancer therapy, citing their ability to selectively target cancerous tissue while minimizing off-target effects associated with chemotherapy.

Borgman explains that Sutro Biopharma utilizes cell-free technology to efficiently construct ADCs, allowing for precise organization of payloads and enhancing their efficacy. This approach facilitates the development of uniform molecules capable of targeting tumors with varying levels of antigen expression. She emphasizes the potential of this strategy to broaden the reach of treatment, offering hope for patients with tumors expressing lower levels of antigens.

Shaping the Future of Cancer Treatment

Envisioning the future of cancer treatment, Borgman sees Sutro Biopharma as a trailblazer in the field. She highlights the company’s commitment to developing antibody drug conjugates (ADCs) capable of treating a wide range of cancers, including those with lower levels of antigen expression. She emphasizes Sutro’s iterative technology, which enables rapid testing of molecules in the preclinical phase to address potential adverse events, thus ensuring the safety and efficacy of their treatments.

In addition to addressing safety, the technology allows for rapid iteration to fine-tune or optimize efficacy for each specific combination of payload, target and tumor type.

Looking ahead, Borgman foresees Sutro remaining at the forefront of ADC development, continuing to lead the field in innovative approaches to cancer therapy.



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