Cancer Advances is a company led by an experienced team with more than 100 years
of combined industry experience.

The Executive Team



Allen Cato, Chief Executive Officer and Chief Medical Officer

Allen Cato, Chief Executive Officer and Chief Medical OfficerAllen Cato, M.D., Ph.D. cofounded Cato Research and Cato BioVentures and has more than 40 years of experience in clinical study design, regulatory interactions, adverse drug reactions, and clinical research and new drug development. He has directed or participated in the development of more than 100 INDs and NDAs. Dr. Cato has published more than 100 papers, principally in the field of clinical pharmaceutical research, and he participates as a member of the board of directors for several pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies.



Lynda Sutton, President

Lynda Sutton, President and SecretaryLynda Sutton, B.S. currently serves as the President and Chief Regulatory Officer for Cato Research, and President for Cancer Advances. Ms. Sutton has 25 years of experience in the drug development industry, specializing in the development of regulatory strategies for drugs and biologics. She has coordinated activities in various disciplines and has been involved in the development of new clinical entities, has overseen the preparation of FDA pre-meeting submissions, and has ensured that regulatory requirements necessary for the approval and launch of new products have been satisfied. She has served as the primary regulatory contact for more than 100 Biotech and pharmaceutical companies over the last 19 years. In addition, Ms. Sutton has cofounded several small biotechnology companies and serves as a member of the board of directors for several companies. She has expertise in the development of biological products, with emphasis on gene therapy and blood products, and in the development of oncological, anti-infective, and neuropharmacological products.


Eric M. Nelson, Ph.D., Strategic Business Developer

Eric M. Nelson, Ph.D., Strategic Business DeveloperEric Nelson, Ph.D. currently serves as Strategic Business Developmer for Cancer Advances. Broadly experienced, R&D strategic partnerships business development professional. Background at Wyeth/Pfizer, Becton Dickinson, and Elan/Athena Neurosciences. Have closed on over 50 biotechnology drug development partnerships worth over $1B. As an entrepreneur have helped build 4 biotechnology companies in US and Europe from start-up through successful IPO or acquisition exits. Helped the NIH start its very successful rare diseases drug discovery program (2010-2013). Therapeutic areas of expertise are oncology, inflammation/musculoskeletal/pain, respiratory, neurology, genetic and Orphan diseases.


Allen (Jo) Cato, Ph.D., Senior Vice President of Drug Development

Jo Cato, Senior Vice President of Drug DevelopmentAllen (Jo) Cato, Ph.D. currently serves as Chief Operating Officer and Managing Director for Cato Research, and Senior Vice President of Drug Development for Cancer Advances. Dr. Cato has more than twenty years of experience in the development of new drugs in the pharmaceutical industry, with particular expertise in the areas of drug metabolism and pharmacokinetics. Prior to joining Cato Research early in 2000, Dr. Cato was employed as a clinical pharmacokineticist for more than two years at Ligand Pharmaceuticals, and for four years at Abbott Laboratories. While in pharmacy school, Dr. Cato spent a year at Burroughs Wellcome where he worked as a member of the data management team on the development of Zidovudine. Dr. Cato has been involved in the conduct and analysis of both nonclinical and clinical drug disposition studies, and has been responsible for coordination of the development and validation of several bioanalytical methods. He has experience with both small molecules and large oligonucleotides, and has contributed to the Human Pharmacokinetics Sections of seven NDAs.



Scientific Advisor



Jill P. Smith, M.D., Director of Clinical Gastroenterology and Oncology

Jill P. Smith, M.D.Jill P. Smith, M.D., Director of Clinical Gastroenterology and Oncology for Cato Research, is a clinician scientist who is Board certified in Gastroenterology. She is a leading researcher in the field of Pancreatology and former President of the American Pancreas Association. She is the recipient of the European Basic Science research award for pancreas research. Dr. Smith served as the Director of Clinical and Translational Research in NIDDK at the National Institutes of Health until January 2018. As an independent researcher she has expertise in bench to bedside translational research, and FDA regulation. In October 2013 she served as the Moderator of the FDA GREAT-2 conference on conducting clinical trials in gastrointestinal disorders. Currently she is Full Professor at Georgetown University in Washington DC in the Department of Medicine, Division of Gastroenterology & Hepatology.