Denice Torres, Ball State alumna who earned her bachelor’s degree in psychology in 1981, was recently named a new board of directors member for Surface Oncology, a clinical stage immuno-oncology company in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Oncology is the study of tumors, and Surface Oncology’s goal is to develop next generation immunotherapies that target tumor microenvironments — the immediate areas around a tumor.
“I am thrilled to welcome Denice to the Surface board [of directors],” said Rob Ross, Surface Oncology CEO, in a July 8 press release. “She shares our commitment to bring transformational treatments to patients living with cancer.”
Torres said in the press release she is excited to join the team at Surface Oncology based on what it offers as a company.
“I’m excited about the tremendous potential of Surface to deliver novel therapies for people with cancer,” Torres said. “The company has a talented leadership team and super-engaged employee base that has become the basis for a best-in-class culture.”
In addition to being a board of directors member at Surface Oncology, Torres currently holds the same position at other pharmaceutical companies, including Resilience, Glaukos Corporation, bluebird bio and Karuna Therapeutics.
“Torres has an impressive resume of leadership in the pharmaceutical industry during a time of unprecedented advancements,” said Kemuel Badger, department chair for the Ball State Department of Biology, in a statement July 20.
Some of Torres’ previous notable tenures include her time in senior leadership roles with Johnson & Johnson and Eli Lilly and Company, two of the biggest pharmaceutical companies in the world.
Torres took over as president of McNeil Consumer Healthcare — a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson — in April 2011, nearly a year after the company faced heavy scrutiny for implementing massive recalls on products including Tylenol and other over-the-counter drugs, and helped turn the company’s reputation around, according to a Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association bio.
All these experiences combined have given Torres more than 25 years of executive leadership experience in the pharmaceutical industry.
“She is an insightful leader in biopharma, with significant experience in leading companies through critical growth periods,” Ross said.
Badger said Torres’ experience and pedigree not only set an example for those in the pharmaceutical industry, but also for Ball State students.
“Torres is a great example to our students about how their pursuit of intellectual curiosity at Ball State can lead them on a journey to a fulfilling career and a meaningful life,” Badger said.
Torres said in the press release she believes in Surface Oncology’s vision and looks forward to assisting the company’s efforts.
“From a clinical perspective, the early clinical data speak to the powerful promise of their approach,” Torres said. “I am thrilled to contribute to the success of the company’s mission and vision.”