Daniel J. O’Connor, Chief Executive Officer of Ambrx, brings over 24 years of executive experience and leadership in the biopharmaceutical industry. With a strong background in clinical drug development, establishing strategic partnerships and capital-raising transactions, he has played a pivotal role in driving the success of oncology-focused biotech companies.
Mr. O’Connor began his career helping build a then start-up CRO, PharmaNet, today one of the leading global CROs, Syneos Health where he gained significant experience operationalizing clinical trials. Mr. O’Connor, a lawyer by background, joined the ImClone legal team, eventually becoming the company’s senior vice president, general counsel, and corporate secretary. During his years at ImClone, Mr. O’Connor gained a strong appreciation for the utility of monoclonal antibodies to treat cancer and the importance of antibody engineering. This experience caused Mr. O’Connor to appreciate the potential of Ambrx as the pioneer engineering the expanded genetic code with the incorporation of synthetic amino acid into monoclonal antibodies at sites selected as the most stable points for cytotoxic payload conjugation.
Following his tenure at ImClone, Mr. O’Connor consecutively served as CEO of two immuno-oncology companies, Advaxis, Inc. and OncoSec Medical Incorporated, where he successfully progressed clinical trials, raised capital through financing and fostered productive strategic partnerships. In 2022, Mr. O’Connor co-founded Larkspur Health, which merged with ZyVersa Therapeutics and is also a founding member of the Board of Directors of Seelos Therapeutics. Mr. O’Connor previously served as a Trustee of the Board of Trustees for BioNJ and served as its Vice Chairman for several years.
Mr. O’Connor holds a law degree from Penn State University’s Dickinson School of Law, where he previously served as an advisor to its dean, and a B.A. from Boston University. Mr. O’Connor is a graduate of the United States Marine Corps Officer Candidate School, was deployed to Saudi Arabia for Operation Desert Shield and achieved the rank of Captain while serving in the U.S. Marines. Prior to his career in drug development, Mr. O’Connor worked as a criminal prosecutor in Somerset County, New Jersey.