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SHEPHERD is a biotechnology company relentlessly focused on developing novel therapeutic treatments for people diagnosed with rare, neglected cancers for which there are no targeted therapies.
SHEPHERD focuses on rare and ultra-rare cancers that affect women and children.
More than 1.7 million people are diagnosed with cancer every year in the United States alone. Approximately 42% of those are rare cancers. That’s 700,000+ people diagnosed with rare cancers every single year. Two-thirds of all cancer patients in the United States do not have a therapy approved for their disease. And rare cancer patients are even two and a half times less likely than that to have an approved therapy. Those numbers will continue to rise as we understand more about this relentless disease and the root mechanisms which drive it.
In less than eight months after receiving his cancer diagnosis, David Hysong leveraged his Harvard network and partnered with former Genzyme Senior Vice President Gene Williams to found SHEPHERD. What began as a rage to live and determination to save the life of a little girl and patients like her became a biotech company “by a cancer patient for cancer patients.” SHEPHERD has since brought on a team of scientists, investors, and pharmaceutical veterans who believe that given the technology, resources, and biological understanding we have as a society, we will solve the problems we decide to solve. No one should be left to die. Not at 6, nor at 27, nor at 45, nor at 68. We will not go down without a fight.
8 things to ask your doctor after a cancer diagnosis:
1. What stage is my cancer?
2. How many people have you treated with my type and stage of cancer?
3. What was their prognosis?
4. What is the current standard of treatment?
5. What additional treatment options are available?
6. What will the side effects be of my cancer treatment?
7. What ways can we mitigate the side effects?
8. What things can I do to support myself through this process, and what services are offered vs what should I seek out?
ABOUT OUR FOUNDER
Founder, Patient and CEO
“My bio is the same as every other rare cancer patient. I had a life plan. I was unexpectedly diagnosed. And now am not going down without a fight. I’m honored to have the SHEPHERD opportunity to fight not only for myself but for every rare cancer patient with no one else to fight for them. And I’ll keep fighting until every one of them lives.”
David Hysong had successfully completed US military special forces Officer Assessment and Selection in Coronado, CA, choosing to push on despite a very serious lung infection commonly called SIPE (Swimmer Induced Pulmonary Edema). He had already overcome a life-threatening accident while working as a volunteer undercover investigator against the sexual enslavement of children in Cambodia. After he was blindsided by a bus while sitting on a motorcycle, it took him two years to successfully rehabilitate his body. Despite a prognosis that he would be forever handicapped, David was one of 40 civilian men selected across the country to attend SOAS. Upon completion, he was advised by BUD/s medical staff to seek further evaluation and treatment by a specialist. What he found out: he had completed US military special forces selection not only with SIPE but also with an ultra-rare, deadly and untreatable form of cancer in his head and neck. He was 27 years old.
He was a third-year graduate student at Harvard University, a college coach, volunteer trainer, Harvard seminarian and mentor for every US military special forces candidate in New England. Once again, despite the advice of his doctors, he chose to continue all of these while undergoing treatment. He would not retreat, would not become a victim and would not back down. David finished treatment and entered a lifelong period of watch and wait. The cancer he had usually metastasized to a patient’s lungs or brain. At that point, without any approved treatments, patients died within 1-2 years. David would soon meet a 6-year-old blonde haired girl with ACC. And then a 30-year-old with a similarly rare form of cancer without any approved treatment. And then another. And another.
More than 14 million people are diagnosed with cancer every year. Almost 50% of those are rare cancers. That's 5.9 million people diagnosed every single year with rare cancers. By 2025 that number will reach more than 8 million people diagnosed. Every single year.
David combined the innovation, fearlessness, passion, determination and desire to save the lives of others, which had marked all of his previous endeavors, to found SHEPHERD with one goal in mind – that the neglected may live. David holds a B.A. in Economics, Philosophy and French Literature from Transylvania University, an M.A.L.A. in Intellectual History from St. John’s College, and an M.Div from Harvard University in Religion, Ethics & Politics.