David Hysong ’09 is an Unusual and Inspiring Biotech Founder
David Hysong ’09 is an exceptional and inspiring biotech founder. He was previously a Navy SEAL, undercover investigator against child slavery in Cambodia and an honoree on Forbes’ 30 Under 30 list.
Hysong was diagnosed with Adenoid Cystic Carcinoma while recovering from a bus crash during his time as an undercover investigator. This diagnosis spurred him to found a biotech company that seeks cures for rare cancers like his.
Early Life and Education
David Hysong ’09 has lived a life that could be featured in a James Bond movie. A recent inductee into Forbes’ 30 Under 30, he’s explored four continents on his motorcycle, had near-death experiences and now runs a biotech firm dedicated to discovering cures for rare cancers.
He holds a bachelor’s degree in economics, philosophy and French literature from Transylvania University; a master’s in intellectual history from St. John’s College; and an advanced diploma in divinity from Harvard Divinity School.
After being hit by a bus while investigating child slavery in Cambodia, he returned to the United States for medical treatment and joined an NGO fighting sexual slavery throughout Southeast Asia. He went on to study at Harvard and train as a Navy SEAL but was ultimately diagnosed with a rare form of head and neck cancer.
David Hysong ’09 is a self-described “boy’s boy covered in mud” who has traveled the back roads of four continents on his motorcycle, been hit by a bus going 60 mph and battled child slavery in Cambodia before being diagnosed with an uncommon form of cancer. Through it all he’s developed entrepreneurial skills, gained faith and put himself on the line for others. His journey has given him an inspiring outlook on life as well as given him strength, faith and a fierce determination.
Hysong had been training to become a Navy SEAL until he was diagnosed with Adenoid Cystic Carcinoma, a rare head and neck cancer that does not respond to chemotherapy. Instead of giving up, Hysong founded Shepherd Therapeutics – a biotech company dedicated to finding cures for rare cancers.
Achievements and Honors
Hysong’s life is one of grit and determination. He’s traversed four continents on his motorcycle, been hit by a bus, and spent time investigating child slavery in Cambodia.
After graduation, he worked 80-hour weeks at two jobs to pay off medical debt and student loans. However, with cancer treatment and graduate school on top of it, his schedule became overwhelming. That is when he prayed and decided to embark on what he calls an “impossible task”: founding a biotech start-up searching for cures to rare cancers like his.
He joined forces with an experienced biotech executive, Eugene Williams, to form Shepherd Therapeutics. This startup uses artificial intelligence and proprietary algorithms to detect rare cancers for which healing therapies are not yet available.
Hysong’s life is one of the most remarkable tales in modern American history. He was accepted to West Point, trained for the Navy’s elite SEALs, traveled around four continents on his motorcycle, got hit by a bus while riding dirt bikes, and ultimately managed to overcome an aggressive form of head and neck cancer.
Hysong founded Shepherd Therapeutics, a biotech company dedicated to finding cures for rare cancers. According to Hysong, the 250 types of “rare” cancers that make up 42% of all diagnoses represent an immense unmet medical need.
Hysong is the founder and CEO of Shepherd Therapeutics, a biotech company that seeks to develop cancer treatments for rare forms of the disease. Although rare cancers are the third leading cause of death in America and account for 42 percent of all diagnoses, only 38 therapies have been approved so far. This spurred Hysong to found his company; his low overhead policy will connect existing resources within the field while identifying promising research that can be developed into treatments.
Hysong draws upon his life experiences, entrepreneurial drive and fascination with science to launch Shepherd Therapeutics. He believes there are endless opportunities to save lives and make a positive difference in the world.