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Vienna, Austria, 6 March 2017 - Hookipa Biotech AG, a company pioneering a new class of immunotherapies for oncology and infectious diseases, today announces the appointment of Igor Matushansky, M.D., Ph.D. as Global Head, Research and Development. The appointment is effective from today.
Dr. Matushansky joins Hookipa from Daiichi Sankyo, where he was the Global Head of Translational Development for Oncology. He led Daiichi Sankyo’s international research unit focused on early oncology therapeutic programs, strategy and development, and was accountable for development activities from post-target identification basic science research to first-in-man trials and proof-of-clinical concept. Prior to that, Dr. Matushansky was at Novartis where he was Global Head for Clinical and Scientific Development at its Gene & Cell Therapy Unit as well as a Global Clinical Program Lead within Novartis’ Oncology Translational Medicine Unit.
Before being recruited to the pharmaceutical industry, Dr. Matushansky was a Professor at the Columbia University Medical Center where he ran an independent laboratory and clinic focusing on the molecular biology, translational opportunities and clinical trials in sarcomas. Currently he is an Adjunct Professor of Medical Oncology, Columbia University. He grew up in New York City where he received his undergraduate B.A. degree, summa cum laude, from Columbia University. He then went on to attend the Albert Einstein College of Medicine where he received his MD as well as a PhD in Molecular Biology. He performed his Internal Medicine residency at New York Presbyterian Hospital - Weill Cornell Medical Center and then completed a fellowship in Medical Oncology as well as a post-doctoral research fellowship in Cancer Biology at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.
Commenting on the appointment, Hookipa’s CEO, Mr. Joern Aldag said: “Dr. Matushansky’s valuable experience heading up R&D units at big pharma coupled with his significant immuno-oncology expertise will be transformative to Hookipa as we expand our Company from prophylactic to therapeutic immuno-oncology focused therapies. His impressive and extensive professional background makes him a perfect fit for our leadership team during an important time in our Company’s growth. I look forward to working together to achieve our goals and strategic priorities for 2017 and beyond.”
Dr. Matushansky said, “TheraT® has real potential both alone and in combination with other immune-modulators and/or targeted therapies to improve not only the current clinical outcomes but the quality of life for a wide array of cancer patients. It’s an exciting time to join the Hookipa team and I am very eager to share my experience in drug development to further its mission to help patients.”
About Hookipa Biotech
Hookipa Biotech is developing next-generation immunotherapies for infectious diseases and cancer using novel proprietary arenavirus vector platforms. To date, Hookipa has raised EUR 13.7 million in non-dilutive funds and EUR 37 million equity investment from internationally renowned venture capital investors including Sofinnova Partners, Forbion Capital Partners, Boehringer Ingelheim Venture Fund, Takeda Ventures and BioMedPartners. Additional information on Hookipa is available at www.hookipabiotech.com.
Hookipa’s Vaxwave® technology presents a completely new replication-defective viral vector platform designed to overcome the limitations of current technologies. In this vector the gene encoding the viral envelope protein, normally responsible for virus entry into target cells, has been deleted and replaced with a target gene “of interest.” The resulting vectors infect target cells and stimulate very potent and long-lasting immune responses, however they can no longer replicate and are therefore non-pathogenic and inherently safe. HB-101, a cytomegalovirus (CMV) prophylactic vaccine, is in a clinical phase 1 trial and has already shown to be both safe in humans and to elicit potent antibody and T cell responses. We are confident to establish HB-101 as the best-in class CMV development program.
Hookipa’s TheraT® platform is based on an attenuated replicating virus and is capable of eliciting the most potent T cell responses - a crucial step in treating patients with aggressive cancers. Significant pre-clinical data demonstrates that TheraT® is a powerful modality capable of turning “cold tumors hot” which should result in an additional layer of efficacy in the fight against solid tumors. Specifically, TheraT® has proven to be safe in animals as well as capable of eliciting > 50% antigen-specific T cell responses and strong tumor control in mice. The first clinical trial with HB-201 targeting human papilloma virus-induced head and neck cancer is currently being prepared. This immuno-oncology technology is further being leveraged to target tumor self-antigens or shared neoantigens.
Issued for and on behalf of Hookipa Biotech AG by Instinctif Partners.
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