San Carlos, CA May 12, 2014 - Cellerant Therapeutics Inc., a biotechnology company developing novel hematopoietic stem cell-based cellular and antibody therapies for blood disorders and cancer, announced that it has strengthened its senior management team with the appointments of Timothy Fong, Ph.D., as Vice President of Cellular Technologies and Jagath Reddy Junutula, Ph.D., as Vice President of Antibody Discovery & Development.
Dr. Fong brings more than 20 years of drug development experience and has led research and development groups in cell and gene therapies, bio-active peptides and recombinant proteins from discovery research to early human clinical trials in oncology and autoimmune and inflammatory diseases. Dr. Fong most recently served as Vice President of Technology & Product Development at Progenitor Cell Therapy, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Neostem. Previously, he was Director of Cell Therapy Research at Becton, Dickinson & Company, where he was responsible for the development of antibody reagents for cGMP cell isolation and Becton Dickinson's cell therapy initiative to develop a T-regulatory cell product for treatment of graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) and autoimmune diseases. Prior to joining Becton Dickinson, Dr. Fong was at Cellerant and is the original co-inventor of the Company's myeloid progenitor cell therapy program. Dr. Fong also held leadership positions at Sangstat Medical Corporation (acquired by Genzyme), Aventis Gencell and Chiron (Novartis). He is the author on over 40 patents/peer-reviewed publications. Dr. Fong conducted his post-doctoral training at The Salk Institute. He received his Ph.D. in immunology from UCLA School of Medicine, and an MBA from Saint Mary's College.
"I am very pleased to be joining Cellerant and bringing my experience to advance CLT-008 closer to a commercial product," said Dr. Fong. "Cellerant has made remarkable progress towards addressing a high unmet need that may offer a greater chance of survival to patients with acute myeloid leukemia (AML), who often suffer significant complications from their intensive chemotherapy."
Dr. Junutula joins Cellerant with more than 20 years of experience spanning oncology target discovery, antibody engineering, protein engineering and cell biology. He is a recognized expert in antibody drug conjugate (ADC) development and most recently spent over 10 years at Genentech, Inc., where he led cross-functional R&D teams in both ADC and bi-specific antibody-based cancer immunotherapeutic programs in the Discovery Oncology, Research and Early Development Division. He developed Genentech's novel THIOMAB technology platform to obtain engineered ADCs with a defined number of drugs to improve therapeutic utility. He was part of the Kadcyla® (ado-trastuzumab emtansine) R&D team and led the next generation site-specific Thio-Trastuzumab-DM1 ADC project and over 10 ADC/Bi-specific antibody projects. He is the author on over 60 patents/peer-reviewed publications. Dr. Junutula conducted his post-doctoral training at Stanford University and Genentech. He received his Ph.D. in biochemistry from the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, India.
"Cellerant has a unique approach in cancer stem cell biology which has the potential to provide curative therapies for AML and other hematological malignancies," said Dr. Junutula. "Cellerant has made significant progress with its lead antibody candidate and I am excited to take on this new role to expand its pipeline and antibody development capabilities as we bring the novel AML antibody therapy to the clinic."
"We are excited to have both Tim and Jagath join the Cellerant team as we are at a critical time of bringing our lead antibody candidate to the clinic and advancing our CLT-008 into a Phase 2 clinical trial," said Ram Mandalam, Ph.D., President and Chief Executive Officer of Cellerant Therapeutics. "Their combined experiences bring invaluable technical and industry knowledge to the Company and their leadership will be exceptional. We are in a fortunate position to build a world-class research and development team to take our science forward.
Cellerant Therapeutics is a clinical stage biotechnology company focused on the regulation of the hematopoietic (blood-forming) system. The Company is developing human stem cell and antibody therapies for oncology applications and blood-related disorders. Cellerants lead product, CLT-008 is currently in two Phase 1/2 clinical trials evaluating safety in patients undergoing treatment for AML and cord blood transplantation. The Company is developing CLT-008 as a first-in-class, off-the-shelf, cellular therapeutic for treatment of chemotherapy induced neutropenia, protection from exposure to acute radiation and facilitating cord blood transplantation. The Company also has a cancer stem cell (CSC) antibody discovery program focused on therapies for acute myeloid leukemia, multiple myeloma and myelodysplastic syndrome. The Companys lead antibody program is a potential first-in-class, antibody development candidate targeting AML cancer stem cells displaying potent preclinical efficacy.
For more information on Cellerant, please contact:
Cellerant Therapeutics, Inc.
Executive Director, Corporate Development