TUCSON, Ariz.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Calimmune Inc., a clinical-stage gene therapy company, today announced the appointment of R. Scott Greer as chairman of its board, and AbbVie Vice President of Discovery James Sullivan, Ph.D., as a new director. Mr. Greer will serve as chairman, replacing David Baltimore, Ph.D., who will remain active with Calimmune as a board member.
"We look forward to benefiting from the complementary leadership and technical skills of Scott and Jim as we continue to expand our gene therapy platform technologies into novel application areas, advance our clinical development programs and pursue broader strategic relationships,” said Louis Breton, chief executive officer of Calimmune. “With Scott taking the helm of our board, we express our sincere gratitude to Dr. Baltimore for his many years of leadership as chairman, and are pleased that we will continue to benefit from his renowned expertise as he remains a director.”
As Calimmune’s new chairman, Mr. Greer brings a sophisticated knowledge of the business and financial decisions that advance private and public biotech companies. He has served as the managing director of venture capital firm Numenor Ventures LLC since 2002 and was previously the founder and CEO and chairman of Abgenix Inc., a biotechnology company focused on developing and commercializing human antibody based therapeutics (Amgen acquired Abgenix in 2006). Previously, Mr. Greer held the role of chief financial officer and senior vice president of corporate development for Cell Genesys Inc., guiding the company through its initial public offering.
Mr. Greer currently serves as a director of several biopharmaceutical and medical device companies including: Inogen Inc., Nektar Therapeutics and Versartis Inc. In the past he was chairman of Ablexis LLC and Sirna Therapeutics Inc. (acquired by Merck) and served on the board of several companies including Anaptys BioScience Inc., Auspex Pharmaceuticals Inc. (acquired by Teva Pharmaceuticals), CV Therapeutics Inc. (acquired by Gilead, Inc.) and Illumina Inc. Mr. Greer holds a Bachelor of Arts in economics from Whitman College and an M.B.A. from Harvard University.
“With first-in-class viral vector manufacturing technology and a truly innovative approach to treating disease, Calimmune has the opportunity to make a substantial mark on the gene therapy market, starting with HIV,” Mr. Greer said. “I’m thrilled to join Calimmune at a time of great momentum for clinical development.”
New board member Dr. Sullivan serves as vice president of pharmaceutical discovery at AbbVie, where he is responsible for research in a variety of disease areas including cancer, Alzheimer’s, hepatitis C and various autoimmune disorders. He oversees a global network of scientists that includes AbbVie researchers at sites in the United States and Europe, and external research partners around the world. Dr. Sullivan has advanced multiple compounds into clinical development and is an inventor on 11 patents. The prolific researcher is an adjunct faculty member at Northwestern University of Chicago. Dr. Sullivan earned his bachelor’s degree and Ph.D. in biochemistry from Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland, and conducted post-doctoral research in neurobiology at Northwestern University.
“Calimmune is addressing a significant unmet need for the treatment of currently incurable diseases, including HIV/AIDS,” Dr. Sullivan said. “I’m excited to join Calimmune’s board of leading gene therapy industry experts, clinicians and academics to ultimately bring a long-term solution to patients.”
The breakthrough gene modification and cell delivery technology developed in the lab of Nobel Laureate Dr. Baltimore at the California Institute of Technology laid the groundwork for Calimmune’s formation in 2006, along with the discoveries of Irvin Chen, Ph.D. and Inder M. Verma, Ph.D., both of whom serve as scientific advisors for Calimmune.
“It’s been an honor to serve as chairman and to see first-hand the research from my lab come to life under Calimmune’s leadership,” said Dr. Baltimore. “I’m encouraged by the progress of Calimmune’s lead candidate, CAL-1, as it progresses through clinical trials, and I’m pleased to have a role in the future direction of the company.”
Calimmune Inc. is a clinical-stage international gene therapy company developing novel treatments that have the potential to improve and protect the lives of patients by enhancing their immune system. Calimmune’s lead therapeutic candidate CAL-1, now in Phase I/II studies, is being evaluated as a one-time treatment for HIV/AIDS. The company is headquartered in Tucson, Arizona, with labs and branch offices in Pasadena, California and Sydney, Australia.