TUCSON, Ariz.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Calimmune, Inc., a clinical-stage gene therapy company, has made a key addition to its leadership team with the appointment of Salim Yazji, M.D. as executive vice president and chief medical officer. Dr. Yazji was most recently the vice president and global therapeutics head of oncology for Baxalta, Inc.
“Salim’s depth of experience and proven leadership in shepherding innovative products from pre-clinical development through product approval will be vital to Calimmune as we move our next generation hematopoietic stem cell therapies forward in the clinic,” said Louis Breton, chief executive officer of Calimmune. “I believe that his direct global pharmaceutical product development experience will also provide us with important insights as we advance our therapeutic candidates toward commercialization and seek to establish partnerships to further validate our pipeline programs. Therefore, on behalf of the Calimmune team, I welcome Salim and look forward to his contributions as we advance the field of gene therapy.”
“Calimmune is at the forefront of developing the next generation of gene therapies for the treatment of hematologic diseases, building on its successful early clinical work of applying hematopoietic stem cell gene therapy to the treatment of HIV,” said Dr. Salim Yazji. “I am thrilled to join the Calimmune team at this important juncture in the development of gene therapy with the opportunity to work alongside a highly skilled scientific team, key opinion leaders and management team. Together, we will work to develop products that liberate patients currently facing chronic and currently incurable hematologic diseases.”
Dr. Yazji will apply over 20 years of experience to the leadership of Calimmune’s clinical development and quality assurance teams. As a vice president and global therapeutic head at Baxalta, Inc., he was responsible for building the oncology medical organizations as well as expanding and advancing the oncology product pipeline into multiple successful global marketing authorizations. Prior to Baxter International’s spinoff of its bioscience business unit to create Baxalta, Dr. Yazji served as a vice president and therapeutic area head of oncology at Baxter.
Prior to his role at Baxter, Dr. Yazji held leadership positions at Novartis Pharmaceutical, most recently as senior global clinical leader, hematology development. Prior to Novartis Pharmaceutical, Dr. Yazji held senior clinical research physician and medical director roles at Exelixis, Inc., PDL BioPharma, Inc. and Johnson & Johnson. Dr. Yazji obtained his medical degree from the Pavlov School of Medicine, University of St. Petersburg, St. Petersburg, Russia and completed postgraduate training at University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Park Plaza Hospital, Houston and Department of Cardiology, Almozov Hospital, St. Petersburg, Russia.
Calimmune is accelerating the promise of gene therapy to liberate patients from chronic and currently incurable diseases. To achieve our ambitious goal, we have built a suite of technologies to advance the delivery, manufacturing, and overall efficiency of these life-changing medicines. Calimmune’s lead development programs are novel ex-vivo gene therapies for HIV and other hematologic diseases.