SEATTLE--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Juno Therapeutics, Inc. (NASDAQ: JUNO), a biopharmaceutical company developing innovative cellular immunotherapies for the treatment of cancer, today announced it has appointed to its Board of Directors Dr. Rupert Vessey, President of Research and Early Development of Celgene Corporation.
Dr. Vessey brings significant drug development capabilities to the Juno Board. Before joining Celgene in January 2015, Dr. Vessey was Senior Vice President of Early Development and Discovery Sciences at Merck and had numerous roles of increasing responsibility at GlaxoSmithKline in drug discovery, experimental medicine, and early clinical development of therapeutics for respiratory and immune diseases.
“Rupert has tremendous knowledge in immunology and experience in both drug development and building an efficient, world class research organization that will be invaluable during this phase of growth at Juno,” said Hans Bishop, Juno’s President and CEO. “Our collaboration with Celgene is an important component of our business, and we are pleased to have Rupert’s extensive skills added to our Board.”
“I believe engineered cell therapy will play an increasingly important role in our industry’s future, and I am excited to join Juno’s Board of Directors,” said Dr. Vessey. “Celgene and Juno intend to lead this field and bring these potentially transformative therapies to patients around the world. I look forward to working with management and the rest of the Board to advance the pipeline and achieve these goals.”
Dr. Vessey will serve as Celgene’s designated appointee to the Juno Board. Tom Daniel, MD, joined the Juno Board of Directors in 2015 upon the closing of the Celgene / Juno collaboration agreement as the Celgene designated appointee. Dr. Daniel has agreed to remain on the Board as an independent director.
Dr. Vessey graduated from Oxford University with degrees in Physiological Sciences (MA), Clinical Medicine (BM BCh), and Molecular Immunology (DPhil). He is an elected Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians.
Juno Therapeutics is building a fully integrated biopharmaceutical company focused on developing innovative cellular immunotherapies for the treatment of cancer. Founded on the vision that the use of human cells as therapeutic entities will drive one of the next important phases in medicine, Juno is developing cell-based cancer immunotherapies based on chimeric antigen receptor and high-affinity T cell receptor technologies to genetically engineer T cells to recognize and kill cancer. Juno is developing multiple cell-based product candidates to treat a variety of B-cell malignancies as well as solid tumors. Several product candidates have shown compelling clinical responses in clinical trials in refractory leukemia and lymphoma conducted to date. Juno's long-term aim is to leverage its cell-based platform to develop new product candidates that address a broader range of cancers and human diseases. Juno brings together innovative technologies from some of the world's leading research institutions, including the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, Seattle Children's Research Institute (SCRI), the University of California, San Francisco, and The National Cancer Institute. Juno Therapeutics has an exclusive license to the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital patented technology for CD19-directed product candidates that use 4-1BB, which was developed by Dario Campana, Chihaya Imai, and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Juno’s product candidate JCAR017 was developed in collaboration with SCRI and others.
ABOUT THE JUNO-CELGENE COLLABORATION
Celgene Corporation and Juno Therapeutics formed a collaboration in June 2015 under which the two companies will leverage T cell therapeutic strategies to develop treatments for patients with cancer and autoimmune diseases with an initial focus on chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) and T cell receptor (TCR) technologies. In April 2016, Celgene exercised its option to develop and commercialize the Juno CD19 program outside North America and China.
This press release contains “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, including statements regarding Juno’s mission, progress, and business plans, and the potential of the collaboration between Juno and Celgene. Forward-looking statements are subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from such forward-looking statements, and reported results should not be considered as an indication of future performance. These risks and uncertainties include, but are not limited to, risks associated with: the success, cost, and timing of Juno's product development activities and clinical trials; Juno's ability to obtain regulatory approval for and to commercialize its product candidates; Juno's ability to establish a commercially-viable manufacturing process and manufacturing infrastructure; regulatory requirements and regulatory developments; success of Juno's competitors with respect to competing treatments and technologies; Juno's dependence on third-party collaborators and other contractors in Juno's research and development activities, including for the conduct of clinical trials and the manufacture of Juno's product candidates; Juno's dependence on Celgene for the development and commercialization outside of North America and China of Juno’s CD19 product candidates and any other product candidates for which Celgene exercises an option; Juno’s dependence on JW Therapeutics (Shanghai) Co., Ltd, over which Juno does not exercise complete control, for the development and commercialization of product candidates in China; Juno's ability to obtain, maintain, or protect intellectual property rights related to its product candidates; amongst others. For a further description of the risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ from those expressed in these forward-looking statements, as well as risks relating to Juno's business in general, see Juno's Annual Report on Form 10-K filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on March 1, 2017 and Juno’s other periodic reports filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. These forward-looking statements speak only as of the date hereof. Juno disclaims any obligation to update these forward-looking statements.