OTTAWA, Ontario & NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Turnstone Biologics, a clinical-stage immuno-oncology company developing the next generation of oncolytic viral therapies, today announced the appointment of Jane Pritchett Henderson as Chief Financial Officer. Ms. Henderson brings nearly 30 years of experience as a health care investment banker and financial leader at several biotechnology companies, most recently as the CFO and SVP of Corporate Development of Voyager Therapeutics. In addition, Turnstone announced key hires across its leadership team including: Kristin Gustafson, Senior Vice President, Human Resources and Facilities; Steve Bernstein, M.D., Senior Vice President, Clinical Research and Development; David Stojdl, Ph.D., Senior Vice President, Discovery Research; and Adina Pelusio, Ph.D., Vice President, Clinical Operations.
“I am delighted to welcome Jane, Kristin, Steve, David and Adina to Turnstone and believe each will play a critical role as we continue our relentless pursuit to bring forward important new viral immunotherapies to patients,” said Sammy J. Farah, Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer of Turnstone Biologics. “These key additions round out our exceptional team of senior leaders and top-tier scientists. As we enter this new and exciting phase as a company, I look forward to collaborating with Jane and Kristin to accelerate our corporate development, and with Steve, David and Adina to enhance our research and clinical capabilities.”
Turnstone’s MG1 virus is the first immunotherapy engineered to function as both a systemically delivered tumor-destroying oncolytic virus and an immune stimulating T cell vaccine. MG1 directly attacks cancer cells and modifies the microenvironment to make tumor sites throughout the body susceptible to targeted killer T cell responses, also induced by the virus. Turnstone has initiated multiple Phase I/II clinical trials with medicines targeting MAGEA3-expressing tumors, such as non-small cell lung cancer, and HPV positive tumors, such as cervical and head and neck cancers, and expects to have multiple additional therapies in the clinic by 2019.
“I am thrilled to join Turnstone’s world-class team of immuno-oncology leaders at this exciting time for the company,” said Ms. Henderson. “Turnstone is rapidly advancing a novel pipeline of therapies based on innovative and transformative platforms and is establishing a leadership position in oncolytic viral-based medicines, thereby expanding the number of patients who can benefit from these immunotherapies. I look forward to working closely with Sammy and the team to deliver on these important initiatives.”
Jane Pritchett Henderson brings nearly 30 years of experience in health care and life sciences to her new role as Chief Financial Officer of Turnstone. Previously, she served as Chief Financial Officer and Senior Vice President of Corporate Development of Voyager Therapeutics since January 2017. Prior to Voyager, Ms. Henderson served as Chief Financial and Business Officer of Kolltan Pharmaceuticals, Inc., having joined the privately held biopharmaceutical company in early 2013 and leading the sale of Kolltan to Celldex Pharmaceuticals, Inc., in late 2016. Prior to Kolltan, Ms. Henderson served in various financial and business development leadership roles at ISTA Pharmaceuticals, Axerion Pharmaceuticals and Panacos Pharmaceuticals. In her more than 19 years in healthcare investment banking, Ms. Henderson executed more than 95 mergers and acquisitions, advisory and financing deals, holding senior roles at HSBC Holdings plc, Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, Lehman Brothers and Salomon Brothers. Ms. Henderson currently serves on the Board of Directors of Sesen Bio (formerly Eleven Biotherapeutics, Inc.) and Ophthotech as well as a non-profit foundation, The EQUUS Foundation.
Kristin Gustafson brings with her more than 18 years of Human Resources experience specific to the biotech and pharmaceutical sector to her role as Senior Vice President, Human Resources and Facilities for Turnstone. Prior to joining Turnstone, Ms. Gustafson was with Kite Pharma, a Gilead company, where she led the global Human Resource and Facilities function during a time of explosive growth and the approval of Yescarta, the first CAR-T adult immunotherapy approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Prior to Kite, she spent four years at Intercept Pharmaceuticals and served as the company’s Senior Vice President of Global Human Resources and Facilities. Before joining Intercept Pharmaceuticals, she started her own company, Chemo101, an online portal dedicated to helping newly diagnosed cancer patients navigate their treatment journey through the new world of cancer, and also served in leadership roles at Cochlear and MGI Pharma.
Steve Bernstein, M.D., brings more than 20 years of experience as a treating physician and pharmaceutical executive to his role as Senior Vice President, Clinical Research and Development. Previously, Dr. Bernstein served as Chair, Immuno-Oncology Translational Research and Development, and Head, Integrated Science, at Bristol-Myers Squibb. Dr. Bernstein was as an academic physician at both Roswell Park Cancer Institute and most recently at the University of Rochester’s James P. Wilmot Cancer Institute, where he was Professor of Medicine and Oncology, Co-Director of both the Hematological Malignancy Program and the Lymphoma Biology Program. Dr. Bernstein was a member of the Lymphoma Working Group of SWOG, the Scientific Advisory Board of the Lymphoma Research Foundation, and the Scientific and Medical Advisory Board of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.
David Stojdl, Ph.D., brings more than 20 years of experience in academic and industrial research to his role as Senior Vice President, Head of Discovery Research at Turnstone. Dr. Stojdl has been published in multiple leading journals for pioneering the exploration of host-virus interactions critical to oncolytic therapy and defining the archetypal role of interferon signaling in tumor-specific oncolytic virus targeting. Dr. Stojdl is a professor at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO) and in the Department of Pediatrics and Department of Biochemistry, Microbiology and Immunology at the University of Ottawa. Since joining the CHEO, Dr. Stojdl discovered and developed several novel oncolytic vector platforms, including the Maraba oncolytic virus platform, and directed the CHEO Automated Screening Centre (CASC). Dr. Stojdl was also a scientific co-founder and consultant to Jennerex Biotherapeutics (later acquired by SillaJen Biotherapeutics).
Adina Pelusio, Ph.D., brings more than 15 years of experience in drug development, most recently as the Vice President, Clinical Operations at SillaJen Biotherapeutics (formerly Jennerex, Inc), where she spent a decade advancing oncolytic viruses in clinical trials. In addition to overseeing the Clinical Operations department at SillaJen, she managed and pioneered the medical educator role to expand hospital personnel comfort and knowledge globally with working on these types of agents. Prior to Jennerex, Ms. Pelusio served as a SWAT Senior Clinical Research Associate at PPD, a large, global CRO, where she was tasked with study rescue and served on a technology committee assigned with developing training for CRAs and project teams on new technologies within the field.
About Turnstone Biologics
Turnstone Biologics is a clinical-stage, immuno-oncology company developing the next-generation of oncolytic viral immunotherapies for patients with a broad range of solid tumors. The company's Maraba (MG1) oncolytic virus platform is the first to combine the tumor-killing effects of an oncolytic virus with a tumor-targeted T-cell vaccine to harness an individual's own immune system to attack the tumor, with the goal of preventing recurrence and delivering a cure. Turnstone is advancing a robust pipeline of clinical and preclinical programs. In 2017, Turnstone executed the largest strategic partnership in the oncolytic virus field with AbbVie, and was named a FierceBiotech “Fierce 15” company. The Company’s lead investors include Versant Ventures, OrbiMed, F-Prime Capital Partners and FACIT. For more information, please visit http://turnstonebio.com/.