LONDON & HOUSTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Cell Medica (or ‘the Company’), a leader in the development, manufacture and marketing of personalised cellular immunotherapeutics for the treatment of cancer, has appointed Chris Nowers as Chief Executive Officer and Executive Director. His appointment follows founder Gregg Sando’s decision to step down as Chief Executive Officer and Director of the Company and is effective 1 August 2018.
Mr Nowers joins Cell Medica from the cancer immunotherapy company Kite Pharma (Kite), where he was Head of Europe and responsible for the full commercialisation of the CAR-T therapy axicabtagene ciloleucel. At Kite he built the European organisation from the ground up and, post the $12 Bn acquisition by Gilead Sciences in 2017, was subsequently responsible for the continued expansion of the Kite organisation within the Europe, Middle East and Africa structure. Previous to his role at Kite, he has had a career spanning more than 25 years in the biopharma industry. He has held a number of senior leadership roles that included CEO of Avantogen Oncology, General Management roles at Amgen, and senior global and regional commercial leadership roles at Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS). Whilst at BMS, he built and led teams that delivered the successful launches of the checkpoint inhibitors ipilimumab and nivolumab.
Mr Sando, a pioneer in the field of cellular immunotherapy, established Cell Medica in 2006 and led the company’s transition into the CAR-T technology space. The upcoming initiation of clinical trials investigating CAR-modified cell therapy products will mark an important new chapter in the Company’s development. He will assist over the coming months in transitioning to new senior leadership.
Annalisa Jenkins, Chair of Cell Medica, commented:
“We would like to thank Gregg for his vision and commitment over the last 12 years, which has led to Cell Medica becoming a leader in cellular immunotherapy for cancer. He has built an experienced international team with the capability to build on existing research partnerships and develop the internal pipeline to maximise shareholder value.
“We are pleased to welcome Chris as Cell Medica’s new CEO. His experience in the commercialisation of oncology programmes is an excellent fit for the Company’s ambitions as we progress towards realising our goals of delivering compelling new cellular immunotherapies for the treatment of cancer patients.”
Gregg Sando commented:
“It has been a great experience founding Cell Medica and leading a team of dedicated colleagues and research collaborators who have been working together to transform the treatment of cancer through cell-based immunotherapy. The Company is well positioned for an exciting future and it is now time to transition to new leadership who will take our products and technology through clinical development and commercialisation. My thanks and appreciation to the extended Cell Medica team and partners, past and present.”
Chris Nowers commented:
“Cell Medica has an exciting array of technologies that will help unlock the potential of personalised cellular immunotherapies for both blood cancers and solid tumours. I look forward to working with the Company’s talented executive and scientific teams to take these promising treatments to patients through clinical development.”
- ENDS -
Notes to Editors
About Cell Medica
Cell Medica is committed to transforming patients’ lives through developing the significant therapeutic potential of cellular immunotherapy for the treatment of cancer. We are advancing innovative cell-based therapies using proprietary technology platforms incorporating chimeric antigen receptors (CARs) and engineered T cell receptors (TCRs). Our CAR-modified T cell products are being developed in collaboration with Baylor College of Medicine and University of North Carolina. Cell Medica’s differentiated approach utilises NKT cells (a subset of T cells) engineered to express IL-15 to maintain anti-cancer potency within the immunosuppressive tumour micro-environment. We are developing both autologous and allogeneic (off-the-shelf) products using the CAR-NKT cell technology. In the field of engineered TCRs, we are working with University College London, to develop the Dominant TCR technology to improve the potency of TCR-modified T cells while maintaining the safety profile. Our product portfolio also includes baltaleucel-T (EBV-specific T cells) for the treatment of lymphomas associated with the Epstein Barr virus. Cell Medica is headquartered in London with subsidiaries in Zurich and Houston.