Aviceda Therapeutics Announces Additional World-Class Members to its Scientific Advisory Board

An internationally renowned group of scientists, researchers and clinicians will work with Aviceda’s in-house team to spearhead development of the next generation of glyco-immune therapeutics.

CAMBRIDGE, Mass.--()--Aviceda Therapeutics, an IND-stage, pre-clinical biotech company focused on developing the next generation of immuno-modulators by harnessing the power of glycobiology to manipulate the innate immune system and chronic, non-resolving inflammation, is announcing additional members of its Scientific Advisory Board who will help shape ongoing research and development efforts.

The new additional Aviceda Scientific Advisory Board members includes:

  • Yvette van Kooyk, PhD
  • Richard Kennedy, MD, PhD
  • Jim Johnston, PhD

“Aviceda is honored and privileged to add new world-class scientists and renowned researchers to join our efforts in developing the next generation of glyco-immune therapeutics for the treatment of immune-dysfunction conditions,” said Mohamed A. Genead, MD, Co-Founder & President of Aviceda Therapeutics.

Prof. Van Kooyk is Head of the Molecular Cell Biology and Immunology Department at the VU University Medical Center in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. In 2000, Prof. Van Kooyk discovered the innate receptor DC-SIGN, a C-type lectin on Dendritic cells, playing a crucial role in HIV recognition and cellular interactions through the recognition of glycan structures. This discovery set the stage for a new field that led to novel concepts on pathogen glycosylations that interact with the host via recognition by glycan binding receptors, such as C-type lectins and Siglecs, present on innate immune cells such as Dendritic cells and modulate immune responses.

Prof. Van Kooyk was awarded various NWO grants (PIONIER-ASPASIA-TOP) and EU grants (ERC Advanced-Eurostars-H2020) and the van Loghem award for life-time achievement in field of Immunology (2014). She received the SPINOZA award in 2019, a highest scientific award in the Netherlands, and is a member of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Sciences (KNAW, 2018). She published more than 280 scientific papers in well recognized journals (Cell, Nature, Nature Immunology, PNAS, and JEM) and supervised 29 PhD students. She is inventor of 6 patents.

“The novelty of Aviceda’s platform technology is its potential to affect immune responses associated with a wide range of disease states, many of which are currently unmet or underserved needs. I look forward to the continued development of Aviceda’s core technology and moving forward to clinical trials that will pave the way for truly disruptive therapeutic strategies to enter the clinic that will significantly impact and improve patients’ lives in the not-too-distant future,” said Prof. Van Kooyk.

Prof. Dr. Richard Kennedy is the McClay Professor in Medical Oncology at the Patrick G Johnston Centre for Cancer Research, Queen’s University of Belfast. He graduated in Medicine from Queen’s University Belfast in 1995. As a post-graduate, he trained as a Medical Oncologist and received a PhD in Molecular Biology in 2004 from Queen’s University Belfast. In 2004, he moved to the US to work as an instructor in Oncology at Harvard Medical School, USA, where he identified novel biomarkers and drug targets for cancer treatment. This work was published in several high impact journals and the associated patent was in-licensed by a Boston-based start-up company (DNAR) in 2007.

In 2011, Prof. Kennedy established a research group focused on various aspects of stratified medicine at Queen’s University Belfast. As part of this role, he treated oncology patients in Phase I and II clinical trials at the Northern Ireland Cancer Centre until 2018. He currently sits on the Cancer Research UK new agents committee and acts as a Scientific Advisor to Northern Ireland Government as a member of the MATRIX Committee. His current research focus is on how the immune system responds to DNA damage through activation of the STING pathway. He is a CLIA, CLEP, and College of American Pathologists recognized diagnostic laboratory director.

“Working with Aviceda represents a unique opportunity to contribute to science at the cutting edge. Its pipeline contains a broad range of candidates that represents numerous first-in-class opportunities,” said Prof. Kennedy.

Prof. Johnston is CSO and COO of ImmPACT Bio Ltd, a CAR-T cell therapy company based in LA. Prof. Johnston was a co-founder and CSO of Kalthera LLC, a T cell therapy company based on IP derived from UCLA. Kalthera merged with ImmPACT in July 2021.

Prof. Johnston was previously, Vice President of Research at A2 Biotherapeutics, focused on T cell and Treg bioengineering therapy and prior to that was Executive Director of Research, Global Head of Inflammation at Amgen with responsibility for Inflammation and part of Immuno-Oncology (2011-2018), where his team was responsible for ten drug candidates that progressed to FIH, seven of which are advancing through clinical trials. He made several key discoveries – including the identification and characterization of JAK3 and work that outlined its importance in IL-2 family signaling and in autosomal SCID patients, as well as many mechanisms controlling T cell biology and cytokine signaling. Jim has been awarded the Most Valuable Scientist award at the BRMP, NIH (1996), the Hajime Award at DNAX Research Institute, (1999) and the Irish Society of Immunology RDS Public Lecture Award (2010). He founded and was Chief Scientist at Fusion Antibodies Ltd, a company that develops humanized antibody therapeutics. He has 15 patents and has authored >130 peer reviewed manuscripts.

“The Aviceda team is already building on the foundational work in the emerging field of glycobiology to develop potential therapeutics and interventional strategies. Their work could be critically important for growing the understanding of how glycobiology and glycochemistry are applicable to immunology, and more broadly, to the field of drug and therapeutic development,” said Prof. Johnston.

About Aviceda Therapeutics
Founded in 2018 and based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, ​Aviceda Therapeutics is a ​late-stage, pre-clinical ​biotechnology company​ with a mission to develop the next generation of glyco-immune therapeutics (GITs) utilizing a proprietary technology platform to modulate the innate immune system and chronic, non-resolving inflammation. Aviceda has assembled a world-class, cross-disciplinary team of recognized scientists, clinicians, and drug developers to tackle devastating ocular and systemic degenerative, immunologic, inflammatory diseases. At Aviceda, we exploit a unique family of receptors found expressed on all innate immune cells and their associated glycobiological interactions to develop transformative medicines. Combining the power of our biology with our innovative cell-based high-throughput screening platform and proprietary nanoparticle technology, we can modulate the innate immune response specifically and profoundly. Aviceda is developing a pipeline of GITs that are delivered via biodegradable nanoparticles and which safely and effectively target numerous immune-inflammatory conditions. Aviceda’s lead ophthalmic optimized nanoparticle, as an intravitreal formulation, AVD-104, is being developed to target various immune system responses that contribute to pathology associated with dry age-related macular degeneration (dAMD) and Geographic Atrophy (GA).


Michael Tolentino, MD
Co-Founder and Chief Technology Officer

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Michael Tolentino, MD
Co-Founder and Chief Technology Officer