UTRECHT, The Netherlands--(BUSINESS WIRE)--InteRNA Technologies, a clinical-stage biotech company developing microRNA (miRNA)-based therapeutics with a focus on cancer, today announced the establishment of a Clinical Advisory Board (CAB) and the appointment of new members to its Scientific Advisory Board (SAB). Both the SAB and CAB will further guide the Company in the development of cancer therapies that are based on the unique features of InteRNA’s proprietary miRNAs.
The CAB is chaired by Emile Voest, MD, PhD, who transitions from Chairman of InteRNA’s SAB. Prof. Dr. Voest is the former Medical Director and currently Senior Group Leader at the Netherlands Cancer Institute in Amsterdam. In addition, he serves as Senior Scientist of the Dutch Oncode Institute and Director of Cancer Core Europe, a collaboration of seven renowned comprehensive cancer centers across Europe.
Further members of the CAB include:
- Lillian L. Siu, MD, is Senior Medical Oncologist at the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre (PMCC), Professor of Medicine at the University of Toronto and Director of the Phase I Program and Co-Director of the Bras and Family Drug Development Program at the PMCC in Toronto, Canada. Dr. Liu holds the BMO Chair in Precision Genomics and is also the Clinical Lead for the Tumor Immunotherapy Program at the PMCC. She served previously on the Board of Directors for the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), as a member of the Nomination Committee for the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) and on the AACR Board of Directors.
- Josep Tabernero, MD, PhD, is Head of the Medical Oncology Department at the Vall d’Hebron University Hospital, Director of the Vall d’Hebron Institute of Oncology (VHIO) in Barcelona and Professor of Medicine at UVic-UCC in Vic, Barcelona, Spain. Dr. Tabernero is a former President of the European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) and has been Principal Investigator of several Phase I pharmacodynamic studies and translational projects with tumor-directed targeted therapies and immune-based therapies.
- William C. Hahn, MD, PhD, is also transitioning from the SAB. He is the William Rosenberg Professor of Medicine in the Department of Medical Oncology at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Harvard Medical School and an Institute Member of the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard in Cambridge/Boston, USA. He serves as an Executive Vice President and the Chief Operating Officer at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.
InteRNA is further appointing a new Chairman of its SAB, Jörg Vollmer, PhD. Dr. Vollmer currently holds the position of CSO at Abalos Therapeutics, a biotech company focusing on the development of a novel virus-based anti-tumor treatment. He has a track record of advancing immuno-oncology and RNA-based approaches towards clinical application in leadership roles, including as CSO at Rigontec GmbH (advancing a RIG-I RNA agonist into the clinic), CEO and Managing Director at Nexigen GmbH (cell penetrating peptide therapeutics targeting tumor stem cell signaling pathways) and Managing Director and Site Head at Pfizer’s Oligonucleotide Therapeutics Unit in Düsseldorf, Germany, where he was responsible for therapeutic oligonucleotide research and development subsequent of the acquisition of Coley Pharmaceuticals by Pfizer.
The SAB is completed by the following members:
- Michel Streuli, PhD, has been newly appointed to InteRNA’s SAB. Dr. Streuli is CEO of the immunotherapy company Foundry Innovations. Previously, he was CSO of Pionyr Immunotherapeutics, and prior to Pionyr, he held senior research positions at Gilead, Merck, Schering-Plough, and Organon, following a decade on the faculties of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Harvard Medical School. At Merck he was instrumental as preclinical lead in the development of anti-PD1 antibody Keytruda®.
- Graham Dixon, PhD, remains a member of the SAB. Dr. Dixon is CSO/Head R&D of Mithra Pharmaceutical SA. In his 27-year career in the pharmaceutical industry, he has worked in a range of R&D management positions at AstraZeneca plc and in C-level management positions in several biotech companies including F2G Ltd, Entomed SA, Galapagos NV, Addex Therapeutics SA, Sensorion SA, Onxeo SA and Neem Biotech Ltd. He has played leadership roles in the successful regulatory clearance of three compounds: Meropenem® (AstraZeneca), Belinostat® (Onxeo) and Nextellis®/Drovelis® (Mithra).
- Edwin Cuppen, PhD, scientific co-founder of InteRNA Technologies, remains a member of the SAB. Dr. Cuppen is Scientific Director of the Hartwig Medical Foundation, a not-for-profit organization that aims to improve cancer care by systematic whole genome sequencing analysis of tumors. He is also professor of Human Genetics at the Center for Molecular Medicine of the University Medical Center in Utrecht and invited member of the virtual national cancer research organization Oncode Institute. Previously, he held research and group leader positions at the Netherlands Cancer Institute in Amsterdam and the Hubrecht Institute in Utrecht.
Dr. Streuli and Dr. Vollmer will succeed Prof. Dr. Jaap Verweij and Dr. Eugene Berezikov, who have stepped down from their positions on the SAB.
“With the clinical development of our lead candidate INT-1B3 under way, it was critical to assemble the right experts to support both our clinical and further pipeline development. We are honored to have attracted such an experienced team that is highly committed to advising us in bringing a novel class of RNA therapeutics to patients, addressing multiple cancer-pathways simultaneously,” said Roel Schaapveld, CEO of InteRNA Technologies. “The complementary knowledge of the renowned clinicians and scientists in these Advisory Boards will contribute significantly to our programs and success of the Company.”
“I believe that a collaborative approach supported by industry experts can significantly accelerate the fundamental research and clinical development of promising new therapeutic approaches that are urgently needed in the immuno-oncology field,” added Prof. Dr. Emile Voest, Chairman of InteRNA’s Clinical Advisory Board. “As the Company is advancing its lead candidate INT-1B3 through early clinical evaluation, I am looking forward to working closely with the InteRNA team to potentially bring novel treatment options to cancer patients.”
“Similar to the other members of InteRNA’s Scientific Advisory Board, I have dedicated my career to the identification and development of novel drug candidates that can improve the current standard of care for cancer patients,” added Dr. Jörg Vollmer, Chairman of InteRNA’s Scientific Advisory Board. “I believe RNA therapies have a significant potential to provide a different strategy to targeting cancer. Specifically, InteRNA’s miRNA-approach enables engaging different signal transduction targets simultaneously to initiate a coordinated anti-cancer attack and I am excited to advise Roel and his team as they materialize on the full potential of their proprietary miRNAs.”
INT-1B3’s unique mechanism of action addresses multiple hallmarks of cancer simultaneously. It directly targets tumor cells and the tumor microenvironment by specific modulation of multiple signaling pathway components across the PTEN tumor suppressor pathway and the oncogenic PI3K/Akt and Ras/MAPK pathways resulting in inhibition of proliferation and migration and induction of cell cycle arrest and apoptosis. The triggering of the immunogenic tumor cell death (ICD) process as well as downregulation of the adenosine-A2A receptor pathway through inhibition of CD39/CD73 leads to a decrease in immunosuppressive FoxP3/Lag3 regulatory T cells and monocytic myeloid-derived suppressor cells (mMDSCs), and maturation of dendritic cells. As a result, the immune system is activated, and long-term immunity is triggered by recruitment of CD8+ effector T cells leading to decreased metastasis development and improved animal survival compared to anti-PD1 treatment.
About InteRNA Technologies
InteRNA is a Dutch clinical-stage biotech company developing a pipeline of proprietary microRNA (miRNA) therapeutics targeting key processes in initiation and progression of human diseases, with a focus on cancer. Selected through InteRNA’s leading miRNA discovery and functional validation platform and enabled with a 3rd generation drug delivery formulation, these miRNA compounds can mount a coordinated anti-cancer attack by engaging multiple signal transduction targets simultaneously. With this approach, we address the high need for novel therapeutics with improved efficacy and less prone to drug-acquired resistance that will benefit cancer patients.