CAMBRIDGE, Mass.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Obsidian Therapeutics Inc., a clinical-stage biotechnology company pioneering engineered cell and gene therapies, today announced the appointment of Madan Jagasia, M.D., M.S., as Chief Executive Officer. A highly experienced clinician and researcher with an extensive industry background in the development of tumor-infiltrating lymphocyte (TIL) treatments for cancer, Dr. Jagasia joins Obsidian as it focuses on the advancement and expansion of its clinical program.
Prior to joining Obsidian, Dr. Jagasia was Executive Vice President, Medical Affairs at Iovance Biotherapeutics, Inc. (“Iovance”), where he was responsible for managing national medical affairs, strategic congress planning, advocacy, strategic alliances and external research collaborations. Before Iovance, he was Chief Medical Officer and Executive Medical Director of Cancer Patient Care Center, Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center (VICC), where he co-led Translational Research and Interventional Oncology Research Program at VICC. Dr. Jagasia began his career as a faculty member in the Division of Hematology-Oncology at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. Dr. Jagasia has his M.B.B.S from the GS Medical College & KEM Hospital, an M.S. and a Master of Management in Health Care from Vanderbilt University.
Obsidian has also named Parameswaran Hari, M.D., M.S., as Chief Development Officer. Dr. Hari joins Obsidian from Iovance, where he was Senior Vice President, Clinical Science. He brings decades of experience designing, managing and leading complex cell and gene therapy clinical programs, including TIL therapies. Dr. Hari was formerly the Chief of Hematology and Oncology at the Medical College of Wisconsin and served the American Society of Transplantation and Cellular Therapy (ASTCT) as its secretary.
Additionally, Obsidian announces the appointment of Matthew Norkunas, M.D., M.B.A., to its Board of Directors. Dr. Norkunas is an experienced biotechnology executive, currently serving as Chief Financial Officer at Generation Bio. He has previously served as Chief Financial officer at SomaLogic and has a background in healthcare investing and medicine. Dr. Norkunas began his career as a practicing anesthesiologist. Dr. Norkunas earned a Master of Business Administration from Columbia Business School, a medical degree from University of Maryland School of Medicine, and a Bachelor of Arts degree from St. Mary’s College of Maryland.
“I am delighted to welcome Drs. Jagasia and Hari to the Obsidian leadership team. Their appointments deepen Obsidian’s clinical expertise and align with the Company’s current focus on clinical development and advancing its lead TIL program, OBX-115,” said Maria Fardis, Ph.D., Executive Chair of Obsidian’s Board of Directors. “I am appreciative of the critical progress made by the prior leadership in advancing Obsidian through preclinical development and successfully into the clinic. I am also pleased to announce Dr. Norkunas’ appointment to the Board. He brings deep operational experience and strong financial expertise and I look forward to his future contributions to the Board. The Company is well poised for continued advancement in line with our plan.”
Obsidian’s lead investigational cytoTIL15 program, OBX-115, is a novel engineered tumor-infiltrating lymphocyte (TIL) therapy armed with regulated membrane-bound IL15 that has the potential to become a meaningful therapeutic option for patients suffering from metastatic melanoma and other solid tumors by leveraging the expected benefits of mbIL15 and Obsidian’s proprietary, differentiated manufacturing process. OBX-115 preclinical data have demonstrated enhanced TIL persistence, potency and improved tumor control compared to un-engineered TILs plus IL2. OBX-115 also has the potential benefit to patients by removing the need for concomitant IL2 therapy, which is both costly and typically poorly tolerated, limiting the potential eligible patient population for TIL therapy. The Phase I FIH clinical trial for OBX-115 is currently recruiting patients. Information regarding the clinical trial is available at clinicaltrials.gov: NCT05470283.
About Obsidian Therapeutics
Obsidian Therapeutics, Inc. is a clinical biotechnology company pioneering engineered cell and gene therapies to deliver transformative outcomes for patients with intractable diseases. Obsidian’s proprietary cytoDRiVE® technology provides a way to precisely control the timing and level of protein function by using FDA approved small molecules. Obsidian is headquartered in Cambridge, Mass. The Company has collaborations with Bristol Myers Squibb and Vertex Pharmaceuticals. For more information, please visit www.obsidiantx.com and follow us on LinkedIn and Twitter.