— ROCKVILLE, Md. – June 3, 2019 – NeoImmuneTech, Inc., a T cell-focused immunotherapeutics company, today announced the appointment of Samuel Zhang, Ph.D., M.B.A, as Chief Business Officer (CBO). Dr. Zhang brings to NeoImmuneTech deep immuno-oncology expertise and strategic leadership with over 20 years of drug development experience. In this position, Dr. Zhang will lead the effort to fully realize the potential of the company’s lead drug candidate, Hyleukin-7™, as well as other drug development programs, through establishing strategic relationships and building integrated product strategies.
▲ Samuel Zhang, Ph.D., M.B.A, Chief Business Officer
“Dr. Zhang’s expertise and experience in integrating market insight with scientific evaluation and clinical differentiation, particularly in the area of immuno-oncology, will help NeoImmuneTech advance and accelerate the development of Hyleukin-7,” said Se Hwan Yang, Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer of NeoImmuneTech. “His knowledge and understanding of the immuno-oncology field will be crucial for NeoImmuneTech as we take the next steps to become a leader in this space.”
“Hyleukin-7 is a unique immuno-oncology agent that boosts T cells both in number and functionality, and was shown to increase the absolute lymphocyte counts in patients’ peripheral blood, a key predictor of the checkpoint inhibitor efficacy. In preclinical tumor models, Hyleukin-7 substantially increased tumor infiltrating lymphocytes which are crucial to conversion of an immune-cold tumor microenvironment into an immune inflamed one. It has also demonstrated a number of features critical for a promising drug candidate and is well positioned to address key unmet medical needs in immuno-oncology,” said Dr. Zhang. “I am excited to be joining NeoImmuneTech at this pivotal time in its development and look forward to helping further expand the immuno-oncology frontier with Hyleukin-7.”
Dr. Zhang comes to NeoImmuneTech from Merus, where he was Vice President, Product and Portfolio Strategy and provided strategic leadership to help guide key portfolio decisions in research, clinical development, and strategic alliance. Prior to that, he had held positions of increasing responsibility at Eli Lilly and Company, Pfizer, Inc., Bristol-Myers Squibb and Novartis Oncology, covering the entire life cycle of pharmaceutics from research project initiation to loss of exclusivity (LOE). Dr. Zhang holds an M.B.A from The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA as well as a Ph.D. in molecular biology from Columbia University, New York, NY, and a B.Sc. in Biological Sciences from Peking University, Beijing, China.
Hyleukin-7™ (rhIL-7-hyFc, NT-I7), an immuno-oncology agent, is a T cell growth factor composed of a covalently linked homodimer of engineered Interleukin-7 (IL-7) molecule, biologically fused with the proprietary long-acting platform - hyFc™. IL-7 is known to be a critical factor for T cells homeostasis, acting to increase both the number and functionality of T cells. Hyleukin-7 amplifies and reinvigorates persistent T cell immunity in the treatment of patients with cancer and lymphopenia, thus providing unique opportunities for immuno-oncology (IO) combination strategies. Hyleukin-7 is being developed as an “IO enabling” therapy to harness T cell immunity in combination with current cancer treatments such as anti-PD-(L)1 agents or chemo/radiotherapy as well as next generation IO therapeutics.
NeoImmuneTech (NIT) is developing T cell-focused immunotherapeutics designed to prime, enhance and extend the activity of current and future therapies in cancer and infectious diseases. Our lead product, Hyleukin-7™, a T cell growth factor, has the potential to amplify and prolong anti-tumor activity, which is pivotal to extending survival of cancer patients. Hyleukin-7 is being studied in multiple clinical trials in solid tumors, and being planned for testing in hematologic malignancies, additional solid tumors and other immunology-focused indications. www.neoimmunetech.com
NIT is a U.S.-based company developing Hyleukin-7 for the U.S. and European markets in collaboration with Korean-based Genexine.
Shai Biran, Ph.D.
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