Antibody veteran joins new CEO as Crescendo Biologics redirects strategy to Oncology focus
Cambridge, UK: 17 November 2015 – Crescendo Biologics Limited (Crescendo), the drug discovery and developer of Humabody™ VH therapeutics, today announced the appointment of Dr. Kevin Johnson as non-executive Chairman of the Board of Directors. The appointment is effective immediately.
Dr. Johnson brings 27 years of antibody development experience, notably as ex-CTO of Cambridge Antibody Technology and ex-CEO of Pangenetics (acquired by Abbott in 2009). Since 2003 he has been on the Life Sciences team of Index Ventures, focusing on drug development companies. Further background information is included below.
Crescendo recently launched a new strategy in oncology drug discovery & development. Following the appointment of Dr. Peter Pack as new CEO, Dr. Kevin Johnson's new position as Chairman marks another step in the Company's repositioning.
Crescendo's rapidly growing pipeline is based on its Humabody™ VH Technology. Humabodies™ combine the format of human VHs with minimal size with the power of transgenic mouse technology – the gold standard in antibody therapeutics development – which confers the substantial benefits of in vivo maturation.
As a result, Humabodies™ have excellent potency and druggability including superior CMC properties for drug development. They are 100% human and represent the smallest possible immunoglobulins offering a range of plug & play options for generating novel multi-specific biologics. Humabodies™ are therefore set to establish a valuable new class of therapeutics.
"Kevin is a highly seasoned executive to head up our Board of Directors as we move the focus of the Company into the field of Oncology" said Dr Peter Pack, CEO of Crescendo. "His past experience is very relevant – from Cambridge Antibody Technologies where he was responsible for its antibody platform technologies to Pangenetics which specialised in taking antibodies from the late research stage through to clinical proof of concept. His input has already proved instrumental to the planning of our new strategy."
Dr. Johnson, the newly appointed Chairman, added: "Crescendo Biologics has a very promising pipeline in development based on its unique Humabodies™ platform. The Company is at an exciting inflection point, expanding its oncology pipeline by targeting a range of cancer indications with its multi-specific checkpoint modulators and its Humabody™ Drug Conjugates."
Graziano Seghezzi, Non-Executive Director of Crescendo Biologics, added:
"Kevin's long-standing interest and experience of drug and antibody development and his expertise in the antibody arena is going to be crucial to us as we grow. On behalf of the Board, I welcome him and look forward to working closely together."
Background on Dr. Kevin Johnson
Since 2003, Dr. Johnson has been working in the life science team at Index Ventures, with a focus on drug development companies including Acutus Inc., B3NGF, Levicept Ltd and PanGenetics (acquired by Abbott 2009).
Prior to this, Kevin was CEO of Netherlands-based PanGenetics, an antibody development company. Previously he held various research roles at Cambridge Antibody Technology (CAT) leading to appointment to the board as Research Director and Chief Technology Officer in 1997, where he was responsible for CAT's platform technologies. Some of the discovered human antibodies are currently in clinical development and two of these, Humira (Abbott Pharmaceutical) and Benlysta (HGS, GSK), are now on the market.
In 1997, he was part of the management team when CAT was listed at the London Stock Exchange. Kevin graduated in Molecular Biology from Edinburgh University and holds a PhD in Pathology from Cambridge University.
About Crescendo Biologics Ltd
Crescendo Biologics is a biopharmaceutical company involved in discovering and developing potent, highly differentiated Humabody ™ therapeutics with a focus on cancer. The Company's Humabody™ therapeutics are based on its proprietary, robust and highly efficient fully human VH domain technology platform.
Crescendo is building a pipeline of new differentiated medicines, including Humabody™ Drug Conjugates (HDCs) and multi-specific checkpoint modulators, through in-house development and strategic partnerships.
Crescendo's technology platform is centred on a unique and proprietary transgenic mouse, which enables the benefits of in vivo maturation to be harnessed thereby naturally optimising the affinity and biophysical properties of Humabodies. Compared with monoclonal antibodies, Humabodies' ™ offer a unique combination of potential benefits that results from their small size, cost-effective production and modular plug & play engineering options for generating novel bi- or multi-specific formats.
Crescendo is located in Cambridge, UK, and is backed by blue-chip investors including Sofinnova Partners, Imperial Innovations, Astellas Venture Management and EMBL Ventures.