Five Prime names ex-Genentech I-O specialist research SVP

Bryan Irving replaces Luis Borges as SVP of research. (Courtesy of Five Prime)

Five Prime Therapeutics has appointed Bryan Irving, Ph.D., as its SVP of research. Irving made his name in the industry in a decadelong stint at Genentech, during which he performed research that gave rise to anti-PD-L1 antibody Tecentriq.

South San Francisco, CA-based Five Prime landed Irving after persuading him to swap a VP position at neighboring CytomX Therapeutics for a chance to lead its research effort. Irving spent 4 years in roles of increasing responsibility at CytomX. But unless that work results in a major product, he will remain best known for his research at a company whose buildings are all around those of his current and former employer: Genentech.

Irving swapped an academic career in which he helped develop CAR technology for a role at Genentech in 2001, initially to study lupus and Type 1 diabetes. After 4 years, Irving pivoted to research tumor-specific T cells, leading him to file a patent on the use of anti-PD-L1 antibodies to enhance the function of T cells.  

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That work ultimately led to Tecentriq, the late-to-the-party anti-PD-L1 drug Genentech and parent company Roche see as the cornerstone of their immuno-oncology plans.

Management at Five Prime is now looking to Irving to unearth similar successes from its research platform. 

“Five Prime has built an unparalleled proprietary library of more than 5,700 human extracellular proteins containing the majority of medically relevant protein drug targets. I look forward to applying my experience in immuno-oncology to this platform in an effort to identify new targets, which could translate into multiple therapeutic proteins,” Irving said in a statement.

Irving replaces Luis Borges, Ph.D. Borges joined Five Prime as senior director in 2014 after 12 years at Amgen, after which a series of promotions led him to take the SVP of research post 11 months ago. Five Prime listed Borges as holding the SVP post as recently as August 12. But his name has now vanished from the management roster and is absent from the release unveiling the appointment of Irving. 

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