LOS ANGELES, Feb. 18, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- ImmunoCellular Therapeutics, Ltd. ("ImmunoCellular") (NYSE MKT: IMUC) today announced the appointment of Steven J. Swanson, PhD, as Senior Vice President, Research. Dr. Swanson will lead the Company's Stem-to-T-cell research program, which utilizes the patient's own hematopoietic stem cells to drive production of antigen-specific killer T-cells which then attack cancer cells. He will be responsible for all programmatic research and development, with the goal of identifying and advancing novel antigen-specific Stem-to-T-cell product candidates to the clinic. Dr. Swanson has more than 25 years of pharmaceutical and biotechnology experience, with a specialty in immunology, and has been an industry leader in advancing global standards for immunogenicity assessment.
"Steve joins ImmunoCellular at an exciting time in our Company's development. ICT-107, our lead dendritic cell cancer vaccine, is expected to begin pivotal phase 3 testing in the US and EU in the second half of the year. The Stem-to-T-cell research program is an additional, complementary program to ICT-107 and our other dendritic cell vaccines. Steve's expertise with respect to this application of our existing technology furthers our goal of becoming a leading cancer immunotherapy company," said Mr. Gengos. "Steve's broad experience in immunology drug discovery and development, as well as his regulatory knowledge and worldwide reputation as an immunogenicity thought-leader will be valuable assets to ImmunoCellular both in advancing this new stem cell platform and potentially enhancing our dendritic cell vaccine platform."
"I believe that ImmunoCellular's multi-platform approach to developing cancer immunotherapeutic technologies increases opportunities to advance the field of immune-oncology," said Dr. Swanson. "I am excited to work with the ImmunoCellular team to optimize and advance our Stem-to-T-cell technology. I believe that our focus on engineering hematopoietic stem cells to generate antigen-specific cancer-killing T-cells offers significant advantages over competing immune-oncology approaches, in its potential to induce robust and durable antitumor activity, and address a broad range of intractable cancers."
Prior to joining ImmunoCellular, Dr. Swanson was an independent consultant advising biopharmaceutical companies on basic immunology research, bioanalytical procedures, immunogenicity assessment, regulatory affairs and product quality. Dr. Swanson spent 15 years at Amgen as Department Head for Clinical Immunology, a then-new department providing immunogenicity and cytometry support for all of Amgen's therapeutic proteins. Prior to joining Amgen, he led the immunoassay laboratory in the Biotechnology department at Schering Plough Research Institute. Dr. Swanson has been actively involved in multiple industry professional associations, including the American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists (AAPS), where he is a Fellow, and was a co-author of AAPS-sponsored Industry White Papers that were incorporated into FDA and EMA Guidance for Immunogenicity Assessment. He was also an industry representative for the EMA Committee that developed the first Immunogenicity Recommendations, and was engaged by the FDA to train reviewers on immunogenicity assessment. Dr. Swanson has authored more than 60 publications. He holds a BA in chemistry/biology from North Central College, a PhD in microbiology from the University of Iowa, and completed a post-doctoral fellowship at The Ohio State University.
About ImmunoCellular's Stem-to-T-Cell Program
In 2014, ImmunoCellular expanded its cancer immunotherapy platform with antigen-specific T-cell technology licensed from the California Institute of Technology (Caltech). The licensing agreement provided exclusive rights to novel technology for the development of certain antigen-specific T-cell immunotherapies, which originated from the labs of David Baltimore, PhD, Nobel Laureate, President Emeritus, and Robert Andrews Millikan Professor of Biology at Caltech. The technology utilizes the patient's own hematopoietic stem cells to drive production of antigen-specific killer T-cells which then attack cancer cells. ImmunoCellular plans to utilize this technology to expand and complement its dendritic cell-based cancer vaccine platform, with the goal of developing new immunotherapies that kill cancer cells in a highly directed and specific way, and that can function as single agents or in combination approaches.
Caltech's technology has the potential to address the challenge, and limitation, faced by CAR (chimeric antigen receptor) and TCR (T-cell receptor) technologies, that is, the generation of a limited, short-lived immune response. By putting T-cell receptors into stem cells rather than into T-cells, the immune response can be transformed into a long-lived and potent response that could effectively treat previously resilient solid cancers. This observation has been verified in animal models by investigators at Caltech and the National Cancer Institute.
About ImmunoCellular Therapeutics, Ltd.
ImmunoCellular Therapeutics, Ltd. is a Los Angeles-based clinical-stage company that is developing immune-based therapies for the treatment of brain and other cancers. ImmunoCellular has concluded a phase II trial of its lead product candidate, ICT-107, a dendritic cell-based vaccine targeting multiple tumor-associated antigens for glioblastoma. ImmunoCellular's pipeline also includes: ICT-121, a dendritic cell vaccine targeting CD133; ICT-140, a dendritic cell vaccine targeting ovarian cancer antigens and cancer stem cells; and the Stem-to-T-cell research program which engineers the patient's hematopoietic stem cells to generate antigen-specific cancer killing T-cells. To learn more about ImmunoCellular, please visit www.imuc.com.
Forward-Looking Statements for ImmunoCellular Therapeutics
This press release contains certain forward-looking statements that are subject to a number of risks and uncertainties, including the risk that ICT-107 can be further successfully developed or commercialized and whether any of our technology programs can result in successful product opportunities. Additional risks and uncertainties are described in IMUC's most recently filed quarterly report on Form 10-Q and annual report on Form 10-K. Except as permitted by law, IMUC undertakes no obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.
ImmunoCellular Therapeutics, Ltd.