(Oxford, UK, 12 January 2015) Immunocore Limited, the Oxford-based biotechnology company developing novel biological drugs to treat cancer and viral disease, today announced the appointment of Dr Eliot Forster as Chief Executive Officer with immediate effect.
Dr Forster brings almost 25 years of experience in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industry, and is joining from Creabilis where he has served as Chief Executive Officer since 2010. Prior to joining Creabilis, Dr Forster was Chief Executive Officer of US biotechnology company, Solace Pharmaceuticals Inc.
His other previous roles include Head of Development and Operations for the EU and Asia at Pfizer, where he was responsible for drug development activities across multiple geographies and brought several drugs to market, including Celebrex® (celecoxib) and Relpax® (eletriptan). Before joining Pfizer he was at GlaxoSmithKline.
Dr Forster has also served as a non-executive director to a number of growing biotechnology companies and holds a PhD in neurophysiology from Liverpool University and an MBA from Henley Management College.
He is currently Chairman of the MedCity project, launched in April 2014 to grow a world-leading life sciences cluster in London and the greater south east, and will continue in that role.
Dr Forster will succeed James Noble, the founding CEO of Immunocore and its sister company, Adaptimmune. Mr Noble stood down as CEO of Immunocore in March 2014 to become full-time CEO of Adaptimmune and grow the company. Mr Noble remains a non-executive director of Immunocore.
Executive Chairman of Immunocore, Dr Jonathan Knowles, said: "I am delighted to welcome Eliot Forster to Immunocore, and as a member of the Board. His significant drug development experience will be invaluable to Immunocore as we continue to deliver within our partnerships and advance our proprietary ImmTAC pipeline."
James Noble commented: "I am very pleased to hand the baton over to Eliot and I wish him every success with taking the company forward."
"I am delighted to have the opportunity to lead Immunocore at this exciting point of transition as it advances its lead programme, IMCgp100, in Phase II clinical trials in patients with late stage melanoma," said Dr Forster. "Through substantial scientific achievement, the company has created an innovative and robust platform technology to tackle cancer and viral disease, and I look forward to working together with the team to build one of Europe's premier biotechnology companies."
Head of PR, Immunocore Ltd, UK
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Notes for editors
Founded in 2008, Immunocore Ltd is a privately owned, clinical-stage biotechnology company developing a highly innovative platform technology that generates novel drugs called ImmTACs for the treatment of cancer and viral infection. Immunocore traces its roots to Avidex Ltd, founded in 1999 as a spin-out from the University of Oxford to develop novel T Cell Receptor technology invented by the founder and chief scientist, Dr Bent Jakobsen.
Immunocore has major discovery collaborations ongoing with leading pharmaceutical companies Genentech, GlaxoSmithKline, MedImmune, the biologics division of AstraZeneca, and a co-discovery and co-development partnership with Eli Lilly. In December 2014, the company was awarded the SCRIP Best Partnership alliance, together with MedImmune, and was listed in the top 15 private biotech firms globally for 2013 by Fierce Biotech. Immunocore has over 125 staff and is located in Oxfordshire. For more information, please visit www.immunocore.com
Immunocore's ImmTAC (Immune mobilising mTCR Against Cancer) technology enables the immune system to recognise and kill cancer or viral cells. T Cell Receptors naturally recognise diseased cells and Immunocore's competitive advantage is its ability to engineer high affinity T Cell Receptors and link them to an antibody fragment which can activate the immune system to kill the targeted cancer cells or viruses. These bi-specific proteins, called ImmTACS, have the potential to be extremely potent anti-cancer or anti-viral agents. The most advanced ImmTAC, IMCgp100, is in Phase II clinical trials for the treatment of late stage melanoma.