--Company Adds Clinical Development, Medical Affairs and M&A
CULVER CITY, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Sep. 22, 2015--
NantKwest, Inc. (Nasdaq: NK), a clinical-stage immunotherapy company
focused on harnessing the power of the innate immune system by using
natural killer cells to treat cancer, infectious diseases and
inflammatory diseases, today announced the appointments of three
senior-level executives: Andreas Niethammer, M.D., Ph.D., as executive
medical director; Dvorit Samid, Ph.D., as senior vice president of
medical affairs; and, Jerel A. Banks, M.D., Ph.D., as senior vice
president mergers and acquisitions.
“With these appointments, we have substantially augmented and
strengthened our senior management team with accomplished executives,”
said Patrick Soon-Shiong, M.D., chairman and chief executive officer of
NantKwest. “Drs. Niethammer, Samid and Banks bring deep and relevant
expertise, knowledge and experience in critical roles to our
organization, as well as strong leadership and strategic direction to
help propel NantKwest forward.”
Most recently, Dr. Niethammer was vice president clinical development
immune oncology for privately held Poseida Therapeutics. He is an
associate professor of oncology at Ruprecht-Karls-Universitaet
Heidelberg (Heidelberg University) and co-founded Vaximm AG, a
Swiss-based company focused on oral vaccines for cancer and infectious
diseases. Previously, Dr. Niethammer was vice president clinical
development for Tocagen, a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company, and
before that served in senior level roles with Pfizer, Eli Lilly and
Company and ImClone, where he focused on cancer immunotherapy and drug
Dr. Samid has more than 30 years of oncology research and drug
development experience. She most recently served as vice president of
medical affairs for Synta Pharmaceuticals, after holding similar
positions with several other pharmaceutical companies, including ImClone
Systems, Allos Therapeutics, Abraxis Oncology and Hoffman-La Roche.
Prior to joining pharma, Dr. Samid was an associate professor at the
University of Virginia’s Cancer Center and a section chief for the
National Cancer Institute. Dr. Samid earned a doctorate degree in Cell
Biology from Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. and a
Bachelor of Science degree in Microbiology from Hebrew University in
Jerusalem, Israel. She has authored more than 80 publications in
oncology and holds 19 patents.
Prior to joining NantKwest, Dr. Banks served as vice president,
portfolio manager and research analyst for the Franklin Biotechnology
Discovery Fund at Franklin Templeton Investment. Previously, he worked
as a senior equity research analyst covering the biotechnology sector at
Sectoral Asset Management Inc. and Apothecary Capital. Before that Dr.
Banks was an equity research associate on the healthcare investment team
at Capital Research and Management. Dr. Banks earned an M.D. and Ph.D.
in Organic Chemistry from Brown University and holds a B.A. in Chemistry
from Princeton University.
About NantKwest Inc.
NantKwest (Nasdaq:NK) is a pioneering, next generation, clinical-stage
immunotherapy company focused on harnessing the unique power of our
immune system using natural killer (NK) cells to treat cancer,
infectious diseases and inflammatory diseases. NK cells are the body’s
first line of defense due to the innate ability of NK cells to rapidly
identify and destroy cells under stress, such as cancer or
NantKwest’s unique NK cell-based platform, with the capacity to grow
active killer cells as a biological cancer therapy, has been designed to
induce cell death against cancer or infected cells by three different
modes of action: (1) Direct killing using activated NK cells (aNK) that
release toxic granules directly into the cell through cell to cell
contact, (2) Antibody-mediated killing using haNKs, which are NK cells
engineered to incorporate a high affinity receptor that binds to an
administered antibody, enhancing the cancer cell killing effect of that
antibody, and (3) Targeted activated killing using taNKs, which are NK
cells engineered to incorporate chimeric antigen receptors (CARs) to
target tumor-specific antigens found on the surface of cancer cells.
Our aNK, haNK and taNK platform addresses certain limitations of T cell
therapies including the reduction of risk of serious "cytokine storms"
reported after T cell therapy. As an “off-the-shelf” therapy,
NantKwest's NK cells do not rely on a patient’s own often compromised
immune system. In Phase 1 clinical trials in patients with late stage
cancer, NantKwest's NK cells have been successfully administered as an
outpatient infusion therapy without any reported severe side effects,
even at doses of 10 billion cells.
By leveraging an integrated and extensive genomics and transcriptomics
discovery and development engine, together with a pipeline of multiple,
clinical-stage, immuno-oncology programs that include a Phase 2 trial
for a rare form of melanoma and the planned initiation of a clinical
trial of NK cells targeted to breast cancer, we believe NantKwest is
uniquely positioned to be the premier immunotherapy company and
transform medicine by delivering living drugs in a bag and bringing
novel NK cell-based therapies to routine clinical care.
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Source: NantKwest, Inc.
Jen Hodson, 562-397-3639