Enara Bio adds further world‐class cell therapy and immuno‐oncology expertise to Senior Management Team and Scientific Advisory Board

in Portfolio News

  • Dr Erik Rutjens appointed as Vice President, Cell Therapy Operations
  • Dr Sadik Kassim and Dr Michael Quigley strengthen Scientific Advisory Board with deep industry experience

Oxford and London, UK – 16th December 2020. Enara Bio, a biotechnology company leveraging its proprietary T‐cell/T‐cell receptor (TCR) discovery and Dark Antigen™ platforms to deliver targeted cancer immunotherapies, announces it has extended and broadened its access to world‐class expertise and capabilities in immuno‐oncology and cell therapy development and manufacturing with appointments to senior leadership team and its Scientific Advisory Board (SAB). These appointments will provide experienced industry leadership and perspective to support Enara Bio’s rapid growth and development in key strategic areas.

The Company appointed Dr Erik Rutjens as Vice President, Cell Therapy Operations. Dr Rutjens is an expert in cell therapy manufacturing with more than 15 years’ experience in the field as well as a PhD trained immunologist. He joins Enara Bio from Novartis, where he was Head of Enabling Technologies & Process Engineering, following several other development and GMP operations roles at Novartis in cell and gene therapy manufacturing. At Novartis, Erik played a critical role in the development of Kymriah, the first engineered T‐cell therapy to be approved by the FDA. Prior to his time at Novartis, he held various positions at PharmaCell (now Lonza) where he helped oversee complex manufacturing development for multiple novel cell therapies.

The Company also added two recognized biopharma industry leaders, Dr Sadik Kassim and Dr Michael Quigley, to its SAB to complement its existing academic advisors.

Dr Sadik Kassim, a cell and gene therapy bioprocessing and translational research expert, is currently Chief Technology Officer at Vor Biopharma. Prior to this, he served as executive Director at Kite Pharma, and Chief Scientific officer at Mustang Bio. Earlier in his career, he was Head of Early Analytical Development for Novartis’ Cell and Gene Therapies Unit, and a research biologist at the US National Cancer Institute (NCI). Sadik has contributed to the development and successful BLA and MAA filings for all three FDA‐approved T‐cell therapies, Kymriah, Tecartus, and Yescarta.

Dr Michael Quigley is currently a Senior Vice President leading Gilead’s Research Biology Group overseeing the company's biology teams and preclinical programs as well as protein biotherapeutics, computational biology and bioinformatics efforts across all therapeutic areas. Mike brings deep experience in immune‐oncology biology and early product development. Previously, he was Vice President and Head, Tumor Microenvironment Modulation Thematic Research Center at Bristol Myers Squibb and site head of the company’s Redwood City, California location. Earlier in his career Mike lead teams in Oncology Discovery at MedImmune and Janssen.

Kevin Pojasek, President and CEO of Enara Bio, said:
“Enara Bio is growing rapidly, and we need to match our exciting progress with the right expertise. I am extremely pleased to welcome Sadik and Mike to our SAB. Their specialized expertise and strategic input in immuno‐oncology product development will be invaluable in guiding the advancement of our cell therapy platform and pipeline. Erik’s appointment as VP, Cell Therapy Operations also adds essential capabilities to our senior leadership team, as we continue advancing our research and development of next generation cancer immunotherapies, enabled by our Dark Antigen™ and TCR discovery platforms. I’m thrilled that we’re able to continue to attract top global talent as we grow Enara to a leading player in next‐generation cancer immunotherapy.”


About Enara Bio
Enara Bio (formerly Ervaxx) is a science‐led company targeting the T‐cell/cancer‐cell interface (the “immune synapse”) to develop new targeted cancer immunotherapies designed to treat a broad patient population. Enara Bio is exploring the hidden depths of cancer and T‐cell biology to discover and characterize novel immunotherapy targets, such as Dark Antigens™ and MR1‐presented ligands. We are pioneering approaches to exploit these targets with TCR‐directed T‐cell immunotherapy and therapeutic vaccines. To achieve our mission, we are leveraging our differentiated Dark Antigen™ and TCR discovery platforms that integrate bioinformatics, immunopeptidomics, metabolomics and immunology in our Oxford, UK‐based research lab. Enara Bio is backed by leading life science investors, including SV Health Investors. We have partnerships with world‐class academic institutions, including the Francis Crick Institute, Cardiff University, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and the University of Oxford, to help drive the leading edge of these new areas of science.
For more information visit: www.enarabio.com

Enara Bio Limited

Kevin Pojasek, CEO
Tel: +44(0)1865 618 828
Email: info@enarabio.com

Citigate Dewe Rogerson
Mark Swallow, Frazer Hall, Nathaniel Dahan
Tel: +44 (0)20 7638 9571
Email: enarabio@citigatedewerogerson.com

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