Utrecht, The Netherlands and Philadelphia, Jan. 8, 2020 –Lava Therapeutics (“LAVA”) today announced that James P. Allison, Ph.D., a 2018 Nobel Prize recipient in Physiology or Medicine for his discovery of cancer therapy by inhibition of negative immune regulation, and Padmanee Sharma, M.D., Ph.D., a scientific leader in oncology, specializing in renal, bladder and prostate cancer, have joined the company’s Advisory Board.
“We are thrilled to welcome Jim and Pam, two of the most respected leaders in the field of oncology, to our Advisory Board,” said Steve Hurly, Chief Executive Officer of LAVA. “We believe we are at the forefront of developing gamma-delta T cell engagers, which represents a novel class of potential treatments for a range of cancer indications. As we approach this next phase as a clinical-stage company, Jim and Pam’s collective insights and deep expertise will be invaluable, and we are excited to be collaborating with them.”
Dr. Paul Parren, Executive Vice President and Head of R&D for LAVA added, “Jim’s and Pam’s willingness to join LAVA’s Advisory Board is a transformative event for our young company, as it strongly increases our potential for developing truly transformative cancer drugs based our exciting bispecific gamma-delta T cell engaging technology. We are pleased to have them on board and look forward to leveraging their expertise as we advance our programs.”
Dr. James Allison
Dr. Allison has spent his career studying the regulation of T cell responses. Dr. Allison’s work led to the development of an antibody to human CTLA-4 called ipilimumab which became the first immune checkpoint blockade therapy ever approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The approval of ipilimumab cleared the path for the emerging field of immune checkpoint blockade therapy in the treatment of cancer. His current work is focused on improving immune checkpoint blockade therapies and identifying new targets to unleash the immune system and eradicate cancer. Dr. Allison is a member of the National Academies of Science and Medicine and is currently Regental Professor and Chair of the Department of Immunology, the Vivian L. Smith Distinguished Chair in Immunology, the Executive Director of the Immunotherapy Platform and Co-Director of the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy at MD Anderson Cancer Center.
Dr. Padmanee Sharma
Dr. Sharma is focused on understanding resistance mechanisms within the immune system that impact anti-tumor responses. For more than a decade, she has been a principal investigator for multiple clinical trials to improve the efficacy of cancer immunotherapies. Dr. Sharma’s work on new pathways to treat prostate cancer implicated, for the first time in a human tumor, the checkpoint VISTA in inhibiting immune responses. In partnership with Dr. Allison, Dr. Sharma is currently exploring combinations of immunological therapies and targeted drugs in preclinical studies to treat a variety of cancers more effectively. Dr. Sharma is a professor of Genitourinary Medical Oncology and Immunology in the Division of Cancer Medicine, the T.C. and Jeanette Hsu Endowed Chair in Cell Biology, the Scientific Director of the Immunotherapy Platform and the Co-Director of the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.
About Lava Therapeutics, Inc.
Lava Therapeutics’ proprietary platform is focused on developing next generation γδ T cell engaging bispecific antibodies to treat cancer. Our first-in-class immuno-oncology approach specifically activates Vγ9Vδ2 T cells upon binding to a tumor target. LAVA’s vision is to develop therapeutics for the curative treatment of cancer. Founded in 2016, LAVA has grown into a start-up company with a highly experienced antibody research and development team located in Utrecht, the Netherlands (Headquarters) and Philadelphia. www.lavatherapeutics.com.
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