Tag: Gerard Platenburg

Company News: ISA Pharmaceuticals Strengthens Management Team

–      Company hires Jan Fagerberg as Chief Medical Officer and Jens Hennecke as Chief Business Officer

–      Ronald Loggers becomes Acting Chief Executive Officer and Gerard Platenburg Chief Operating Officer

ISA Pharmaceuticals B.V., a clinical-stage immunotherapy company focusing on rationally designed therapeutic vaccines against cancer and persistent viral infections, today announced that it has appointed Dr. Jan Fagerberg, M.D., Ph.D., as Chief Medical Officer and Dr. Jens Hennecke, Ph.D., as Chief Business Officer and Advisor. Furthermore, Ronald Loggers, M.Sc., MBA, will step down from the Board of Directors and assume the role of Acting Chief Executive Officer, while Gerard Platenburg will become Chief Operating Officer.

Dr. Jan Fagerberg (51) is a board-certified clinical oncologist with more than 20 years of experience in clinical research and the development of oncology drugs. He joins ISA from Amgen where he was Vice President Global Development and Managing Director of Amgen Research (Munich) GmbH. During his career, Dr. Fagerberg has held senior executive positions at Amgen, Micromet, TopoTarget, and F. Hoffmann-La Roche. His responsibilities have included the global clinical development of blinatumomab (AMG 103), belinostat (PXD101), capecitabine (Xeloda), and clinical development programs of bevacizumab (Avastin) outside the U.S.. Dr. Fagerberg has extensive international regulatory experience, and was successful in obtaining 11 FDA and EMA approvals for Xeloda and Avastin. At Micromet, he also initiated the clinical development of several compounds in collaboration with global pharma companies. Jan Fagerberg received his M.D. (1988) and Ph.D. (1995) for work in clinically applied passive and active immunotherapy in cancer from the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm (Sweden).

Dr. Jens Hennecke (45) has a strong track record in business development, corporate development and licensing. He brings extensive experience in the negotiation and closing of corporate alliances. Prior to joining ISA and building his own business development advisory franchise, he was Senior Vice President Business Development at Micromet, Inc., where he managed the company’s business and corporate development, intellectual property and information technology departments. He also played a key role in establishing partnerships with major pharma companies, and in Micromet’s acquisition by Amgen in 2012. Prior to joining Micromet in 2001, Dr. Hennecke was a post-doctoral researcher at Harvard University. He holds a B.Sc. in biology from the University of Göttingen, Germany, and a Ph.D. from the ETH Zurich, Switzerland.

Before becoming Acting Chief Executive Officer, Ronald Loggers (45) had been on the Supervisory Board of ISA since 2009. He is currently also Managing Director at Multifund B.V., a family-owned investment company. Prior to that, he worked seven years for HAL Investments B.V., five years for McKinsey & Company and one year for Fokker Aircraft B.V. He brings extensive managerial, investment and financing experience. Ronald obtained an MBA from INSEAD (France) and an M.Sc. in Chemical Engineering from Delft University of Technology (The Netherlands).

Gerard Platenburg (48) joined ISA Pharmaceuticals in an executive role in 2009 and helped to mature ISA’s organization into its current form. He has over 20 years of experience as an executive in the biotech industry. He gained experience in several innovative biotech companies, amongst others Pharming and Prosensa, which he co-founded and grew into a clinical-stage company. Gerard holds a degree as a chemist/molecular biologist from the University of Leiden, The Netherlands.

The management team will consist of Ronald Loggers (Acting Chief Executive Officer), Gerard Platenburg (Chief Operating Officer), Prof. Kees Melief (Chief Scientific Officer), Jan Fagerberg (Chief Medical Officer) and Jens Hennecke (Chief Business Officer).

Company News: Novel AMPLIVANT™ Technology Introduced at AACR Annual Meeting 2013

– AMPLIVANT™ TLR-ligand adjuvant to improve immunotherapies –

ISA Pharmaceuticals B.V., a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focusing on rationally designed therapeutic vaccines against cancer and persistent viral infections, announces that Cornelis Melief, Professor at Leiden University and Chief Scientific Officer of ISA, presented details on the company’s novel AMPLIVANT™ technology at the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) 2013 Annual Meeting. AMPLIVANT™ is based on a powerful, proprietary toll-like receptor (TLR) ligand designed to improve immunotherapies. This promotes direct dendritic cell targeting of the antigen as well as antigen processing, resulting in long-term activation of dendritic cells and antigen presentation.

Toll-like receptors (TLRs) expressed by immune cells such as dendritic cells (DCs) or macrophages, play a key role in innate immunity by recognizing characteristic molecular structures present on the surface of bacteria and other microorganisms. Once these TLR ligands bind to the receptors, a signaling cascade is triggered which, among other effects, activates cells initiating immune responses. Thereby, they have the capacity to generate a robust acquired immune response.

Together with other scientists at Leiden University, the ISA team had observed that adding known strong TLR ligands to a vaccine consisting of synthetic long peptides resulted in a greatly improved immune response.

“Our rationale then was to link the peptide antigen chemically to the TLR ligands in order to obtain an even more efficient antigen delivery into the dendritic cells and additional activation stimuli from the TLR ligand,” said Melief. “In addition, we found that the AMPLIVANTTM-SLP conjugate is ingested more efficiently and leads to the creation of an antigen depot in the dendritic cells. This in turn results in long-lived antigen processing and presentation at the cell surface of the DCs.”

In tumor mouse models, conjugates of TLR ligands and synthetic long peptides resulted in much greater anti-tumor activity, long-term tumor protection and increased survival as compared to vaccines consisting of mixtures of peptides or peptides plus free TLR ligands.

To improve the TLR ligand performance further and to maximize clinical benefit, a synthetic TLR2-activating ligand was modified by rational molecular design, following a crystal structure analysis of the interaction between the ligand and its receptor.

“These efforts led to the AMPLIVANT™ technology, which had already yielded a number of proprietary agonists with enhanced receptor activation and DC maturation,” Melief added. “Our AMPLIVANTTM adjuvants are 100-fold more effective in terms of receptor stimulation than existing reference adjuvants, and we have also shown that they result in enhanced priming of CD8 T-cells in vivo.”

ISA is now planning a Phase I/II study to demonstrate safety and immunogenicity. “In this study, we will validate the AMPLIVANT™-SLP conjugate concept along the lines of our ISA101 vaccine, which has demonstrated clinical efficacy against pre-malignant disease,” said Gerard Platenburg, Managing Director of ISA Pharmaceuticals. “AMPLIVANT™ conjugates are based on two synthetic long peptides chosen from the 13 SLPs of the ISA101 vaccine. The trial in patients with HPV16-positive head and neck cancer is expected to start in early 2014.”

A Phase II trial of ISA101 in vulvar intra-epithelial neoplasia has established clinical proof-of-concept. In cervical cancer, ISA101 has completed a phase I/II trial and will enter into a randomized phase II trial later this year. ISA is also about to enter a phase I/II study in anal intra-epithelial neoplasia (AIN) with ISA101.

Company News: ISA Pharmaceuticals Secures EUR 8 Million Funding

ISA Pharmaceuticals B.V., a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focusing on rationally designed therapeutic vaccines against cancer and persistent viral infections, has today announced that it has raised EUR 8 million in a follow-on round from its existing investor base.

The proceeds will be used to fund a randomized Phase II clinical trial in cervical cancer with ISA’s lead program ISA-HPV, a therapeutic vaccine for pre-malignant diseases and cancers induced by human papilloma virus (HPV). Cervical cancer is the second most common cancer in women worldwide and is caused by HPV infection. The company has already demonstrated clinical efficacy of its HPV vaccine in a Phase II study in Vulvar Intraepithelial Neoplasia.

ISA’s vaccines are based on its proprietary synthetic long peptide (SLP®) vaccine platform. The company is currently advancing existing and new programs based on its SLP® vaccine platform in a number of cancers, including cervical carcinoma, as well as its groundbreaking proprietary toll-like receptor (TLR) ligand adjuvant technology.