Internationally-recognized researchers and clinicians bring collective expertise to guide product development for pioneering CAR-NK cell therapies for solid tumors
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – October 26, 2021 – Catamaran Bio, Inc., a biotechnology company developing off-the-shelf CAR-NK cell therapies to treat cancer, today announced the formation of its scientific advisory board (SAB). The group is comprised of world-class cell therapy scientists and clinicians spanning research, manufacturing and clinical development. The SAB will work collaboratively with Catamaran’s leadership and R&D teams to help advance the company’s platform and its pipeline of CAR-NK cell therapies.
“The members of our newly formed scientific advisory board bring deep expertise across the five core areas that drive the development of our innovative CAR-NK cell therapies: NK cell biology, synthetic biology, cell engineering, manufacturing technologies, and clinical development,” said Vipin Suri, PhD, MBA, Chief Scientific Officer of Catamaran Bio. “This highly accomplished group of scientific, technical and clinical leaders brings leading edge expertise that will enhance our TAILWINDTM platform and accelerate the development of Catamaran’s transformative CAR-NK therapies for solid tumors.”
The members of the Catamaran scientific advisory board include (alphabetically listed):
Catherine Blish, MD, PhD, Associate Dean for Basic and Translational Research and Professor of Medicine and Immunology at the Stanford University School of Medicine. Dr. Blish is an expert in the diversity and function of NK cells and development of technologies for phenotypic profiling of immune cells. Dr. Blish’s research spans from basic investigations of NK cell recognition mechanisms to clinical immunology studies, with a particular focus on host-pathogen interactions in viral diseases such as SARS-CoV-2, HIV, influenza, and EBV infections.
Catherine Bollard, MD, Professor of Pediatrics and Microbiology, Immunology and Tropical Medicine at The George Washington University and Director of the Center for Cancer and Immunology Research at the Children’s National Research Institute at Children’s National Hospital; scientific co-founder of Catamaran Bio. Dr. Bollard is a leader in the design and clinical development of cell therapies. She was the first to initiate clinical trials with cell therapies enhanced with engineered TGFβ receptors to address TGFβ-induced immunosuppression in lymphoma patients. Dr. Bollard is a past President of the International Society for Cell and Gene Therapy and the current President of the Foundation for the Accreditation of Cellular Therapy.
Yvonne Chen, PhD, Associate Professor, Department of Microbiology, Immunology, and Molecular Genetics,Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, University of California, Los Angeles. Dr. Chen is a leader in synthetic biology, particularly the application of synthetic biology technologies to the design of effective cell therapies that optimally target tumor cells and counteract the immunosuppressive tumor microenvironment. Dr. Chen’s lab is developing next-generation CARs that can perform logical computation of multiple input signals, thereby increasing the specificity and versatility of CAR-modified immune cells.
Gianpietro Dotti, MD, Professor of Microbiology and Immunology, Co-Leader Immunology Program and Director of Cellular Immunotherapy Program of Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, University of North Carolina. Dr. Dotti is a leader in design and clinical development of cell therapies with an emphasis on developing CAR-based strategies. A significant focus of his research is the development of strategies aimed at overcoming immune suppressive mechanisms of the tumor microenvironment.
Timothy Harris, PhD, Venture Partner, SV Health Investors; Senior Scientific Consultant, Repertoire Immune Medicines; co-founder of Catamaran Bio and Chairman of the SAB. Dr. Harris is a molecular biologist, biochemist and geneticist with over 40 years as a science and business leader, guiding and leading laboratory work and scientists in a range of molecular research areas. He has served in R&D leadership roles at Bioverativ, Biogen, Frederick National Laboratory of the National Cancer Institute, SGX Pharmaceuticals, Celltech and Glaxo Group Research.
Christopher A. Klebanoff, MD, Assistant Member, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSK) Human Oncology and Pathogenesis Program (HOPP); Member Investigator, MSK Center for Cell Engineering and the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy. Dr. Klebanoff is a physician scientist, breast cancer specialist and solid tumor immunotherapy expert with 19 years of experience in the pre-clinical and clinical development of cell-based immunotherapies for the treatment of cancer.
Lewis Lanier, PhD. Chairman, Department of Microbiology and Immunology, University of California, San Francisco; Co-Lead Cancer Immunology and Immunotherapy Program UCSF Cancer Center. Dr. Lanier is a recognized expert on NK cell biology with seminal contributions to the understanding of how NK cells recognize and eliminate tumor cells while sparing normal healthy cells. He has discovered and characterized multiple activating and inhibiting NK receptors and demonstrated their interaction with cancer cells.
Branden Moriarity, PhD, Associate Professor in the Department of Pediatrics, Division of Hematology/Oncology at the University of Minnesota; scientific co-founder of Catamaran Bio. Dr. Moriarity is an expert in engineering NK and other immune cells for cell therapy, and he has made significant discoveries in non‑viral cell engineering using DNA transposon systems. He holds multiple patents for technologies using DNA transposon systems, targeted nuclease platforms (TALEN and CRISPR/Cas9) and base editors, and he has widely published in the field of genome engineering.
Eric Yvon, PhD, Associate Professor, Department of Medicine, Hematology/Oncology, Director of Stem Cell Transplantation and Cell Therapy Laboratories, The George Washington University Cancer Center. Dr. Yvon is a leading expert in the design and manufacturing of engineered NK cell therapies, and he directs the GMP cell therapy manufacturing facility at The George Washington University.
About Catamaran Bio
Catamaran Bio is developing novel, off-the-shelf CAR-NK cell therapies designed to treat a broad range of cancers, including solid tumors. Our proprietary capabilities enable us to harness the natural cancer-fighting properties of NK cells and enhance and tailor their effectiveness with the power of synthetic biology and innovative non-viral cell engineering. We are using our TAILWINDTM platform, an integrated suite of technologies, to specifically address the end-to-end methods of engineering, processing and manufacturing NK cells and rapidly advance our pipeline of CAR-NK cell therapy programs. Our team combines experienced biopharmaceutical leadership with founding scientists who are pioneers in NK cell biology, engineering, manufacturing and clinical application. Catamaran is backed by leading financial and corporate investors, including SV Health Investors, Sofinnova Partners, Lightstone Ventures, Takeda Ventures and Astellas Venture Management. For more information, please visit www.catamaranbio.com and follow us on LinkedIn and @CatamaranBio on Twitter.
Mark Boshar, Chief Operating Officer
Kathryn Morris, The Yates Network