SAN FRANCISCO – (BUSINESS WIRE) – Indapta Therapeutics Inc. (“Indapta”), a biotechnology company focused on developing and commercializing an off-the-shelf, proprietary, world-class, undeveloped, allogeneic FcRγ-deficient natural killer (G-NK) cell therapy for the treatment of multiple cancers , today announced the appointment of Dr. Lori Kunkel as Senior Clinical Advisor, Dr. Robert Sikorski as founding chairman and Jim Weiss as board member known by directors.
“I am delighted to have these industry veterans join our team at this exciting time in Indapta’s development into the clinic,” said Guy DiPierro, Chief Executive Officer and Founder of Indapta. “Lori and Bob bring extensive and relevant clinical experience and strategic expertise to support Indapta in our clinical studies in various indications and development phases. Dr. Kunkel’s knowledge of the development and marketing of oncological drugs as well as Dr. Sikorski’s extensive experience in cell therapy will help accelerate our clinical programs in a variety of cancers. And Jim Weiss will bring data-driven, digitally based business strategies, marketing and communication skills with him as product developments and launches become more virtual in the post-pandemic landscape. ”
Dr. Kunkel has more than two decades of drug development and commercialization experience in oncology and immunology. She was previously acting Chief Medical Officer at Loxo Oncology, which was acquired by Eli Lilly and subsequently served on the Board of Directors. She previously served as chief medical officer at Pharmacyclics, which was acquired by AbbVie, and Proteolix, Inc., which was acquired by Onyx Pharmaceuticals, which in turn was acquired by Amgen, where she contributed to global anti-cancer drug approval, IMBRUVICA ® and Kyprolis ®. Dr. Kunkel spent 10 years in academic medicine and was a faculty member in the Bone Marrow Transplant Unit in the Department of Hematology / Oncology at the University of California at Los Angeles. She currently serves on the Board of Directors of Curis, Inc., Nurix Therapeutics, OricPharma, and Maverick Therapeutics.
“Indapta’s promising preclinical data combined with the company’s proprietary manufacturing process and innovative management team drew me to the company,” said Dr. Kunkel. “I look forward to working with Guy, the management team and board members, and using my experience to position Indapta’s products in the current regimen, to design the clinical trials, to work with the FDA and to develop Indapta’s G-NK cell quickly advance therapy through the clinic and also admission. ”
Dr. Sikorski has extensive experience in drug development. Most recently, he was Chief Medical Officer at FivePrime Therapeutics, a public biotechnology company. There he led the development of a biologics pipeline that spanned preclinical discovery through proof-of-concept through to critical studies. Previously, he led an early stage clinical development group at Medimmune / AstraZeneca that introduced six novel molecules into clinical trials. He played a leading role in building the Medimmune / AstraZeneca oncology portfolio through partnerships and acquisition efforts. Early in his career, he led Amgen’s late-stage clinical development and post-marketing efforts for several commercial drugs and drug candidates. He began his career as a Howard Hughes Research Fellow and visiting scholar at the National Cancer Institute and the National Human Genome Research Institute in the laboratory of Nobel Prize winner Harold Varmus. Dr. Sikorski was an editor for Science and the Journal for the American Medical Association.
“The Indapta team has developed a novel and powerful allogeneic NK cell product and manufacturing process that could serve as a platform for several next-generation cancer therapies,” said Dr. Sikorski. “I am thrilled to have the opportunity to bring this cutting-edge science to the treatment of cancer patients.”
Mr. Weiss has over 30 years of experience in strategic media and marketing communication in the health and technology sector and has worked in almost all aspects of corporate, product and organizational communication. He is the founder and chief executive officer of W2O, the leading independent provider of analytics-driven digital first marketing and communication for the healthcare sector. During his career, Mr. Weiss has been recognized as one of the most influential people in health communications and has received many awards including Top 50 Health Influencer and Top 25 Innovator in Communications. He started his career at Genentech in the early years. Mr. Weiss is currently a member of the Board of Trustees of the Cancer Research Institute and the Commons Project and a member of the Advisory Boards of the Newhouse School and the Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association.
“Jim has advised me on a wide variety of companies, private to public, and preclinical to commercial, on adding value through key turning points,” said Dr. Dov Goldstein, Indapta’s Chief Financial and Business Officer. “Jim is the founder and owner of a company that has grown to more than 1,500 employees. He knows how to scale and develop a company in various success phases. We know that our efforts at Indapta will benefit from his insights as we serve on our board of directors. ”
Indaptas G-NK cell therapy
Indapta Therapeutics is developing a universal, allogeneic G-NK cell therapy aimed at significantly improving the cytotoxicity of monoclonal antibody therapy in several types of cancer. G-NK cells are a specific and potent subgroup of NK (natural killer) cells with specialized anti-tumor activity that results from epigenetic alteration rather than engineering. Indapta has further enhanced G-NK cells through its specific selection of G-NK cell subsets and its proprietary manufacturing process, which when combined results in G-NK cell therapy that demonstrates greater efficacy, persistence and improved cryopreservation than multiple monoclonal antibody therapies alone or monoclonal antibody therapies combined with conventional NK cells.
When a monoclonal antibody binds to the tumor target and to Indapta’s G-NK cell therapy product, it initiates the release of dramatically more cancer-killing compounds than traditional NK cells, allowing for increased efficacy and potentially less frequent dosing. Indapta’s commercial G-NK cell therapy differs further from other NK cell therapies in that it is a cell bank product with little variability. In vivo studies have shown the safety of Indapta’s G-NK cell therapy.
About Indapta Therapeutics
Indapta Therapeutics Inc. is a biotechnology company focused on developing and commercializing proprietary, world-class, off-the-shelf allogeneic cell therapy for the treatment of multiple types of difficult-to-treat hematologic cancers and solid tumors. Indapta, headquartered in San Francisco, was founded in 2017 by Guy DiPierro together with Ronald Martell and scientists from the University of California, Davis and Stanford University. The company has developed FcRIγ-deficient allogeneic natural killer cells known as G-NK cells and is working to bring this standard cell therapy to patients in an attempt to remove the limitations of currently available autologous T-cell therapies.