Vienna, Austria, 18 October 2017 – Hookipa Biotech AG (“Hookipa”), a company pioneering an innovative class of immunotherapies for oncology and infectious diseases, today announced the appointment of Dr. Jan van de Winkel as Chairman of its Board of Directors.
Dr. Jan van de Winkel is currently President and Chief Executive Officer of Genmab A/S. He is widely recognized as one of the most successful biotech entrepreneurs in the world, with a blend of outstanding scientific and managerial expertise. He has built Genmab from ’bench to bedside’ with commercial stage immunotherapy products.
“We are proud to have attracted Jan to join our board of directors as Chairman,” said Hookipa´s CEO, Mr. Jörn Aldag. “As Hookipa grows and progresses to become an integrated biotech company with multiple clinical programs in infectious diseases and immune-oncology, Jan´s experience of building companies and his scientific insight will prove invaluable”.
As co-founder of Genmab Dr. van de Winkel served as President, Research & Development and Chief Scientific Officer of the company until his appointment as President and CEO in 2010. He has over 25 years of experience in the therapeutic antibody field and served as Vice President and Scientific Director of Medarex Europe prior to co-founding Genmab. He is the author of over 300 scientific publications and has been responsible for over 70 patents and pending patent applications. Dr. van de Winkel holds a professorship of immunotherapy at Utrecht University and received M.S. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Nijmegen in the Netherlands.
Commenting on his appointment Dr. van de Winkel said “I am honored to take on the role of Chairman at this exciting time in the life of this very promising company. The powerful stimulation of the natural immune mechanisms in patients is one of the most promising approaches being taken in infectious diseases and cancer – both prophylactically and therapeutically. I believe that Hookipa’s Vaxwave® and TheraT® technologies are among the best in the field and I am looking forward to building the company together with its management team and other board members who have done this very successfully before”.
Hookipa is anticipating the delivery of two major milestones over the next two years. Following the successful completion of a Phase 1 trial for a vaccine against cytomegalovirus (CMV) based on Hookipa’s proprietary Vaxwave® platform, a Phase 2 proof-of-concept study will be initiated in solid organ transplant recipients. In addition, based on unprecedented levels of specific T cells generated in in-vivo studies, the company will conduct a Phase 1 safety and efficacy trial for a TheraT® immunotherapy in Human Papilloma Virus (HPV)-related head and neck cancers with the goal of establishing safety and early efficacy signals.
About Hookipa Biotech
Hookipa Biotech is developing next-generation immunotherapies for infectious diseases and cancer using novel proprietary arenavirus vector platforms. By early July 2017, Hookipa has raised EUR 15 million in non-dilutive funds and EUR 37 million equity investment from internationally renowned venture capital investors including Sofinnova Partners, Forbion Capital Partners, Boehringer Ingelheim Venture Fund, Takeda Ventures and BioMedPartners.
Additional information on Hookipa is available at www.hookipabiotech.com.
Hookipa´s Vaxwave® technology presents a completely new replication-defective viral vector platform designed to overcome the limitations of current technologies. Vaxwave® is based on lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (LCMV). In this vector the gene encoding the LCMV envelope protein, normally responsible for virus entry into target cells, has been deleted and replaced with a target gene of interest. The resulting vectors infect target cells and stimulate very potent and long-lasting immune responses, however they can no longer replicate and are therefore non-pathogenic and inherently safe.
Hookipa’s TheraT® platform is based on an attenuated replicating virus and is capable of eliciting the most potent T cell responses – a crucial step in treating patients with aggressive cancers. Significant pre-clinical data demonstrates that TheraT® is a powerful modality capable of turning “cold tumors hot” which should result in an additional layer of efficacy in the fight against solid tumors. Specifically, TheraT® has proven to be safe in animals as well as capable of eliciting uniquely potent antigen-specific CD8+ cytotoxic T cell responses and strong tumor control in mice. The first clinical trial with HB-201 targeting human papilloma virus-induced head and neck cancer is currently being prepared. This immuno-oncology technology is further being leveraged to target tumor self-antigens or shared neoantigens.
Issued for and on behalf of Hookipa Biotech AG by Instinctif Partners. For further information please contact:
At the Company
Hookipa Biotech AG
Sue Charles/ Ashley Tapp
+44 (0)20 7866 7905