TapImmune Inc., a clinical-stage immuno-oncology company, announced that it has expanded its recently formed Scientific Advisory Board (SAB), which will become effective in conjunction with the proposed merger between the Company and Marker Therapeutics, Inc., and will support the continued clinical development of the Company’s transformative, non-genetically engineered, multi-antigen T cell therapy platform. The new SAB members include leading experts from the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.
James P. Allison, Ph.D., is a globally recognized tumor immunologist whose research led to the clinical development of the first FDA-approved cancer immunotherapy, ipilimumab (Yervoy®). Dr. Allison is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the Institute of Medicine, and is a fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Previously, he served as President of the American Association of Immunologists. He has received worldwide recognition for his contributions, including, the Lasker Clinical Medical Research Award, the Canada Gairdner International Award, the Szent-Györgyi Prize for Progress in Cancer Research and the Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences for Innovative Cancer Immunology Research. Dr. Allison also serves as the Chair of MD Anderson’s Department of Immunology and Director of its Immunotherapy Platform.
Padmanee Sharma, M.D., Ph.D., is a leading translational scientist and clinical investigator focused on cancer immunotherapy. Her work was critical to advancing the research and development that yielded the world’s first checkpoint inhibitors, and she is widely regarded as one of the leading key thought leaders in immuno-oncology today.
“I am thrilled to welcome Dr. Allison and Dr. Sharma to our Scientific Advisory Board,” said Peter L. Hoang, President & CEO of TapImmune. “In many ways, Dr. Allison’s scientific contributions have made cancer immunotherapy, as we understand it today, possible. He was one of the first scientists to identify the T cell receptor – the fundamental underpinning of cell therapies and immunotherapy. His work proved cancer immunotherapy could actually drive patient responses against cancer and so, in many ways, I personally consider him to be the father of modern cancer immunotherapy. He is the recipient of many of science’s top honors, including the Lasker Prize, the Gairdner Award, the Szent-Györgyi Prize for Progress in Cancer Research and the Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences for Innovative Cancer Immunology Research. I am honored that he has offered to contribute to the advancement of our therapies with his advice and expertise.
“Dr. Sharma is one of the top translational researchers and one of the most well-regarded oncologists in the country. Dr. Sharma made seminal discoveries in the role ICOS in boosting the effectiveness of immunotherapy, and for years she has been a driving force in the science behind closer monitoring of tumors in various stages in order to better characterize why some patients respond to immunotherapies while others do not. She has received numerous accolades, including the 2012 MD Anderson Cancer Center Faculty Scholar Award and the 2008 Melanoma Research Alliance Young Investigator Award.”
Mr. Hoang concluded, “We’re honored that so many immunotherapy trailblazers are willing to offer their support and expertise to our company. Together with our esteemed scientific advisors we announced last week from Baylor College of Medicine’s Center for Cell and Gene Therapy, the guidance of our world-class SAB will be instrumental to our potential success. We look forward to moving ahead with their support as the proposed merger is completed.”
SAB Member Bios:
James P. Allison, Ph.D.
Dr. Allison is a Co-Founder of Jounce Therapeutics and currently serves as chair of The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center Department of Immunology and director of the Immunotherapy Platform. A leading tumor immunologist, Dr. Allison has a longstanding interest in mechanisms of T cell development and activation, the development of novel strategies for tumor immunotherapy and is recognized as the first person to isolate the T cell antigen receptor protein. His research led to the clinical development of ipilimumab (Yervoy®), which was approved in 2011 by the FDA for the treatment of metastatic melanoma. Previously, he was Director of the Ludwig Center for Cancer Immunotherapy and Chair of the immunology program at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, as well as the David H. Koch Chair in Immunologic Studies and attending immunologist at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. Dr. Allison is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the Institute of Medicine, and is a fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Previously, he served as President of the American Association of Immunologists. He has received worldwide recognition for his contributions, including, the Lasker Clinical Medical Research Award, the Canada Gairdner International Award, the Szent-Györgyi Prize for Progress in Cancer Research and the Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences for Innovative Cancer Immunology Research. Dr. Allison received his B.S. in microbiology and his Ph.D. in biological sciences from the University of Texas.
Padmanee Sharma, M.D., Ph.D.
A leading cancer immunotherapy translational scientist, Dr. Sharma is a Co-Founder of Jounce Therapeutics and currently serves as scientific director and professor in the departments of genitourinary medical oncology and immunology at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. Dr. Sharma is a medical oncologist and immunologist, and is currently the principal investigator of several immunotherapy clinical trials, which allow her to further investigate immune responses and pathways that are critical for eliciting anti-tumor responses and clinical benefit in cancer patients. Dr. Sharma has received numerous awards in her field including a Department of Defense (DOD) Idea Development Award (2010), a Cancer Prevention Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT) Individual Investigator Award (2011), a National Institute of Health (NIH/NCI) R01 Award (2012) and an AACR-CRI-SU2C Immunotherapy dream team grant (2013). Dr. Sharma holds a Ph.D. in immunology and an M.D. from Pennsylvania State University. She also holds a B.A. in biology and an M.A. in biotechnology from Boston University.