– Internationally renowned researchers Gordon Freeman, Ph.D., Thomas Gajewski, M.D., Ph.D., Jason Luke, M.D., Ignacio Melero, M.D., Ph.D., and Anthony Tolcher, M.D., to advise Bright Peak in its mission to develop next-generation multifunctional precision immunotherapies for cancer –
SAN DIEGO & BASEL, Switzerland, Oct. 18, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Bright Peak Therapeutics, a privately held biotechnology company leveraging a revolutionary chemical protein engineering platform to develop next-generation multifunctional cytokine-based immunotherapies, today announced the formation of a Scientific Advisory Board (“SAB”) comprised of world-renowned experts in immuno-oncology basic, translational and clinical research.
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“Bright Peak is truly privileged and excited to have such an accomplished and dedicated group of scientific and clinical experts to advise on our discovery and clinical development programs,” said Fredrik Wiklund, Chief Executive Officer of Bright Peak. “Their combined resume includes some of the most groundbreaking discoveries in immuno-oncology, from basic biology through clinical investigation.” Jon Wigginton, M.D., President of Research and Development at Bright Peak added, “We are honored to welcome this outstanding group of investigators to the Bright Peak SAB and look forward to leveraging their expertise in our shared mission to develop transformative precision immunotherapies that address significant unmet needs for patients with cancer.”
The members of Bright Peak’s Scientific Advisory Board include:
Gordon Freeman, Ph.D., Professor of Medicine at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute (DFCI) and Harvard Medical School, is renowned for discovering the PD-L1 and PD-L2 proteins. Dr. Freeman showed that PD-L1 and PD-L2 bound to PD-1 to turn off the immune response and that blockade of PD-L1/PD-1 enhanced immune responses. He further showed that PD-L1 is highly expressed on many tumors and allows these tumors to resist immune attack. Dr. Freeman’s work led directly to the development of a successful strategy for cancer immunotherapy – blocking the PD-1-ligand interaction. Dr. Freeman has published over 400 scientific papers and holds over 90 US patents on immunotherapies. He was elected to the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Inventors, is a Fellow of the AACR and SITC Academies, and has received numerous awards, including the William B. Coley Award for Distinguished Research in Tumor Immunology, the Warren Alpert Foundation Prize, and the Richard Smalley, MD, Memorial Award. Dr. Freeman received his Ph.D. degree in Microbiology and Molecular Genetics from Harvard University.
Thomas Gajewski, M.D., Ph.D., is the AbbVie Foundation Professor in Cancer Immunotherapy, leader of the Immunology and Cancer program, and Director of Melanoma Oncology at the University of Chicago. Dr. Gajewski’s notable discoveries include the identification of the STING pathway and how it stimulates the body’s innate immune system to attack cancer, downstream pathways including Wnt/β-catenin that enable tumors to evade immune responses, and the connection between the immune system’s response to cancer and the gut microbiota. An author of more than 250 manuscripts, Dr. Gajewski is past president of SITC, a founding editor of the Journal for Immunotherapy of Cancer, past chair of the Cancer Immunopathology and Immunotherapy grant review study section at the NIH, has served on the program committees for ASCO and AACR, a grant reviewer for the Melanoma Research Alliance and Cancer Research Institute, and editor for Cancer Research. Among numerous honors, Dr. Gajewski has received the William B. Coley Award for Distinguished Research in Tumor Immunology, the ESMO award in Immuno-oncology, the American Cancer Society-Jules L. Plangere Jr. Family Foundation Professorship in Cancer Immunotherapy, and Distinguished Professor designation at the University of Chicago. He holds a B.S., Ph.D. in Immunology, and M.D. degrees from the University of Chicago where he also completed Internal Medicine Residency and Hematology/Oncology Fellowship.
Jason Luke, M.D., is the Director of the Immunotherapy and Drug Development Center at UPMC Hillman Cancer Center and Associate Professor at the University of Pittsburgh. Dr. Luke is an internationally recognized investigator in translational immuno-oncology, early phase drug development and the clinical management of cutaneous malignancies. Dr. Luke has designed and led two practice-changing studies in melanoma – the combination of anti-PD1 + low-dose anti-CTLA4 Ab in PD1 refractory disease, and establishing the role for, and FDA/EMA approval of, adjuvant anti-PD1 for stage IIB/C melanoma. More generally, Dr Luke has been a lead investigator for many first-in-human trials of novel immunotherapies and a major contributor toward the investigation of radiation, the microbiome and bioinformatic approaches in relation to cancer immunotherapy. Dr. Luke is an At Large member of the Board of Directors for SITC and has held leadership roles in SMR, AACR & ASCO. He is a member of the NCI Investigational Drug Steering Committee and the Immunotherapy Task Force co-Chair. He has received numerous awards including the Melanoma Research Foundation Humanitarian Award, ASCO Merit Award, and the NCI Cancer Clinical Investigator Team Leadership Award. Dr. Luke received an M.D. from Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science/Chicago Medical School, completed Internal Medicine Residency at Boston University Medical Center and Medical Oncology Fellowship at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and Weill Cornell Medical Center.
Ignacio Melero, M.D., Ph.D., is Co-Director of the Department of Immunology and Immunotherapy and Professor of Immunology at the Clinica Universidad de Navarra and at the Center for Applied Medical Research (CIMA) of the University of Navarra, Spain. Dr. Melero is an international leader in translational tumor immunotherapy research who focuses on cytokine gene therapy, immune-stimulatory monoclonal antibodies, and cell therapy for cancer. Dr. Melero is renowned for seminal discoveries in the function of NK cell inhibitory receptors (KIRs) and T-cell co-stimulation via CD137 (4-1BB). Dr. Melero has served as principal investigator in numerous clinical trials of cancer immunotherapy and has won multiple awards including the BIAL Prize of Medicine, the Conde de Cartagena Award from the Royal Academy of Medicine, Doctor Durantez LAIR Foundation Award and a Cancer Research Institute research award. Dr. Melero earned an M.D. degree from the University of Navarra School of Medicine, completed Residency in Immunology at the Hospital Universitario de la Princesa (Madrid) and earned a Ph.D. in Immunology at La Princesa Hospital, Autonomous University of Madrid, Spain.
Anthony Tolcher, M.D., is founder and CEO of NEXT Oncology, one of the most successful and respected Phase 1 programs in oncology research. Prior to founding NEXT Oncology, Dr. Tolcher was President and Co-Founder of START LLC, one of the world’s largest Clinical Phase I and early drug development operations in cancer medicine. Dr. Tolcher is a medical oncologist with over 25 years’ experience in early drug development and clinical trials and has been involved in more than 21 of the initial Phase 1 studies of new oncology agents that subsequently were FDA approved, including PD-(L)1 inhibitors, antibody-drug conjugates, anti-tumor-associated antigen antibodies, and numerous targeted therapies, and he is currently the principal investigator of over 20 Phase 1 studies. He has over 130 peer‐reviewed publications in scientific journals and has chaired the Developmental Therapeutics Review Committee for ASCO. Dr. Tolcher obtained his M.D. degree from the University of British Columbia and then completed Internal Medicine Residency at the University of Toronto, Oncology Fellowship at the University of British Columbia and a research fellowship at the NCI, Bethesda.
About Bright Peak Therapeutics
Bright Peak is a privately held biotechnology company based in Basel, Switzerland and San Diego, CA. We are rapidly advancing a robust portfolio of next-generation, multi-functional, cytokine-based immunotherapies for the treatment of patients with cancer and autoimmune disease. We accomplish this by leveraging our world class protein engineering capabilities and our unique cell-free technology platform to chemically synthesize and conjugate novel protein therapeutics that reflect state-of-the-art insights into cytokine and immune checkpoint biology. Our pipeline stretches from discovery to IND-enabling and encompasses enhanced cytokines, antibody-cytokine conjugates and other novel formats. Bright Peak is funded by a syndicate of leading healthcare investors.