Clinical and Business Development expert re-joins the Company
Amsterdam, The Netherlands, September 3, 2014; Kiadis Pharma B.V., (‘Kiadis Pharma’, ‘Kiadis’ or the ‘Company’), a clinical stage biopharmaceutical company developing T-cell immunotherapy treatments for blood cancers, today announces the appointment of Dr. Jeroen Rovers, MD PhD, as its Chief Medical Officer.
Jeroen Rovers was most recently Chief Medical Officer at Ceronco Biosciences. Prior to that he was VP Medical Affairs at Kiadis Pharma and has remained a consultant to the Company until his re-appointment on September 1, 2014. Jeroen worked at Organon (acquired by Schering – Plough in 2007) between 2005-2008, latterly as Director of Clinical Development and Business Development. Jeroen has more than 15 years of professional experience in clinical development within academia and the pharmaceutical industry. He has a strong background in cell based therapeutics/advanced-therapy medicinal products (ATMPs) and has a wealth of experience in oncology, hematology and other immunology-related fields such as organ transplantation. Jeroen has significant experience in conducting clinical trials in various oncology indications covering all phases of the clinical development pathway (Phase I to III), having coordinated clinical trials in the EU for various pharmaceutical companies. He has also been involved in early and later stage development of cancer immune therapies and conducted his doctoral thesis on the use of light-activated drugs in the treatment of tumors.
Manfred Ruediger, PhD, Chief Executive Officer of Kiadis Pharma, commented: “Jeroen joins Kiadis with a deep knowledge and clear understanding of ATIR and of the potential of its underlying technology platform. I am delighted to welcome him as a key member of our Executive Management Team at Kiadis at this important time for the Company. His medical and clinical expertise, coupled with business development connections, will be extremely useful given the stage of our Phase II program and the interest we have been seeing in our field. We feel he will continue to make a valuable addition to our team and help us to make ATIR a reality for patients and to develop it to its full potential. On behalf of the team and our Board of Directors we wish to thank Edwin Wagena, Chief Development Officer, for his contribution to Kiadis in the earlier stages since 2008 and wish him all success in his future career.”
Jeroen Rovers, Chief Medical Officer, added: “I am extremely excited to have the opportunity to rejoin Kiadis Pharma and be able to focus on its T-cell based immunotherapy product ATIR, which has the potential to enable safe and efficacious use of partially mismatched (haploidentical) family members as donors for patients suffering from hematologic malignancies such as acute myeloid leukemia (AML) and acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). All patients in need of a stem cell donor, whether after conventional treatments or innovative approaches like Chimeric Antigen Receptor (CAR) T-cell therapies, will potentially benefit from ATIR. I believe ATIR is a truly innovative product and has the potential to become a key part of the next generation treatments of blood cancers.”
ATIR is a T-cell immunotherapy based medicinal product enabling stem cell transplantations using partially mismatched (haploidentical) family members as donors for patients suffering from blood cancer who do not have a standard of care stem cell donor available. A hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) is the only potentially curative option for many patients but a matching donor is available for only half of the patients in need. ATIR thus has the potential to address this unmet need and to make a HSCT available for all patients worldwide.
Those T-cells in a haploidentical graft which would cause Graft-versus-Host-Disease (GvHD) are selectively eliminated using proprietary technology to produce ATIR. ATIR is administered as an adjunctive treatment after a T-cell depleted haploidentical HSCT facilitating early immune reconstitution without causing life-threatening (acute) GvHD.
ATIR dovetails current approaches that render a patient eligible for a stem cell transplantation. Usually, only patients in remission are considered eligible for such a transplantation and so approaches that put refractory patients into remission, such as Chimeric Antigen Receptor (CAR) T-cell therapies, will increase the need for donors and potentially, therefore, the need for ATIR.
In a Phase I/II study in which high-risk leukemia patients with very poor prognosis were treated with escalating doses of ATIR after a haploidentical HSCT, long-term safety, efficacy and proof of concept were confirmed in terms of absence of Grade III/IV (life-threatening)
acute GvHD, reduced rates of infection, reduced Transplant Related Mortality and high Overall Survival. Positive follow-up results from this study demonstrating 67% survival after five years and no Transplant Related Mortality in the nine patients who received an efficacious dose of ATIR were recently reported.
An international multi-center Phase II study including patients with acute myeloid leukemia, acute lymphoblastic leukemia and myelodysplastic syndrome, to corroborate and extend the safety and efficacy results from the Phase I/II study, is now ongoing with topline data expected in the second half of 2014.
ATIR has been granted Orphan Drug Designation both in the EU and the USA. Together, both regions represent a combined primary market potential of more than EUR 1 billion per year.
About Kiadis Pharma
Kiadis Pharma B.V. is a private, clinical stage biopharmaceutical company focused on the development of innovative and potentially life-saving therapies for patients with late stage blood cancers and related disorders, an area of significant unmet medical need.
Kiadis Pharma’s lead product is ATIR, a T-cell immunotherapy based medicinal product designed to enable stem cell transplantations from partially mismatched (haploidentical) family donors. Kiadis Pharma is collaborating with internationally renowned centers in Europe and North America for the successful development and manufacturing of ATIR. Kiadis Pharma is working under a GMP manufacturing license and GMP certificate for its Quality Control laboratory.
Kiadis Pharma is supported by a strong group of leading international investors including LSP, DFJ Esprit, Alta Partners, Quest for Growth, NOM and MedSciences Capital. Kiadis Pharma is based in Amsterdam, The Netherlands.