HEIDELBERG, Germany, June 3, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Affimed N.V. (Nasdaq:AFMD), a clinical stage biopharmaceutical company focused on discovering and developing highly targeted cancer immunotherapies, announced today the formation of a Scientific Advisory Board (SAB) of renowned scientists and physicians to provide scientific and clinical guidance on Affimed's advanced pipeline of immune cell engagers. The newly formed SAB held its first successful meeting this past weekend alongside the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Annual Meeting in Chicago, IL. The SAB members span a broad range of areas relevant to Affimed's approach including immuno-oncology, NK-cells, lymphoma and leukemia.
"We are honored to have the guidance of this distinguished group of leading academic scientists and physicians as we advance the science and our clinical programs for the treatment of malignant disorders," said Jens-Peter Marschner, M.D., CMO of Affimed. "This advisory group brings together invaluable expertise in the fields of hematological malignancies as well as NK- and T-cell sciences and their applications to develop novel highly potent immune cell-engaging therapies."
Affimed's recently formed SAB consists of the following distinguished members:
Dr. Stephen Ansell
Dr. Ansell is a Professor of Medicine at the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine, as well as the Chair of the Mayo Clinic Lymphoma Group and Chair of the Faculty Development and Recruitment for Hematology. His clinical practice interests focus on non-Hodgkin lymphoma, Hodgkin's disease, and Waldenstrom's macroglobulinemia. His research focuses on the biology of these diseases and on developing new therapies. In addition, Dr. Ansell has served on the editorial boards of American Journal of Hematology, Journal of Clinical Oncology, Blood Cancer Journal and Clinical Lymphoma and Myeloma, and has co-authored more than 234 articles in peer-reviewed journals. Dr. Ansell received his medical degree and Ph.D. both at the University of Pretoria, South Africa.
Dr. Michael Caligiuri
Dr. Caligiuri is a Director of The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center and CEO of the James Cancer Hospital in Columbus, Ohio. His lab's research focus includes the development and normal role of natural killer (NK) cells so as to exploit their properties to develop effective therapies against cancer and immune deficiency. Dr. Caligiuri's lab largely focuses on the human system, but has mouse models of both acute leukemia and NK-cell development whereby he studies the pathogenesis of both acute myeloid leukemia and large granular lymphocyte leukemia in order to develop novel therapies to treat these diseases. He has designed and conducted many clinical studies for leukemia and lymphoma patients and has authored or co-authored more than 300 original articles on immunology and/or leukemia. Dr. Caligiuri is a member of the Board of Directors for the American Association of Cancer Research and currently the President of the Society of Natural Immunity. He chairs the Institute of Medicine's National Cancer Policy Forum and chairs or is a member of 12 cancer center advisory boards across the country. Dr. Caligiuri received his medical degree from Stanford University School of Medicine and completed his training in internal medicine, oncology and immunology at Harvard University.
Dr. Andreas Engert
Dr. Engert is a Professor of Internal Medicine, Hematology, and Oncology at the University Hospital of Cologne in Germany and Chairman of the German Hodgkin Study Group. Previously, he worked at the Imperial Cancer Research Fund and the Royal Free Hospital in London, United Kingdom, on new immunotherapeutic approaches for cancer. After returning to Cologne, his group focused on developing antibody-based immunotherapy for patients with malignant lymphoma resulting in a number of experimental phase I/II clinical trials. Additionally, Professor Engert has published more than 400 original papers in journals such as New England Journal of Medicine, Lancet, Nature Genetics, and Journal of Clinical Oncology. His numerous awards include the Ludwig-Heilmeyer-Medal, the Arthur-Pappenheim Award, the Research Award of the University of Cologne, the award of the German Cancer Society 2011 and the Paul-Martini-Prize 2013. Dr. Engert received his medical degree at the Hannover Medical School in Germany.
Dr. Holbrook Kohrt
Dr. Kohrt is an Assistant Professor of Medicine (Oncology) at the Stanford University School of Medicine. He is a member of the Stanford Cancer Institute. He investigates novel therapeutic strategies to enhance anti-tumor immunity, including the discovery of checkpoint inhibitors and cancer vaccine strategies. His studies also include efforts to identify and develop immunomodulatory antibodies targeting immune effector cells subsets, such as natural killer cells, which enhance the anti-tumor activity of tumor-targeting antibodies. Dr. Kohrt has been involved in the clinical development of agents including IL-15, IL-7, anti-CTLA-4, anti-CD137, anti-PD-1, anti-PD-L1, BTK inhibitors, and HPV-targeted and WT1-targeted vaccines. Dr. Kohrt attended the Stanford School of Medicine, where he trained in Internal Medicine through the Clinical Investigator Pathway and completed a fellowship in Hematology and Oncology with a research focus on preclinical models for novel immunomodulatory antibodies. Dr. Kohrt received his Ph.D. in clinical trial design, biostatistics, and tumor immunology also from Stanford.
Dr. Owen O'Connor
Dr. O'Connor is a Professor of Medicine and Experimental Therapeutics, Director of the Center for Lymphoid Malignancies, and Co-Program Director of the Lymphoid Development and Malignancy Program in the Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center at Columbia University Medical Center. After nearly a decade at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, and a number of leadership positions at prestigious institutions in New York City, most recently he has assumed a position to create a new Center devoted to the Lymphoid Malignancies at Columbia University. This center is uniquely focused on the translational aspects of lymphoma research, bringing together a truly multidisciplinary approach to blood cancer research. He has become an internationally recognized authority on the management of Hodgkin lymphoma and non-Hodgkin lymphoma, and is unique in that he has both co-invented and developed many new drugs for these diseases. Dr. O'Connor attained his Ph.D. in Biochemistry and Toxicology from the New York University School of Medicine, and his M.D. from The University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey.
Dr. Max Topp
Max S. Topp, MD, is an Associate Professor of Internal Medicine, Hematology, and Oncology. Between 1997 and 2001 he worked at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, USA, on adoptive immunotherapy for infectious disease and cancer. After returning to Tuebingen, his group focused on developing immunotherapy protocols for both infectious disease and cancer with the focus on B-cell malignancies. After transferring to University Hospital of Wuerzburg, he was appointed a consultant and became head of hematology in 2014. Professor Topp has published more than 55 original papers in journals such as Lancet Oncology, JCO, Blood and others. He pioneered the first immunotherapy drug for the treatment of acute leukemias. He received his medical degree at the Berlin Medical School in Germany and had his medical training at the Berlin Medical School and the University Hospital of Tuebingen (both in Germany).
"Affimed's innovative TandAb platform and its unique approach of engaging NK-cells via CD16A is especially promising and I am happy to contribute to the development of the pipeline," said Dr. Michael Caligiuri.
"We were inspired to support Affimed with the vision that the practical application of our discoveries might help alleviate the suffering of patients with CD30+ lymphoma," added Dr. Andreas Engert.
About Affimed N.V.
Affimed (Nasdaq:AFMD) is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on discovering and developing highly targeted cancer immunotherapies. Affimed's product candidates are being developed in the field of immuno-oncology, which represents an innovative approach to cancer treatment that seeks to harness the body's own immune defenses to fight tumor cells. The most potent cells of the human defense arsenal are types of white blood cells called natural killer cells, or NK-cells, and T-cells. Affimed's proprietary, next-generation bispecific antibodies, called TandAbs for their tandem antibody structure, are designed to direct and establish a bridge between either NK-cells or T-cells and cancer cells, triggering a signal cascade that leads to the destruction of cancer cells. Affimed has focused its research and development efforts on three proprietary TandAb programs for which it retains global commercial rights. For more information, please visit www.affimed.com.
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