OXFORD, England, April 1, 2015 /PRNewswire/ --
Immunocore Limited ("the Company"), a world-leading biotechnology company developing novel biological drugs to treat cancer, viral infections and autoimmune disease, is today pleased to announce the appointment of Christina Coughlin as Chief Medical Officer. Dr. Coughlin will be responsible for providing medical and regulatory leadership to the pre-clinical and clinical programmes for the Company.
Dr. Coughlin has extensive experience in oncology drug development, with expertise in both clinical development and translational medicine. She has more than a decade of pharmaceutical industry experience from pharmaceutical and biotech companies. Dr. Coughlin has led multiple programmes across the full spectrum of drug development from pre-IND to filing and has industry leading expertise in immune-oncology.
Most recently, Dr. Coughlin was leading two early development programmes at Novartis in checkpoint inhibition and PI3'kinase inhibition. Dr. Coughlin led the overall programme early development teams, including preclinical pharmacology, toxicology, clinical pharmacology, clinical development, biomarker development and regulatory work.
Prior to this she served as International Project Team Leader at Morphotek Inc., the monoclonal antibody company acquired by Eisai Co. Ltd in 2007, where she led the early clinical development team responsible for monoclonal antibody development against novel targets.
Dr. Coughlin graduated with a B.S., from Temple University and an M.D. and Ph.D from the University of Pennsylvania. In her academic career at University of Pennsylvania, Dr. Coughlin studied patient responses to tumor antigens with Dr. Robert Vonderheide in the division of Translational Research under the direction of Dr. Carl June.
"I am delighted that Chris has chosen to join Immunocore. She will be working at the heart of our immuno-oncology programmes and will be a key member of the senior team. Chris joins Immunocore at a very exciting time as we continue to advance our pipeline of "ImmTACs" for the treatment of cancer" Dr. Eliot Forster, Chief Executive Officer of Immunocore, commented. "Her experience and background both in clinical development and translational medicine will add significant depth and expertise to our team."
Dr. Coughlin added: "I am excited to be joining Immunocore at this important time as IMCgp100 is rapidly advancing in the clinic and other programmes are coming on line. Immunocore's ImmTAC technology and data are proving to be extremely important for the future of cancer and there appears to be significant recognition of this from investigators as well as pharmaceutical companies. I look forward to adding my experience and intend to make a valuable contribution to Immunocore going forward."
Notes for editors
Immunocore is one of the world's leading biotechnology companies, with a highly innovative immuno-oncology platform technology called ImmTACs. ImmTACs are a novel class of biologic drugs based on the Company's proprietary T cell receptor (TCR) technology which have the potential to treat diseases with high unmet medical need including cancer, viral infections and autoimmune diseases. Immunocore, based on decades of world-leading scientific innovation in the discovery of HLA targets and T cell receptor technology, has a pipeline of wholly-owned and partnered ImmTAC programmes with robust clinical data, validated by collaborations with world-leading pharmaceutical companies. Immunocore aims to leverage the utility of its platform across a wide range of indications to become a Premier Biotech company and world-leader in its field.
Immunocore's world-leading science and strong IP position has attracted major pharmaceutical companies including Genentech, GlaxoSmithKline, MedImmune, the biologics division of AstraZeneca, via discovery collaborations, as well as a co-discovery and co-development partnership with Lilly. Founded in 2008 originally out of Oxford University and headquartered outside Oxford, Immunocore now has more than 140 staff. Immunocore is well funded and owned by a group of long-term private investors. For more information, please visit http://www.immunocore.com
Immunocore's proprietary technology is focused on small protein molecules called ImmTACs (Immune mobilising mTCR Against Cancer) that enable the immune system to recognise and kill cancerous or bacterially/virally infected cells.
Immunocore's ImmTACs, a new class of drug with ultra-high affinity for intracellular cancer targets, are synthetic, soluble T cell receptors (TCRs) that recognise diseased cells containing disease specific targets. The ImmTACs enable circulating T-cells to selectively identify and kill diseased cells. The ImmTAC platform is unique in its high specificity and potency and broad applicability to a wide range of intracellular targets and disease indications. ImmTACs can access up to nine-fold more targets than typical antibody-based therapies, including monoclonal antibodies.
TCRs naturally recognise diseased cells and Immunocore's world-leading competitive advantage is its ability to engineer high affinity TCRs and link them to an antibody fragment that activates a highly potent and specific T cell response to recognise and destroy cancer cells. The most advanced ImmTAC, IMCgp100, is currently in Phase IIa clinical trials for the treatment of late stage melanoma. Immunocore has a growing internal pipeline of ImmTACs addressing many different cancer types and has developed a broad database of intracellular cancer targets.
ImmTACs can address a significantly larger range of disease indications than currently respond to existing immuno-oncology agents and combine the characteristics of very high potency, encouraging safety and low cost of goods.
For more information, please contact:
Eliot Forster, Chief Executive Officer
Consilium Strategic Communications
Mary-Jane Elliott/Jessica Hodgson/Chris Welsh/Laura Thornton
SOURCE Immunocore Limited