LONDON, Oct. 19, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Virttu Biologics, a clinical stage biotechnology company pioneering the discovery and development of unique oncolytic immunotherapies for systemic and intra-tumoural delivery treatment of cancer, today announced that Deirdre Y. Gillespie, M.D. has been appointed Chief Executive Officer of the Company. Dr. Gillespie has over 25 years of executive management and clinical experience in biotechnology and pharmaceuticals in the US and UK.
Dr. Gillespie's previous experience with oncolytic vectors includes Chief Executive Officer of Oxxon Therapeutics, Inc., from 2001 to 2006, a privately held pharmaceutical company spun out of Oxford University and ultimately acquired by Oxford Biomedica.
Dr. Gillespie is former President and Chief Executive Officer of publicly held La Jolla Pharmaceutical Company and Chief Operating Officer of Vical, Inc., both NASDAQ-listed companies. Dr. Gillespie also held a number of senior strategic and commercial positions at DuPont Merck Pharmaceutical Company including Vice President of Marketing, and at Sandoz Pharma AG (Novartis), in clinical development.
Dr. Gillespie is a physician and has BSc degree in pharmacology and therapeutics from London University, and a MBA from the London Business School.
Commenting on the appointment, Founder of Virttu, Gary Hamilton says "Based on both our long term and most recent research, we are confident in our lead product SEPREHVIR®, and our next generation oncolytic immunotherapies' potential in the fight against cancer. We are thrilled that Dr. Gillespie is joining us, we are looking forward to her capitalizing on our academically strong science and clinical data.
"I am delighted to have accepted the role of CEO of Virttu Biologics and to build on the already strong foundations that are in place" said Deirdre Gillespie. "I am excited to drive the business forward by validating SEPREHVIR'S great potential in the treatment of cancer through definitive clinical trials, and take advantage of the compelling progress Virttu has made in advancing its platform technology".
About Virttu Biologics
Virttu is a privately held biotechnology company, which has pioneered the development of oncolytic viruses for treating cancer. Although viruses naturally kill the cells they infect, weakened viruses have been used in medicine for centuries as vaccinations against the infectious diseases they cause. Scientists at Virttu have reprogrammed this ability in a common human virus so that it targets and kills only cancer cells (oncolysis), leaving normal cells unharmed. Additionally, the presence of the tumour-specific viral infection works as a vaccination triggering the patient's own immune system to mount an anti-cancer response – a treatment known as oncolytic immunotherapy.
Virttu's lead oncolytic product SEPREHVIR® has been administered to over 90 patients ranging from 8 to 84 years with many different types of cancer including brain, melanoma, head and neck cancer, sarcomas, neuroblastoma and mesothelioma (a devastating lung cancer associated with asbestos exposure). In these patients, SEPREHVIR® can be administered by the route most suitable for their disease which includes systemic administration by intravenous infusion, direct intratumoural injection, and loco-regional infusion. SEPREHVIR®,which the company is interested in partnering for further development, is the first product from an active oncolytic immunotherapy platform technology. Virttu has a promising pipeline of next-generation clinical candidates. Virttu's scientific and technical expertise in oncolytic virotherapy has been established over 15 years of research and development activity carried out both in-house and with leading researchers in oncolytic immunotherapy, resulting in many firsts in the field and 68 publications in peer- reviewed journals.
For more information about the Company, visit its Web site: http://www.virttu.com
SOURCE Virttu Biologics