ADELAIDE, AUSTRALIA, June 5, 2023
Carina Biotech (Carina), a cell therapy immuno-oncology company, today announced the appointment of Michael S. Wyzga, M.B.A., and Remus Vezan M.D., Ph.D., to its Board of Directors.
Mr. Wyzga is an accomplished biotechnology executive who brings to Carina’s Board over two decades of expertise as a leader and advisor to life sciences companies. Dr. Vezan is an oncology leader who has had immeasurable success in the advancement of numerous cell therapies from early-stage development through commercialization, including a CAR-T cell therapy for hematologic malignancies, which was also one of the first U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved CAR-T cell therapies.
“We are delighted to welcome two seasoned executives that bring a wealth of expertise in the U.S. biotechnology industry as independent Directors to the Carina Board,” remarked Leanna Read, Ph.D., Chair of Carina’s Board of Directors. “Mike’s track record in the life sciences industry and Remus’ cell therapy clinical developmental expertise will be invaluable as we commence a Phase 1/2a clinical trial for our lead CNA3103 in metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC) after receiving U.S. IND clearance earlier this year. It is a pivotal time for Carina as CNA3103 advances into clinical development and we look forward to sharing the data supporting the safety and efficacy profile of our LGR5-targeted CAR-T cell therapy candidate with the international oncology community.”
Mr. Wyzga is the Founder of MSW Consulting, Inc., a strategic consulting group focused on pharmaceutical and biotech industries. Previously, he served as President, CEO, and a member of the Board of Directors of Radius Health, Inc., a specialty biopharmaceutical company dedicated to bone health and expanding access for patients. Prior to that, Mr. Wyzga held numerous senior management positions at Genzyme Corporation, including as Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, and played roles in the successful development and commercialization of several vital therapies, including Cerezyme for Gaucher disease, Fabrazyme for Fabry disease, Renagel for use in the treatment of hyperphosphatemia, and Campath for chronic lymphocytic leukemia. Currently, Mr. Wyzga serves on four public company Boards, including as Chairman of the Board of X4 Pharmaceuticals, GenSight Biologics, and Mereo BioPharma Group plc, as well as Chair of the Audit Committee at Invivyd, Inc. He received an MBA from Providence College and a B.S. from Suffolk University.
Dr. Vezan currently serves as the Chief Medical Officer of CytoImmune Therapeutics, a clinical-stage immuno-oncology company. Prior to that, he held the positions of Chief Medical Officer of CERo Therapeutics and Executive Director of Clinical Development at Kite Pharma. At Kite Pharma, Dr. Vezan was primarily responsible for managing and overseeing the clinical development of CAR-T cell products, including axi-cell/YESCARTA®, the first CAR-T cell therapy approved for relapsed/refractory B-cell lymphoma and brexu-cell/TECARTUS®, the first CAR-T cell therapy approved for mantle cell lymphoma and adult acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Earlier, he served as Medical Director at Pharmacyclics, an AbbVie Company, where he played instrumental roles in the clinical development activities that led to the approval of Ibrutinib (IMBRUVICA®) in lymphoplasmacytic lymphomas (Waldenstrom Macroglobulinemia) and Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL)/small lymphocytic lymphoma (SLL). He completed his medical training (M.D. and Ph.D.) at the University of Medicine and Pharmacy Cluj, Romania and University of Bern, Switzerland.
Dr. Read concluded, “We would like to take this opportunity to individually thank retiring Directors Nicholas Begakis, Alexander Gosling and Charlie Latham for their guidance through the start-up phases of Carina Biotech. Their insight and contribution have been invaluable.”
Mr. Gosling will continue to support Carina on the Governance, People and Remuneration Committee, whilst Mr. Latham will remain Company Secretary.
Carina’s proprietary CNA3103 CAR-T cell targets LGR5, a cancer stem cell marker that is highly expressed on advanced colorectal cancer and some other cancers. In colorectal cancer patients, LGR5 expression has been correlated with poor prognosis. Cancer stem cells are a small sub-population of cells within a tumor with the ability to self-renew, differentiate into the many cell types of a tumor, initiate new tumors, and resist chemotherapy and radiotherapy (leading to relapses). By targeting cancer stem cells, it is hoped that this therapy will reduce the tumor’s ability to generate new cancer cells, resulting in durable tumor suppression and preventing the relapses that are very common in patients with colorectal cancer. Carina’s pre-clinical studies of CNA3103 have shown promising results with complete tumor regression and no tumor recurrence following a single administration. CNA3103 has also demonstrated impressive tumor access and prolonged survival, enabling rejection of new tumors in pre-clinical studies.
About Carina Biotech
Immuno-oncology company Carina Biotech is developing CAR-T and other adoptive cell therapies for the treatment of solid cancers. In addition to its LGR5-targeted CAR-T cell therapy CNA3103 for advanced colorectal cancer, Carina has a deep pipeline of CAR-T programs.
Using its proprietary chemokine receptor platform, Carina aims to improve access to and infiltration of solid cancers by CAR-containing cells, resulting in more potent and specific cancer killing and reduced off-target effects.
Carina also has a fully integrated, proprietary manufacturing process that has both reduced manufacturing time and improved CAR-T cell quality, capable of delivering robust “serial-killing” CAR-T cells to patients.
For more information please contact:
Deborah Rathjen, PhD
CEO & Managing Director
+61 418 160 425
+61 (0)3 9620 3333
+1 646 277 1282