Distinguished Dana-Farber Cancer Institute Physician and Harvard Medical School Professor joins new open-innovation, immuno-oncology joint venture between HiFiBiO Therapeutics and Vikas P. Sukhatme
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – February 12, 2019 – HiFiBiO Therapeutics, a world leader in the discovery and development of therapeutic antibodies enabled by unique single-cell profiling and full immune repertoire screening, today announced Donald W. Kufe, MD, Distinguished Physician at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute (DCFI) and Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, has been appointed to the Board of Directors at Victa Biotherapeutics, a new joint venture between HiFiBiO Therapeutics and Vikas P. Sukhatme, MD, ScD. Victa Biotherapeutics was established to further validate the immuno-oncology research pioneered by Dr. Sukhatme during his time at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) and ultimately help accelerate the development of breakthrough standalone or complementary therapies for various cancers.
Victa Biotherapeutics will leverage Dr. Kufe’s basic, translational and clinical oncology research experiences at the DFCI. Over the past 30 years, he has served as Chief of the Division of Cancer Pharmacology, Deputy Director of the Dana-Farber Cancer Center, Director of the Harvard Phase I Oncology Group and Leader of the Developmental Therapeutics Program in the Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center. Dr. Kufe has focused his career on the preclinical and clinical development of anti-cancer agents, including targeted drugs, monoclonal antibodies and cancer vaccines, the latter of which are now under evaluation in two multi-center national trials. He identified the oncogenic DF3/MUC1 protein based on its overexpression in breast cancers and defined how it promotes cancer progression in diverse carcinomas. Based on this work, he developed the first-in-man MUC1-C inhibitor, designated GO-203, which has completed Phase I evaluation in patients with refractory solid tumors and a dose has been defined for Phase II trials in hematologic malignancies. Dr. Kufe has earned numerous awards for this work, including the Richard P. and Claire W. Morse Scientific Award from DFCI, the Scholar Award from Burroughs-Wellcome and the Faculty Research Award from the American Cancer Society. He is the author of more than 600 scientific peer-reviewed publications and is a member of the Investigational Drug Steering Committee and the Immuno-Oncology Translational Network at the National Cancer Institute. Dr. Kufe is also a member of the Board of Directors of Genus Oncology and Nanogen Therapeutics.
“I have known Don personally for 35 years and his translational pharmacology research has been instrumental in the development of breakthrough vaccines and cancer medicines,” said Dr. Sukhatme. “His extensive experiences, unique insights, and sound advice will help guide our strategic decisions moving forward.”
“Victa Biotherapeutics offers a unique combination of visionary scientists from academia and industry and proven single-cell analysis platform, enabling it to quickly take advantage of the many incredible advances in immuno-oncology research and better connect biological targets to patient characteristics,” said Dr. Kufe. “I’m looking forward to working with the team and helping them realize their ultimate goal of improving patient care by accelerating the development of more effective biotherapeutics for various forms of cancer.”
The new Victa Biotherapeutics joint venture aims to validate surface molecules on myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSCs) that were previously discovered by Dr. Sukhatme and his team at BIDMC. Dr. Sukhatme brings his deep understanding of the targets and mechanisms of action and strong expertise about the connection between MDSCs and relevant cancer patients. HiFiBiO Therapeutics will use its biological expertise, unprecedented drug discovery engine, in-depth knowledge of pharmacology, and single-cell-based translational research capabilities to identify a repertoire of first-in-class antibody drugs for various forms of cancer and autoimmune diseases. Victa Biotherapeutics has secured the option to exclusively license the intellectual property from BIDMC related to the target(s) of interest demonstrating significant clinical implications.
About HiFiBiO Therapeutics
HiFiBiO Therapeutics is an emerging multinational biotherapeutics company mobilizing the human immune system to combat disease. The company integrates deep-rooted biological expertise with its comprehensive single-cell profiling technologies to discover and accelerate a pipeline of antibody drugs to treat cancer and autoimmune disorders. In addition, HiFiBiO Therapeutics aspires to address unmet medical needs around the world through open-innovation partnerships with industry and academia. The company features a strong global footprint with cutting-edge laboratories on three continents in Cambridge, Mass., Paris, France, and Shanghai, China. For more information, please visit www.hifibio.com.