ROCKVILLE, Md., Jan. 07, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Innovative Cellular Therapeutics (ICT), a clinical stage biotechnology company developing a comprehensive platform of chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cell therapies for liquid and solid tumors, today announced the appointment of Christopher Ballas, Ph.D., as Senior Vice President of Manufacturing. Dr. Ballas previously served in senior manufacturing roles at Rocket Pharmaceuticals and WuXi AppTec, with a focus on gene and cell-based therapies.
“Our need for quality vector and cell production is growing as we advance our liquid and solid tumor CAR-T programs into the clinic in the United States. We intend to assume full control of our key manufacturing processes,” said Larry (Lei) Xiao, Ph.D., ICT’s Founder and Chief Executive Officer. “Chris is a valued addition to the ICT management team, as he will lead our manufacturing efforts and the expansion of our related infrastructure,” Dr. Xiao added.
Dr. Ballas brings more than 20 years’ experience of working on cell and gene therapies. Most recently, he served as Vice President of Manufacturing for Rocket Pharmaceuticals, a leading publicly traded U.S. gene therapy company. Previously, he served as Senior Director of Process Development and Commercialization for WuXi AppTec, where he was responsible for manufacturing operations and program management for gene therapy clients. Dr. Ballas oversaw key programs including CAR-T, TIL, and classic CD34+ stem cell gene therapy.
Prior to WuXi AppTec, Dr. Ballas ran autologous cell therapy clinical trials for Cook Medical. Dr. Ballas also held several roles at the Indiana University School of Medicine, where he developed the initial, scalable, clinical production capabilities for lentiviral vectors at the IU Vector Production Facility. As a faculty member, Dr. Ballas developed his own research programs targeting stem cells for gene therapy, which resulted in the collaborative development of an ultra-high throughput microinjection device with colleagues at the University of California Riverside (US9885059). In the past, Dr. Ballas served as an expert consultant to numerous companies on gene therapy and the production and use of viral vectors for gene therapies with contributions to Chemistry, Manufacturing and Control (CMC), regulatory filings, and regulatory meetings.
Dr. Ballas has a Ph.D. in Cellular and Molecular Pathology from the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine and was a Children’s Brittle Bone Foundation fellow during his post-doctoral fellowship at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine.
Dr. Ballas said, “I have a passion for solving the practical challenges associated with producing and using viral vectors to deliver genes and create differentiated therapies. ICT’s CAR-T platform is unique and compelling, and I look forward to leveraging my experience to optimize and expand our manufacturing capability to produce world-class products with the potential to transform cancer immunotherapy.”
About Innovative Cellular Therapeutics
Innovative Cellular Therapeutics (ICT) is a clinical stage biotechnology company focused on the development of cellular immunotherapies for the treatment of liquid and solid tumors. ICT has achieved promising preclinical and clinical results in late-stage leukemia and lymphoma with its next generation CAR-T constructs. ICT’s lead candidate in the United States, ICTCAR014, is a next generation CD19-targeting ArmoredCARTM T cell therapy that expresses a dominant negative PD-1 (dnPD-1) protein to block immunosuppression by cancer cells. ICTCAR014 has received U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Investigational New Drug (IND) application clearance and is being developed for patients with relapsed or refractory non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL), including PD-L1 positive patients. In solid tumor, ICT has compelling human data from IRB-approved proof-of-concept trials in China demonstrating the viability of its proprietary CoupledCARTM technology platform. For more information, please visit www.ictbio.com.