Zelluna Immunotherapy appoints Dr Bent Jakobsen

Written by: editor@pharmiweb.com
Published on: 4 Nov 2019

Oslo, Norway, November 4, 2019 - Zelluna Immunotherapy, the biotechnology company specialising in T-cell receptor (TCR) based immunotherapies targeting a broad range of solid cancers with high unmet medical need, today announces the appointment of Dr Bent Jakobsen to its board. 

“Zelluna is now preparing to enter its first TCR based cell therapy into the clinic to evaluate its potential to treat cancer patients worldwide. After appointing an experienced senior management team, Zelluna has also decided to further strengthen our board with deep international TCR therapeutic expertise,” said Hans Ivar Robinson, chair of the board, Zelluna. “As the founder of multiple clinical stage, private and public TCR companies treating solid cancers, such as Immunocore, Adaptimmune and predecessor companies, Dr Jakobsen’s acceptance of our specific invitation to join the board at Zelluna will have a considerable impact on the development of the company its programs and technology.”

Dr Jakobsen has made a firm commitment to his contributions to the Zelluna board. Zelluna will utilize his insights and experience regarding TCR research and clinical programs. Dr Jakobsen will make a considerable immediate and long-term impact on the therapeutic development programs for Zelluna. This includes the final preparations for the forthcoming clinical entry in 2020 of Zelluna’s lead TCR, ZI-H04, targeting solid tumors in large patient populations. He will also contribute to the development of the pipeline and expansion of the technology for Zelluna’s autologous TCR-T and allogeneic TCR-NK products that are targeting solid tumors. 

“Having gained the experience of founding TCR-based companies and technologies such as Immunocore and Adaptimmune, I have become convinced of the potential of Zelluna’s TCR program, which specifically targets the therapeutic potential of MHC Class II recognition and the TCR-NK cell platform” said Dr Bent Jakobsen, board member, Zelluna. “As a result, I have committed to invest time on the Zelluna board to expand the company’s international influence, as well as contribute to the development of its technology, investment and commercial operations.”

Dr Bent Jakobsen will serve to provide considerable scientific, clinical and corporate experience in Zelluna. Having founded Immunocore in 2008, a privately held soluble TCR based company, he has served as Chief Scientific Officer and Executive Board Member. He is also the scientific founder of Adaptimmune Ltd, a public adoptive TCR cell therapy company, working as Chief Scientific Officer and board member until 2015. In 1999, he founded the precursor to Immunocore and Adaptimmune, Avidex as a spin-out from the University of Oxford to develop novel T cell receptor-based drugs. He was head of the Immune Receptor Group at the Institute of Molecular Medicine (IMM), Oxford from 1993 to 2000. This experience will all be critical to Zelluna moving TCRs through the clinic. 

Dr Jakobsen was a post-doctoral researcher at the Laboratory of Molecular Biology of the Medical Research Council in Cambridge and a Senior Research Fellow of the Danish Natural Research Council, Aarhus, Denmark. Dr Jakobsen is additionally a visiting professor at University of Oxford, has authored numerous scientific papers and is considered a world expert in the field of T cell receptor immunology. In 2015, he was elected to the Fellowship of the Academy of Medical Sciences.

About Zelluna Immunotherapy

Zelluna Immunotherapy is a company developing transformative T cell receptor (TCR) based cellular immunotherapies for the treatment of solid cancers. The company is developing a unique portfolio of tumor specific TCR’s that target the MHC class II pathway to broadly engage the host immune system to provide a safe, efficient and durable clinical response. The company is developing therapies based on the effector functions of autologous T cells (TCR-T) and allogeneic NK cells (TCR-NK). Both of these platforms have their unique advantages and provides the opportunity to attack cancers from multiple angles and improve access to these advanced therapies to a large patient population. For more information, please visit www.zelluna.com.

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