PureTech Founded Entity Vor Biopharma Appoints Dr Christopher Slapak as Chief Medical Officer
PureTech Health plc (LSE: PRTC) (“PureTech” or the “Company”), a clinical-stage biotherapeutics company dedicated to discovering, developing and commercialising highly differentiated medicines for devastating diseases, is pleased to note that its Founded Entity, Vor Biopharma, today announced it has appointed Christopher Slapak, MD, as chief medical officer. Dr Slapak has more than 20 years of leadership experience in oncology drug development and previously led global clinical development for all early-stage oncology compounds for Eli Lilly and Company.
The full text of the announcement from Vor is as follows:
Vor Biopharma Appoints Dr Christopher Slapak as Chief Medical Officer
CAMBRIDGE, Mass., – July 14, 2020 – Vor Biopharma, an oncology company pioneering engineered haematopoietic stem cells (eHSCs) for the treatment of cancer, today announced it has appointed Christopher Slapak, MD, as chief medical officer. Dr Slapak has more than 20 years of leadership experience in oncology drug development and previously led global clinical development for all early-stage oncology compounds for Eli Lilly and Company.
“As Vor rapidly advances to become a clinical-stage company, it is wonderful for Christopher to commit to this full-time role leading the development of our oncology therapeutics,” said Robert Ang, MBBS, MBA, Vor’s president and chief executive officer.
Dr Slapak has served as Vor’s interim chief medical officer since July 2019 as part of his work as an independent consultant advising on scientific and medical aspects of oncology drug development. For more than 20 years, he held leadership roles at Eli Lilly and Company, including positions as distinguished Lilly scholar and vice president, early phase research. He oversaw the global clinical development of all early-stage oncology compounds for Lilly and ImClone (which was acquired by Lilly in 2008), including the successful early-stage development of abemaciclib (Verzenio®).
Dr Slapak received his medical degree from the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine, where he also completed his residency in internal medicine. After fellowship training in haematology and oncology at Tufts/New England Medical Center, Dr Slapak was appointed instructor and then assistant professor of medicine at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute/Harvard Medical School. He is board certified in internal medicine, medical oncology and haematology and currently has a joint appointment as clinical associate professor of medicine and pharmacology at the Indiana University School of Medicine.
“Vor’s approach to engineering haematopoietic stem cells that are invulnerable to targeted therapies is a major innovation in stem cell transplantation,” Dr Slapak said. “Acute myeloid leukaemia, a cancer of the bone marrow and our lead indication, constitutes a major unmet medical need – more than 20,000 people in the US are diagnosed annually and less than 30% survive five years after diagnosis. By rendering healthy blood and bone marrow cells invisible to CD33-targeted therapies, we hope to provide long-term remissions for these patients, ultimately improving and prolonging life.”
About Vor Biopharma
Vor Biopharma aims to transform the lives of cancer patients by pioneering engineered haematopoietic stem cell (eHSC) therapies. By removing biologically redundant proteins from eHSCs, these cells become inherently invulnerable to complementary targeted therapies while tumour cells are left susceptible, thereby unleashing the potential of targeted therapies to benefit cancer patients in need.
Vor’s platform could be used to potentially change the treatment paradigm of both haematopoietic stem cell transplants and targeted therapies, such as antibody drug conjugates, bispecific antibodies and CAR-T cell treatments.
Vor is based in Cambridge, Mass. and has a broad intellectual property base, including in-licenses from Columbia University, where foundational work was conducted by inventor and Vor Scientific Board Chair Siddhartha Mukherjee, MD, DPhil.
Vor’s lead product candidate, VOR33, consists of engineered haematopoietic stem cells (eHSCs) that lack the protein CD33. Once these cells are transplanted into a cancer patient, we believe that CD33 will become a far more cancer-specific target, potentially avoiding toxicity to the normal blood and bone marrow associated with CD33-targeted therapies. Vor aims to improve the therapeutic window and effectiveness of CD33-targeted therapies, thereby potentially broadening the clinical benefit to patients suffering from acute myeloid leukaemia.
About PureTech Health
PureTech is a clinical-stage biotherapeutics company dedicated to discovering, developing and commercialising highly differentiated medicines for devastating diseases, including intractable cancers, lymphatic and gastrointestinal diseases, central nervous system disorders and inflammatory and immunological diseases, among others. The Company has created a broad and deep pipeline through the expertise of its experienced research and development team and its extensive network of scientists, clinicians and industry leaders. This pipeline, which is being advanced both internally and through PureTech’s Founded Entities, is comprised of 24 products and product candidates, including two that have been cleared by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). All of the underlying programmes and platforms that resulted in this pipeline of product candidates were initially identified or discovered and then advanced by the PureTech team through key validation points based on the Company’s unique insights into the biology of the brain, immune and gut, or BIG, systems and the interface between those systems, referred to as the BIG Axis.
For more information, visit www.puretechhealth.com or connect with us on Twitter @puretechh.
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