SAN FRANCISCO, April 7, 2008 /PRNewswire/ -- The Immune Tolerance Institute Inc., (ITI) today announced that Aaron B. Kantor, Ph.D. has joined the company in the position of Chief Scientific Officer, reporting to Louis A. Matis, M.D., President and Chief Executive Officer. Prior to joining ITI, Dr. Kantor served as Executive Director of Cell and Molecular Biology for Biomarker Discovery Sciences at Pharmaceutical Product Development, Inc. (PPD), a leading global contract research organization (CRO) providing discovery, development and post-approval services and compound partnering programs for pharmaceutical, biotechnology, medical device, academic and government organizations.
"We are very pleased to have Aaron join the founding management team at ITI, as he brings to the company broad-based expertise in applying a range of bioanalytical technologies to the discovery of biological markers for human diseases," said Dr. Matis. "His extensive record of accomplishments in both academic and industry settings will be invaluable to ITI as we build our Center for Critical Path Immunology and leverage the partnering opportunities for our integrated diagnostic platforms."
Dr. Kantor, 49, has more than 20 years of research and development experience. He joined PPD in 2005 when the company acquired the biomarker business of SurroMed, Inc., where he was a founding scientist and director of cell and molecular biology. At PPD, his work centered on the broad effort to discover biological markers for human diseases using bioanalytical methods including cytometry, immunoassays, proteomics, metabolomics and bioinformatics tools. He supervised an interdisciplinary group of scientists and engineers in this effort and led the development and implementation of a laser scanning cytometry platform for clinical studies. His responsibilities also included providing input into clinical study design, protocol development, and selection and development of diagnostic assays. Major therapeutic project areas included immune and inflammatory diseases, organ transplantation and oncology.
Dr. Kantor has been a frequent presenter at scientific meetings having served as principle investigator on a variety of biomarker studies including a program to develop innovative blood fingerprinting and optical detection technologies.
Prior to his tenure at SurroMed/PPD, Dr. Kantor served as manager for the rare cell program and cell depletion therapeutic program at AmCell Corp. where he led a team establishing magnetic cell separation applications. He is co-author of more than 40 publications and 12 book chapters in the fields of immunology, cell and molecular biology, biomarkers and clinical medicine. He also received 14 provisional and full patents in the areas of cytometry, informatics and biological markers.
Dr. Kantor received a bachelor's degree in biophysics from the University of Pennsylvania, a doctorate in biophysics from the University of California at Berkeley and was a postdoctoral fellow in cellular and molecular immunology at Stanford University where he developed expertise in flow cytometry applications.
"I am excited to be a part of ITI," said Dr Kantor. "We have a unique opportunity to work at the crossroads of academia and biopharma to advance and industrialize immune system monitoring."
In addition to Drs. Matis and Kantor, ITI's founding management team also includes Chief Business Officer Stephen Hurst J.D., who came to ITI in June 2007 and is a veteran of more than 20 years in the biopharmaceutical industry. Prior to ITI, Mr. Hurst, 52, ran a successful biopharmaceutical consulting practice, recently advising the G8 governments on global health policy initiatives, serving as a biopharmaceutical industry expert for the World Bank and GAVI Alliance (formerly the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization), and as a senior advisor to BIO Ventures for Global Health on global health policy, an initiative in which he is still engaged. Prior to his consulting roles, he was co-founder, President and Chief Executive Officer of Sequential, Inc., a development-stage oncology company, and Executive Vice President at Inhale Therapeutic Systems, Inc. (now Nektar Therapeutics, Inc.) until July 2002, where he held several key positions, including General Counsel & Secretary, interim Senior Vice President of Operations, Vice President of Intellectual Property and Licensing and Head of Business Development. Mr. Hurst is a graduate of Golden Gate University School of Law and the University of California, Berkeley.
The Immune Tolerance Institute (ITI) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation founded in partnership with the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) to fill critical unmet needs for translating fundamental scientific discoveries into new therapies for the broad range of diseases related to the human immune system, including autoimmune diseases, allergy, asthma, cancer, and cardiovascular and infectious diseases. ITI is a milestone and value-driven company uniquely positioned at the intersection of academia and biopharma that offers a comprehensive constellation of scientific and bio-pharmaceutical industry expertise and services to convert knowledge-based discoveries into market-accessible products for immune system related conditions. At the company's Center for Critical Path Immunology, established as part of a recently announced collaboration with Beckman Coulter, Inc., multiple technology platforms are being deployed in high-throughput fashion to perform comprehensive cellular, molecular and immunological assays on specimens obtained from patients during clinical trials of emerging immunotherapeutics. The mechanistic data that are generated from these assays will be analyzed in parallel with clinical safety and efficacy data using cutting-edge bioinformatic approaches that leverage new insights at the nexus of emerging life science and information technologies. This approach to critical path science is designed to shorten development times, reduce both costs and failure rates in drug development and guide better informed patient selection for targeted therapies. The Institute is led by a management team with roots in both biomedical research and the biotechnology industry, and a board of directors including leaders in the field of translational medicine. For more information, visit http://www.iti-immune.org.
CONTACT: Louis A. Matis, M.D. of Immune Tolerance Institute, Inc.,
+1-203-292-6940, firstname.lastname@example.org; Eric Goldman (media) of Rx
Communications Group, +1-917-322-2563, email@example.com
Web site: http://www.iti-immune.org/