GAITHERSBURG, MD--(Marketwire - January 04, 2012) -
NexImmune, an early stage biopharmaceutical company, announced today the appointment of Kenneth Carter, PhD, as the company's President and Chief Executive Officer, and Professor Jonathan Schneck, MD, PhD, as Chairman of the company's Clinical and Scientific Advisory Board. At the same time, NexImmune announced that the company has licensed the A
mune (AIM™) nanotechnology for immuno-therapy, developed by Dr. Mathias Oelke and Dr. Schneck's laboratory from The Johns Hopkins University.
Prior to NexImmune, Dr. Carter was the President, CEO and a co-founder of Noble Life Sciences. Dr. Carter has also played a key leadership role in launching several other biotechnology companies including Avalon Pharmaceuticals, Inc. where he served as CEO for 10 years until 2009 when Avalon merged with Clinical Data, Inc. During his tenure at Avalon, the company developed a unique biomarker-based drug discovery and development engine; completed an IPO and listing on the NASDAQ market; established drug discovery programs in colon, breast, pancreatic and hematological cancers; and established partnerships with Merck, Novartis, Sanofi-Aventis, and AstraZeneca/MedImmune. Prior to Avalon, Dr. Carter directed the gene mapping initiative at Human Genome Sciences, Inc. where he played a lead role in the discovery, cloning, and chromosomal mapping of dozens of novel human genes. Dr. Carter serves on the Advisory Council for the Center for Biotechnology Education at The Johns Hopkins University where he also holds an adjunct faculty appointment.
"The AIM technology provides an exciting leap in immuno-therapy for a variety of cancer and other diseases whereby artificial cells direct specific immune responses against a specific disease. I am very pleased to lead the team that will commercialize this exciting new technology. Our first development target will be a therapeutic to treat melanoma," said Dr. Carter.
Dr. Schneck is Professor of Pathology, Medicine and Oncology at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. He is well known for several key scientific contributions to the field including extensive work in the artificial manipulation of immune system components in order to maximize T cell responses. To facilitate the study of both normal and aberrant immune responses, he and his laboratory have developed a variety of innovative nano-molecular tools including the DimerX technology, for analysis of antigen-specific T cells, marketed by BD Biosciences, and artificial Antigen Presenting Cell (aAPC), the foundation of the AIM technology. The quality and potential of Dr. Schneck's scientific work has been well recognized with excellent support from granting agencies including Dr. Schneck leading a team of investigators that were awarded a $12 million grant in 2009, the largest basic science immunology grant in the history of Johns Hopkins University. Dr. Schneck has more than 200 scientific publications and is an inventor on several dozen submitted and granted patents.
"It is terrific to work with Ken and his team on the commercial transformation of the AIM technology to a product development platform. If the products to be developed by NexImmune are successful in human clinical trials, I believe the AIM technology has the potential to provide a major step forward for immuno-therapy for a variety of diseases," said Dr. Schneck.
NexImmune is an early stage biopharmaceutical company developing novel immuno-therapeutics based on the proprietary Artificial IMmune (AIM™) nanotechnology platform. Central to the AIM™ technology are artificial Antigen Presenting Cells (aAPCs) that can be engineered to orchestrate a highly specific immune attack directed toward any foreign substance or cell type in the body. In pre-clinical studies, aAPCs have been shown to have potential utility as vaccines and therapeutic agents and can also be used for the development of diagnostic products. NexImmune is using the AIM technology platform to develop a pipeline of products to treat cancer. The company's first therapeutic will be targeted at the treatment of advanced stage melanoma.