Gritstone Announces Promotions Within its Leadership Team

EMERYVILLE, Calif., March 08, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Gritstone Oncology, Inc. (Nasdaq: GRTS), a clinical-stage biotechnology company developing the next generation of cancer and infectious disease immunotherapies, today announced two promotions within its leadership team. Karin Jooss, Ph.D., previously the company’s executive vice president of research and chief scientific officer, has been appointed to the position of head of research and development. Erin Jones, M.S., who served as the company’s executive vice president of global regulatory affairs and quality, has been appointed to the position of chief operating officer (COO).

“We have multiplied the number of programs underway at Gritstone, and the launch of our new infectious disease pipeline in addition to our robust clinical oncology programs has required intense efforts across the company, but in particular within research and biomanufacturing,” said Andrew Allen, M.D., Ph.D., co-founder, president and chief executive officer of Gritstone. “I am thrilled to have had the right strategic leaders within the company to step into these important roles as we embark on the next exciting chapter in Gritstone’s evolution.”

Dr. Allen continued, “Karin Jooss has led the research organization to establish compelling pre-clinical data with our technologies against COVID-19 and HIV infections. Her thought partnership in the overall design of these programs encompassed efficient proof-of-concept clinical trials intended to address real-world patient needs. Erin Jones is a seasoned executive who has already been running many critical operating functions, including regulatory affairs, the entire quality organization (a major component of biomanufacturing) and project leadership. In the newly created position of COO, he will oversee all biomanufacturing, in addition to his current roles.”

Karin Jooss, Ph.D., is the head of research and development. She had most recently served as the executive vice president of research and chief scientific officer at Gritstone since April 2016. Prior to Gritstone, from May 2009 to April 2016, Dr. Jooss was the head of cancer immuno-therapeutics in the vaccine immuno-therapeutics department at Pfizer, Inc., a public pharmaceutical company, where she was also a member of the vaccine immuno-therapeutics leadership team and served as head of the immuno-pharmacology team with responsibilities including clinical development. Prior to joining Pfizer, Dr. Jooss served as vice president of research at Cell Genesys, Inc., from June 2005 to April 2009, and as senior director of research at Cell Genesys from July 2001 to June 2005. She is on the editorial board of Molecular Therapy and the Journal of Gene Medicine and is a member of the Immunology and Educational Committee of the American Society of Gene & Cell Therapy and the Industry Task Force of the Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer. Dr. Jooss serves on the board of directors of Fate Therapeutics, Inc. Dr. Jooss received her diploma in theoretical medicine from the University of Marburg in Germany, a Ph.D. in molecular biology from the University of Marburg in Germany and performed postgraduate work in gene therapy and immunology at the University of Pennsylvania.

Erin E. Jones, M.S., is the chief operating officer. He had served as Gritstone’s executive vice president of global regulatory affairs and quality since May 2016. Prior to Gritstone, from July 2014 to April 2016, Mr. Jones served as vice president, global head of regulatory affairs, medical writing, pharmacology and toxicology at Puma Biotechnology, Inc., or Puma, a public biopharmaceutical company. Prior to Puma, Mr. Jones served as director, regulatory affairs at BioMarin Pharmaceutical Inc. from July 2012 to July 2014. Earlier in his career, Mr. Jones held various positions at Genentech, Inc., or Genentech, a biotechnology corporation and subsidiary of Roche, including head of regulatory intelligence and leader of the HER Franchise Regulatory Group. Mr. Jones received a B.S. in microbiology and chemistry from the University of Pittsburgh and an M.S. in computer systems from Pennsylvania State University.

About Gritstone
Gritstone Oncology (Nasdaq: GRTS), a clinical-stage biotechnology company, is developing the next generation of immunotherapies against multiple cancer types and infectious diseases. Gritstone develops its products by leveraging two key pillars—first, a proprietary machine learning-based platform, Gritstone EDGETM, which is designed to predict antigens that are presented on the surface of cells, such as tumor or virally-infected cells, that can be seen by the immune system; and second, the ability to develop and manufacture potent immunotherapies utilizing these antigens to potentially drive the patient’s immune system to specifically attack and destroy disease-causing cells. The company’s lead oncology programs include an individualized neoantigen-based immunotherapy, GRANITE, and an “off the shelf” shared neoantigen-based immunotherapy, SLATE, which are being evaluated in clinical studies. The company also has a bispecific antibody (BiSAb) program for solid tumors in lead optimization. Within its infectious disease pipeline, Gritstone is advancing CORAL, a COVID-19 program to develop a second-generation vaccine with support from departments within the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and a license agreement with La Jolla Institute for Immunology. Additionally, the company has a global collaboration for the development of a therapeutic HIV vaccine with Gilead Sciences. For more information, please visit

Gritstone Forward-Looking Statements
This press release contains forward-looking statements, including, but not limited to, statements related to the potential of Gritstone’s therapeutic programs. Such forward-looking statements involve substantial risks and uncertainties that could cause Gritstone’s research and clinical development programs, future results, performance or achievements to differ significantly from those expressed or implied by the forward-looking statements. Such risks and uncertainties include, among others, the uncertainties inherent in the drug development process, including Gritstone’s programs’ early stage of development, the process of designing and conducting preclinical and clinical trials, the regulatory approval processes, the timing of regulatory filings, the challenges associated with manufacturing drug products, Gritstone’s ability to successfully establish, protect and defend its intellectual property and other matters that could affect the sufficiency of existing cash to fund operations. Gritstone undertakes no obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements. For a further description of the risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ from those expressed in these forward-looking statements, as well as risks relating to the business of the company in general, see Gritstone’s most recent Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q filed on November 5, 2020 and any current and periodic reports filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Gritstone Contacts
Dan Budwick
(973) 271-6085

Alexandra Santos
Wheelhouse Life Science Advisors
(510) 871-6161

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