Tocagen Appoints Fairooz Kabbinavar, M.D., FACP, as Senior Vice President, Clinical Development
SAN DIEGO, April 15, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Tocagen Inc.(Nasdaq: TOCA), a clinical-stage, cancer-selective gene therapy company, today announced the appointment of Fairooz Kabbinavar, M.D., FACP, as senior vice president, clinical development. Dr. Kabbinavar will oversee the advancement of Tocagen's cancer-selective gene therapy platform and lead product candidate, Toca 511 & Toca FC. With this addition, acting chief medical officer Lori A. Kunkel, M.D., will return to the company's board of directors. In another organizational update, the company announced that Harry E. Gruber, M.D., co-founder of Tocagen, will be transitioning out of day-to-day operations by year end and will continue to serve as an adviser to the company and as a member of the board of directors.
"Dr. Kabbinavar brings to Tocagen world-class expertise in oncology drug development and further adds to our leadership team's deep biopharmaceutical R&D and commercialization experience," said Marty Duvall, chief executive officer of Tocagen. "Dr. Kabbinavar's successful track record encompasses decades as a lead investigator of clinical trials for novel therapies that have culminated in the advancement or approval of several leading cancer drugs. He joins our team at an important time as we look towards the results this year from the Phase 3 Toca 5 trial of Toca 511 & Toca FC in patients with recurrent high grade glioma, the initiation of a Phase 2/3 clinical trial with NCI's NRG Oncology in newly diagnosed glioblastoma patients, and preparations for potential commercial launch."
Dr. Kabbinavar has over 25 years of experience in clinical oncology. Most recently, as a principal medical director at Genentech, he led the development of cancer immunotherapy TECENTRIQ® (atezolizumab), in the small cell lung cancer registration study and supplemental biologics license application, as well as serving as the clinical lead for the head and neck cancer program. He previously held academic appointments at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) including professor of medicine and urologic oncology, Henry Alvin and Carrie L. Meinhardt endowed chair in kidney cancer research, director of the medical oncology program in genitourinary and lung cancers, and co-director of the brain tumor program.
During his academic career, Dr. Kabbinavar was the lead investigator for the clinical trials of Avastin® (bevacizumab) in colorectal cancer that led to U.S. FDA approval. Dr. Kabbinavar is board-certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine in Medical Oncology. He has published over 100 peer-reviewed research papers in journals including The New England Journal of Medicine and the Journal of Clinical Oncology. Dr. Kabbinavar holds B.Sc., MBBS and M.D. degrees from Nagpur University. He completed his postdoctoral research fellowship at UCLA's Division of Hematology/Oncology, as well as a clinical hematology/oncology fellowship, internship and residency at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.
"Tocagen is pioneering a novel cancer-selective gene therapy platform that could transform how brain cancer is treated," said Dr. Kabbinavar. "The results to date for Toca 511 & Toca FC in high grade glioma are very impressive and highly differentiating, and I am hopeful that the results will provide an effective novel treatment option for patients with recurrent brain cancer. I am eager to advance the current and future opportunities for this regimen, in addition to advancing new product candidates from our gene therapy platform."
"We are grateful to Lori for stepping in to the acting CMO role and now returning to the board," continued Mr. Duvall. "In addition, we appreciate Harry's visionary contributions to Tocagen since our founding, which have been instrumental in our growth and success to date. He has been a trusted advisor to me, and we all look forward to Harry's continued contributions as an advisor to the company and on our board of directors."
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SOURCE Tocagen Inc.
Company Codes: NASDAQ-NMS:TOCA