TapImmune Brings on Former Bellicum Exec as New CEO
September 25, 2017
By Alex Keown, BioSpace.com Breaking News Staff
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — TapImmune Inc. has a new chief executive officer. Peter Hoang, the former head of business development and strategy at Bellicum Pharmaceuticals, will take over for CEO Glynn Wilson, who has been reappointed to the position of chairman of the board of directors.
Wilson said Hoang was selected to help lead TapImmune into becoming a leading biopharmaceutical organization. Hoang has served more than 20 years in the industry. He has experience with venture capital and immuno-oncology development.
Hoang, who will also serve as company president, takes over as TapImmune continues to enroll patients in a Phase II dosing study of its therapeutic T-cell vaccine candidate TPIV 200 for treating triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC). The study is enrolling women with stage I(T1c)-III TNBC who have completed initial surgery and radiation/chemotherapy, and who have not yet had a cancer recurrence. TPIV200 targets the folate receptor alpha protein, which is overexpressed by most patients with ovarian cancer, according to company data. TNBC occurs in 10-15 percent of all women with invasive breast cancer and is associated with poor prognosis.
In addition to triple negative breast cancer, TapImmune is also using its TPIV candidates for other breast cancers. TapImmune expects to initiate two additional Phase Ib/II clinical studies for its TPIV 100/110 vaccine in HER2/neu+ breast cancer and HER2/neu+ ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) by the end of the year.
Hoang said he was excited to join TapImmune as immunotherapies are showing greater promise in treating cancer. He said he looks forward to helming the team addressing the development of new cancer treatments.
"… it has become increasingly evident that these approaches need to elicit broader immune responses in order to deliver more consistent and durable therapeutic outcomes. TapImmune's proprietary, off-the-shelf T cell vaccine platform, with its unique MHC Class II focus, has the potential to drive robust patient immune responses and generate T cell memory that is required for lasting therapeutic effects,” Hoang said in a statement.
In addition to serving as chairman of the board, Wilson will also serve as TapImmune’s chief strategic adviser.
Prior to his tenure at Bellicum, Hoang served as the managing director of innovations at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. While at MD Anderson, he headed venture formation and development effort for the institution.
In May, TapImmune lost its president and chief operating officer. John Bonfiglio resigned to pursue other opportunities, the company said. Also in May, TapImmune brought Richard Kenney onboard in a consultant role as medical director. Kenney will manage TapImmune's ongoing and planned clinical programs for its T-cell vaccine candidates, which currently include multiple Phase 2 trials in advanced breast and ovarian cancer.