Pioneer in Cancer Immunotherapy Research and Clinical Lead for Kite/Gilead ZUMA-5 Program, Dr. Godfrey Joins Chief Medical Officer, Daniel S. Chen, M.D., Ph.D., to Build IGM’s Clinical Development Function
IGM Biosciences, Inc. (IGM), a privately held biotechnology company and a global leader in the research and development of therapeutic IgM antibodies, today announced the appointment of Wayne Godfrey, M.D. to the newly created position of Vice President, Clinical Development.
Dr. Godfrey will help lead global clinical development of IGM’s emerging pipeline of proprietary IgM antibodies. He joins IGM with more than 25 years of experience in cancer immunology and immunotherapy research and development, most recently with Kite/Gilead, where he led the CAR-T CD19-directed pivotal Phase II study, ZUMA-5.
“Wayne has been a pioneer in the field of immuno-oncology, including leading the team that first identified human OX40 and OX40-Ligand with Dr. Edgar G. Engleman at Stanford, and he played an important role in the identification, culture, and characterization of human T regulatory cells at the University of Minnesota, in collaboration with Dr. Bruce R. Blazar. Wayne was an inventor on some of the seminal patents licensed in these fields, and I am honored to have the opportunity to work directly with him,” said Daniel S. Chen, Chief Medical Officer of IGM Biosciences. Dr. Chen continued, “Wayne’s scientific immuno-oncology and clinical hematology experience, combined with his proven leadership abilities as past Chief Medical Officer at Bavarian-Nordic Immunotherapeutics and Etubics, provides IGM with valuable new expertise and know-how as we build IGM’s clinical development capabilities.”
“Wayne’s experience with CAR-T approaches to lymphoma and diverse approaches to cancer immunotherapy in solid tumors will provide strong support for the development of our industry-leading IgM technology platform,” said Fred Schwarzer, Chief Executive Officer of IGM Biosciences.
Dr. Godfrey commented: “I’m fascinated by IGM’s innovative and proprietary engineering approach to bispecific antibodies, which offers many new avenues for creating the next generation of therapeutics for immuno-oncology and beyond. The ability to target cancer antigens that elude IgG-based therapeutics and the framework for adding multiple additional binding domains and payloads are very compelling. Importantly, the ability of multivalent IgM antibodies to powerfully stimulate signaling receptors may also enable us to realize the true potential of OX40 and other TNFr family members as immuno-oncology targets. I’m very excited to have the opportunity to study and develop the potential of IGM’s technology in the clinic.”
Dr. Godfrey conducted research and studied clinical immunology at Stanford, and then went on to run his own lab as a faculty member in Hematology, Oncology and Transplantation at the University of Minnesota and developed and patented methods to purify and culture T regulatory cells. His biotech and pharma experience has included work on antigen presenting cell vaccines, TLR agonists, and viral-prime boost vaccines in both research and global clinical development roles. Subsequently, he also served as the medical lead for multiple clinical studies of Idelalisib in lymphoma (Phase 1-4) and contributed to the filing and FDA approval of Zydelig® at Gilead Sciences. After working on CEA and HER2 targeted adenoviral cancer vaccines at Etubics/Nantcell, he most recently was the clinical development lead for anti-CD19 directed CAR-T cell studies in follicular lymphoma at Kite/Gilead.
Dr. Godfrey has co-authored multiple clinical and scientific publications, including “Identification of a human OX40 ligand, a costimulatory of CD4+ T cells with homology to tumor necrosis factor,” and “PI3Kd Inhibition by Idelalisib in Patients with Relapsed Indolent Lymphoma,” published in The New England Journal of Medicine. He is also an inventor or co-inventor on multiple patents, including “Regulatory T cells (CD4+CD25+) and their use in immunotherapy.” Dr. Godfrey earned an M.D. from Washington University and completed his internal medicine residency and Clinical Immunology, Hematology and Bone Marrow Transplantation Fellowships at Stanford University.
Dr. Chen and Dr. Godfrey will be responsible for global clinical development of IGM’s emerging pipeline of proprietary IgM antibodies. Dr. Chen joined IGM with more than 20 years of experience in cancer immunotherapy research and development, most recently as Vice President, Global Head of Cancer Immunotherapy Development at Genentech/Roche.
About IGM Biosciences, Inc.
Headquartered in Mountain View, California, IGM Biosciences, Inc. is a privately held biotechnology company that has been dedicated since 2010 to creating and developing novel IgM antibodies that improve the treatment of cancer and other diseases. IGM Biosciences is focused on developing and utilizing IgM antibodies in those clinical indications where their inherent advantages may provide substantially superior performance, as compared with IgG antibodies. For more information about IGM Biosciences, its technologies or its antibody pipeline, please visit www.igmbio.com.
This press release contains forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements are based on management’s expectations and are subject to certain factors, risks and uncertainties that may cause actual results, outcome of events, timing and performance to differ materially from those expressed or implied by such statements. The information contained in this press release is believed to be current as of the date of original issue. IGM Biosciences expressly disclaims any obligation or undertaking to release publicly any updates or revisions to any forward-looking statements contained herein to reflect any change in our expectations with regard thereto or any change in events, conditions or circumstances on which any such statements are based.