Dr. Daniel Chen, Former Global Head of Cancer Immunotherapy Development at Genentech/Roche and Noted Immuno-Oncology Expert, to Lead Company’s Emerging Clinical Development Initiatives
Dr. William Strohl, Preeminent Leader in Antibody Research and Development, Brings Wealth of Antibody Engineering Experience
MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif., Aug. 1, 2018 – 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 appointments of Daniel S. Chen, M.D., Ph.D., to the newly created position of Chief Medical Officer and William Strohl, Ph.D., to its Board of Directors.
Dr. Chen will be responsible for global clinical development of IGM’s emerging pipeline of proprietary IgM antibodies. He joins 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.
Dr. Strohl is one of the world’s preeminent leaders in novel antibody engineering. He was formerly Vice President and Head, Janssen BioTherapeutics, Janssen R&D, Johnson & Johnson (J&J), where he ran biologics discovery, early development and technology development.
“Dan and Bill are both pioneers in novel antibody development, and they each bring a wealth of experience and knowledge that will help direct and accelerate the progress of our groundbreaking IgM antibody platform and help guide our lead candidates into and through the clinic,” said Fred Schwarzer, Chief Executive Officer of IGM Biosciences. “Dan is widely regarded as a global leader in immuno-oncology, and he oversaw some of the most important R&D in oncology over the last decade while at Genentech/Roche, making his decision to join IGM a strong endorsement of the potential of our technology and our emerging pipeline. Bill is widely regarded as a global thought leader in antibody engineering and novel antibody development, and we look forward to his contributions as a member of our Board of Directors.”
Dr. Chen commented: “IGM’s proprietary scientific and technological approach represents an exciting new frontier for the development of antibody treatments for cancer and other serious diseases. The company’s IgM antibodies have unique advantages over traditional IgG antibodies in that they offer stronger binding to more difficult and rare targets, as well as superior agonist potency. Preclinical research and models suggest the potential for IgM antibodies to offer dramatically superior efficacy to IgG antibodies in certain clinical indications. As a clinician who has been immersed in the immuno-oncology space through what could be described as its most dramatic period of growth, I see tremendous potential in the translation of IGM technology to the clinic.”
“Engineered IgG antibodies remain the bedrock of therapeutic antibody drugs, yet the structural and functional limitations of IgG antibodies are well established,” said Dr. Strohl. “The possibility that IgM antibody technology may address some of these limitations is extremely exciting, and IgM antibodies have tremendous potential to serve unmet medical needs. IGM Biosciences is the clear global leader in the development of IgM antibodies, and I look forward to working with the Board and management team in advancing this groundbreaking new technology.”
Dr. Chen began his tenure with Genentech/Roche in 2006 and was instrumental in building the company’s cancer immunotherapy segment, most recently serving as Vice President, Global Head of Cancer Immunotherapy Development and Cancer Immunotherapy Franchise Head. While with Genentech/Roche, Dr. Chen focused on the clinical development of anti-angiogenic and immune-modulatory targeted therapies in both early- and late-stage development, as well as the diagnostic tools to aid in their development, and he led development of the anti-PD-L1 antibody drug Tecentriq® from preclinical through post-marketing.
Prior to joining Genentech/Roche, Dr. Chen ran the metastatic melanoma clinic at the Stanford Cancer Center where he studied human anti-cancer immune responses to cancer vaccination and cytokine administration and co-invented and developed an MHC cellular microarray to detect and functionally characterize antigen-specific T-cell states. After joining Genentech, Dr. Chen continued as Adjunct Clinical Faculty and was a treating physician for patients with melanoma at Stanford until 2016. He currently serves as co-chair of the Cancer Research Institute’s Cancer Immunotherapy Consortium and was recently elected to the board of the Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer (SITC). Dr. Chen is a noted immuno-oncology expert and speaker, and he delivered the keynote presentation at the AACR NCI EORTC Annual Conference in 2014 and presented at the U.S. Congressional Briefing on Immuno-Oncology in 2017. He is a reviewer for the scientific journals Nature, Immunity and Clinical Cancer Research, and he has co-authored a number of prominent scientific papers in the field of cancer immunotherapy, including the often-referenced Chen and Mellman manuscripts, “Elements of cancer immunity and the cancer-immune set point” and “Oncology meets immunology: the cancer-immunity cycle.” Dr. Chen received a B.S. in biology from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a Ph.D. in microbiology and immunology and an M.D. from the University of Southern California.
Prior to retiring from J&J in August 2016, Dr. Strohl was Vice President and Head, Janssen BioTherapeutics, Janssen R&D, J&J. Previously, Dr. Strohl was Head of Biologics Research, the discovery arm of Janssen BioTherapeutics. During his time at J&J, Dr. Strohl was responsible for advancing more than 30 novel antibodies into development.
Before joining J&J, Dr. Strohl was with Merck and Co. from 1997 until 2008. At various points during his tenure at Merck, Dr. Strohl led the company’s biologic drug discovery efforts, was involved in multiple biotechnology company acquisitions and licenses to improve discovery capabilities, established its Microbial Vaccines segment and led its Natural Products Biology group. Prior to his work in industry, Dr. Strohl was a Professor in the Department of Microbiology and the Program of Biochemistry at The Ohio State University. Dr. Strohl has authored or co-authored more than 140 scientific publications, including “Therapeutic Antibody Engineering: Current and Future Advances Driving the Strongest Growth Area in the Pharmaceutical Industry,” which was published in October 2012. Dr. Strohl is also an inventor or co-inventor on 17 issued patents. Dr. Strohl earned a Ph.D. in microbiology and biochemistry from Louisiana State University.
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.