CULVER CITY, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–ImmunityBio, Inc., a privately-held immunotherapy company, today announced that it has appointed Fabio M. Benedetti, M.D., as Chief Strategy Officer, effective January 4, 2021. Dr. Benedetti brings more than 20 years of biotech and large pharma experience in oncology clinical development and medical affairs. In this role, he will oversee life-cycle management, pipeline and commercial strategy, including medical affairs. Following the completion of ImmunityBio’s proposed merger with NantKwest, Dr. Benedetti is expected to assume the role of Chief Strategy Officer of the combined company.
“I am pleased to welcome Fabio, a proven leader in clinical development, to ImmunityBio”
“I am pleased to welcome Fabio, a proven leader in clinical development, to ImmunityBio,” said Patrick Soon-Shiong, M.D., Chairman and CEO of ImmunityBio. “As we work to help advance our powerful and broad portfolio of oncology and infectious disease assets and bring these treatments to patients, we will benefit from his deep understanding of oncology therapies and experience leading global portfolio management teams. I look forward to working closely with Fabio and the rest of our team to build on our recent momentum and reach even more patients.”
Fabio Benedetti, M.D., added, “I have long admired ImmunityBio and its unique approach to immunotherapy. This is an exciting time to join the company, particularly following the recent positive preliminary data for Anktiva in non-muscle invasive bladder cancer CIS. I’m honored to have the opportunity to collaborate with Dr. Soon Shiong and the entire team to build on the clinical success ImmunityBio has already achieved, with an eye toward an even brighter future.”
Dr. Benedetti most recently served as Chief Medical Officer for Apollomics, Inc., a biopharmaceutical company focused on the discovery and development of oncology combination therapies, where he led global clinical development programs including clinical strategy, clinical development, and regulatory affairs. He also previously served as Global Chief Medical Officer at Taiho Pharmaceutical Company, Ltd. and Senior Vice President and Chief Medical Officer for Taiho Oncology, Inc. Prior to serving at Taiho, he held the positions of Senior Vice President, Clinical Oncology and Chief Medical Officer at Geron Corporation. Dr. Benedetti also has extensive experience in Medical Affairs having held Vice-President positions at Onyx Pharmaceuticals and Millennium Pharmaceuticals. His industry career also included Medical Director positions at Roche Laboratories as well as Bristol-Myers Squibb.
Dr. Benedetti is a trained medical oncologist who worked as an Attending Physician, Clinical Assistant, Department of Medicine, Division of Gastrointestinal Oncology at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York, NY prior to entering industry. [He completed his fellowship in Oncology/Hematology at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, and his residency in internal medicine at Strong Memorial Hospital at the University of Rochester.] Dr. Benedetti earned both his Medical and Bachelor of Arts degrees from Brown University in Providence, R.I.
As previously announced, on December 21, 2020, ImmunityBio entered into an agreement to combine in a stock-for-stock transaction with NantKwest, Inc. (NASDAQ: NK). The combination, which is expected to close in the first half of 2021, would create a leading immunotherapy and cell therapy company focused on oncology and infectious disease.
ImmunityBio, Inc. is a late-clinical-stage immunotherapy company developing next-generation therapies that drive immunogenic mechanisms for defeating cancers and infectious diseases. The company’s immunotherapy platform activates both the innate (natural killer cell and macrophage) and adaptive (T-cell) immune systems to create long-term “immunological memory.” This novel approach is designed to eliminate the need for high-dose chemotherapy, improve upon the outcomes of current CAR T-cell therapies, and extend beyond checkpoint inhibitors.
ImmunityBio’s platform is based on the foundation of three separate modalities: antibody cytokine fusion proteins, synthetic immunomodulators, and second-generation human adenovirus (hAd5) vaccine technologies.
Anktiva™ (ImmunityBio’s lead cytokine infusion protein) is a novel interleukin-15 (IL-15) superagonist complex and has received Breakthrough Therapy and Fast Track Designations from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for BCG-unresponsive CIS non-muscle invasive bladder cancer (NMIBC). The company is also in Phase 2 or 3 trials for indications such as first- and second-line lung cancer, triple-negative breast cancer, metastatic pancreatic cancer, recurrent glioblastoma, and soft tissue sarcoma in combination with the company’s synthetic immune modulator (Aldoxorubicin).
ImmunityBio is also developing therapies, including vaccines, for the prevention and treatment of HIV, influenza, and the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 with its second-generation human adenovirus (hAd5) vaccine technologies.
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