UTRECHT, The Netherlands & PHILADELPHIA–(BUSINESS WIRE)–LAVA Therapeutics B.V., an early clinical-stage biotechnology company focused on applying its expertise in bispecific gamma-delta T cell engagers to transform cancer therapy, today announced the appointment of Dr. Kapil Dhingra as chairman of its Board of Directors. Dr. Dhingra has more than 30 years of experience in oncology clinical research and drug development within the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries, as a Board member at several successful oncology biotechnology companies, and as a clinician at academic research centers.
“We are delighted to have Dr. Dhingra join our Board as chairman at this moment in our company’s journey,” said Stephen Hurly, President and Chief Executive Officer. “In the coming year we expect two LAVA programs to enter Phase 1/2a studies in solid and hematologic malignancies. Dr. Dhingra’s deep expertise in cancer drug development and impressive track record of building successful oncology biotechnology companies will have an immediate and beneficial impact on our strategy and mission to bring our first-in-class cancer drugs to patients.”
Mr. Hurly added, “We look forward to benefiting from Dr. Dhingra’s expertise as we expand our preclinical pipeline. Our platform’s modularity enables rapid discovery and development of novel candidates, and Dr. Dhingra’s experience in translational medicine will provide important insights as we select high-value, innovative targets. I also want to thank Erik van den Berg for serving as chairman of LAVA’s Board of Directors since our founding. During his tenure, LAVA raised over $100M in capital from leading life science VCs which provides a solid foundation for the company’s continued growth.”
“I am excited to welcome Dr. Dhingra to the LAVA Board of Directors. His experience will be extremely valuable to LAVA as it transitions to become a clinical-stage company this year,” commented Erik van den Berg.
“LAVA’s novel T cell engager platform, which harnesses the unique attributes of gamma-delta T cells, has the potential to change the standard of care for many high unmet need cancer patient populations,” said Dr. Dhingra. “I look forward to working with the LAVA Board and management team. I also want to thank Erik van den Berg for his leadership of LAVA’s Board. He has been instrumental in growing LAVA into a company with two drug candidates poised to enter the clinic within a year.”
Dr. Dhingra is a medical oncologist and a physician-scientist with a proven track record in academic research, patient care, and drug development. He served as Vice President, Head of the Oncology Disease Biology Leadership Team and Head of Oncology Clinical Development at Hoffmann-La Roche (“Roche”), during which he led numerous drug approvals, including Herceptin®, Tarceva®, and Avastin®. Prior to joining Roche, he worked in the oncology clinical development group at Eli Lilly and Company.
Dr. Dhingra has served as a faculty member at The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Indiana University School of Medicine, and Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. Dr. Dhingra is currently a member of the Boards of Directors of Black Diamond Therapeutics, Inc., Replimune, Inc., Five Prime Therapeutics, Inc., Autolus Therapeutics plc, and Median Technologies, and he has previously served on the boards of several successful biotech companies, including Biovex, Micromet, Algeta, YM Biosciences, Epitherapeutics, Advanced Accelerator Applications, and Exosome Diagnostics. He is a member of the NCI Experimental Therapeutics Panel. Dr. Dhingra founded KAPital Consulting, LLC in 2008, a company dedicated to helping biotechnology, pharmaceutical, and diagnostic companies realize the clinical and commercial advances in oncology. Dr. Dhingra obtained his M.B.B.S. degree from the All India Institute of Medical Sciences in New Delhi, India. He completed his residency in internal medicine at Lincoln Medical and Mental Health Center, New York Medical College and completed his fellowship in hematology and oncology at Emory University School of Medicine.
LAVA Therapeutics B.V. is a developing a portfolio of bispecific gamma-delta T cell engagers (gamma-delta bsTCEs) for the treatment of solid tumors and hematologic malignancies based on its proprietary platform. The company’s innovative approach leverages bispecific antibodies to activate Vγ9Vδ2 T cells upon binding to membrane-expressed tumor associated antigens. Activated Vγ9Vδ2 T cells are engaged for direct, selective tumor cell killing. The company’s lead program, LAVA-051, is expected to enter a Phase 1/2a clinical study in hematologic malignancies in the first half of 2021. The company has established a highly experienced research and development team located in Utrecht, the Netherlands and Philadelphia, USA.
LAVA’s Cautionary Note on Forward-Looking Statements
This press release contains forward-looking statements, including in respect of the company’s anticipated growth and clinical developments plans, including the timing of clinical trials. Words such as “anticipate,” “believe,” “could,” “expect,” “should,” “plan,” “intend,” “estimate,” “potential” and similar expressions (as well as other words or expressions referencing future events, conditions or circumstances) are intended to identify forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements are based on LAVA’s expectations and assumptions as of the date of this press release. Each of these forward-looking statements involves risks and uncertainties. Actual results may differ materially from these forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements contained in this press release include, but are not limited to, statements about the progress, timing, clinical development and scope of clinical trials and the reporting of clinical data for LAVA’s product candidates, and the potential use of our product candidates to treat various tumor targets. Many factors may cause differences between current expectations and actual results including unexpected safety or efficacy data observed during preclinical trials, changes in expected or existing competition, changes in the regulatory environment, the COVID-19 pandemic may disrupt our business and that of the third parties on which we depend, including delaying or otherwise disrupting our clinical trials and preclinical studies, manufacturing and supply chain, or impairing employee productivity, failure of LAVA’s collaborators to support or advance collaborations or product candidates and unexpected litigation or other disputes, among others. LAVA assumes no obligation to update any forward-looking statements contained herein to reflect any change in expectations, even as new information becomes available.