BELTSVILLE, Md.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–NextCure,
Inc., a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company committed to
discovering and developing next generation immunomedicines for cancer
and other immune-related diseases, today announced the appointment of
renowned researchers and thought leaders with expertise in immunology,
oncology and drug development to a newly formed scientific advisory
board (“SAB”). The SAB will support NextCure in its efforts to develop
immunomedicines as the company continues to build its proprietary
NextCure’s Scientific Advisory Board members are:
- Prof. Lieping Chen, M.D., Ph.D., Chair
Dr. Lieping Chen is the scientific founder of NextCure and the United
Technologies Corporation Professor in Cancer Research and Professor of
Immunobiology, Dermatology and Medicine (Medical Oncology) at Yale
University. He is also the Co-Director of the Cancer Immunology Program
at Yale Cancer Center.
Dr. Chen is a pioneer in the field of lymphocyte co-stimulation and
co-inhibition. In 1992, Dr. Chen was the first to discover
“co-stimulation of tumor immunity” and to use co-stimulatory molecules
to treat cancer and other diseases.
His laboratory first cloned B7-H1 (PD-L1), discovered its immune
suppressive functions and demonstrated the role of the PD-1/B7-H1
pathway in the evasion of tumor immunity. Bringing these lines of
inquiry full circle, in 2002, he first showed that blocking the
interaction between PD-1 and PD-L1 by monoclonal antibodies improved the
immune system’s ability to eliminate tumors. Dr. Chen also initiated and
helped organize the first-in-human clinical trials of anti-PD-1/PD-L1
antibodies for treating human cancer in 2006 at the Johns Hopkins
Medical Institute. His discoveries directly led to the development of
anti-PD-1/PD-L1 antibody therapies against a broad spectrum of human
cancers. These discoveries have revolutionized cancer treatment. Dr.
Chen has authored 350+ peer-reviewed research articles and is an
inventor on more than 40 US patents.
- Prof. Mario Sznol, M.D.
Dr. Mario Sznol is a Professor of Medicine (Medical Oncology) at Yale
and Co-Director of the Cancer Immunology Program and Leader of the
Melanoma/Renal Cancer Translational Research Team at Yale Cancer Center.
Dr. Sznol, formerly with the National Cancer Institute (NCI), has an
international reputation in cancer drug development. His expertise and
experience are in cancer immunotherapy, drug development for cancer and
treatment of patients with melanoma and renal cell carcinoma. Dr. Sznol
has contributed to the development of cytokines, cell therapies,
co-stimulatory antibodies and immune checkpoint inhibitors, through the
design, execution and analyses of clinical trials and clinical
development plans as well as through direct patient care.
After completing a fellowship in medical oncology at Mount Sinai College
of Medicine in 1987, he joined the NCI as a Senior Investigator in the
Investigational Drug Branch (IDB), Cancer Therapy Evaluation Program
(CTEP). From 1994-1999, Dr. Sznol was head of the Biologics Evaluation
Program, IDB, CTEP where he was responsible for clinical development of
multiple biological and immune therapy agents. In 1999, he left NCI to
become Vice President of Clinical Development for Vion Pharmaceuticals.
He joined the Yale faculty in medical oncology in 2004.
- Ethan Shevach, M.D.
Dr. Ethan Shevach is Chief of the Cellular Immunology Section at the
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease (NIAID). The major
focus of his lab over the past decade has been furthering their
understanding of the function of the subpopulation of CD4+ T cells that
express the transcription factor Foxp3. These cells, which are known as
regulatory T cells (Treg), suppress immune responses. Dr. Shevach’s
group was one of the first in the world to realize the importance of
Tregs and performed many of the initial studies that described their
phenotype and function. Dr. Shevach’s lab is also working to identify
molecules that enhance or reverse Treg suppression. A major goal in
these studies is the development of novel biologics that modulate Treg
Dr. Shevach received his M.D. from Boston University in 1967. Following
clinical training, he joined the Laboratory of Immunology at NIAID as a
senior staff fellow in 1972, was appointed a senior investigator in
1973, and became a section chief in 1987. Dr. Shevach served as
editor-in-chief of the Journal of Immunology from 1987 to 1992 and
editor-in-chief of Cellular Immunology from 1996 to 2007.
- Prof. Stephen Miller, Ph.D.
Dr. Stephen Miller is the Judy Gugenheim Research Professor of
Microbiology-Immunology and Director of the Interdepartmental
Immunobiology Center at Northwestern University Medical School. Dr.
Miller is internationally recognized for his research on pathogenesis
and regulation of immune-mediated diseases using antigen-specific
tolerance and monocyte targeting strategies. His work has significantly
enhanced the understanding of immune inflammatory processes underlying
chronic disease employing animal models of multiple sclerosis (MS) and
Type 1 diabetes. Dr. Miller is best known for studying the cellular and
molecular mechanisms underlying treatment of established T cell-mediated
immune diseases – including Tregs, short-term co-stimulatory molecule
blockade strategies and induction of immune tolerance.
Dr. Miller has published more than 400 research papers and is a
consultant to several biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies, having
assisted in the development of three new chemical entities from
proof-of-concept through Phase 3 clinical trials. He has served or
currently serves on grant review panels for the National Institute of
Health, the National MS Society, the Immune Tolerance Network and the
Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and on the editorial boards of
About NextCure, Inc.
NextCure is a clinical-stage
biopharmaceutical company committed to discovering and developing novel,
first-in-class immunomedicines to treat cancer and other immune-related
diseases. Through our proprietary FIND-IO™ platform, we study various
immune cells to discover and understand targets and structural
components of immune cells and their functional impact in order to
develop immunomedicines. Our initial focus is to bring hope and new
treatments to patients who do not respond to current cancer therapies.
For more information, please visit www.nextcure.com.
Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements
Statements made in this press release that are not historical facts
are forward-looking statements. Words such as “expects,” “believes,”
“intends,” “will’ and similar expressions are intended to identify
forward-looking statements. Examples of forward-looking statements in
this press release include, among others, statements about NextCure’s
plans, objectives and intentions with respect to development of
immunomedicines, use of NextCure’s FIND-IO platform and the role of the
SAB. Forward-looking statements involve substantial risks and
uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from
those projected in any forward-looking statement. Such risks and
uncertainties include, among others: our limited operating history and
no products approved for commercial sale; our history of significant
losses; our need to obtain additional financing; risks related to
clinical development, marketing approval and commercialization; and the
unproven approach to the discovery and development of product candidates
based on our FIND-IO platform. You should not place undue reliance on
any forward-looking statements. NextCure assumes no obligation to update
any forward-looking statements even if its expectations change.
Timothy Mayer, Ph.D.
Shai Biran, Ph.D.