The research and development undertaken by the Company is reviewed and directed by a Science Committee that meets on a regular basis (every 2 to 3 months). This committee is made up of both the commercial and scientific members of the Group together with some non-executive director(s) with suitable commercial experience and SAB members. The committee ensures that the research and development programme is focused on maximising commercial value to the Group.
The committee was formed as Oncimmune Limited evolved from a pure research and development company with a chief scientific officer with a focused brief to validate and commercialise the platform technology, to the next stage, where there is a need to have a greater understanding of the market and where the best opportunities for the Group lie.
Through the committee, the Group appoints a leading expert (normally from the SAB) to oversee and guide each project. Currently, Professors Peter Boyle, David Kerr, Zhiping Lee and Dr George Parsons are actively fulfilling these roles in a number of key areas.
The Science Committee of Oncimmune is:
Geoffrey has an entrepreneurial career that started in 1982 when Geoffrey founded a number of companies in the media sector backed by The Abingdon Management Company Limited (Abingdon). In 1988, he joined the board of Abingdon as CEO and subsequently became sole owner having acquired the Company from its institutional shareholders. Abingdon had a number of quoted and unquoted investments – perhaps the most noteworthy being Fortronic, which developed the first magnetic strip plastic card swipe technology. In 1998 he launched Premium TV (PTV) securing a contractual joint venture with Eurosport to create “British Eurosport”. Later that year PTV was acquired by NTL (now Virgin Media). As CEO of PTV Geoffrey instigated and oversaw the highly complex development of the largest integrated broadband and internet sports broadcasting platform in the world at that time. Over the past ten years Geoffrey has increasingly focused his time and energies on the health sector and has dedicated almost all of his time in the past 8 years to the development of Oncimmune Limited, serving as its Executive Chairman and now CEO. Geoffrey is also a senior research fellow at the International Prevention Research Institute. His personal commitment to cancer detection can be traced to his father, the first medical oncologist in the United Kingdom.
Dr Murray studied Applied Biology at Nottingham Trent University before reading for a PhD in Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University of Nottingham. The focus of Dr Murray’s PhD studies, was the development of monoclonal antibodies for diagnosis of cancer. She later worked on the development of peptide mimetics for purification of monoclonal antibodies and antibody fragments and then spent three years developing radioimmunoconjugates for diagnosis and treatment of bladder cancer. During this postdoctoral research position, Dr Murray was awarded a travel fellowship by the European Association for Cancer Research which allowed her to spend a period of training at the Paul Scherrer Institute in Switzerland where she worked on the development of techniques for conjugating rhenium-188 to biological molecules such as antibodies. Dr Murray has published over 40 papers in peer reviewed journals and has written several book chapters and invited reviews. She has presented her work at numerous national and international conferences. When Dr Murray joined Oncimmune Limited in 2004 as Senior Director of Assay Development she was one of the Company’s first employees. Since then she has been involved with the EarlyCDT® platform through all of its stages of development and validation and has provided critical technical leadership.
Graham has nearly 40 years of intensive experience in the design, conduct, analysis and interpretation of research and development studies in the pharmaceutical and diagnostics industries, particularly in the areas of in vivo and in vitro toxicology, carcinogenicity and teratology, survival and genotoxicity, pharmacokinetics, assay validation, vaccine development, environmental monitoring, molecular biology, cell-based assays, phase I and II clinical trials and cancer diagnostics. He graduated in Zoology from Imperial College in 1974, and then converted to full-time statistics via the MSc Biometry course at Reading. After a year lecturing at Bunda Agricultural College deep in the Malawi bush, he returned to join the biotech division of G.D.Searle in High Wycombe, where he supported pioneering work on anti-viral polynucleotides, interferon and aspartame. In 1986 he transferred to Searle’s pharmaceutical R&D site in Belgium where he also supported the parent company Monsanto’s nearby Technical Centre, particularly in the development of BST (bovine somatotrophin). In 1992 he was appointed Head of Statistics at Huntingdon Life Sciences in UK where he stayed for 16 years working in a vast array of preclinical and toxicology areas. He is currently Principal Statistician at Oncimmune Ltd where he has been involved with all stages of the technical and clinical validation of EarlyCDT, a blood test for the early detection of cancer, including calibration, assay validation, sample set acquisition, design of retrospective and prospective clinical trials and risk modelling.
Dr. Laura J. Peek earned a Ph.D. with Honors in Pharmaceutical Chemistry from The University of Kansas(KU) in 2006 and was recognized with a Schering-Plough Science and Innovation Award for her doctoralresearch, which focused on characterizing the stability of biopharmaceutics, optimizing their formulationfor maximum stability and further evaluating their stability on surfaces of aluminum salt adjuvants,polymeric nanoparticles and microparticles. Throughout her doctoral studies, Dr. Peek received theMadison & Lila Self Graduate Fellowship, a competitive four-year multi-disciplinary doctoral fellowship atKU that provides extensive professional development training in preparation for future leadership roles.Dr. Peek went on to complete post-doctoral training at KU working on projects related to polymericparticle technology and drug delivery. In 2007, she joined Oncimmune USA LLC as the second employeeof the newly-formed US subsidiary and established the clinical laboratory operations from the ground up,including transfer of technology from the parent company in the UK, development of a comprehensivequality system and oversight of the laboratory’s regulatory compliance. Dr. Peek also played an integralrole in the validation, scale-up and commercial launch of EarlyCDT®-Lung and managed a prospectiveclinical audit of outcomes for 1600 patients, the results of which were published in the journal LungCancer. Dr. Peek is passionate about helping others and in her spare time enjoys mentoring studentsabout various career opportunities that exist in science. Dr. Peek currently serves on the Board ofTrustees for the Self Graduate Fellowship and is serving an elected 4-year term on the Board of Governorsfor the Society of Self Fellows.
Dr Jett’s research interests focus on the screening and early detection of lung cancer. His research has been funded by the National Institutes of Health and the National Cancer Institute and he was part of a research team that discovered how CT screening can be an effective tool to detect lung cancer early in high-risk patients. Dr Jett is board certified in internal medicine and pulmonary medicine, and he completed his medical degree at the University of Missouri, Columbia. He completed a residency in internal medicine and a fellowship in thoracic diseases at Mayo Graduate School of Medicine, and a research fellowship at the National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health. He is on the Scientific Advisory Committee for the American Lung Association and was an External Review Chair for the Terry Fox Research Institute, Lung Cancer Grant. Dr Jett has served in journal review and editorial activities for many medical publications, including the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, American Journal of the Medical Sciences, Cancer, Chest, International Journal of Cancer, Lung Cancer and The New England Journal of Medicine. Dr. Jett was editor-in-chief of the Journal of Thoracic Oncology from 2006 to 2012 and he is currently the Co-Editor of the Lung Cancer Section of the electronic textbook “Up-To-Date”.
Dr Navani qualified in Medicine from Cambridge and UCL in 2000 with distinction and several University prizes. He trained in Respiratory Medicine at the Brompton and Hammersmith Hospitals before winning a Medical Research Council Fellowship in 2008 and completing his PhD at UCL in 2011. He has also completed an MSc in Clinical Trials at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. Dr Navani is a Consultant in Thoracic Medicine at University College London Hospital. He specialises in respiratory disorders and has particular expertise in patients with lung cancer and in bronchoscopy. He runs the regional Endobronchial Ultrasound (EBUS) service at UCLH and has performed over 3,000 procedures. Dr Navani is clinical lead for lung cancer services at UCLH and co-chairs the specialist lung cancer weekly MDT.
Dr Navani runs several clinical trials on the diagnosis and staging of lung disease and bronchoscopic techniques. He holds an honorary position at the Medical Research Council Clinical Trials Unit and is also a member of the UCLH early lung cancer detection and surveillance programme. Dr Navani has authored over 35 peer-reviewed publications, including leading articles on endobronchial ultrasound. He is the co-author of a textbook on respiratory disorders. He is an invited member of the British Thoracic Society guideline development group for bronchoscopy and is on the interventional procedures specialist advisory group. He is a member of the National Cancer Research Institute lung cancer clinical studies group. He sits on the lung cancer board of London Cancer and is a peer reviewer for many journals including PLOSoneand Thorax.
Professor David Kerr CBE, MA MD DSc FRCP (Glas & Lon) FRCGP (Hon) FMedSci is Rhodes Professor of Clinical Pharmacology and Cancer Therapeutics at the Department of Clinical Pharmacology, Fellow of Corpus Christi College, University of Oxford. Currently Professor Kerr is the President of European Society of Medical Oncology (ESMO) and chairs the ESMO Board of Directors and Executive Committee. He also serves on the Board of Directors of European Cancer Organisation (ECCO) and is Committee Member of Nominating Committee of ESMO. Treatment and research in colorectal cancer and gene therapy are Professor Kerr’s main areas of interest in research. He is Board Certified by the General Medical Council in the UK and serves as a member of the United Kingdom National Cancer Task Force.
Professor Peter Boyle, BSc PhD DSc (Med) DSc FRSE FFPH FRCPS (Glas) FRCP (Edin) FMedSci is President of the International Prevention Research Institute, Lyon, France and was previously Director of the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC/WHO) from 2004 to 2008 in Lyon, France. Professor Boyle is also currently Honorary Professor of Cancer Prevention and Control at Oxford University and Visiting Professor at Glasgow University.
Dan served as President and CEO of Oncimmune USA since June 2009 until the acquisition of the US laboratory operations in October 2013. He is currently the President and CEO of Gyros, AB, a global immunoassay instrument Company. Prior to joining Oncimmune USA, Dan was the CEO of two successful companies, Cellomics and Assay Designs, each of which were acquired, by Fisher Scientific and Enzo Biochem respectively. He had a 20 year progressive career with DuPont, and then served as Commercial SVP of NEN Life Sciences, a spinout Company of DuPont, which was sold to PerkinElmer. Dan also served as global commercial VP there until joining Cellomics as CEO in 2003. He also serves as Chairman of the Board of Optra Systems, an India-based healthcare IT Company.
Dr. Sophia Karagiannis is a Reader in translational cancer immunology at King’s College London and heads a cancer antibody discovery group focused on designing novel treatments for skin, ovarian and breast carcinomas. She gained BA and MS degrees at Rutgers University, USA, under a number of scholarship awards and a teaching assistantship (1987, 1991). She earned a PhD at King’s College London in Biochemistry under SERC and SmithKline Beecham-funded scholarships (1995). She has initiated and developed immunotherapy strategies for cancer and inflammatory diseases and led functional and toxicological studies for biological drug development and clinical trial programmes in academic and biotechnology environments in London and Cambridge as a postdoctoral associate and scientific investigator. She was appointed as NIHR/BRC Senior Research Fellow in 2007 and as a Senior Lecturer in 2013 at King’s College London. The Karagiannis group is focused on dissecting humoral immune responses in cancer, elucidating the tumour-targeting and immune effector cell-activating mechanisms of IgE and IgG class antibodies against cancer antigens. Her laboratory is developing a pipeline of antibodies with improved ability to destroy tissue cancers and as diagnostic tools. Sophia co-founded and presently co-chairs the International Task Force on AllergoOncology (a recognised Task Force under the auspices of the European Academy for Allergy and Clinical Immunology since 2014). She has pioneered IgE therapeutics for solid tumours. Her group is undertaking a key research, development and clinical translation initiative on the first IgE class antibody for cancer therapy conducted in close collaboration with clinical and academic groups at King’s College London (J Spicer, H Gould, C Corrigan) and the CR-UK Centre for Drug Development.
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