26 Oct BriaCell Announces the Appointment of Biotechnology Veteran William Williams as New CEO and Director
BERKELEY, CA and VANCOUVER, BC–(Marketwired – October 26, 2016) – BriaCell Therapeutics Corp. (“BriaCell” or the “Company”) (TSX VENTURE: BCT) (OTCQB: BCTXF), a clinical-stage immuno-oncology company dedicated to the development of immuno-oncology treatments that can enhance the lives of cancer patients, is pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. William Williams, as its President, CEO and a member of the Board of Directors effective November 1, 2016.
Dr. Williams is a seasoned biopharmaceutical executive with over 35 years of industry and academic expertise, including significant clinical management in multinational pharmaceutical companies. Dr. Williams has served as VP of Exploratory Development at Incyte Corporation since 2005. There he facilitated entry of over 20 compounds into the clinic, including ruxolitinib (Jakafi), baricitinib, and epacadostat. He was responsible for establishing proof-of-concept in several therapeutic areas, and has been involved in numerous new drug applications (NDAs) for therapeutics that achieved marketing authorization in multiple therapeutic areas including oncology. This includes Jakafi for myelofibrosis and polycythemia vera. As Head of Experimental Medicine and VP of Clinical Pharmacology at GlaxoSmithKline, Dr. Williams evaluated several molecules in clinical studies in various therapeutic areas. He ran a biomarker laboratory and spearheaded initiatives to utilize emerging technologies in drug development. He supported drug development programs with a wide range of clinical applications. The clinical pharmacology of lapatinib, an orally active drug for breast cancer and other solid tumors, was characterized under his supervision. He was involved in new or supplemental drug authorizations for a number of oncology drugs including Bexxar (lymphoma), Hycamtin (ovarian cancer), and Navelbine (non-small cell lung cancer).
“We are delighted to welcome Dr. Williams to BriaCell’s management and the board, and are confident that his extensive biopharmaceutical clinical experience will be of a great value to BriaCell to maximize shareholder value and unlock the company’s true intrinsic value” commented Dr. Babaei, Chairman of Board. “We believe that Dr. Williams’ knowledge and expertise are timely additions to boost the depth and breadth of our strategy for clinical advancement of BriaVax™ in advanced breast cancer patients. Dr. William also has significant success with business development that will be important for our strategic objectives” Dr. Babaei added. “On behalf of the Board of Directors, I want to thank Mr. Rahoul Sharan for his efforts and commitment to the company over the past year as interim CEO. We are grateful for his continued involvement as Director of the Company”.
“I am very honored and excited to join BriaCell as CEO. I believe BriaCell’s lead candidate, BriaVax™, has the potential to significantly improve the treatment outcome for advanced breast cancer patients,” said Dr. Williams. “My ambition is to focus on product innovation, lead the teams, and form strategic alliances to create value for the company, and most importantly to bring hope to the cancer patients with limited treatment options”, added Dr. Williams.
In connection with Williams’ appointment, BriaCell’s Compensation Committee granted him an inducement stock option to purchase 632,000 shares of common stock. The stock option grant will be effective immediately with the exercise price based on the closing of BriaCell’s common stock as of October 25, 2016.
BriaCell is currently completing the final stages of the manufacturing of BriaVax™, its proprietary vaccine for advanced breast cancer, for a Phase I/IIa clinical study program. The trial is expected to initiate in the fourth quarter of 2016.
BriaCell is an immuno-oncology biotechnology company developing a potentially more targeted and less toxic approach to cancer management compared to traditional chemotherapy strategies. BriaCell’s mission is to serve late-stage cancer patients with limited treatment options.
Immunotherapy has come to the forefront of the fight against cancer, harnessing the body’s own immune system to recognize and selectively destroy cancer cells while sparing normal cells. Immunotherapy, in addition to generally being more targeted than commonly used types of chemotherapy, is also thought to be a strong type of approach aimed at preventing cancer recurrence.
BriaVax™, the Company’s lead product, is a genetically engineered whole-cell vaccine derived from a human breast tumor cell line. It is believed to activate the immune system to recognize and eliminate cancerous cells by inducing tumor-directed T cell and potentially antibody responses. The Company has already demonstrated encouraging clinical results, and is intent on building upon these results to further advance BriaVax™ through additional FDA-approved clinical trials in order to help cancer patients with limited therapeutic options. The results of two previous FDA Phase I clinical trials (one with the precursor cell line not genetically engineered to produce GM-CSF and one with BriaVax™) have been encouraging in patients with advanced solid tumors. Most notably, one patient with metastatic breast cancer responded to BriaVax™ with substantial reduction in tumor burden including lung and brain metastases.
For more information on the previous clinical trials, please visit http://briacell.com/novel-technology/clinical-trials/, and on BriaCell per se, http://briacell.com/.
About Dr. William Williams
Dr. Williams earned his BSc. in Chemistry and Biotechnology from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Medical Doctorate from Tufts University School of Medicine. Following his residency at the Boston VA Medical Center, Dr. Williams completed fellowship training in Rheumatology and Cellular Immunology at the University of Missouri. He then joined the molecular immunology laboratory of Mark I. Greene, MD, PhD, FRCP, at the University of Pennsylvania, developed novel methods of bioactive peptide design, and collaborated in the study of the activation of the p185/Human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2) receptor. HER-2 is a protein which is known to promote the growth of the cancer cells.
Dr. Williams served as Head of Rheumatology Research at the University of Pennsylvania, ran a major research program in receptor biology, including developing bioactive peptides that mimicked Granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF), a known stimulant of the immune system. He collaborated with David B. Weiner, Ph.D., a well-known leader in immuno-oncology and vaccine research, in the development of DNA vaccines and was able to bring novel DNA vaccines into the clinic for the treatment of cutaneous T cell lymphoma.
Dr. Williams is the named author at over 130 peer reviewed publications, over 15 patents and numerous Investigational New Drugs (INDs) and NDAs. He has served as the VP of Clinical Pharmacology and Experimental Medicine at GlaxoSmithKline, where he oversaw to characterization of the clinical pharmacology of lapatinib for breast cancer, participated in NDAs and sNDAs for several oncology compound (Bexxar, Hycamtin, Navelbine, Zofran) as well as ibandronate (Boniva) for osteoporosis. As VP of Exploratory Development at Incyte, he was responsible for introducing over a dozen compounds into the clinic, including Jakafi and baricitinib, and established proof of concept for drugs in diverse therapeutic areas including rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, diabetes, HIV, and collaborated in multiple oncology studies. He participated in NDA filings at Incyte including Jakafi for myelofibrosis and polycythemia vera and baricitinib for rheumatoid arthritis.
For more information on BriaCell, please visit www.BriaCell.com.
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