Paris, France, December 5, 2016 – Biomunex Pharmaceuticals, a biopharmaceutical company pioneering a new class of bispecific antibody therapeutics based on its proprietary BiXAb® platform, today announces the appointments of Dr. Sebastian Amigorena as key scientific advisor and Dr. Dragan Grabulovski as key strategic advisor.
The new appointees will help the company reach its strategic objective to become a leader in bispecific antibody therapeutics development for immuno-oncology. Dr. Amigorena’s experience and his cutting-edge research in the area of cancer immunology together with Dr. Grabulovski’s expertise in bispecific antibody development and in building commercially successful biotechnology companies will help Biomunex to rapidly advance towards its corporate objective. Both experts were attracted by the opportunity to join the biopharmaceutical company to help leverage its proprietary next-generation ‘Plug-and-Play’ BiXAb bispecific antibody platform for the development of highly potent immunotherapeutics.
“Biomunex’ BiXAb platform is perfectly positioned for the identification and development of innovative clinical candidates that exploit the powerful anti-cancer biology of immune checkpoint inhibitors,” said Dr. Amigorena.
“I am impressed by the excellent biophysical properties and the potential of the ‘Plug-and-Play’ aspect of the BiXAb bispecific antibody technology platform,” said Dr. Grabulovski. “I am genuinely looking forward to contributing to the further development of this exciting company by helping Biomunex reach its strategic objectives and create an innovative portfolio of clinical product candidates.”
“We are very pleased to welcome Dr. Amigorena and Dr. Grabulovski as key advisors,” said Dr. Pierre-Emmanuel Gerard, chief executive officer of Biomunex Pharmaceuticals. “As international key opinion leaders they will play an instrumental role as we advance our first oncology programs into pre-clinical and clinical development.”
The unique ‘Plug-and-Play’ modular bispecific antibody BiXAb platform and its application for immunotherapeutics development were recently presented at several international conferences in the US and Europe by the chief scientific officer of Biomunex, Dr. Eugene Zhukovsky. He has shown that the proprietary BiXAb platform enables the simple, rapid and cost-effective generation of bispecific antibodies and the development of a new class of drug candidates with high anti-tumor potential, superior manufacturability and optimal drug-like properties. Biomunex’ most advanced candidate, BMX-002, targets two clinically validated receptors. It has demonstrated superior in vivo efficacy in models of pancreatic cancer. Biomunex’ other innovative lead, BMX-101, targets an immune checkpoint and a tumor-associated antigen. BMX-101 is being developed for a hematological malignancy.
Dr. Sebastian Amigorena, is a research director at CNRS and director of the INSERM ‘Immunity and Cancer’ Unit at the Institut Curie in Paris. His team focuses on leveraging the responses to tumors by the immune system in order to identify novel paradigms in oncology, which can be employed for immunotherapy in cancer patients. A renowned key opinion leader in immuno-oncology, Dr. Amigorena obtained his PhD in biochemistry and immunology from the University of Paris VII and performed a post-doctoral fellowship at the cell biology department of the Yale University School of Medicine. Dr. Amigorena contributes to the editorial and review boards of numerous prestigious peer-reviewed scientific journals. He has published more than 150 articles in immunology, in particular with a focus on the biology of dendritic cells and immunomodulation. He is a member of several scientific advisory boards (ANR, Inserm, Fondation Schueller-Bettencourt, etc) and scientific societies (including the French Academy of Science). Dr Amigorena has received numerous national and international distinction awards.
Dr. Dragan Grabulovski is an advisor in pharmaceutical biotechnology at Grabulovski Consulting Services (CH). He was previously chief scientific officer and co-founder of Covagen AG, a Swiss biotech company acquired in 2014 by Cilag GmbH International, an affiliate of the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson. As Covagen’s CSO, he was responsible for developing and overseeing the execution of the overall strategy for research and development. He was a main inventor of the Fynomer technology, established a portfolio of novel bispecific FynomAb product candidates and managed the internal and collaboration pipeline. As a member of Covagen’s executive management team, Dr. Grabulovski was instrumental in Covagen’s trade sale to Johnson & Johnson, and in the closing of Covagen’s CHF 45M ($44.5M) Series B round in 2014 with the participation of renowned investors such as GIMV, Edmond de Rothschild Investment Partners, Novartis Venture Fund and other prestigious funds. Dr. Grabulovski received his master’s degree in pharmaceutical sciences and Doctor of Sciences from ETH Zurich (CH). He is a co-author of several peer-reviewed articles, reviews, book chapters, poster abstracts, patent applications and granted patents.
Biomunex Pharmaceuticals is a French biopharmaceutical company focused on providing cancer therapeutics through the discovery and development of innovative bispecific antibodies. Based on its unique proprietary platform, Biomunex is developing cutting-edge immunotherapies for several cancer types. Its ‘Plug and Play’ modular bispecific antibody BiXAb platform enables Biomunex to develop drug candidates with high anti-tumor potential, superior manufacturability and optimal drug-like properties. The most advanced candidate derived from Biomunex’ platform, BMX-002, has demonstrated superior in vivo efficacy in pancreatic cancer, one of the most lethal cancers. Initial preclinical studies have proven its potential to become a breakthrough therapy. Biomunex’ other lead candidate, BMX-101, an immunotherapeutic being developed for a hematological malignancy, leverages the power of immune checkpoint inhibition. The management team is made up of an experienced group of international managers and drug developers from the pharmaceutical and biotech industries, with extensive scientific expertise in oncology. Biomunex was founded in 2014. It has already raised more than €1.8M ($1.9M) in seed funding from business angels and grants from the French Research Ministry and the public investment bank Bpifrance.