Lyon, France, April 12, 2021 — Tollys, a biopharmaceutical company developing TL-532, the first synthetic specific agonist of Toll-like receptor 3 (TLR3) cancer immunotherapy, today announces the appointment of Dr. Amina Zinaï as head of clinical development. Dr. Nasser Azli will remain in the role of chief medical officer.
“We are delighted to welcome Amina to our medical team,” said Vincent Charlon, CEO of Tollys. “Thanks to her expertise in clinical development and in drug candidate evaluation, she will be a real asset in Tollys’ crucial next steps as we prepare to launch initial clinical trials in 2022.”
“The drug candidate developed by Tollys has huge potential in immuno-oncology. I am keen to work with the company’s medical team for the start of phase I trials of TL-532, in cooperation with Nasser Azli, Tollys’ chief medical officer,” said Amina Zinaï.
With more than 35 years’ experience in clinical development, medical affairs and drug evaluation, Dr. Zinaï has amassed a wealth of expertise in hematology and rare diseases while working for various biotechnology companies. Her most recent achievements include her time as project director at Servier, a French pharmaceutical group, where she implemented the strategy for the development of first-in-class allogeneic CAR-T cells in the treatment of hematological malignancies.
TL-532 is a specific TLR3 agonist with a triple mechanism of action: it induces 1) the death by apoptosis of cancer cells, leading to the release of tumor specific antigens, 2) activation of the immune system to mount a specific T-cell response against the tumor antigens and 3) a tumor microenvironment switch by producing cytokines and chemokines which are unfavorable to tumor development. The result is the immunogenic death of cancer cells and an auto-vaccination preventing the recurrence of cancer.
While the TLR3 receptor is a validated cancer target, TLR3 agonists have yet to reach the market. TL-532 is the first synthetic specific TLR3 agonist with a defined – and patented – double-stranded RNA sequence. As such, TL-532 has the potential to be best-in-class and first-to-market.
Tollys is a biopharmaceutical company focused on innate immunity, particularly on the biology and modulation of the TLR3 receptor. Tollys is pioneering TL-532, a new immunotherapy to treat various types of cancer.
Tollys discovered and patented a family of TLR3 agonists and selected TL-532 as its lead-candidate. TL-532 is a structurally defined double-stranded RNA, produced synthetically and highly specific to the TLR3 receptor. The specificity for the TLR3 receptor and its defined 70 base pair sequence differentiates TL-532 from all other TLR3 agonists tested to date in clinical trials.
Founded in 2015 by senior scientists from the leading European Cancer Research Center in Lyon and the Centre Léon Bérard, Tollys is located in Lyon, France. The company has raised a total of €6M ($7.1M) from private investors and received a grant of €1.5M ($1.8M) from Bpifrance.