Lyon, France, October 19, 2020 – Tollys, the developer of TL-532, the first synthetic specific agonist of Toll-like receptor 3 (TLR3) cancer immunotherapy, today announces the appointment of Bettina Werle as chief scientific officer (CSO). Bettina will be responsible for all research and scientific activities at Tollys. Her appointment comes at a time when Tollys is starting its regulatory toxicology studies with a view to entering phase 1 clinical trials in 2022.
Bettina’s experience heading up teams in pharmaceutical laboratories and public laboratories, as well as her extensive experience in management roles and collaborative projects, will be invaluable for Tollys. A rigorous, well-organized scientist, she will take responsibility for the design and management of the company’s research and scientific programs. She was won over by both the scientific quality of the projects and the experience and professionalism of the existing management team, which comprises: Jacques-François Martin (president), Vincent Charlon (CEO), Philippe Guillot-Chene (CBO) and Nasser Azli (CMO).
Werle has over 20 years experience in creating innovative biotherapeutic solutions for vaccine, diagnostic and therapeutic applications in the field of immunology and infectious diseases, with a global vision from design to development. With a PhD in cellular and molecular biology and biochemistry from the University of Burgundy, Bettina Werle has the ability to enhance the value of research projects via patents and publications and has years of experience working in an R&D setting. Most recently, she worked as CSO and R&D director at Magnisense where she was responsible for developing a new competitive and innovative R&D strategy. “I am passionate about leading and motivating the teams I work with; developing innovative projects within a company,” said Bettina. “With my experience in R&D, I take pride in being able to build collaborative networks with internal and external stakeholders; identifying and developing innovative technologies that will create business value. I am delighted to join the team at Tollys during this interesting period of growth for the company.”
“We are very fortunate to welcome Bettina to our executive management team,” said Vincent Charlon, CEO at Tollys. “Bettina’s wealth of experience in R&D and heading up pharmaceutical laboratories will be of great value to the company as we continue to grow.”
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 cancer 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 ($6.4M) from private investors and received a grant of €1.5M ($1.8M) from Bpifrance.