~ Industry veteran strengthens Tallac team with expertise in oncology clinical research and development ~
BURLINGAME, Calif. – (BUSINESS WIRE) – January 19, 2023 – Tallac Therapeutics, Inc., a privately held biopharmaceutical company harnessing the power of innate and adaptive immunity to fight cancer, today announced the appointment of Kevin N. Heller, M.D., as chief medical officer.
“We are especially pleased to welcome Kevin to Tallac’s leadership team at a time when the Company is advancing novel immunotherapeutic agents in early clinical development,” said Hong I. Wan, Ph.D., president, CEO and co-founder of Tallac Therapeutics. “Kevin brings a wealth of expertise as a seasoned drug developer with a proven track record of clinical trial planning and execution. His leadership will be instrumental to the advancement of our first-in-class therapies to address the needs of patients with difficult-to-treat cancer.”
“I am thrilled to join the Tallac team at such an exciting time and look forward to supporting the progress of the Company’s clinical programs and impressive assets in the pipeline,” said Dr. Heller. “The Tallac team has demonstrated pre-clinical proof-of-concept for their novel Toll-like Receptor Agonist Antibody Conjugate (TRAAC) platform approach to engage both the innate and adaptive immunity to treat cancer. I look forward to working with my colleagues to translate this work and deliver new medicines to patients – starting with TAC-001, a first-in-class systemic TLR9 agonist and the first TRAAC candidate to enter the clinic.”
An experienced biopharmaceutical executive and physician, Dr. Heller brings a deep understanding of the successful development of novel oncology medicines. Previously he served as executive vice president, research and development at Jasper Therapeutics. Prior to that, he was chief medical officer at NextCure, Inc., a biotechnology company developing immunotherapy-based biologics for cancer and other diseases. Before that, he was vice president and head of antibody clinical development at Incyte, coordinating immunotherapy clinical development strategies for multiple antibody programs. He joined Incyte from AstraZeneca, where he was senior medical director, overseeing global medicines development in oncology. Dr. Heller began his biopharma industry experience at Bristol Myers Squibb, where he led early development programs and was responsible for authoring protocols and managing first-in-human clinical trials. His also served as global lead for Oncology Search and Evaluation at BMS, where he was responsible for leading a team matrix across disciplines during due diligence activities and preparing recommendations for possible acquisitions.
Dr. Heller received a Bachelor’s degree in molecular biophysics and biochemistry from Yale University and a medical degree from George Washington University. He trained in pediatrics and pediatric hematology/oncology at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. Following his fellowship, Dr. Heller joined the faculty of the Rockefeller University as instructor and subsequently chief clinical scholar of Clinical Investigation.
TAC-001 is a Toll-like Receptor Agonist Antibody Conjugate (TRAAC) comprised of a potent toll-like receptor 9 agonist (T-CpG) conjugated to an antibody against CD22, a receptor restricted to B cells, including tumor-infiltrating B cells. TAC-001 is designed to systemically deliver T-CpG to B cells by binding to CD22, leading to internalization of TAC-001, TLR9 signaling, B cell activation and a cascade of immune reactions. Preclinical studies demonstrate that the innate and adaptive immune responses triggered by TAC-001 leads to potent anti-tumor activity. INCLINE-101 (NCT05399654) is an open label, multicenter, dose escalation and expansion study of TAC-001 in patients with select advanced or metastatic solid tumors. It is designed to evaluate the safety, pharmacokinetics and preliminary anti-tumor activity of TAC-001 administered intravenously.
About Tallac Therapeutics, Inc.
Tallac Therapeutics is a privately held biopharmaceutical company harnessing the power of innate and adaptive immunity to fight cancer. Tallac’s pipeline of immunotherapy candidates are derived from the company’s novel Toll-like Receptor Agonist Antibody Conjugate (TRAAC) platform to deliver a potent Toll-like receptor (TLR9) agonist (T-CpG) for targeted immune activation via systemic administration. Several TRAAC molecules are in various stages of discovery and development. TAC-001, the company’s lead clinical candidate, is the first to enter the clinic and is currently in an ongoing Phase 1/2 clinical trial in patients with advanced or metastatic solid tumors. For more information, please visit www.tallactherapeutics.com.
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