Myst Therapeutics (Myst), a preclinical stage biotechnology company focused on developing selected TIL-based autologous T cell therapy products for cancer, announced the appointment of five leading experts in the areas of immunotherapy, tumor infiltrating lymphocytes, gene therapy, and oncology diagnostics to its Scientific Advisory Board.
“Myst is fortunate to attract these world-leading immunotherapy and cancer researchers to our advisory board,” said TJ Langer, President and Chief Executive Officer of Myst. “Their experience and insight will be invaluable for the development and progression of our PuriT product pipeline.”
James Mulé, Ph.D. – Senior Member, Associate Center Director, and Michael McGillicuddy Endowed Chair in Melanoma Research/Treatment at Moffit Cancer Center. Dr. Mulé has pioneered immune cell-based therapies and ushered them from the laboratory through Phase I and II clinical trials. He also leads work to engineer improvements to cell-based therapies through manipulation of tumor microenvironment and immune biological processes. Dr. Mulé received his Ph.D. at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, and fellowship training at the National Cancer Institute.
Michael Lotze, M.D. – Professor of Surgery, Immunology, and Bioengineering, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine; Vice Chair of Research, Department of Surgery; Associate Director for Strategic Partnerships, University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute; Asst. Vice Chancellor, UPSHS. Michael Lotze has been a forerunner in immune-oncology and gene therapy for three decades. He initiated the first gene therapies at the NIH and has treated over 100 patients at the University of Pittsburgh. He is a co-inventor on 10 patents, has authored over 500 scientific papers, and published numerous books and chapters on tumor biology and immunology. Dr. Lotz is the former CSO of Lion Biotechnologies (now Iovance Biotherapeutics).
Pamela Ohashi, Ph.D. – Co-Director of the Campbell Family Institute for Breast Cancer Research, Senior Scientist at the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, Professor in the Departments of Medical Biophysics and Immunology at the University of Toronto, and the Director of the Tumor Immunotherapy Program at the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre. Dr. Ohashi is an expert on T cell behavior in the tumor microenvironment where her work has contributed to numerous Phase I and Phase II clinical trials. Dr. Ohashi is the author of over 150 scientific publications and has received numerous awards, including the American Association of Immunologists Pharmingen Investigator Award and the National Cancer Institute of Canada’s William E. Rawls Award.
Chantale Bernatchez, Ph.D. – Associate Professor, Department of Melanoma Medical Oncology – Research, Division of Cancer Medicine, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX. Dr. Bernatchez is the director of the MD Anderson TIL Laboratory, where she leads the development of tumor infiltrating lymphocyte-based therapies. She currently supports a major Phase II clinical trial in Stage IV melanoma patients, the first of its kind outside of the National Cancer Institute, and is planning future trials utilizing novel techniques for promoting T cell survival and anti-tumor activity. Chantale received her Ph. D. from Laval University, Quebec and conducted postdoctoral training at both Laval University and MD Anderson Cancer center.
Alex Aravanis, M.D., Ph.D. – Dr. Aravanis is the Chief Scientific Officer, Head of R&D, and Co-Founder at GRAIL, the leader in early cancer detection diagnostics, and is commanding one of the largest clinical study programs in genomic medicine. Previously, Alex was Senior Director, R&D for Illumina, where he developed clinical assays for RNA and DNA analysis from fixed tissues, whole exome analysis, massively parallel single cell transcriptomics, and liquid biopsy using cell-free nucleic acids. Dr. Aravanis served as Vice President of Development and Chief Science Officer of Sapphire Energy Inc. and was a Co-Founder and Vice President of Engineering of Pria Diagnostics, LLC. Alex holds a PhD in Electrical Engineering, and an MD from Stanford University.
“These superb researchers are recognized for their significant discoveries and contributions in the field of tumor immunology and immunotherapy,” stated James Mulé, Ph.D., Associate Center Director and Michael McGillicuddy Endowed Chair in Melanoma Research and Treatment at Moffitt Cancer Center. “Their extensive experience in this field will be invaluable to Myst as the company advances its immunotherapy products to the marketplace.”
About the PuriT™ Platform
Clinical evidence has demonstrated that a patients’ tumor infiltrating lymphocytes (TIL) recognize tumor specific molecules, traffic to the tumor, respond to tumor antigen, and selectively eradicate tumors. Clinical studies using these cells have shown durable objective clinical responses in patients with advanced metastatic disease, including refractory melanoma, breast, cervical, and colorectal cancer. Myst’s PuriT platform builds on these successes by enriching and rejuvenating TIL to further improve responses. These encouraging results highlight PuriT™ as an emerging modality capable of providing personalized therapy options for patients spanning a broad spectrum of cancers.