RADNOR, Pa., April 02, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Cabaletta Bio, Inc., a biotechnology company focused on the discovery and development of cellular therapies for B cell-mediated autoimmune diseases, announced today the appointment of Dr. Catherine Bollard, M.B.Ch.B., M.D., FRACP, FRCPA, to its Board of Directors. Dr. Bollard is a distinguished immunotherapist and hematologist who has been at the forefront of cell therapy development for more than two decades.
“Catherine is a pioneering physician scientist who brings decades of manufacturing, translational research and regulatory experience to our Board,” said Steven Nichtberger, M.D., Co-founder, Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of Cabaletta Bio. “She is the immediate past president of the ISCT (International Society for Cell Therapy) and she serves on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Cellular, Tissues and Gene Therapy Advisory Committee. Cath has served and continues to serve as the regulatory sponsor and IND holder for more than a dozen novel cell therapy clinical trials at Children’s National Medical Center and The George Washington University in Washington, D.C., and previously at Baylor College of Medicine where she was Professor of Pediatrics, Medicine and Immunology at Baylor College of Medicine (BCM) and Director of the Texas Children’s Cancer and Hematology Center Pediatric Lymphoma Program. Her experience with each step of the T cell therapy clinical trial process, from patient enrollment, to product manufacture, cell infusion and evaluation of correlates of clinical responses and regulatory review will be invaluable as Cabaletta’s pipeline approaches these milestones. Importantly, Dr. Bollard has been an international educator not only in cell and gene therapy approaches, but also in teaching cell manufacturing processes and compliance. Her background, knowledge and experience will bring a critical perspective to our Board of Directors, in order to ensure we invest in the optimal strategies necessary for success in this new area of medicine. This is highly relevant as we advance our efforts to establish independent and highly reliable manufacturing capabilities at Cabaletta.”
Dr. Bollard said, “Cabaletta has developed an elegant cell therapy platform based on exceptional foundational research pioneered by Drs. Mike Milone and Aimee Payne and has the potential to revolutionize the treatment of B cell-mediated autoimmune diseases. Having dedicated my career to this emerging therapeutic modality, I am extremely pleased to be able to participate in an enterprise dedicated to making novel cell therapies broadly available to patients with unmet needs in autoimmunity. The Company has built a team of cell therapy experts spanning translational research through manufacturing and clinical development, with whom I very much look forward to working closely.”
Dr. Bollard is a pioneer and key opinion leader in the field of cell therapeutics. She is currently the Bosworth Chair for Cancer Biology, Director of the Center for Cancer and Immunology Research, and Director of the Program for Cell Enhancement and Technologies for Immunotherapy (CETI) at Children’s National Health System. She is a Professor of Pediatrics and of Microbiology, Immunology and Tropical Medicine at The George Washington University and Associate Center Director for Translational Research and Innovation at the GW Cancer Center. Previously, she was Professor of Pediatrics, Medicine and Immunology at Baylor College of Medicine (BCM) and Director of the Texas Children’s Cancer and Hematology Center Pediatric Lymphoma Program. Dr. Bollard is a member of the American Society for Clinical Investigation (ASCI) and is the immediate Past President of the International Society for Cellular Therapy (ISCT). She served on the Board of Directors of the Foundation for the Accreditation of Cellular Therapy (FACT) for 8 years from 2010-2018 and has chaired the Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma Committee of the Children’s Oncology Group since 2012. Dr. Bollard is an Associate Editor for Blood, a member of the NCI’s Clinical Oncology Study Section, and a member of the Cellular, Tissues and Gene Therapies Advisory Committee of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
A native of New Zealand, Dr. Bollard holds an M.B.Ch.B. and M.D. from the Otago University, and an FRACP and FRCPA from the Royal Australasian College. She is board certified both in pediatrics and hematology and is a fellow of the Australasian College of Physicians. She is the author of more than 200 scientific and medical articles.
About CAAR T Cell Therapy
Chimeric AutoAntibody Receptor (CAAR) T cells are engineered to bind and destroy only disease-causing B cells, while sparing the normal B cells which are essential for human health. CAAR T cells are based on the revolutionary chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cell technology developed at the University of Pennsylvania, which led to the first gene therapy approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Rather than a CD19-targeting molecule, CAAR T cells express an autoantibody-targeted antigen on their surface. The 4-1BB co-stimulatory domain and the CD3-zeta signaling domain of the CAAR construct carry out the same activation and cytotoxic functions as in CAR T cells. Thus, Cabaletta’s CAARs are designed to direct the patient’s T cells to kill only the self-reactive B cell population, potentially leading to complete and durable remission of disease while sparing all other B cell populations that provide beneficial immunity from infection.
About Cabaletta Bio
Cabaletta Bio is focused on the discovery and development of T cell therapies for B cell-mediated autoimmune diseases. Cabaletta’s therapeutic platform produces highly selective autologous Chimeric AutoAntibody Receptor (CAAR) T cells that are designed to precisely bind and destroy only specific autoantibody-producing B cells while sparing normal antibody-producing B cells, which are essential for human health. The platform is based on the revolutionary Chimeric Antigen Receptor (CAR) T cell technology developed at the University of Pennsylvania (“Penn”) that resulted in one of the first commercially-available CAR T cell products for the treatment of B cell malignancies. Cabaletta was founded by Penn physician/scientists Michael Milone, M.D., Ph.D., and Aimee Payne, M.D., Ph.D., who serve as co-chairs of Cabaletta’s Scientific Advisory Board and Steven Nichtberger, M.D., CEO of Cabaletta. Cabaletta has an exclusive global licensing agreement and multiple sponsored research agreements with the University of Pennsylvania to develop the CAAR T technology to treat B cell-mediated autoimmune diseases. The Company’s lead therapeutic program is a potential treatment for a prototypical B cell-mediated autoimmune disease, mucosal pemphigus vulgaris (mPV), which is a rare skin disorder that causes painful blisters and sores on mucous membranes leading to severe and sometimes debilitating and life-altering effects. For more information, visit www.cabalettabio.com.
Editor’s Note: Drs. Milone, Payne and Nichtberger are University of Pennsylvania faculty members and hold equity stakes in the Company, and the University of Pennsylvania is an equity holder and investor in the Company. In addition, both Penn and the inventors of the licensed technology may receive additional financial benefits under the license in the future.
Chief Financial Officer
Bill Slattery, Jr.
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Released April 2, 2019