Sellas Life Sciences recently named Jonathan Eckard, PhD, as its chief business and strategy officer. Eckard’s doctorate in toxicology and carcinogenesis is from NYU School of Medicine, where he also earned a master’s degree in toxicology and served as a graduate researcher.
Sellas, a biotech, develops novel immunotherapies for many cancer types, including mesothelioma.
According to a press release, Eckard will bring academic knowledge and Wall Street-honed business experience to the newly-created position. Eckard will work on Sellas’ strategy to optimize development of its WT1 vaccine (galinpepimut-S), a new late clinical-stage cancer immunotherapy designed to target hematologic cancers and solid tumors. Acute myeloid leukemia, malignant pleural mesothelioma, multiple myeloma, and ovarian cancer are among the more than 25 cancers that could possibly be targeted by the vaccine.
“We are delighted to have attracted a highly regarded analyst to Sellas’ executive team. Jon’s knowledge of the biotechnology sector and immunogen-oncology will be pivotal in optimizing the company’s strategic and financial goals,” Dr. Angelos Stergiou, MD, vice chairman and CEO of the company, said in the press release.
Stergiou said Eckard’s appointment adds to the company’s recent hiring of several other industry experts in finance, commercial development, and clinical-medical areas.
“We are building on a pivotal momentum after the recently announced positive clinical data in acute myeloid leukemia, malignant pleural mesothelioma and multiple myeloma,” Stergiou said.
Eckard previously served as a director and senior biotechnology analyst at Barclays. He also held biotechnology-related positions at Leerink Swann, Citigroup, and HSBC. He has been recognized several times for his expertise in research and analysis and has been named “Best up-and-comer” and “Rising Star” by Institutional Investor magazine.
“Sellas’ highly differentiated therapy is positioned optimally in the emerging immunogen-oncology landscape and has the potential to benefit patients across a range of different cancers,” Eckard said. “I am encouraged by clinical data for galinpepimut-S to date and am excited to be joining Sellas as we approach our initial Phase 3 trials.”
In September, the U.S. FDA granted Fast Track designation to the company’s WT1 vaccine as a possible treatment of malignant pleural mesothelioma. In June, the cancer vaccine was also fast-tracked by the FDA for treatment of acute myeloid leukemia.