NextCure Announces Formation of Scientific Advisory Board to Guide Development of its Portfolio of Immunomedicines
BELTSVILLE, Md.– February 12, 2019 –NextCure, Inc., a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company committed to discovering and developing next generation immunomedicines for cancer and other immune-related diseases, today announced the appointment of renowned researchers and thought leaders with expertise in immunology, oncology and drug development to a newly formed scientific advisory board (“SAB”). The SAB will support NextCure in its efforts to develop immunomedicines as the company continues to build its proprietary pipeline.
NextCure’s Scientific Advisory Board members are:
• Prof. Lieping Chen, M.D., Ph.D., Chair
Dr. Lieping Chen is the scientific founder of NextCure and the United Technologies Corporation Professor in Cancer Research and Professor of Immunobiology, Dermatology and Medicine (Medical Oncology) at Yale University. He is also the Co-Director of the Cancer Immunology Program at Yale Cancer Center.
Dr. Chen is a pioneer in the field of lymphocyte co-stimulation and co-inhibition. In 1992, Dr. Chen was the first to discover “co-stimulation of tumor immunity” and to use co-stimulatory molecules to treat cancer and other diseases.
His laboratory first cloned B7-H1 (PD-L1), discovered its immune suppressive functions and demonstrated the role of the PD-1/B7-H1 pathway in the evasion of tumor immunity. Bringing these lines of inquiry full circle, in 2002, he first showed that blocking the interaction between PD-1 and PD-L1 by monoclonal antibodies improved the immune system’s ability to eliminate tumors. Dr. Chen also initiated and helped organize the first-in-human clinical trials of anti-PD-1/PD-L1 antibodies for treating human cancer in 2006 at the Johns Hopkins Medical Institute. His discoveries directly led to the development of anti-PD-1/PD-L1 antibody therapies against a broad spectrum of human cancers. These discoveries have revolutionized cancer treatment. Dr. Chen has authored 350+ peer-reviewed research articles and is an inventor on more than 40 US patents.
• Prof. Mario Sznol, M.D.
Dr. Mario Sznol is a Professor of Medicine (Medical Oncology) at Yale and Co-Director of the Cancer Immunology Program and Leader of the Melanoma/Renal Cancer Translational Research Team at Yale Cancer Center. Dr. Sznol, formerly with the National Cancer Institute (NCI), has an international reputation in cancer drug development. His expertise and experience are in cancer immunotherapy, drug development for cancer and treatment of patients with melanoma and renal cell carcinoma. Dr. Sznol has contributed to the development of cytokines, cell therapies, co-stimulatory antibodies and immune checkpoint inhibitors, through the design, execution and analyses of clinical trials and clinical development plans as well as through direct patient care.
After completing a fellowship in medical oncology at Mount Sinai College of Medicine in 1987, he joined the NCI as a Senior Investigator in the Investigational Drug Branch (IDB), Cancer Therapy Evaluation Program (CTEP). From 1994-1999, Dr. Sznol was head of the Biologics Evaluation Program, IDB, CTEP where he was responsible for clinical development of multiple biological and immune therapy agents. In 1999, he left NCI to become Vice President of Clinical Development for Vion Pharmaceuticals. He joined the Yale faculty in medical oncology in 2004.
• Ethan Shevach, M.D.
Dr. Ethan Shevach is Chief of the Cellular Immunology Section at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease (NIAID). The major focus of his lab over the past decade has been furthering their understanding of the function of the subpopulation of CD4+ T cells that express the transcription factor Foxp3. These cells, which are known as regulatory T cells (Treg), suppress immune responses. Dr. Shevach’s group was one of the first in the world to realize the importance of Tregs and performed many of the initial studies that described their phenotype and function. Dr. Shevach’s lab is also working to identify molecules that enhance or reverse Treg suppression. A major goal in these studies is the development of novel biologics that modulate Treg function.
Dr. Shevach received his M.D. from Boston University in 1967. Following clinical training, he joined the Laboratory of Immunology at NIAID as a senior staff fellow in 1972, was appointed a senior investigator in 1973, and became a section chief in 1987. Dr. Shevach served as editor-in-chief of the Journal of Immunology from 1987 to 1992 and editor-in-chief of Cellular Immunology from 1996 to 2007.
• Prof. Stephen Miller, Ph.D.
Dr. Stephen Miller is the Judy Gugenheim Research Professor of Microbiology-Immunology and Director of the Interdepartmental Immunobiology Center at Northwestern University Medical School. Dr. Miller is internationally recognized for his research on pathogenesis and regulation of immune-mediated diseases using antigen-specific tolerance and monocyte targeting strategies. His work has significantly enhanced the understanding of immune inflammatory processes underlying chronic disease employing animal models of multiple sclerosis (MS) and Type 1 diabetes. Dr. Miller is best known for studying the cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying treatment of established T cell-mediated immune diseases – including Tregs, short-term co-stimulatory molecule blockade strategies and induction of immune tolerance.
Dr. Miller has published more than 400 research papers and is a consultant to several biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies, having assisted in the development of three new chemical entities from proof-of-concept through to Phase 3 clinical trials. He has served or currently serves on grant review panels for the National Institute of Health, the National MS Society, the Immune Tolerance Network and the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and on the editorial boards of multiple journals.
About NextCure, Inc.
NextCure is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company committed to discovering and developing novel, first-in-class immunomedicines to treat cancer and other immune-related diseases. Through our proprietary FIND-IO™ platform, we study various immune cells to discover and understand targets and structural components of immune cells and their functional impact in order to develop immunomedicines. Our initial focus is to bring hope and new treatments to patients who do not respond to current cancer therapies. For more information, please visit www.nextcure.com.
Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements
Statements made in this press release that are not historical facts are forward-looking statements. Words such as “expects,” “believes,” “intends,” “will’ and similar expressions are intended to identify forward-looking statements. Examples of forward-looking statements in this press release include, among others, statements about NextCure’s plans, objectives and intentions with respect to development of immunomedicines, use of NextCure’s FIND-IO platform and the role of the SAB. Forward-looking statements involve substantial risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those projected in any forward-looking statement. Such risks and uncertainties include, among others: our limited operating history and no products approved for commercial sale; our history of significant losses; our need to obtain additional financing; risks related to clinical development, marketing approval and commercialization; and the unproven approach to the discovery and development of product candidates based on our FIND-IO platform. You should not place undue reliance on any forward-looking statements. NextCure assumes no obligation to update any forward-looking statements even if its expectations change.