SEATTLE, Sept. 5, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Immune Design, a biotech company focused on the development of novel immune-based therapies for cancer and other human diseases, today announced the appointment of Richard T. Kenney, M.D., FACP, as its Chief Medical Officer.
A distinguished leader in vaccine development, Dr. Kenney brings extensive experience in the research, clinical, and regulatory fields from the biopharmaceutical industry, public health, and governmental environments. He has previously overseen the design, conduct, and advancement of multiple clinical programs at Crucell, Vical, and GSK Biologicals. In this new position, Dr. Kenney will lead the clinical development team at Immune Design to advance the company's novel immunotherapy product candidates.
"Rick is an experienced, respected researcher in drug development with a successful career in advancing novel immunotherapies," said Carlos Paya, M.D., Ph.D., President and Chief Executive Officer at Immune Design. "We are very pleased to have him join Immune Design's executive management team and know that his demonstrated skills and deep experience in the fields of cancer, vaccines, and adjuvants will be an asset as we advance our first-in-class cancer immunotherapy programs, including G305 and LV305, into the clinic."
Dr. Kenney joins Immune Design from Crucell Holland BV, where he served as Chief Medical Officer, directing the clinical development of a broad platform of vaccines and supporting their existing commercial products. Prior to that, he served as Senior Vice President, Clinical Development for Vical Incorporated, a publicly held biopharmaceutical company, where he led the clinical development of DNA vaccines for cancer immunotherapy and infectious diseases. Dr. Kenney held key positions in vaccine development at GSK Biologicals from 2005 to 2009, most recently as Senior Director of Global Clinical R&D, Vaccines for Viral Diseases. From 2001 to 2005, he served as Vice President, Clinical Development and then as Vice President, Medical & Regulatory Affairs at IOMAI Corporation. Dr. Kenney served in the Public Health Service until 2001 as a researcher/reviewer at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research (CBER), Office of Vaccine Research and Review (OVRR).
"Immune Design's novel technologies offer the promise of working synergistically as a heterologous prime-boost and have demonstrated potential in driving a therapeutic immune response in cancer patients," said Dr. Kenney. "I am very pleased to join the Immune Design team to help guide the clinical development of their promising applications."
Dr. Kenney has authored or co-authored multiple high impact scientific papers and book chapters and has received many awards. He completed his residency in internal medicine at Duke University Medical Center, and then pursued postdoctoral training at the National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), completing a fellowship in infectious diseases, and then in molecular parasitology and tropical medicine. He received board certifications in Internal Medicine and Infectious Diseases. He earned his M.D. degree at Harvard Medical School and graduated with special honors from George Washington University.
Immune Design's immunotherapy approach is designed to both activate and deliver tumor antigens to dendritic cells in vivo to trigger specific, broad, and effective anti-tumor immune responses. The company's pipeline includes LV305 and G305 product candidates generated from two distinct technologies. Immune Design's proprietary lentiviral vector platform selectively targets dermal DCs in vivo to induce a powerful and durable pool of tumor specific cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTLs). The company's synthetic TLR4 agonist, GLA, is a powerful inducer of innate immunity on its own and also triggers a potent and specific cellular and humoral anti-tumor immune response when it is combined with a tumor antigen. The LV305 and G305 product candidates will be individually tested in parallel in oncology indications and, upon demonstration of safety and immunogenicity, will then be tested in combination. These technologies may be applied in other allergy and infectious disease settings as well.
About Immune Design
Immune Design is a privately held clinical stage biotechnology company based in Seattle, WA. Immune Design brings together some of the world's leaders in the field of molecular immunology to develop a synergistic platform of next generation vaccines designed to treat cancer, infectious diseases, allergy, and autoimmune disorders. The company employs leading edge technologies that target dendritic cells for more precise activation of the immune response. These include a novel lentiviral vector engineered to deliver antigen-encoding nucleic acids directly to dendritic cells in vivo and a TLR4 agonist that activates dendritic cells by up-regulating key molecules for efficient antigen presentation and produces Th1 cytokines to enhance the immune response. For more information, visit www.immunedesign.com.
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