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GALWAY, Ireland and SAN DIEGO, Dec. 06, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — ONK Therapeutics, an innovative company dedicated to developing optimally engineered natural killer (NK) cell therapies to cure patients with cancer, today announced the appointment of Bruce McCreedy Ph.D. as Chief Scientific Officer (CSO). A member of the company’s Executive Leadership Team, he will be based in the USA.
Dr. McCreedy is a renowned immunologist and cell and gene therapy expert, who brings over three decades of experience in drug development, including differentiated gene-edited, cell therapy products. He has been responsible for leading research organizations through the design and execution of highly successful drug development programs including currently marketed products.
He joins ONK Therapeutics from Myeloid Therapeutics, Inc., where as CSO his responsibilities included all IND-enabling pre-clinical studies. Prior to this he served as SVP Cell Therapy and Immuno-Oncology Research at Nasdaq-listed Precision Biosciences, Inc., where he directed all R&D activities to create multiple, novel off-the-shelf allogeneic cell therapies for the treatment of cancer, and advanced three products into Phase I/II clinical studies in only five years. Previous industry positions held by Dr. McCreedy include Executive Vice President and Chief Development Officer for Neximmune, Inc., President and CEO of Fulcrum Pharma Developments, Inc. and Vice President of Clinical Virology and Diagnostics for Triangle Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (now Gilead Sciences). His earlier career involved roles at divisions of Roche and Organon. He received his Ph.D. in microbiology and immunology from the School of Medicine of Wake Forest University, North Carolina.
Dr. McCreedy succeeds ONK’s former CSO and scientific founder Professor Michael O’Dwyer, who is making a planned return to the role of full-time Professor of Hematology, responsible for clinical and translational research in blood cancers at the University of Galway, Ireland, where he has maintained a part-time role whilst CSO at ONK Therapeutics. Professor O’Dwyer remains as a board director of the company and as a scientific advisor providing ongoing expert counsel as ONK continues to grow and progress.
Welcoming Dr. McCreedy to the team, CEO of ONK Therapeutics, Chris Nowers said, “Bruce’s deep R&D leadership experience will be invaluable as ONK executes on its growth ambitions, advancing its portfolio of optimized NK cell therapies through IND and into human clinical trials. I look forward to working with Bruce as he further builds the momentum and expansion of our R&D teams in the USA and Ireland.”
He continued, “As a founder of the company we would like to thank Michael for the very significant input that he has made as we have built the company. His central contribution to our optimally engineered NK cell therapy platform has been invaluable, and we are pleased that the company will have the opportunity to draw on Michael’s extensive experience, as he returns to his full-time academic research role.”
ONK Therapeutics has used its $21.5 million series A financing, raised in December 2021, to make substantial progress in delivering against its ambition to establish a global leadership position within the off-the-shelf NK cell therapy area. ONK’s optimally engineered NK cell therapy platform designed to improve the metabolic health, persistence and anti-tumor effect has been strengthened through a number of licensing agreements. These include world-leading CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing and LNP delivery technologies from Intellia Therapeutics that will enable the company to take full advantage of its suite of proprietary edits, including the CISH knockout technology licensed globally from WEHI (Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research), Melbourne, Australia. The company has also continued to progress its manufacturing plan as it drives towards GMP manufacturing and clinical trial supply. Concurrently ONK is strategically building out its corporate structure and diligently expanding its transatlantic team.
Bruce McCreedy Ph.D., CSO of ONK Therapeutics said, “I am excited to be joining ONK Therapeutics at a pivotal time in its development as it navigates its path towards clinical trials. I have been impressed by ONK’s innovative approach to developing optimally engineered NK cell therapies which I believe have the potential to make a significant contribution to the growing arsenal of cell-based therapies to treat and even to cure cancer, offering new hope for patients.”
About ONK Therapeutics – www.onktherapeutics.com
ONK Therapeutics is an innovative cell therapy company dedicated to developing the next generation of optimally engineered, off-the-shelf, natural killer (NK) cell therapies. With a growing pre-clinical pipeline targeting both hematological malignancies and solid tumors, ONK is advancing multiple cell therapy candidates towards the clinic, including its lead program, ONKT102, an optimized affinity CD38 CAR-NK product, intended for the treatment of patients with relapsed/ refractory multiple myeloma. Read about the pipeline here.
The company’s optimally engineered NK cell therapy platform utilizes a suite of proprietary gene edits and cell modification strategies to optimize NK cell metabolic health, persistence and anti-tumor effect of NK cells, while reducing the potential for their exhaustion in the tumor microenvironment. These include CISH knockout (KO); the expression of high affinity, membrane bound, TNF-related apoptosis-inducing ligand variants (TRAILv) targeting DR5 or DR4; and the deletion of inhibitory receptors, including extracellular proteins for example CD96, and Siglec-7. Read about the platform here.
ONK Therapeutics is headquartered in the med-tech hub of Galway, Ireland, with a wholly-owned USA subsidiary, ONK Therapeutics, Inc. based at JLabs @ San Diego. Shareholders include Acorn Bioventures, Cormorant Asset Management, ALSHC (principally Seamus Mulligan), and Enterprise Ireland.
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