Replimune Group Inc. announced today a key addition to its senior leadership team as it progresses its Immulytic™ oncolytic immunotherapy platform rapidly towards clinical trials. Howard L. Kaufman, M.D., FACS has been appointed as the company’s Chief Medical Officer. Dr. Kaufman brings more than 25 years of leadership in academic oncology to Replimune, is a leading authority on immunotherapy for the treatment of cancer, and is widely recognized as one of the leading physician scientists in the oncolytic immunotherapy field.
“Howard is one of the pioneers of immuno-oncology, and has an inspiring commitment to translating exciting science into real medicines for patients,” said Robert Coffin, cofounder & C.E.O. of Replimune. “I am very pleased to welcome him to the team and look forward to the many contributions he will make as Replimune transitions to a clinical stage biotechnology company at the forefront of it’s field.”
Over his 25 year career, Dr. Kaufman has amassed deep expertise in oncology, immunology and drug development. He is considered a thought leader in the fields of tumor immunology and oncolytic viral therapy. Most recently, he was Chief of the Division of Surgical Oncology at the Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in Brunswick, NJ, and from 2014-2016 was President of the Society for the Immunotherapy of Cancer (SITC).
Replimune is developing next generation oncolytic immunotherapy products intended to maximize both the direct anti-tumor effect of oncolytic therapy and the induction of a systemic anti-tumor immune response, including through the delivery of potent immune activating proteins directly into the tumor. Tumor selective virus replication and tumor cell lysis in a highly immunogenic context is intended to provide both direct anti-tumor efficacy and generate an anti-tumor vaccine, particularly to tumor neoantigens, directly in situ in the patient. Replimune’s first product, RP1, will enter clinical trials later this year. “I am excited to join Replimune, which I believe to be the leading oncolytic immunotherapy platform company and see this as the nexus of my medical and scientific interests,” said Howard Kaufman. He continued, “I look forward to bringing these potentially powerful treatment to patients.”
Howard L. Kaufman, M.D., Chief Medical Officer
Dr. Howard L. Kaufman has been a leading authority on cancer immunotherapy and the optimization of viral approaches for the treatment of cancer. Dr. Kaufman pioneered the development of recombinant viruses for cancer therapy and developed the first vaccinia virus to express a human tumor antigen when he started the tumor vaccine program at the National Cancer Institute (NCI) in 1988. His work also included significant participation in the clinical development of the first oncolytic immunotherapy approved by the FDA for the treatment of cancer, (talimogene laherparepvec, Imlygic™). Dr. Kaufman and his academic research laboratory also contributed to the understanding of how viruses induce systemic anti-tumor immune responses, in addition to Dr. Kaufman having conducted numerous clinical trials with other immunotherapy agents.
Dr. Kaufman was born in Chicago, IL, received his medical degree from Loyola University, did a residency in General Surgery at Boston University and completed fellowship training in Tumor Immunology and Surgical Oncology at the NCI. He has previously held appointments at Columbia University in New York City and Rush University in Chicago. In 2014, he was recruited to Rutgers as Chief Surgical Officer and Associate Director for Clinical Science of the Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey. Dr. Kaufman has extensive drug development experience and is an expert consultant on scientific advisory boards broadly across the industry.
Dr. Kaufman has published over 400 peer-reviewed scientific papers, books, review articles and abstracts and serves on the editorial board of the Journal for Immunotherapy of Cancer. He is the Editor-In-Chief of the Journal of Targeted Therapies in Cancer and a Senior Associate Editor at the Journal of Translational Medicine. He is a member of numerous professional societies and was elected President of the Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer (SITC). In this role, he helped establish national immunotherapy guidelines for clinicians. Dr. Kaufman is the recipient of several awards including the Daland Prize and the Humanitarian Award from the Melanoma Research Foundation and has been appointed to the Board of Directors of many professional organizations.
About Oncolytic Immunotherapy
Oncolytic immunotherapy is an emerging class of cancer therapy which exploit the ability of viruses to selectively replicate in and kill tumors, while at the same time inducing a potent, patient-specific, anti-tumor immune response. Oncolytic viruses have the unique ability to generate an autologous vaccine to the patient’s particular complement of tumor antigens, including neoantigens, in situ in the patient with a truly off-the-shelf approach. While clear single agent clinical activity has been achieved with oncolytic immunotherapy, particular synergy may be observed in combination with immune checkpoint blockade and other immune-modulatory approaches.
Replimune Group Inc, headquartered in Woburn, MA, was founded in March 2015 to develop the next generation of ‘oncolytic immunotherapies’ for the treatment of cancer. Replimune is developing novel, proprietary products intended to improve both the direct anti-tumor effects of selective virus replication and the potency of the immune response to the tumor antigens released. The Company’s Immulytic™ platform is designed to maximize systemic immune activation, in particular to tumor neoantigens, through robust viral mediated immunogenic tumor cell killing and the delivery of optimal combinations of immune activating proteins to the tumor and draining lymph nodes. The approach is expected to be highly synergistic with immune checkpoint blockade and other approaches to cancer treatment. Replimune intends to progress these therapies rapidly through clinical trials and to combine with other immuno-oncology products with complementary mechanisms of action at an early stage. For more information, please visit http://www.replimune.com
For further information contact:
Replimune Group Inc.
Pamela Esposito, Ph.D.
Chief Business Officer