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Immunicum appoints new Chief Technology Officer

Leopold Bertea

Immunicum has announced the appointment of Leopold Bertea as Chief Technology Officer (CTO), effective as of May 5, 2022.

In his role as CTO at Immunicum, Bertea will be driving the build-up of a global manufacturing infrastructure for Immunicum’s lead pipeline program, DCP-001, which is currently progressing through a Phase II clinical study. Additionally, he will oversee the process development to further optimize the manufacturing of the company’s current and future products and the building out of the company’s process development facilities and capabilities in Leiden, The Netherlands.

“Immunicum’s expertise in allogeneic dendritic cell biology has delivered a promising pipeline of novel, off-the-shelf cancer immunotherapy candidates combining competitive clinical efficacy with a benign safety profile. I’m exciting to leverage my expertise in cell and gene therapy development and manufacturing to support the next development phases for the company’s lead assets and its wider pipeline,” says Leopold Bertea.

Leopold Bertea

Bertea joins Immunicum from Cellectis, a clinical-stage biotechnology company using a proprietary gene-editing platform to develop cell and gene therapies, where he most recently held the position of Senior Vice President Technical Operations Europe and Member of the Cellectis Executive Committee. With previous senior roles at Novartis, LFB Biotechnologies and LFB’s subsidiary CELLforCURE, Sanofi, and Ciba-Geigy, Dr. Bertea brings a total of 27 years biopharmaceutical industry experience to Immunicum.

During his tenure with LFB Biotechnologies and CELLforCURE, Bertea was instrumental as President and CEO of CELLforCURE for establishing the manufacturing plant and CDMO operations at the Les Ulis site, near Paris, as one of the first and largest production units for cell and gene therapies in Europe at that time. Following the acquisition of CELLforCURE by Novartis in 2019, Bertea became General Manager and Site Head of the new Novartis’ site in Les Ulis, which was successfully refocused under his supervision for manufacturing the autologous cell and gene therapy Kymriah (tisagenlecleucel), as well as new cell and gene therapy pipeline projects of Novartis, describes Immunicum.

Bertea holds a Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from ETH Zurich.

“Dr. Bertea brings an impressive track record in biopharmaceutical process development and production, including commercial-scale manufacturing to Immunicum. He joins the Company at a crucial stage, as we are continuing to build out our in-house process development activities in our new R&D facilities in Leiden and preparing for the next stage of development for DCP-001 and ilixadencel,” says Erik Manting, CEO, Immunicum.

Photo of Leopold Bertea: Immunicum