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Zelluna Immunotherapy appoints a new member of its board

Zelluna Immunotherapy has announced the appointment of Bent Jakobsen to its board.

“Zelluna is now preparing to enter its first TCR based cell therapy into the clinic to evaluate its potential to treat cancer patients worldwide. After appointing an experienced senior management team, Zelluna has also decided to further strengthen our board with deep international TCR therapeutic expertise,” said Hans Ivar Robinson, chair of the board, Zelluna. “As the founder of multiple clinical stage, private and public TCR companies treating solid cancers, such as Immunocore, Adaptimmune and predecessor companies, Dr Jakobsen’s acceptance of our specific invitation to join the board at Zelluna will have a considerable impact on the development of the company its programs and technology.”

Insight and experience

Jakobsen has made a firm commitment to his contributions to the Zelluna board. Zelluna will utilize his insights and experience regarding TCR research and clinical programs. Jakobsen will make a considerable immediate and long-term impact on the therapeutic development programs for Zelluna. This includes the final preparations for the forthcoming clinical entry in 2020 of Zelluna’s lead TCR, ZI-H04, targeting solid tumors in large patient populations. He will also contribute to the development of the pipeline and expansion of the technology for Zelluna’s autologous TCR-T and allogeneic TCR-NK products that are targeting solid tumors.

“Having gained the experience of founding TCR-based companies and technologies such as Immunocore and Adaptimmune, I have become convinced of the potential of Zelluna’s TCR program, which specifically targets the therapeutic potential of MHC Class II recognition and the TCR-NK cell platform,” said Bent Jakobsen. “As a result, I have committed to invest time on the Zelluna board to expand the company’s international influence, as well as contribute to the development of its technology, investment and commercial operations.”

He founded Immunocore in 2008

Jakobsen will serve to provide considerable scientific, clinical and corporate experience in Zelluna. Having founded Immunocore in 2008, a privately held soluble TCR based company, he has served as Chief Scientific Officer and Executive Board Member. He is also the scientific founder of Adaptimmune Ltd, a public adoptive TCR cell therapy company, working as Chief Scientific Officer and board member until 2015. In 1999, he founded the precursor to Immunocore and Adaptimmune, Avidex as a spin-out from the University of Oxford to develop novel T cell receptor-based drugs. He was head of the Immune Receptor Group at the Institute of Molecular Medicine (IMM), Oxford from 1993 to 2000. This experience will all be critical to Zelluna moving TCRs through the clinic.

Jakobsen was a post-doctoral researcher at the Laboratory of Molecular Biology of the Medical Research Council in Cambridge and a Senior Research Fellow of the Danish Natural Research Council, Aarhus, Denmark. Dr Jakobsen is additionally a visiting professor at University of Oxford, has authored numerous scientific papers and is considered a world expert in the field of T cell receptor immunology. In 2015, he was elected to the Fellowship of the Academy of Medical Sciences.