TargImmune Therapeutics AG (Basel, Switzerland), a privately held Swiss-based biotechnology company focused on the development of new medicines through the use of novel targeted immunotherapies, today announced that Peter Braun, who has extensive experience in the healthcare industry and most recently led the biopharmaceutical company Nordic Nanovector, has been appointed Chief Executive Officer (CEO), effective August 16, 2021. He will succeed Esteban Pombo-Villar, who has built the company over the past four years and will now focus on leading key projects in chemistry and biology as Chief Technology Officer (CTO).
TargImmune has just successfully closed its 2021 financing round, raising CHF 17.7 million. This expands the company’s cash position into the clinical development of its lead candidate TAR001. With significant progress in the development of TargImmune’s unique RNA drug platform, the company has all the tools and processes in place to file an Investigational New Drug Application (IND) with the FDA and start the clinical program in the second quarter of next year. The company is on track to complete regulatory toxicology studies (GLP) as planned later this year.
“I am very pleased that we are appointing Peter Braun as TargImmune’s new CEO, who has broad and international experience in the healthcare industry and a deep understanding of our business and the oncology space. He has a strong track record of leadership, strategy and execution. We are convinced that he is exactly the right person to lead TargImmune’s next important development steps”, says Kuno Sommer, Chairman of the Board of Directors of TargImmune. “I would also like to thank Esteban Pombo-Villar for his leadership, dedication and great work over the last years. Esteban has successfully built TargImmune from a university spin-off to a company preparing for clinical development of its drug candidates. He has a deep understanding of the chemistry and biology of our assets and as CTO will focus on developing our unique technology platform. Together with Peter and Esteban, TargImmune has a strong and very complementary leadership team that will take the company to the next level."
Peter Braun is an accomplished, entrepreneurial, commercially and strategically astute leader with more than 25 years of experience in building businesses and delivering strong, sustainable results across the pharmaceutical and healthcare value chain. Previously, he held leadership positions in the biotechnology and biopharmaceutical industry and served as a strategic advisor to several emerging companies. Prior to that, Peter Braun had a long and successful career at Roche with senior leadership roles such as Lifecycle Leader for Herceptin, Country Head and most recently as Global Head of Access Strategy. He holds a BSc in Economics from Wharton School of Business and a BA in Int'l Relations from the College of Arts and Sciences from the University of Pennsylvania (US) and an MBA from INSEAD, France.
Dr. Esteban Pombo-Villar has over 30 years of experience in biopharmaceutical R&D and business development leadership. Prior to joining TargImmune, he was Chief Operations Officer (COO) at Oxford BioTherapeutics. Prior to that, Dr. Pombo-Villar spent over 23 years at Novartis and Sandoz, the last 12 years in Business Development and Alliance Management and as Head of Alliance Management at the Novartis Institute for Biomedical Research (NIBR). Dr. Pombo-Villar earned a PhD, MSc and BSc in organic chemistry from the University of Warwick (UK) and was a visiting researcher at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne (UK). He then completed postdoctoral studies at the ETH in Zurich. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry, a member of several scientific societies, and has completed executive business studies at IMD (MTE, Lausanne), Harvard Business School (US), and the Tuck School of Business (Dartmouth, US).
TargImmune Therapeutics AG Peter Braun, CEO
TargImmune Therapeutics AG is a privately owned Swiss-based biotechnology company based in Basel and founded in 2016.
TargImmune is dedicated to significantly improving the survival of cancer patients by developing novel targeted anti-cancer therapeutics which provide a multi-pronged approach against solid tumours.
The company’s novel Ta:RNA™ platform harnesses the body’s own immune system and powerful antiviral defence responses to selectively target and destroy cancer cells. Its immunomodulating therapeutics are designed to be delivered systemically, allowing them to reach distant metastases, which are the leading cause of cancer death.
Ta:RNA™ is TargImmune’s proprietary, first-in-class platform and is the only targeted nanoparticle to deliver Poly-IC, a synthetic double-stranded RNA, to cancer cells. The Ta:RNA™ platform targets solid tumours through their over-expression of a specific receptor. By replacing only the targeting moiety, Ta:RNA™ can target different receptors and address a range of different solid tumours.
Mimicking the natural processes of viral infection and antiviral defence responses, Ta:RNA™ drives a potent combination of apoptosis (cell death) and immune modulation to target both primary and metastatic heterogeneous tumour cells. TargImmune’s therapeutics are the first in a new class known as targeted apoptosis and immune modulators (TAIMs).
This unique technology and innovative therapeutic approach have the potential to transform outcomes for cancer patients, whether used alone or in combination with existing treatments.
TargImmune’s lead drug candidate, TAR001, targets epidermal growth factor receptors (EGFR). EGFR overexpression is prevalent in a significant proportion of solid cancers and is often associated with more aggressive disease. The company is on track to file an Investigational New Drug Application (IND) / Clinical Trial Application (CTA) in the near future with subsequent entry into man. As TargImmune’s lead targeted apoptosis and immune modulator (TAIM) therapy, TAR001 has the potential to be applied to a wide range of cancers and change the lives of a large number of cancer patients.
The company’s other Ta:RNA-based portfolio compounds, TAR002 and TAR003, are targeted at other over-expressed receptors on cancer cells, and are already in the early stages of formulation and development.