Ottawa, Canada, April 13, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Orion Biotechnology Canada Ltd., a clinical stage biotechnology company focused on precision engineering small protein therapeutics, today announced the addition of four experts to further strengthen its Scientific Advisory Board (SAB). These new SAB members include Dr. Christian Heinis, Dr. Laurent Jespers, Dr. Sebastian Stintzing and Dr. Josep Tabernero.

The Orion Biotechnology SAB is comprised of leading experts in cell receptor pharmacology, biochemistry, translational medicine and research and development (R&D) in oncology and immunology.   These individuals serve as key resources for Orion Biotechnology, providing insights as well as offering advice on the company’s drug discovery strategy and technology.

“We are honoured to welcome Drs. Heinis, Jespers, Stintzing and Tabernero as members of our SAB.  Their input will prove invaluable as we begin the next phase of our development” said Dr. Ian McGowan – Chief Medical Officer. 

“Each member’s expertise will expand our knowledge base and further inform our research and clinical development activities, going forward.” added Dr. Oliver Hartley – VP, Drug Discovery.

Orion Biotechnology is pioneering a new analog-based approach to targeting high-value G-Protein Coupled Receptors (GPCRs) that utilizes native peptide ligands as a scaffold on which to precision engineer drug leads with enhanced potency and tailored signalling activity.  This approach uniquely positions Orion to focus on complex GPCRs which have not been successfully drugged by standard discovery approaches, including small molecules and monoclonal antibodies.

About Orion Biotechnology’s New Scientific Advisory Board (SAB) Members

Dr. Christian Heinis is a Professor in Bioorganic Chemistry at the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) in Switzerland. His laboratory is developing combinatorial methods for creating therapeutics based on cyclic peptides and macrocyclic compounds. He has over 15 years of experience in peptide engineering, in vitro evolution, and drug development. Dr. Heinis is a co-founder of Bicycle Therapeutics, and co-director of the NCCR Chemical Biology, a research network of around twenty groups in the Lake Geneva area.

Dr. Heinis was trained in chemistry and biochemistry at the ETH Zurich. He did his PhD with Prof. Dario Neri (ETH Zurich), a first post-doc with Prof. Kai Johnsson (EPFL) and a second post-doc with Sir Greg Winter (LMB-MRC in Cambridge, UK).

Dr. Josep Tabernero is Head of the Medical Oncology Deparment at the Vall d’Hebron University Hospital, Director of the Vall d’Hebron Institute of Oncology (VHIO), and Professor of Medicine at UVic-UCC.  He has been a Principal Investigator of several Phase 1 pharmacodynamic studies and translational projects with tumor-directed targeted and immune-based therapies.  Dr. Tabernero serves on the Editorial Boards of various top tier journals including Annals of Oncology, ESMO Open, Cancer Discovery, Clinical Cancer Research, Cancer Treatment Reviews, and Nature Reviews Clinical Oncology.

Dr. Tabernero is currently the Past President of the European Society for Medical Oncology´s (ESMO), and also serves on its Public Policy as well as Cancer Medicines Committees.  He is also a member of the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) and the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO).

Dr. Laurent Jespers  serves as CSO for an allogeneic cell therapy biotech start-up based in Cambridge, UK. During his 12 year career at GSK he led research teams as VP of Biopharm Innovation, and as VP of Discovery in Cell & Gene Therapy. Dr. Jespers drove the design and therapeutic application of over 10 therapeutic modalities (antibody, peptide, gene therapies, and autologous cell therapies) from concept to preclinical development in diseases areas such as Oncology Immuno-Inflammation, Metabolic, and Respiratory. Prior to GSK, he was Director of Discovery Engineering at Domantis Ltd, a company developing human antibody variable fragments.

Dr. Jespers earned his PhD in biochemistry from the University of Louvain, Belgium, and completed his post-doctoral training in protein engineering at the MRC-Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Cambridge, UK.  Dr. Jespers co-developed the guided antibody humanisation approach which contributed to the development of Humira, the first fully human mAb to be approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Dr. Sebastian Stintzing  is Professor of Medicine and Head of the Department of Hematology, Oncology, and Tumor Immunology (CCM) of Charité Universitaetsmedizin Berlin. His research focuses on predictive and prognostic biomarkers in the treatment of gastrointestinal cancer. He has coordinated the translational science and clinical course of several studies. In 2012, Dr. Stintzing received the prestigious Research Fellowship Award from the “Deutsche Krebshilfe” (German Cancer Aid) and in 2014, he received the scientific award of the AIO (working group of medical oncology within the German Cancer Society).

Dr. Stintzing received his medical degree from the Friedrich-Alexander University of Erlangen-Nuremberg and earned his Postdoctoral Lecture Qualification (Habilitation) with a thesis on “Prognostic and predictive factors in the treatment of metastatic colorectal cancer “. Dr. Stintzing is member of several cancer associations (ESMO, ASCO, and DGHO) as well as a member of the S3-guideline committee for colorectal cancer in Germany.


About Orion Biotechnology Holding SA  Orion Biotechnology Canada Ltd, is a clinical stage biopharmaceutical company focused on the discovery and development of precision engineered small protein therapeutics – a promising new class of drugs designed to modulate immune response and deliver the next generation of immunotherapy treatment for cancer and other serious diseases. Leveraging its proprietary drug discovery platform to facilitate rapid and low-cost development of its molecules, Orion is pursuing a range of novel targets including chemokine and other G-Protein Coupled Receptors (GPCR’s). Orion’s lead candidate, OB-002, is a first-in-class chemokine analog and best in class CCR5 antagonist. Our close ties to diverse institutions and experts around the globe, as well as our proprietary drug discovery platform, continue to stimulate the rapid discovery of promising new treatments.  Learn more at www.orionbiotechnology.com.

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