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Appointments strengthen drug development

Dr Duncan Casson joins as Chief Development Officer, Professor Ken Smith joins SAB and Dr George Vassiliou elected Senior Clinical Fellow.

Kymab, a monoclonal antibody biopharmaceutical company, has made three appointments to significantly strengthen drug discovery and development expertise.
Dr Duncan Casson is appointed Chief Development Officer and Professor Ken Smith joins Kymab's Scientific Advisory Board. In addition, Dr George Vassiliou was appointed as a Senior Clinical Fellow, with specialisation in haematological cancer. Duncan Casson has over 25 years' experience in the development of biologics including antibodies, recombinant proteins and autologous therapies. He was previously Chief Operating Officer of PanGenetics, with responsibility for the development of its therapeutic antibody pipeline, leading to the licence of an anti-NGF antibody to Abbott Laboratories during a Phase I patient study. He was VP Programme Management and Manufacturing for Cambridge Antibody Technology, including responsibility for the project management and manufacturing development of six of CAT's antibodies. Prior to this he was pivotal in the development of novel biologics with Genzyme, including Seprafilm® and Carticel®, which have subsequently been successfully commercialised. As Chief Development Officer, Duncan has responsibility for the preclinical, manufacturing, quality, regulatory and clinical development aspects of Kymab's future human monoclonal antibody drug candidate portfolio. Ken Smith is Professor of Medicine at the University of Cambridge and a consultant Nephrologist and Clinical Immunologist. He is also Head of the Department of Medicine at Addenbrooke's Hospital. Ken leads a laboratory in the Cambridge Institute for Medical Research which studies defects in regulatory control of the immune system that can lead to autoimmunity and alter defence against infection. He also runs a translational programme in autoimmune disease (particularly SLE and vasculitis) that has led to the discovery of a novel prognosis-predicting biomarker now entering clinical trials, and the identification of genes involved in disease pathogenesis. He joins Professor Terrence Rabbitts, Professor Douglas Feron and Dr Michael Owen to increase the breadth of medical experience on Kymab's scientific advisory board. George Vassiliou is a Wellcome Trust Senior Clinical Fellow and heads the Haematological Cancer Genetics Group at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute. His group is studying the pathogenesis and treatment of haematological malignancies with a particular focus on acute myeloid leukaemia and multiple myeloma. He is also a Consultant Haematologist at Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge where he treats patients with these diseases. As a Senior Clinical Fellow of Kymab, George advises the company on medical needs in the field of haematological oncology and works with the company on the identification of novel antibody drug discovery projects focused on improving outcomes in this field. Commenting on the appointments, Andy Sandham, Chairman and CEO of Kymab, said: "Kymab has made significant progress in human monoclonal antibody drug discovery using the Kymouse platform and these senior appointments strengthen our expertise in disease biology, clinical medicine and biopharmaceutical development. We are now using the Kymouse human antibody discovery platform in projects that address unmet clinical needs in oncology, autoimmune and infectious disease. We look forward to benefiting from their experience in shaping our drug discovery programmes and advancing new biological entities towards the clinic."

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