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Three appointments to lead key therapeutic areas

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Kymab strengthens its management team with appointments in immuno-oncology, infectious disease and blood disorders

Kymab has strengthened its management team with three appointments to head up its key therapeutic areas. Professor Paul Kellam will lead Kymab’s initiatives in vaccines & infectious disease, Professor Igor Theurl will lead the discovery of medicines for blood diseases and Matthew McCourt will head up immuno-oncology.

Kymab has defined these three areas as a key focus for its strategy to develop new medicines and vaccines in areas of unmet clinical need.

Commenting on the appointments, newly appointed CEO Dr David Chiswell said, "I am delighted that we have attracted such experienced scientists to head up our key therapeutic areas. Their appointments elevate our intellectual firepower in key areas of biology and medicine as well as providing a statement of the value of our expanding pipeline."

Professor Paul Kellam, Vice-President of Vaccines & Infectious Disease has a distinguished career in virology and published over 175 articles, having worked at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, where his team uncovered a crucial human genetic variant that affects the outcome of influenza infection. He is an internationally recognised expert in examining the genomes of emerging infectious disease, such as Ebola and the MERS coronavirus as well as HIV and other virus infections. In addition to his role with Kymab, Professor Kellam serves as part-time Professor of Virus Genomics at Imperial College London.

"This is a truly exciting opportunity for me - and, more important, for novel work towards new treatments in infectious disease," explains Professor Kellam. "With a combination of Kymab's highly effective antibody-discovery and vaccine-validation platforms and the funding commitment of Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation we can rapidly and effectively explore antibody approaches to some of the world's most challenging diseases."

Professor Igor Theurl, Head of Haematology, is a board-certified practicing physician and experimental scientist whose work includes the area of anaemia of chronic disease and who has published more than 60 articles. Alongside his leadership role with Kymab, Professor Theurl will serve part-time as Professor of Medicine at the University of Innsbruck, Austria. 

"Kymab has a clear focus on diseases of the blood system, and I am delighted to be joining them at this time," comments Professor Theurl. "We have exciting new developments to explore that I hope will lead rapidly to examination in clinical trials for patient benefit."

Matthew McCourt, Vice-President of Immuno-oncology, has been promoted internally having joined Kymab in 2015. He brings 25 years' experience in biopharmaceutical research and development. Previous experience includes roles as Director of Oncology Biology at MedImmune, where his team drove the discovery and preclinical development of MedImmune’s immuno-oncology portfolio of biologics and as Head of Pharmacology at Cambridge Antibody Technology.

"In the year I have been with Kymab, I've been impressed by how quickly we have capitalised on the strong research and development base of our unique platforms to move towards effective lead compounds," Matthew added. "I am delighted to be given the opportunity to lead our work in immuno-oncology, both with our partners, such as MD Anderson Cancer Center, and on our own programmes."

Immuno-oncology is an exciting new area in the treatment of cancer where the body's immune system is activated to attack tumour cells. Immunotherapy drugs are generating unprecedented clinical efficacy and are poised to revolutionise the way cancer is treated with a number of immunotherapy antibody treatments recently approved.

Kymouse™, Kymab's human antibody discovery platform, has unparalleled diversity as it yields antibodies with highly attractive drug-like properties, and is able to rapidly identify and enrich rare high-quality molecules that can be explored as novel therapeutics.

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