Lava Therapeutics

NEXT-GENERATION GAMMA DELTA
T-CELL ENGAGERS

COMPANY OVERVIEW

At LAVA, we are focused on applying our expertise in gamma-delta T-cell engagers (TCEs) to transform cancer therapy. We refer to our compounds as gamma-delta bispecific T-cell engagers, or gamma-delta bsTCEs. Our platform generates therapeutics that specifically activate a unique and relatively abundant effector gamma-delta T-cell subset called Vγ9Vδ2 (Vgamma9-Vdelta2) T-cells that have the ability to trigger activity of immune cells of both the innate and adaptive immune system. Our gamma-delta bsTCEs have demonstrated superior efficacy and safety profiles compared to other bsTCE approaches in preclinical studies and show preferential activity against tumor cells thereby potentially limiting toxicity in healthy tissue. To date, we are the only company developing bispecific gamma-delta T-cell engaging antibodies for the treatment of cancer.

We are building a pipeline of gamma-delta bsTCEs that have applications in both solid and hematologic malignancies. Our lead program, LAVA-051, targets the tumor specific antigen CD1d, which can be overexpressed in multiple myeloma, chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), and acute myeloid leukemia (AML), among other tumor types. LAVA-051 will enter a Phase I/II study in 1Q21.

ABOUT US

LEADERSHIP TEAM

CEO

Steve Hurly, MSc, MBA

Head of R&D

Paul Parren, PhD

CMO

Benjamin Winograd, MD, PhD

CDO

Ton Adang, PhD

CSO

Hans van der Vliet, MD, PhD

CEO

Steve Hurly, MSc, MBA

Steve Hurly brings nearly two decades of leadership experience in the life sciences industry. He served as President and Chief Executive Officer of Sesen Bio, a NASDAQ listed late stage oncology firm. Prior he served as the President and Chief Executive Officer of Viventia Bio Inc., a specialty pharmaceutical company acquired by Sesen Bio Inc in September 2016. Steve has more than 15 years of experience in the investment banking business. He has served on the board of directors of PHusis Therapeutics Inc., a private targeted small molecule therapeutics company, since May 2011. Previously, he was the Chief Executive Officer of Burrill & Co.’s Merchant Banking Division, a finance business for life science companies. He was also the head of the Life Sciences Investment Banking Practice at Boenning & Scattergood, a securities asset management and investment banking firm. He graduated from Swarthmore College with a B.A. degree in Engineering and earned an M.B.A. from the University of Chicago.

Head of R&D

Paul Parren, PhD

Paul Parren is an expert in antibody research, translational science and drug development. He is a professor of molecular immunology at the Leiden University Medical Center. Previously, he served as Genmab’s head of preclinical development and research and he was an Associate Professor at The Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, CA. He invented and developed the approved therapeutic antibodies ofatumumab (Arzerra) and daratumumab (DARZALEX) and clinically validated antibody platform technologies for generating bispecific and enhanced-function antibodies. He contributed to preclinical development of 9 further antibodies in various stages of clinical development. He is a board member of The Antibody Society. He received his PhD from the University of Amsterdam (1992).

CMO

Benjamin Winograd, MD, PhD

Benjamin Winograd has longstanding experience in leading drug development programs in Hematology and Oncology at companies including Bristol-Myers Squibb, Pharmacia, Schering-Plough, and Celgene. Most recently he was Clinical R&D Therapeutic Area Head for Multiple Myeloma at Celgene where he led landmark studies resulting in the registration of lenalidomide (Revlimid) and pomalidamide (Pomalyst/Imnovid). Prior to that, he was instrumental in early and late development, registration and launching of cancer therapeutics including paclitaxel (TAXOL), irinotecan (Camptosar), exemestane (Aromasin), epirubicin (ELLENCE), and temozolomide (Temodar). He received his MD and PhD from the Technical University of Munich, Germany, and began his career as part of the EORTC Cooperative Group at the VU University in Amsterdam.

CDO

Ton Adang, PhD

Ton Adang worked at several biotech companies and at Merck/MSD, Schering-Plough and Organon in research and development positions with increasing responsibilities. He held leadership positions in the Lead Discovery Unit and in project management, developing a product through FDA approval and targeting new indications like breast cancer, osteoporosis as well as working with human vaccines, biosimilars and in immune oncology. He received his PhD from the University of Leiden at the Divisions of Bio-Pharmaceutical Sciences and Bio-Organic Chemistry.

CSO

Hans van der Vliet, MD, PhD

Hans van der Vliet is a professor medical oncology at the Amsterdam UMC, location VUmc. He received his MD from the University of Amsterdam in 1998 and his PhD (cum laude) and internal medicine specialization in medical oncology from the VU University in Amsterdam. He performed post-doctoral research at the Division of Hematology and Oncology, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School.

BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Laia Crespo

Reza Halse

Nanna Lüneborg

Stefan Luzi

Guido Magni

Joël Jean-Mairet

Chairman

Erik van den Berg

Laia Crespo

Laia joined Sanofi Ventures in 2018 with a background in biotech investing primarily in Europe. Prior to Sanofi, Laia served as Investment Director for Ysios Capital, a Venture fund based in Barcelona, where she led investments and served on the Boards of OxThera (Sweden), Minoryx Therapeutics (Spain) and Inbiomotion (Spain), and as an Observer with AM-Pharma (The Netherlands). Earlier in her career, Laia was part of the European New Business Development team of Janssen-Cilag, a pharmaceutical company of the Johnson & Johnson group, where she assessed commercial and scientific licensing-in opportunities. Previously she worked as a researcher in the UK in companies such as Spirogen (now AstraZeneca), Medivir and UCB-Celltech.

Laia currently serves as a board observer for NodThera.

Laia graduated in Chemistry from the University of Barcelona, where she also completed a Master in Science and a PhD with honors. Laia holds an MBA from Cambridge Judge Business School, University of Cambridge.

Reza Halse

Rez has over twelve years of therapeutic discovery and development experience in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries through management roles in the UK and US. In the UK he established research operations and led drug discovery efforts at Xcellsyz Ltd, a venture capital backed start-up, which was sold in 2004. He then moved to Novartis Pharmaceuticals in Cambridge, MA, where he directed drug discovery projects in a variety of disease areas, ranging from diabetes to neglected infectious diseases. While at Novartis he also established innovative drug discovery collaborations with academia and non-profit organizations, in an initiative aimed at incubating new areas of research. Following Novartis, he joined a well-capitalized biotech organization, funded by a venture philanthropist, and led programs at various stages of discovery and development using an entirely virtual operating model. Rez holds a BSc in Biochemistry and a PhD in cell biology both from Newcastle University, UK. Rez currently represents the Fund on the Boards of Adheron Therapeutics, Spero Therapeutics and Project C.

Nanna Lüneborg

Nanna joined Novo Holdings in 2012, and spent four years in Novo Seeds, where she helped build a strong portfolio of seed and Series A stage companies. She led the initial investments and served on the Boards as Director or Observer at Inthera, IO Biotech, MinervaX, Pcovery, Forendo and Galecto. Nanna joined Novo Ventures in 2016 and has been involved in both private and public investments, including successful public listings of Orphazyme (ORPHA), ObsEva (OBSV), and Inventiva (IVA). She currently serves on the boards of NodThera, ReViral, Stargazer and Lava.

Prior to her time at Novo Holdings, Nanna was part of the life science investment team at Apposite Capital, a London-based venture fund, where she participated in both primary and secondary investments, with multiple deals leading to highly successful exits for the fund, including Convergence, Ulthera and Cancer Partners UK. She has previously worked at Cancer Research UK as a research analyst, and as a consultant to various biotech and healthcare venture projects during her MBA. Nanna received her PhD in Neuroscience from University College London, an MBA with distinction from University of Cambridge, and a 1st class BA from University of Oxford.

Stefan Luzi

Stefan Luzi joined Gilde Healthcare in 2015. He is focusing on venture and growth capital investments in the biopharmaceutical and life science instruments sectors. He led the investment in Lava Therapeutics B.V. and was part of several other investments. He represents Gilde on the boards of Lava Therapeutics B.V. and Lumicks B.V. Prior to joining Gilde, Stefan worked at Merck KGaA where he completed several international assignments including the Global Business Intelligence and MS Ventures divisions. Additionally, he was involved in various consulting projects spanning the pharmaceutical and chemical departments at Merck and co-moderated Merck Serono’s innovation competitions. Stefan holds a MSc in Biotechnology degree from ETH Zurich (Switzerland) and a MPhil in Bioscience Enterprise degree from the University of Cambridge (UK). He also completed a PhD program with Sir Gregory Winter at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge (UK), where he developed a bicyclic peptide-based drug discovery platform.

Guido Magni

Guido Magni, M.D., Ph.D., is a Partner with Versant Ventures. He brings deep experience in drug development from multiple accomplishments at leading global pharmaceutical companies including Roche and Wyeth. Guido held the position of Global Head of the Medical Science Department at Roche for 12 years and built a track record that includes the approval of 15 new drugs across various therapeutic areas during this time, including blockbuster products Cellcept, Pegasys, Mabthera, Xeloda, Herceptin, Tamiflu and Tarceva. Guido brings this critical expertise to Versant portfolio companies by providing guidance on their clinical and regulatory strategies.

Joël Jean-Mairet

Joël is managing partner and co-founder of Ysios Capital. Previously, he co-founded Glycart Biotechnology in 2001 and was its CEO until it was successfully sold to F. Hoffmann La-Roche four years later. Glycart Biotechnology was the originator of the anti-CD20 antibody – obinituzumab/Gazyva®, the first breakthrough designated drug approved by the FDA for B-CLL. He holds an MS in Biotechnology and a PhD from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) in Zurich.

Joël is currently on the boards of directors of Aura Biosciences, Sanifit Therapeutics, Ona Therapeutics, Executive Chairman of Inbiomotion, Chairman of SpliceBio and board observer at AM-Pharma. He has been Chairman of the board of Cellerix/Tigenix (now Takeda), board observer at Biovex (now Amgen). Joël has earned numerous awards, including the Wall Street Journal’s Europe Innovation Award in 2001.

Chairman

Erik van den Berg

Erik has over twenty years of experience in the pharmaceutical industry. He is the CEO of AM-Pharma and board member of several (bio)tech companies. Previously, as a senior executive at Organon (currently Merck) he was responsible for leading the Company’s global biotechnology business development. Erik executed over 20 transactions and partnerships, most recently a $600M option to acquire AM-Pharma by Pfizer and raised more than €130M in equity and debt financing. He concluded his Masters in chemistry from the University of Utrecht and an MBA from Manchester Business School both with honors.

SCIENTIFIC ADVISORY BOARD

Chairman

Andrea van Elsas, PhD (Chairman)

Dane Wittrup, PhD

James Patrick (Jim) Allison, PhD

Padmanee Sharma, MD, PhD

Dieter Kabelitz, MD

Madhav V. Dhodapkar, MBBS

Chairman

Andrea van Elsas, PhD (Chairman)

Andrea van Elsas joined Lava as Chair of the Scientific Advisory Board In April 2018. He is a venture partner with Third Rock Ventures. Previously, he served as Chief Scientific Officer at Aduro Biotech following the acquisition of BioNovion, a company he co-founded in 2011. From 1999 to 2011, he held various positions at Organon (acquired by Schering-Plough and later by Merck) in Oss, The Netherlands, and Cambridge, Massachusetts. He directed the immuno-oncology portfolio and led the anti-PD1 program that later became known as pembrolizumab. As a postdoctoral researcher, Andrea worked in the lab of 2018 Nobel Laureate Jim Allison at the University of California, Berkeley and is a co-inventor on the original anti-CTLA-4 patents that formed the basis for the development of ipilimumab, the first checkpoint inhibitor approved in 2011 by the FDA for the treatment of melanoma. Dr. van Elsas holds a Ph.D. in Immunology and Oncology from the University of Leiden.

Dane Wittrup, PhD

Prof. Dane Wittrup attended the University of New Mexico as an undergraduate, graduating Summa Cum Laude with a Bachlor’s in Chemical Engineering in June 1984. Wittrup went on to attend the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, where he worked with Prof. James Bailey on flow cytometry and segregated modeling of recombinant populations of Saccharomyces cerevisiae. After obtaining his Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering with a minor in Biology in 1988, he spent a brief time working at Amgen before becoming an Assistant Professor of Chemical Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1989. He moved to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in September of 1999, where he is now the C.P. Dubbs Professor of Chemical Engineering and Biological Engineering, in addition to working with the Koch Institute as the Associate Director for Engineering.

James Patrick (Jim) Allison, PhD

Dr. James Patrick (Jim) Allison is an American immunologist and a 2018 Nobel laureate who holds the position of professor and chair of immunology and executive director of immunotherapy platform at the MD Anderson Cancer Center at the University of Texas. Dr. Allison has spent his career studying the regulation of T cell responses. His work led to the development of an antibody to human CTLA-4 called ipilimumab which became the first immune checkpoint blockade therapy ever approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The approval of ipilimumab cleared the path for the emerging field of immune checkpoint blockade therapy in the treatment of cancer. Currently, his work is focused on improving immune checkpoint blockade therapies and identifying new targets to unleash the immune system and eradicate cancer. Dr. Allison is a member of the National Academies of Science and Medicine and is currently Chair of the Department of Immunology, the Vivian L. Smith Distinguished Chair in Immunology, the Executive Director of the Immunotherapy Platform and Co-Director of the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy at MD Anderson Cancer Center.

Padmanee Sharma, MD, PhD

Dr. Sharma is a professor of Genitourinary Medical Oncology and Immunology in the Division of Cancer Medicine, the T.C. and Jeanette Hsu Endowed Chair in Cell Biology, the Scientific Director of the Immunotherapy Platform and the Co-Director of the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. She is focused on understanding resistance mechanisms within the immune system that impact anti-tumor responses and for more than a decade, she has been a principal investigator for multiple clinical trials to improve the efficacy of cancer immunotherapies. Dr. Sharma’s work on new pathways to treat prostate cancer implicated for the first time in a human tumor the checkpoint VISTA in inhibiting immune responses. In partnership with Dr. Allison, Dr. Sharma is currently exploring combinations of immunological therapies and targeted drugs in preclinical studies to treat a variety of cancers more effectively.

Dieter Kabelitz, MD

Dieter Kabelitz was a full professor at the University of Kiel and Director of the Institute of Immunology from 1999 to 2018, where he continues to work as a senior research group leader. Previously, he was Head of the Department of Immunology at the Paul-Ehrlich-Institute, Langen/Germany, and Associate Professor at the University of Heidelberg/Germany. From 2011 to 2012 he served as President of the German Society for Immunology (DGfI). He was a Council member of the International Union of Immunological Societies (IUIS) and is the current chair of the Education Committee (EDU) of IUIS. His scientific expertise is in the field of the functional characterization of human gamma/delta T cells. Dieter Kabelitz’ major interest is to explore strategies around increasing the effector functions of gamma delta T cells for the potential use in immunotherapy of cancer. Prof. Kabelitz has more than 30 years of research experience in immunology and has published more than 390 papers in peer-reviewed journals and edited or co-edited several books.

Madhav V. Dhodapkar, MBBS

Madhav V. Dhodapkar, MBBS, is the Anise McDaniel Brock Chair and Georgia Research Alliance Eminent Scholar in Cancer Innovation and Professor in the Department of Hematology and Medical Oncology at Emory University School of Medicine. Dr. Dhodapkar serves as director of the Winship Center for Cancer Immunology, and as leader of the Cancer Immunology Research Program at Winship Cancer Institute. Prior to joining Emory, he served as Chief of Hematology, the Arthur H. and Isabel Bunker Professor of Medicine (Hematology), and Professor of Immunobiology at Yale University School of Medicine. An expert in the treatment of multiple myeloma, he also was co-director of the Cancer Immunology Program within the Yale Cancer Center. Other faculty appointments include Myeloma Institute in Little Rock, Arkansas, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York, New York, and The Rockefeller University in New York, New York. A board-certified hematologist and medical oncologist, Dr. Dhodapkar specializes in the treatment of multiple myeloma and other hematological malignancies. His primary clinical and scholarly focus is the immuno-biology of myeloma and the development of novel biological approaches to treat cancer.

SCIENCE

Vγ9Vδ2 T-cells belong to the first line of defense against cancer and have the potential to elicit deep and durable responses in the clinic

Vγ9Vδ2 T-cells are the largest γδ T-cell subpopulation in healthy adults, comprising approximately 1-5% of all peripheral blood T-cells. They are naturally occurring cells in the human immune system that are endowed with a tumor recognition mechanism, allowing them to specifically recognize and kill cells under stress, such as cancerous cells, while leaving healthy cells unharmed.

In addition, Vγ9Vδ2 T-cells have properties of both the innate and adaptive immune systems, enabling them to serve as a functional bridge between these two critical systems to impact tumor killing. As such, not only do they have the capability to be activated for immediate and potent killing of tumor cells, they also have the potential to contribute to a cascade response in which they trigger innate and adaptive immune cells through cytokine release and antigen presentation. This may induce immunological memory and result in not only potent, but also durable responses.

Key relevant characteristics of Vγ9Vδ2 T-cells include:

  • Vγ9Vδ2 T-cells exist as tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs) in many different cancer indications
  • Abundance correlates with favorable outcome in multiple hematologic solid tumor indications
  • Tumor infiltration is independent of mutational load
  • Important immunosurveillance function
  • Antigen-presenting function

Our Platform

LAVA’s bispecific gamma-delta T-cell engagers (bsTCEs) directly induce potent killing of tumor cells via their unique targeting of Vγ9Vδ2 T-cells and tumor associated antigens (TAAs).

They combine a variety of traits to accomplish this including:

  • High potency with EC50s in low picomolar range
  • Potential for expansion of activated Vγ9Vδ2 T-cells
  • No activation of immunosuppressive T-cells
  • Secretion of pro-inflammatory cytokines that attract and activate other cells within the immune system
  • Antigen presenting capability, potentially triggering an adaptive immune reaction, enabling deep and durable responses

Proof of principle of LAVA’s approach has been established by in vitro, in vivo and ex vivo studies in which gamma-delta bsTCEs demonstrate potent cell death in both tumor cell lines and patient-derived cells in both solid tumors and hematologic malignancies. Based on these data, LAVA is advancing several novel gamma-delta bsTCEs towards clinical development.

Programs

LAVA-051

Our lead program, LAVA-051, is a unique, humanized gamma-delta bsTCE targeting CD1d-expressing tumors, including multiple myeloma, chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), and acute myeloid leukemia (AML). We have achieved preclinical proof-of-concept with LAVA-051 by demonstrating efficacy and safety in a variety of preclinical models. Unique to LAVA-051, it activates both Vγ9Vδ2 T-cells as well as invariant natural killer T-cells, which represent another conserved immune effector cell population, in a target dependent manner.

We plan to begin a Phase I/IIa clinical trial in patients with relapsed and/or refractory multiple myeloma and CLL in the first quarter of 2021.

LAVA-206×207

LAVA-206×207, a gamma-delta bsTCE targeting the prostate specific membrane antigen (PSMA), has also demonstrated preclinical proof-of-concept. We expect to initiate a Phase I/II trial in metastatic castration resistant prostate cancer in the second half of 2021.

Early-Stage Pipeline

In addition to our two named lead programs, we are advancing a portfolio of early-stage programs.

Janssen Collaboration

In May 2020, we entered into a research and license agreement with Janssen Biotech, Inc., one of the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson. Under the terms of this agreement, we will discover and develop novel bispecific antibodies to gamma-delta T cells for the treatment of cancer. We received an upfront payment, and are eligible to receive potential development and commercial milestones, and future tiered royalties.

NEWS

LAVA Therapeutics to Present Corporate Overview at 39th Annual J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference

LAVA’s bispecific technology featured on the cover of November’s issue of Nature Cancer and in ‘News and Views’

LAVA Therapeutics Announces $83 million Series C Financing to Advance Novel Immuno-Oncology Programs

LAVA Therapeutics, Amsterdam UMC and Monash University Announce Publication of a Novel Cancer Immunotherapy Approach in Nature Cancer

Lava Therapeutics Appoints Oncology and Hematology Expert Benjamin Winograd, M.D., Ph.D., as Chief Medical Officer

Lava Therapeutics Announces Collaboration with Janssen to Develop Bi-specific Gamma-Delta T-cell Engager Therapeutics

Lava Therapeutics Appoints Immuno-Oncology Experts James Allison, Ph.D., and Padmanee Sharma, M.D., Ph.D., to Advisory Board

Lava Therapeutics Raises EUR 16 Million to Advance Bispecific Gamma-Delta T Cell Engager Platform. Biologics Expert Paul Parren Joins as Head of R&D.

EVENTS

Antibody Engineering and Therapeutics Conference

Monday, 14 December 2020

Want to learn more about how engaging T-cells via bispecific antibodies can change the course of cancer treatment? LAVA’s EVP, Head of R&D Paul Parren, PhD is chairing the ‘Bispecific T cell Engagers’ session at the Antibody Engineering and Therapeutics conference on Monday, December 14. LAVA’s CSO, and Hans van der Vliet, MD, PhD, will be on the panel.
Click here for more information.

SABCS – 2020 San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium

Wednesday, 9 December 2020

Lava’s EVP and Head of R&D, Paul Parren, PhD, spoke about the use of antibody drug conjugates in BCa.
Learn more about the power of antibodies here

8th Antibody Industrial Symposium (AIS) Congress

Monday, 23 November 2020 at 9am CET

Lava’s EVP and Head of R&D, Paul Parren, PhD, will give an opening keynote address at the 8th Antibody Industrial Symposium (AIS) Congress on November 23rd at 9am CET.
More information about this event.

12th Annual PEGS Europe Conference

Wednesday, 11 November 2020

Lava’s EVP and Head of R&D, Paul Parren, PhD, and CSO, Hans van der Vliet, MD, PhD, will speak at the 12th Annual PEGS Europe Conference on Nov 11.

9am – Paul Parren – Next-Generation T Cell Engagers
9:20am – Hans van derVliet – Bispecific γδ-T Cell Engagers for Cancer Immunotherapy.
11:55am – Paul Parren – Panel Discussion: Gamma Delta T Cell Therapy

European Antibody Congress 2020

Monday, 2 November 2020 at 10am

Lava’s EVP and Head of R&D, Paul Parren, PhD, will speak at the European Antibody Congress 2020.
More information about this event.

INVESTORS

CAREERS

Thank you for your interest in a career at Lava Therapeutics. Currently, we have several vacancies available:

Clinical Trial Manager

Regulatory Affairs Manager (CMC/non-clinical)

(Sr.) Scientist Bioanalytics

Senior Research Associate Bioanalytics

CONTACT US

+31 6 3000 3035

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