Gritstone Oncology Expands Scientific Advisory Board with Appointment of Immuno-Oncology Experts James L. Gulley and Alessandro Sette

EMERYVILLE, Calif., June 1, 2017 — Gritstone Oncology, a next-generation personalized cancer immunotherapy company, today announced the expansion of its Scientific Advisory Board (SAB) with the appointment of James L. Gulley, M.D., Ph.D., chief of the Genitourinary Malignancies Branch at the Center for Cancer Research (CCR) of the National Cancer Institute (NCI), and Alessandro Sette, Dr.Biol.Sci., center head of the Division of Translational Immunology and Vaccine Discovery at the La Jolla Institute for Allergy and Immunology. Both are renowned experts in the field of immuno-oncology and will provide strategic guidance and insight to Gritstone as it advances its drug development technology platform to create personalized neoantigen therapies that harness the patient’s own immune system to attack solid tumors.

“Successful neoantigen-targeted therapy demands excellence in two scientific dimensions, and we are thrilled to have global leaders in both of those domains join our team of scientific advisors,” said Andrew Allen, M.D., Ph.D., co-founder, president and chief executive officer of Gritstone Oncology. “First, we must predict which of a cancer patient’s many DNA mutations create truly neoantigenic proteins, and Alessandro has blazed the trail in understanding immune system-protein interactions. His fundamental insights have empowered companies like ours to consider tackling this problem and his counsel has already proven invaluable. Second, we must deliver tumor-specific neoantigens to patients in a highly immunogenic format. James has studied human immune responses to cancer immunotherapies for many years, deriving key observations into the link between immune response and clinical outcomes. The collective expertise of Alessandro and James will be essential as we advance our first personalized neoantigen immunotherapy into human trials and continue to assess solid tumors for their capacity to generate tumor-specific neoantigens.”

“Tumor neoantigens are an exciting actionable discovery, and Gritstone Oncology has the right team of seasoned individuals in place to advance this scientific understanding to the next level in order to improve response rates and survival in cancer patients. The team has already made exceptional progress in the 20 months since the company was founded,” said Dr. Sette. “With my long-term interest in how T cells recognize antigens, I am excited to join Gritstone’s Scientific Advisory Board to help advance its novel therapeutic concept into clinical trials next year.” 

About Dr. Gulley

Dr. Gulley also serves as senior investigator and head of the Immunotherapy Section and director of the Medical Oncology Service in the Office of the Clinical Director at the CCR. He is an internationally recognized expert in cancer immunotherapy, therapeutic cancer vaccines, immune checkpoint inhibitors, and the combination of immunotherapy with other therapies. Since 1998, he has conducted investigator-initiated clinical trials at the NCI evaluating cancer vaccines and other immunostimulatory agents, as well as the combination of immunotherapy with other treatment strategies. He played a central role in the clinical development of a prostate cancer vaccine that was created at the NCI, and currently serves as principal investigator of an international, randomized Phase 3 clinical trial of that vaccine. He is also the coordinating principal investigator for an international trial of an anti-PDL1 antibody.

About Dr. Sette

Dr. Sette also serves as director of the Center for Infectious Disease and Head of the Initiative for Emerging Diseases and Biodefense at the La Jolla Institute for Allergy and Immunology. He has devoted more than 30 years of study to understanding basic mechanisms of antigen recognition and immune responses, measuring and predicting immune activity, and developing disease intervention strategies against cancer, infectious diseases, autoimmune diseases and allergies. His research is focused on improving the understanding of how the body successfully battles infection, and conversely, how pathogens escape the immune system, causing the individual to succumb to disease. He has developed techniques to understand the T-cell response to common allergens, which has resulted in the development of bioinformatic tools used to map the human T-cell response to a large panel of common allergens. Dr. Sette earned a Doctor in Biological Sciences  at the University of Rome and completed post-doctoral work at the Laboratory of Pathology, Cassaccia, in Rome, and at the National Jewish Center for Immunology and Respiratory Medicine in Denver. He has authored more than 650 scientific publications in peer-reviewed journals and has nearly 30 issued patents.

Gritstone’s SAB Comprised of Pioneers in Immuno-Oncology and Other Relevant Disciplines
In addition to Drs. Gulley and Sette, other members of Gritstone Oncology’s distinguished Scientific Advisory Board include:

  • Timothy A. Chan, M.D., Ph.D., an expert in cancer immuno-genomics, is vice chair of the Department of Radiation Oncology and the Frederick Adler Chair at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC). He also is a member of the Human Oncology and Pathogenesis Program at MSKCC and director of the Division of Translational Oncology in the Department of Radiation Oncology.

  • Mark Cobbold, M.D., Ph.D., an expert in HLA-peptide mass spectrometry, is associate professor of medicine at the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) Cancer Center. He also is a member of the MGH Center for Cancer Immunology.

  • Graham Lord, M.D., Ph.D., an expert in T-cell biology, is professor of medicine at King’s College London. He also is head of the Department of Experimental Immunobiology and director of the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Biomedical Research Center at Guy’s and St. Thomas’ Hospital and King’s College London.

  • Naiyer A. Rizvi, M.D., an expert in clinical immuno-oncology, is the Price Chair of Clinical Translational Medicine and director of thoracic oncology and immuno-therapeutics at Columbia University Medical Center.

  • Jean-Charles Soria, M.D., Ph.D., an expert in clinical cancer research, is a professor of medicine and medical oncology at South-Paris University. He also is a cancer specialist at Institut Gustave Roussy (IGR) in Paris, chair of the Drug Development Department at IGR, and a member of the lung cancer unit with a focus on targeted therapies.

About Gritstone Oncology
Gritstone Oncology is a privately-held, next-generation personalized cancer immunotherapy company. Gritstone brings together distinguished scientific founders, an experienced and diverse management team, a seasoned and successful board of directors, and deep financial backing to tackle fundamental challenges at the intersection of cancer genomics, immunology and immunotherapy design. The company’s initial goal is to identify and deploy therapeutic neoantigens from individual patients’ tumor to develop novel treatments for lung cancer. Gritstone Oncology is headquartered in the San Francisco Bay Area with certain key functions located in Cambridge, Mass. The company launched in October 2015 with a Series A financing of $102 million from leading blue-chip biotechnology investors, including Versant Ventures, The Column Group and Clarus Ventures. More information can be found at www.gritstoneoncology.com

 


Media Contact: 
Dan Budwick
1AB Media
(973) 271-6085
dan@1abmedia.com

Investor Contact:
Matt Clawson
Pure Communications
(949) 370-8500
mclawson@purecommunications.com

  

Gritstone Oncology Appoints Raphaël F. Rousseau, M.D., Ph.D., as Chief Medical Officer

Veteran of Biotechnology Industry and Academia Brings Deep Immunotherapy Experience to Support Company’s Cutting-Edge Neoantigen Immunotherapy Platform
 

Company Building Strong Cadre of Leadership with Promotion of Roman Yelensky, Ph.D., to Chief Technology Officer

  

EMERYVILLE, CA, May 3, 2017 — Gritstone Oncology, a next-generation personalized cancer immunotherapy company, today announced the appointment of Raphaël F. Rousseau, M.D., Ph.D., as chief medical officer. Dr. Rousseau, an experienced biotechnology drug developer in oncology and hematology, joins the Company from Genentech, where he was most recently global franchise head, pediatrics, in the Product Development Oncology division. Additionally, Gritstone recently promoted Roman Yelensky, Ph.D., to chief technology officer, where he will oversee the company’s genomics, proteomics and informatics programs.

“The addition of Raphaël to our executive team, as well as the promotion of Roman, come at a critical time for Gritstone Oncology. We have made significant inroads toward our goal of combining multi-omic tumor profiling and deep learning to create personalized neoantigen immunotherapies for patients with difficult-to-treat cancers,” said Andrew Allen, M.D., Ph.D., co-founder, president and chief executive officer of Gritstone Oncology. “Raphaël’s expertise in applying translational research to immunotherapy in oncology and hematology and his experience overseeing clinical trials of innovative therapeutic compounds will be invaluable as we advance our first neoantigen immunotherapy into the clinic in 2018.”

He added, “Since day one when Roman joined as our first employee, he has been instrumental in developing our cutting-edge neoantigen identification platform. Under Roman’s leadership, the Gritstone team has characterized large numbers of human tumors at the molecular level. These efforts have generated a tremendous amount of data, driving deep learning and the construction of a high-performance model that takes neoantigen prediction to the next level. Roman has been indispensable in building this unique and powerful tool, and will continue to be instrumental in our research and development program as chief technology officer.”

About Dr. Rousseau

Dr. Rousseau joins Gritstone with experience in both the biotechnology industry and academia. He has expertise in innovative study designs and in Phase 1-3 studies of targeted therapies, including small molecule inhibitors, monoclonal antibodies, gene-modified immune effector cells and vaccines, and nanosize vectors. Prior to Gritstone, he spent eight years at Genentech, a member of the Roche group, where he held positions of increasing responsibility. Dr. Rousseau created the innovative Pediatric Oncology Drug Development (iPODD) team and the pediatric franchise at Roche-Genentech, a unique approach to pediatric drug development in the pharma industry. As global franchise head, pediatrics, in the Product Development Oncology division, he managed a clinical team of physicians and scientists across sites as well as a cross-functional development and study management team of more than 60 people across several key functions, including clinical science, safety, regulatory, research, biomarkers, clinical pharmacology and operations. He served as chair of the Development Review Committee for pediatric oncology, reviewing and making decisions about early- and late-stage compounds across the Roche-Genentech oncology portfolio. He also launched the iMATRIX master trial concept, an innovative Phase 1-2 multi-tumor, multi-drug collaborative drug development platform for patients with high-risk pediatric malignancies. Before Genentech, Dr. Rousseau was international medical leader, hematology at Roche. Before joining Roche in 2009, Dr. Rousseau was a professor of medical and pediatric oncology at the Université Claude Bernard in Lyon, France. At the Léon Bérard Comprehensive Cancer Center in Lyon, Dr. Rousseau was head of the pediatric translational research program where he created and led the first European consortium for the conduct of an EMA-approved phase 1 study using CD19-targeting CAR T cells for the treatment of pediatric high-risk leukemias. Earlier in his career, he was a clinical fellow at Texas Children’s Cancer Center and a research fellow at the Center for Cell and Gene Therapy at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, where he co-developed a translational, GMP-grade, FDA-approved antitumor approach using genetically-modified autologous and allogeneic tumor cells to treat high-risk pediatric acute leukemias, chronic lymphocytic leukemia and neuroblastoma. He earned a Ph.D. in therapeutic biotechnologies at the Université Denis Diderot and an M.D. from Université René Descartes, both in Paris. He is board certified in pediatrics and has a sub-specialty certification in pediatric hematology-oncology.

About Dr. Yelensky

Dr. Yelensky joined Gritstone at its inception in October 2015 as executive vice president of sequencing and bioinformatics. Prior to that, he was vice president of biomarker and companion diagnostic development at Foundation Medicine, which he joined at its inception. While at Foundation Medicine, he co-led sequence data analysis for FoundationOne™ and led validation studies supporting clinical laboratory accreditation and testing of >100,000 patients. Dr. Yelensky established Foundation Medicine’s FDA-regulated products program, leading to the FDA approval of FoundationFocus CDxBRCA, the first NGS-based companion diagnostic. He also contributed to key national initiatives on the clinical implementation of next-generation sequencing (NGS), leading the diagnostic implementation of Lung-MAP, a first-of-its-kind NCI-sponsored trial matching lung cancer patients to investigational treatments using comprehensive genomic testing. Prior to Foundation Medicine, Dr. Yelensky was a senior scientist in biomarker development at Novartis. He has co-authored more than 75 manuscripts on bioinformatics, statistical genetics, NGS biomarker and assay development and cancer genomics. He earned an M.S. in computer science from Stanford University and a Ph.D. in bioinformatics and integrative genomics from the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology.

 About Gritstone Oncology

Gritstone Oncology is a privately-held, next-generation personalized cancer immunotherapy company. Gritstone brings together distinguished scientific founders, an experienced and diverse management team, a seasoned and successful board of directors, and deep financial backing to tackle fundamental challenges at the intersection of cancer genomics, immunology, and immunotherapy design. The company’s initial goal is to identify and deploy therapeutic neoantigens from individual patients’ tumor to develop novel treatments for lung cancer. Gritstone Oncology is headquartered in the San Francisco Bay Area with certain key functions located in Cambridge, MA. The company launched in October 2015 with a Series A financing of $102 million from leading blue-chip biotechnology investors, including Versant Ventures, The Column Group and Clarus Ventures. More information can be found at www.gritstoneoncology.com


Media Contact: 
Dan Budwick
1AB Media
(973) 271-6085
dan@1abmedia.com

 Investor Contact:
Matt Clawson
Pure Communications
(949) 370-8500
mclawson@purecommunications.com

First Public Data Presented from Gritstone Oncology’s Tumor Antigen Identification Platform for Personalized Cancer Immunotherapy

Achieving a Breakthrough in Predictive Accuracy for Tumor Neoantigens 

Gritstone’s Novel Approach Presented at the American Association for Cancer Research Annual Meeting

EMERYVILLE, CA, March 31, 2017—Gritstone Oncology, a next-generation personalized cancer immunotherapy company, today announced the first reported data supporting its novel approach to tumor-specific neoantigen (TSNA) identification through integrated tumor tissue analysis and deep learning. The data are being presented in the Tumor Antigens and Adaptive Immunity poster session on Sunday, April 2 from 1:00 – 5:00 PM EDT at the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) Annual Meeting 2017 in Washington, D.C.

“For years, cancer immunotherapy has been one of the most exciting fields in oncology research, yet it also poses some of the greatest challenges,” said Andrew Allen, M.D., Ph.D., co-founder, president and chief executive officer of Gritstone Oncology. “We believe these early data underscore the significant impact our approach could make in advancing this field. By leveraging our best-in-class genomics, proteomics, and computational platform, we are working toward personalized immunotherapies to address difficult-to-treat cancers – because every cancer and every patient is unique.”

Gritstone performed deep tumor exome and transcriptome next-generation sequencing (NGS) and mass spectrometry human leukocyte antigen (HLA) class I peptide sequencing on tumor specimens from 22 non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients. A median of 286 nonsynonymous somatic mutations were found per patient, with 62% transcribed in mRNA. Down-sampling tumor NGS data to a more typical lower average coverage revealed a 20% loss of candidate neoantigens, demonstrating the importance of NGS sequencing depth.

Gene expression measurement at the RNA level was strongly predictive of HLA presentation, with peptides from genes detected in RNA found presented >20X more often than peptides from non-detected genes. With this and public datasets, a deep learning model was created to predict HLA presentation and compared to standard binding affinity prediction. While a binding affinity-based approach gave a positive predictive value (PPV) of only ~3%, Gritstone’s platform showed ~30% PPV, a near ten-fold gain. Initial in vitro results also indicated that HLA presented TSNA can prime T cells from HLA-matched donors.

 

About Gritstone Oncology

Gritstone Oncology is a privately-held, next-generation personalized cancer immunotherapy company. Gritstone brings together distinguished scientific founders, an experienced and diverse management team, a seasoned and successful board of directors, and deep financial backing to tackle fundamental challenges at the intersection of cancer genomics, immunology, and immunotherapy design. The company’s initial goal is to identify and deploy therapeutic neoantigens from individual patients’ tumor to develop novel treatments for lung cancer. Gritstone Oncology is headquartered in the San Francisco Bay Area with certain key functions located in Cambridge, MA. The company launched in October 2015 with a Series A financing of $102 million from leading blue-chip biotechnology investors, including Versant Ventures, The Column Group, and Clarus Ventures. More information can be found at www.gritstoneoncology.com

 


 

Media Contact:
Dan Budwick
Pure Communications
(973) 271-6085
dbudwick@purecommunications.com

Investor Contact:
Matt Clawson
Pure Communications
(949) 370-8500
mclawson@purecommunications.com

Gritstone Oncology to Present at Cowen and Company’s 37th Annual Health Care Conference

EMERYVILLE, Calif., March 1, 2017 -- Gritstone Oncology, Inc. announced that Andrew Allen, M.D., Ph.D., the company’s president and chief executive officer, will present at Cowen and Company’s 37th Annual Health Care Conference in Boston, Mass., on Wednesday, March 8 at 9:30 a.m. Eastern Standard Time.  

The Cowen and Company Health Care Conference brings together industry leaders and top investors through company presentations, interviews, and panel discussions.


About Gritstone Oncology

Gritstone Oncology is a privately-held cancer immunotherapy company developing next-generation personalized cancer therapeutics. Gritstone brings together distinguished scientific founders, an experienced and diverse management team, a seasoned and successful board of directors, and very deep financial backing to tackle fundamental challenges at the intersection of cancer biology, immunology, and immunotherapy design. The company’s initial goal is to identify and deploy therapeutic neo-antigens from individual patients’ tumors to develop novel treatments for lung cancer. Gritstone Oncology is headquartered in the San Francisco Bay Area with certain key functions located in Cambridge, Mass. Gritstone Oncology launched in October 2015 with a Series A financing of $102 million. More information can be found at www.gritstone.com. 


Contact:

Michele Parisi
For Gritstone Oncology
925-429-1850

mparisi@forwardhealthinc.com


 

Immune Design and Gritstone Oncology Announce Clinical Collaboration for Neoantigen Cancer Immunotherapy

SEATTLE / SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO and EMERYVILLE, May 9, 2016 -- Immune Design (Nasdaq: IMDZ), a clinical-stage immunotherapy company focused on oncology, and Gritstone Oncology, a private cancer immunotherapy company developing next-generation, personalized cancer therapeutics, today announced a clinical collaboration for development of novel, personalized immunotherapies combining both companies’ leading technologies. 

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