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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Gritstone Oncology Appoints Dr. Karin Jooss as Chief Scientific Officer

Company leadership also expands with hire of Dr. Mojca Skoberne as senior director of Immunology
 

Emeryville, Calif., April 13, 2016 – Gritstone Oncology, a cancer immunotherapy company developing next-generation, personalized cancer therapeutics, today announced the appointment of Karin Jooss, Ph.D., as chief scientific officer. Dr. Jooss joins Gritstone from Pfizer, where she served as head of Cancer Immunotherapeutics and Immunopharmacology for seven years. 

“We are thrilled that Karin has chosen to join Gritstone at this vital stage and help us build a best-in-class neo-antigen cancer vaccine company,” said Andrew Allen, M.D., Ph.D., Gritstone Oncology co-founder, president and CEO. “She is a seasoned researcher with highly relevant scientific experience, an extensive cancer immunotherapy network, and a proven ability to lead cross-functional teams that effectively move cancer vaccines into clinical development.” 

Dr. Jooss has more than 20 years of experience in oncology and immunology research. While at Pfizer, she built and led immuno-oncology teams within the Vaccine Immunotherapeutics department, was a member of the Vaccine Immunotherapeutics leadership team and served as the head of the Immunophamacology team. Her duties included overseeing the assessment of all cancer vaccine in-licensing opportunities, and launching Pfizer’s first clinical cancer-vaccine program deploying a variety of vaccine platforms and immune modulators to build a multi-component vaccine-based immunotherapy regimen. Prior to joining Pfizer, Dr. Jooss served as vice president of Research at Cell Genesys, Inc. 

“I am very excited to be joining this innovative and fast-moving team,” said Jooss. “The science of tumor-specific neo-antigens is foundational to cancer immunotherapy, and I am delighted to be able to apply my skills and experience to this new domain alongside the founders and scientists of Gritstone.” 

Gritstone also announced today that Mojca Skoberne, Ph.D. has joined the company as senior director of Immunology, reporting to Dr. Jooss. Dr. Skoberne most recently served as program lead at Genocea Biosciences, a company that identifies targets of T cell responses, where she worked up through the ranks of immunology science, building skills including comprehensive T cell characterization and robust, clinical-grade immune-assay development. 

“Our goal is to build a powerhouse team that can successfully address the challenges of tumor-specific neoantigen identification and the development of vaccines containing these novel antigens,” said Allen. “The addition of Karin and Mojca to our team fills out our capabilities such that we can continue to move aggressively toward the clinic.” 


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 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 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, 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: 

Michele Parisi
925-429-1850
mparisi@forwardhealthinc.com