– Key Oncology and Drug Development Professionals to Support Advancement of Merus’ Pipeline of Bispecific Antibodies –
UTRECHT, The Netherlands, August 22, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Merus N.V. (Nasdaq:MRUS), a clinical-stage immuno-oncology company developing innovative bispecific antibody therapeutics (Biclonics®), today announced the formation of a Scientific Advisory Board (SAB), consisting of several world-renowned immuno-oncology and drug development professionals. The SAB will collaborate with members of Merus’ management team to support the advancement of the Company’s pipeline of Biclonics® candidates for various oncology indications.
“As Merus continues with its goals of discovering and advancing Biclonics® therapeutic candidates into the clinic, we are delighted to have these world-renowned oncology professionals join our team as advisors,” said Ton Logtenberg, Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer of Merus. “Each individual’s deep experience in oncology drug development from initial discovery to late-stage clinical studies will provide support through this next stage of growth for our pipeline and company. We look forward to Drs. Hans Clevers, Toni Ribas, Ton Schumacher, and Josep Tabernero’s contributions as founding members of our SAB.”’
The appointments to Merus’ SAB include:
Johannes Carolus Clevers, M.D., Ph.D. Dr. Clevers is a Professor of Molecular Genetics at the University Medical Center Utrecht and Director of Research at the Princess Máxima Center for Pediatric Oncology. For ten years, Dr. Clevers served as the Director of the Hubrecht Institute of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences and most recently served as President of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Science. His scientific research has focused on the biology of Wnt signaling in intestinal self-renewal and cancer. Dr Clevers discovered tissue stem cells in multiple organs through the Lgr5 stem cell marker. This led to establishment of organoid technology. He received his M.D., Ph.D., and M.Sc. in biology from the University of Utrecht with postdoctoral work completed at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.
Antoni Ribas, M.D., Ph.D. Dr. Ribas is a Professor of Medicine, Professor of Surgery, and Professor of Molecular and Medical Pharmacology at the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA). He also currently serves as Director of the Tumor Immunology Program at the Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center (JCCC), Chair of the Melanoma Committee of the South West Oncology Group (SWOG) and a member of the Board of Directors of the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR). Dr. Ribas is a physician-scientist who conducts laboratory and clinical research in malignant melanoma, focusing on gene engineered adoptive cell transfer (ACT) therapies, anti-CTLA4 antibodies, anti-PD-1 antibodies, BRAF and MEK inhibitors and nanoparticle-siRNA. He trained at the University of Barcelona with postdoctoral research and clinical fellowships completed at UCLA.
Ton Schumacher, Ph.D. Dr. Schumacher is a Senior Member at The Netherlands Cancer Institute, Professor of Immunotechnology at Leiden University Medical Center, Venture Partner at Third Rock Ventures and a scientific advisor to several emerging biotechnology companies. Dr. Schumacher is also the Founder of Neon Therapeutics and AIMM Therapeutics. He previously served as Chief Scientific Officer of Kite Pharma EU, which was formed following Kite Pharma’s acquisition of T Cell Factory, a company Dr. Schumacher founded. Dr. Schumacher received his Ph.D. from The Netherlands Cancer Institute, a M.Sc. in medical biology from the University of Amsterdam and completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Josep Tabernero, M.D., Ph.D. Dr. Tabernero is the Director of the Vall d’Hebron Institute of Oncology (VHIO), Associate Professor in the Medicine Department at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, and Director of Innovation, Care and Research at the Catalonian Oncology Network. Dr. Tabernero also holds several roles in the Medical Oncology Department at the Vall d’Hebron University Hospital, including Head of the Department, Clinical Director and Head of the Gastrointestinal Tumors Services and Phase 1 Unit. Dr. Tabernero is a physician-scientist who conducts laboratory and clinical research in the field of gastrointestinal tumors with particular focus in early drug development. Dr. Tabernero received his M.D. and Ph.D. from the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona.
About Merus N.V.
Merus is a clinical-stage immuno-oncology company developing innovative full-length human bispecific antibody therapeutics, referred to as Biclonics®. Biclonics®, which are based on the full-length IgG format, are manufactured using industry standard processes and have been observed in preclinical and clinical studies to have several of the same features of conventional human monoclonal antibodies, such as long half-life and low immunogenicity. Merus’ most advanced bispecific antibody candidate, MCLA-128, is being evaluated in a Phase 2 combination trial in two metastatic breast cancer populations. MCLA-128 is also being evaluated in a Phase 1/2 clinical trial in gastric, ovarian, endometrial and non-small cell lung cancers. Additional pipeline programs include MCLA-117, which is currently being studied in a Phase 1 clinical trial in patients with acute myeloid leukemia, and MCLA-158, a Biclonics® being studied in a Phase 1 clinical trial in patients with solid tumors with an initial focus on metastatic colorectal cancer. Through its collaboration with Incyte Corporation, Merus is also developing a preclinical bispecific antibody designed to bind to PD-L1 and a non-disclosed second immunomodulatory target. For additional information, please visit Merus’ website, www.merus.nl.
Forward Looking Statement
This press release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. All statements contained in this press release that do not relate to matters of historical fact should be considered forward-looking statements, including without limitation the formulation of clinical development plans and clinical development of our bispecific antibody candidates, the design and treatment potential of our bispecific antibody candidates including MCLA-128, MCLA-117, MCLA-158 and preclinical bispecific antibodies, the impact of the SAB and its ability to support advancement and growth of our company and pipeline of Biclonics® candidates for various oncology indications and goals for discovery and advancement of our Biclonics® therapeutic candidates into the clinic.
These forward-looking statements are based on management’s current expectations. These statements are neither promises nor guarantees, but involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other important factors that may cause our actual results, performance or achievements to be materially different from any future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by the forward-looking statements, including, but not limited to, the following: our need for additional funding, which may not be available and which may require us to restrict our operations or require us to relinquish rights to our technologies or Biclonics® and bispecific antibody candidates; potential delays in regulatory approval, which would impact our ability to commercialize our product candidates and affect our ability to generate revenue; the lengthy and expensive process of clinical drug development, which has an uncertain outcome; the unpredictable nature of our early stage development efforts for marketable drugs; potential delays in enrollment of patients, which could affect the receipt of necessary regulatory approvals; our reliance on third parties to conduct our clinical trials and the potential for those third parties to not perform satisfactorily; we may not identify suitable Biclonics® or bispecific antibody candidates under our collaboration with Incyte or Incyte may fail to perform adequately under our collaboration; our reliance on third parties to manufacture our product candidates, which may delay, prevent or impair our development and commercialization efforts; protection of our proprietary technology; our patents may be found invalid, unenforceable, circumvented by competitors and our patent applications may be found not to comply with the rules and regulations of patentability; we may fail to prevail in existing and potential lawsuits for infringement of third-party intellectual property; and our registered or unregistered trademarks or trade names may be challenged, infringed, circumvented or declared generic or determined to be infringing on other marks.
These and other important factors discussed under the caption “Risk Factors” in our Annual Report on Form 20-F filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, or SEC, on April 30, 2018, and our other reports filed with the SEC, could cause actual results to differ materially from those indicated by the forward-looking statements made in this press release. Any such forward-looking statements represent management’s estimates as of the date of this press release. While we may elect to update such forward-looking statements at some point in the future, we disclaim any obligation to do so, even if subsequent events cause our views to change, except as required under applicable law. These forward-looking statements should not be relied upon as representing our views as of any date subsequent to the date of this press release.