Today BlueSphere Bio announces the appointment of Jonathan Peacock as Chairman of the Board of Directors in its pursuit to build an industry leading Board and executive team to develop their groundbreaking immune oncology T cell receptor (TCR) T-cell discovery platform and clinical programs.
Mr. Peacock brings a wealth of experience from the biotech and pharmaceutical industries, as BlueSphere Bio advances its TCR and neoantigen platforms to develop TCR T-cell therapeutics for the personalized treatment of hematologic malignancies and solid tumors. Mr. Peacock is the former Chief Financial Officer (CFO) of Amgen Inc. and prior to that, CFO of the Pharmaceuticals Division of Novartis AG. He is currently the Lead Director at Avantor and a Board member at Genmab and UCB. From 2014, he was a Board member and the Audit and Finance Committee Chair at Kite Pharma until its sale to Gilead for $11.9 billion in 2017. He was also the Chairman and co-founder of Arix Bioscience plc, a listed biotech investment company. Mr. Peacock also has extensive experience in venture and public capital markets including NASDAQ, NYSE, and LSE.
BlueSphere Bio recently completed a tranched Series B financing of $105M by UPMC Enterprises, the innovation, commercialization and venture capital arm of the Pittsburgh health system giant, to fund the lead clinical program in acute myeloid leukemia (AML) and other high risk leukemias, as well as full enablement of its TCR platform, to support its solid tumor program and strategic collaborations. BlueSphere Bio is developing TCR T-cell therapeutic programs based on its two proprietary discovery platforms – TCXpressTM and NEOXpressTM. TCXpress™ is an automated, high throughput TCR discovery engine designed to isolate and functionally characterize TCRs with speed, sensitivity, and efficiency. The ability of TCXpress™ to capture and functionally characterize 1000s of unique TCRs per week could set a benchmark for TCR discovery in the cell therapy space. NEOXpress™ is a unique platform that, in part, defines a patient’s own tumor-specific neoantigen profile based on proprietary algorithms developed by BlueSphere Bio’s bioinformatics team. Those neoantigens are then screened in multiplex fashion for ability to stimulate the tumor specific TCRs identified by TCXpress™ to identify personalized TCR T-cell therapeutic candidates, on an individual patient basis. The company is also scaling out the TCXpress™ platform to enable future discovery and development partnerships, while simultaneously conducting its own discovery and development work at its R & D facility based in Pittsburgh, PA.
BlueSphere Bio, is a private biotechnology company spun out of UPMC in 2018 with seed funding and a Series A financing by UPMC Enterprises. The company was co-founded by Dr. Mark Shlomchik (University of Pittsburgh, Chair, Dept. of Immunology), Dr. Warren Shlomchik (University of Pittsburgh, Director, Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplant and Cell Therapy), Dr. Constantinos Panousis, and Dr. Alex Rowe.
BlueSphere Bio anticipates its first IND application to be filed in 2022 for a novel TCR T-cell therapy for high-risk leukemias, including acute myeloid leukemia (AML), acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL), and myeloid dysplastic syndrome (MDS) in the setting of hematopoietic stem cell transplant (HSCT). In addition to its clinical program in hematologic cancers, the company is pursuing solid tumor programs targeting patient-specific neoantigens and is anticipating initial virtual patient data from multiple tumor types by the end of Q4 2021.