Dr. Keefe to lead the product development and manufacturing of BlueSphere Bio’s first clinical candidate, a TCR T-cell therapy directed against the miHA HA-1.
PITTSBURGH, PA, April 26, 2022 — BlueSphere Bio, a T-cell receptor (TCR) T-cell therapy company developing a powerful TCR discovery platform and novel therapeutic candidates for patients with hematologic malignancies and solid tumors, today announced the appointment of industry veteran Robert Keefe, Ph.D. to its executive team as chief development officer. In this role, Dr. Keefe will lead the product development and manufacturing of BlueSphere’s first clinical candidate, a TCR T-cell therapy directed against the miHA HA-1 for the treatment of high risk leukemia in the setting of allogeneic stem cell transplant. The company anticipates filing an IND for this candidate by the end of 2022.
Dr. Keefe brings more than 20 years of product development experience in the cell and gene therapy industry. Before joining BlueSphere, Dr. Keefe served as head of Chemistry Manufacturing and Controls (CMC) for cell and gene therapies at AstraZeneca, where he led the global development of autologous and allogeneic cell therapies.
Prior to that role, he held a variety of leadership positions at several biopharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, including Lentigen, Autolus, Lonza and WuXi AppTec. Dr. Keefe earned his doctorate at the University of California, Davis, and served as a post-doctoral fellow at the Fox Chase Cancer Center, where his research focused on the role of T-cells in the immune response to infectious disease and cancer.
About BlueSphere Bio
BlueSphere Bio is the first translational sciences stand-alone company formed by UPMC Enterprises, the innovation, commercialization and venture capital arm of the Pittsburgh-based health system. The company was founded upon the unique, advanced TCR discovery platform – TCXpress™, designed to isolate and functionally characterize TCRs with speed, sensitivity and efficiency. BlueSphere anticipates filing its first IND application in 2022 for a novel TCR T-cell therapy for patients with high-risk leukemias, including acute myeloid leukemia (AML), acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL) and myeloid dysplastic syndrome (MDS) in the context of allogeneic stem cell transplantation. Concurrent with its pursuit of hematologic cancers, BlueSphere is pursuing additional programs in solid tumors using NEOXpress™, a proprietary patient-specific neoantigen discovery platform, to target patient-specific neoantigens, and anticipates additional virtual patient data from multiple tumor types on a rolling basis over the next year.
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