LEXINGTON, Mass., July 16, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- Agenus Inc. (NASDAQ: AGEN), an immuno-oncology company with clinical stage checkpoint antibodies, a pipeline of IND ready antibodies and bispecifics, cancer vaccines, and adoptive cell therapies1, today announced the appointment of I-O drug development experts into key leadership positions. These appointments will help advance multiple clinical programs and planned BLA filings by 2020.
"Our CTLA-4 and PD-1 antibodies have generated compelling early clinical activity and we expect to be in the clinic with our novel antibodies this year and next. Drs. Gupta and Wijatyk have had successful careers leading the approvals of immune therapies and chemotherapies," said Garo H. Armen, Ph.D., Chairman and CEO of Agenus. "Their expertise will help accelerate our commitment to bring novel I-O therapies to patients. These include our efforts to launch our CTLA-4 and PD-1 molecules as early as 2020. We are also readying the clinical launch of our Nextgen CTLA-4 as well as 2 additional IND filings of our tumor microenvironment conditioners this year."
Dr. Sunil Gupta joins Agenus as Vice President of Regulatory and Pharmacovigilance. Dr. Gupta is a trained oncologist with nearly 30 years in senior leadership positions in clinical development and regulatory affairs. He joins Agenus from Sanofi where he had a distinguished career for 22 years including leading the approvals of Cemiplimab (anti-PD-1), Iniparib (PARP inhibition), Oxaliplatin and Taxotere.
Dr. Anna Wijatyk joins Agenus as the Vice President of Clinical Development from Shire, where she was the Vice President Oncology & Global Development Lead in hematologic cancers. Dr. Wijatyk is a clinician who brings with her more than 20 years of experience in leadership positions at Bristol-Myers Squibb, Baxter, and Shire in oncology and rare diseases leading to approvals of products with the FDA, EMA and Health Canada.
In connection with these appointment, Agenus is granting Dr. Gupta and Dr. Wijatyk inducement equity awards in accordance with NASDAQ Listing Rule 5635(c)(4). These awards are being granted pursuant to Agenus' 2015 Inducement Equity Plan and were approved by the Compensation Committee of Agenus' Board of Directors, made up entirely of independent directors, as an inducement material to Drs. Gupta and Wijatyk entering into employment with Agenus. The awards to Dr. Gupta consist of (i) nonqualified options to purchase 40,000 shares of Agenus common stock with a 10-year term, an exercise price equal to the closing price of Agenus' common stock on the first day of Dr. Gupta's employment with Agenus, and vesting over four years in equal annual installments, (ii) 30,000 restricted stock units that vest over four years in equal annual installments and (iii) up to 24,910 restricted stock units that are part of a company-wide performance equity program and are eligible to vest in 2020 and 2021 based upon the achievement of key company milestones. The awards to Dr. Wijatyk consist of (i) nonqualified options to purchase 60,000 shares of Agenus common stock with a 10-year term, an exercise price equal to the closing price of Agenus' common stock on the first day of Dr. Wijatyk's employment with Agenus, and vesting over four years in equal annual installments, (ii) 80,000 restricted stock units that vest over two years in equal annual installments and (iii) up to 37,370 restricted stock units that are part of a company-wide performance equity program and are eligible to vest in 2020 and 2021 based upon the achievement of key company milestones.
Agenus is a clinical-stage immuno-oncology company focused on the discovery and development of therapies that engage the body's immune system to fight cancer. The Company's vision is to expand the patient populations benefiting from cancer immunotherapy by pursuing combination approaches that leverage a broad repertoire of antibody therapeutics and proprietary cancer vaccine platforms. The Company is equipped with a suite of antibody discovery platforms and a state-of-the-art GMP manufacturing facility with the capacity to support early phase clinical programs. Agenus is headquartered in Lexington, MA. For more information, please visit www.agenusbio.com; information that may be important to investors will be routinely posted on our website.
This press release contains forward-looking statements that are made pursuant to the safe harbor provisions of the federal securities laws, including statements regarding Agenus' clinical trial plans and activities and timelines for filing INDs, filing BLAs and initiating commercial launch of candidates. These forward-looking statements are subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially. These risks and uncertainties include, among others, the factors described under the Risk Factors section of our most recent Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q or Annual Report on Form 10-K filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Agenus cautions investors not to place considerable reliance on the forward-looking statements contained in this release. These statements speak only as of the date of this press release, and Agenus undertakes no obligation to update or revise the statements, other than to the extent required by law. All forward-looking statements are expressly qualified in their entirety by this cautionary statement.
Jennifer Buell, PhD
1Through AgenTus Therapeutics, a subsidiary of Agenus
SOURCE Agenus Inc.