FARMINGDALE, N.Y., May 4, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- Codagenix Inc., a clinical-stage biotechnology company developing prophylactic vaccines and oncolytic virus therapies for cancer, today announced the appointment of innovative oncology leader Johanna Kaufmann, Ph.D., as Executive Vice President, Oncology. In her new role, Dr. Kaufmann will lead the Company's oncology franchise, overseeing the development of oncolytic virus therapies targeting breast cancer, melanoma, and prostate cancer. Codagenix expects to advance its CodaLyticTM oncolytic virus for the treatment of triple negative breast cancer into Phase 1 testing later this year.
"Johanna is both a talented scientist and natural leader with extensive experience in translational research across oncology, immunology, and virology. Her proven skill sets in discovery, preclinical, and early clinical-stage development of biologics and other modalities for immunotherapy will be a major asset for Codagenix," said J. Robert Coleman, Ph.D., CEO of Codagenix. "While our vaccine programs, including COVI-VAC™, a live-attenuated COVID-19 vaccine, have been at the forefront recently, our oncolytic virus programs, including CodaLyticTM for breast cancer, offer significant promise, and we look forward to Johanna's leadership as we advance these high-value assets into the clinic."
Codagenix utilizes its proprietary Synthetic Attenuated Virus Engineering (SAVE) platform to re-code the genome of a virus, turning it from a dangerous pathogen into a safe vaccine or solid-tumor therapeutic. Doing so, Codagenix can use its platform to customize viruses for specific cancer types. Codagenix currently has oncolytic virus candidates in preclinical development for breast cancer, melanoma and prostate cancer that are engineered to enhance innate and adaptive immunity against solid tumors and help clear downstream metastases.
Prior to joining Codagenix, Dr. Kaufmann served as Scientific Director, Immuno-Oncology for GlaxoSmithKline (formerly TESARO, Inc.) in Waltham, MA. Previously, she conducted research as a Senior Scientist, Innovation and Automation/Vaccine Development at Genocea Biosciences in Cambridge, MA. Dr. Kaufmann was a postdoctoral research fellow at Harvey Cushing Neuro-Oncology Laboratories, Department of Neurosurgery, Brigham & Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston, MA. She earned her Ph.D. in cancer virology from Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg with work performed in the Helmholtz University Group, "Oncolytic Adenoviruses," at the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) in Heidelberg, Germany. She holds an M.S. in Molecular Medicine from Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg, in Erlangen, Germany.
"I am excited to join Codagenix and lead the strategic development of its early-stage pipeline of oncolytic viral therapies," stated Dr. Kaufmann. "Codagenix is utilizing a highly innovative approach to attenuate viruses capable of inducing potent prophylactic and therapeutic immune responses. I am impressed by the progress the Company has made over the past years advancing its vaccine candidates and addressing unmet health needs, most recently evidenced by the rapid development of COVI-VAC™. I am excited to work with the growing Codagenix team and implement a sustainable development strategy for immuno-oncology, applying SAVE as a differentiated viral engineering platform."
About Codagenix Inc. Codagenix is a clinical-stage biotechnology company developing prophylactic vaccines and oncolytic virus therapies. The company's breakthrough Synthetic Attenuated Virus Engineering (SAVE) platform utilizes a computer algorithm to recode the genomes of viruses and construct live-attenuated vaccines to prevent viral infections or treat solid tumors. Codagenix has demonstrated its live-attenuated viruses stimulate a robust T cell and antibody immune response but are non-pathogenic. Codagenix possesses a deep pipeline of clinical and pre-clinical programs including vaccine candidates for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19 (COVI-VAC™); respiratory syncytial virus (CodaVax™-RSV) in Phase 1 testing; influenza (CodaVax™-H1N1); dengue virus; and triple negative breast cancer (using a rationally designed virus). To date, as part of Phase 1 clinical studies, 194 healthy volunteers ranging in age from 18 to 75 years old have received Codagenix vaccines. Codagenix was founded based on technology developed in the laboratory of National Academy of Science member Dr. Eckard Wimmer at Stony Brook University, and is supported by Adjuvant Capital, TopSpin Partners, and Euclidean Capital. The company has ongoing research and license programs with various federal agencies.