SAN DIEGO, Nov. 2, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Tocagen Inc., a clinical-stage, cancer-selective gene therapy company, today announced the appointment of Martin "Marty" Duvall as chief executive officer and member of the company's board of directors. Harry Gruber, M.D., who previously served as Tocagen's chief executive officer, has assumed the role of president, research and development, and will remain a member of Tocagen's board of directors.
"Marty has clearly demonstrated over his career that he is skilled in building oncology focused companies and successfully commercializing major oncology products, including Taxotere® and Abraxane®," said Dr. Gruber. "Tocagen has entered a new era as we advance towards potential commercialization of our lead product candidate, and Marty's expertise and strategic vision will guide us at this pivotal point in the company's growth. I enthusiastically welcome Marty to lead our team and inspire us to continue developing first-in-class immunotherapy drugs to help patients in their fight against cancer."
Mr. Duvall holds more than 30 years of experience in oncology drug development and commercialization at mid-stage and global pharmaceutical companies, including building numerous successful oncology teams. Prior to joining Tocagen he served as executive vice president, chief commercial officer of ARIAD Pharmaceuticals, and helped lead the company's transformation into a fully integrated, global biotechnology company.
"While we have made strides in treating some cancers, it is clear that we need to think 'outside the box' and pursue approaches with unique mechanisms of action to truly impact this disease, particularly for difficult-to-treat tumors," said Mr. Duvall. "I was impressed by Tocagen's team and the clinical data demonstrated by the company's lead immunotherapy product candidate. I am honored that Tocagen's board has entrusted me to lead the company and I look forward to working with all of Tocagen's key stakeholders as we advance its novel cancer-selective gene therapy technology platform towards potential commercialization."
Previous to Mr. Duvall's role at ARIAD, he served as senior vice president and general manager, oncology, at Merck and & Co., Inc. Prior to this role, Mr. Duvall was the senior vice president, global marketing and commercial operations at Abraxis Bioscience, Inc. (acquired by Celgene), where he guided global commercial strategy for Abraxane. Prior to joining Abraxis, he was the senior vice president, commercial operations, for MGI Pharma, Inc. (acquired by Eisai Co., Ltd.), where he held a key role in the launch and commercialization of Aloxi®. Previous to MGI, Mr. Duvall held roles of increasing responsibility related to commercialization, marketing and sales of oncology drugs at Sanofi and its predecessor companies.
Faheem Hasnain, chairman of Tocagen's board of directors, added, "The Tocagen team has transformed an academic technology into a promising cancer immunotherapy treatment that is now under evaluation in a Phase 2/3 trial. With the addition of Marty as chief executive officer, and Harry serving as president, research and development, Tocagen is well positioned to continue pursuit of the company's founding vision: No One Should Die Of Cancer."
Tocagen is a clinical-stage, cancer-selective gene therapy company developing first-in-class, broadly applicable product candidates designed to activate a patient's immune system against their own cancer. The company is developing its lead investigational product candidate, Toca 511 (vocimagene amiretrorepvec) & Toca FC (extended-release 5-fluorocytosine), initially for the treatment of recurrent high grade glioma (HGG), a disease with significant unmet medical need. Tocagen has initiated the Phase 2 portion of a randomized, controlled Phase 2/3 clinical trial of Toca 511 & Toca FC in patients with recurrent HGG, which is designed to serve as a potential registrational trial. More information about the clinical trial can be found at www.tocagen.com/toca5. Tocagen has initiated a clinical trial of Toca 511 & Toca FC in metastatic cancers, including colorectal, pancreatic, lung, breast, renal and melanoma. Tocagen obtained Fast Track designation from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for Toca 511 & Toca FC as a treatment of recurrent HGG and Orphan drug designation for the treatment of glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), a subset of HGG. Tocagen has received grant support from leading brain cancer foundations, including Accelerate Brain Cancer Cure (ABC2), National Brain Tumor Society (NBTS), American Brain Tumor Association (ABTA), Musella Foundation and Voices Against Brain Cancer (VABC). For more information, visit www.tocagen.com or follow @Tocagen.
SOURCE Tocagen Inc.