CAMBRIDGE, Mass.--(EON: Enhanced Online News)--Surface Oncology, an immuno-oncology company developing next-generation immunotherapies that target the tumor microenvironment, today announced the appointment of Robert W. Ross, MD as its Chief Medical Officer. Dr. Ross will be responsible for advancing Surface Oncology’s development programs, including SRF231, a fully human CD47 antibody, into and through the clinic. Dr. Ross joins Surface from bluebird bio, where he was most recently head of the Oncology franchise and Senior Vice President of Clinical Development and pharmacovigilance.
“The addition of such a well-respected and experienced professional to our team positions us well as we continue to expand our pipeline and advance novel programs into the clinic”
“Immune therapy is the future of oncology treatment. In the last five years, with the introduction of immune system modulation, the lives of patients have been fundamentally changed, but there is clearly more work to do to bring more cures to patients,” said Dr. Ross. “Surface Oncology’s strategy targeting the various components of the tumor microenvironment has an excellent chance of achieving that goal. I look forward to working closely with this outstanding team to move their programs to the clinic as rapidly as possible.”
Dr. Ross has diverse clinical development experience, including cancer patient care at Dana Farber Cancer Center, and clinical development roles at Genentech and Infinity Pharmaceuticals. Most recently he was at bluebird bio, leading the clinical development of genetically modified cellular therapies in sickle cell disease and β thalassemia. He was also the head of oncology at bluebird bio, building a multifaceted oncology program, led by an anti-BCMA chimeric antigen T cell therapy currently in clinical trials in patients with multiple myeloma.
“The addition of such a well-respected and experienced professional to our team positions us well as we continue to expand our pipeline and advance novel programs into the clinic,” said Detlev Biniszkiewicz, PhD, President and CEO of Surface Oncology. “Rob has extensive experience building strong teams and leading early stage development programs into late stage clinical development. We are excited he will be applying these skills at Surface to help achieve our goal of bringing cures to patients.”
ABOUT SURFACE ONCOLOGY
In order to re-activate a patient’s immune response to cancer, Surface Oncology is developing next-generation immunotherapies targeting the tumor microenvironment. Our broad attack has the potential to convert patients’ non-responsive ‘cold’ tumors into immune-active ones. We are committed to advancing our diverse pipeline of immunotherapies including our fully human CD47 antibody program, to bring more cures to patients who do not benefit from existing cancer treatments. To accomplish this, Surface’s world-class team is working with our network of leading academic advisors and a robust scientific platform integrating tumor immunology, antibody characterization, and translational science. Headquartered in the heart of Cambridge’s Kendall Square, Surface was founded by Atlas Venture and financed by an industry-leading syndicate of investors. In 2016, Surface entered into a global strategic collaboration with Novartis to bring four next-generation immunotherapies to patients.
SRF231 – Fully Human Anti-CD47 Antibody
CD47 is an important immune escape mechanism exploited by multiple tumor types, making it a target with broad therapeutic potential. CD47 acts as a macrophage checkpoint or “don’t eat me” signal that prevents cells from being eliminated by a macrophage-mediated process called phagocytosis.
Surface presented data on SRF231, which demonstrated it binds with high affinity to CD47, stimulates phagocytosis of cancer cells in vitro, and has potent in vivo anti-tumor activity, both as monotherapy and in combination with standard of care. These data also demonstrated that SRF231 does not induce detectable hemagglutination or phagocytosis of red blood cells in vitro, a potentially important safety advantage.