Intensity Therapeutics, Inc., a privately-held biotechnology company developing proprietary immune cell activating anti-cancer drug products, announced that Douglas Hanahan, Riccardo Lencioni and Mario Sznol would join the Company’s newly formed Scientific Advisory Board (SAB). These worldrenowned scientists and physicians will provide research and development guidance on Intensity’s proprietary products and technology. The SAB members span a broad range of expertise relevant to Intensity’s approach including; immuno-oncology, clinical trial design, interventional oncology, tumor imaging, tumor microenvironment, cell regulation and cancer vaccination.
“We are honored to have the support of this distinguished group of exceptional academic scientists and physicians as we advance our lead anti-cancer drug, INT230-6, into clinical testing,” said Lewis H. Bender, CEO of Intensity Therapeutics. “This advisory group brings together crucial expertise from fields relevant to our technology and science.”
Intensity’s recently formed SAB consists of the following distinguished members:
Douglas Hanahan, Ph.D. École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL)
Dr. Hanahan is a full professor at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne (EPFL). In addition, Dr. Hanahan is director of the Swiss Institute for Experimental Cancer Research (ISREC), part of EPFL; and is vice-director of the new multiinstitutional Swiss Cancer Center Lausanne. He received a Ph.D. in biophysics from Harvard, where he was a Harvard Junior Fellow. As a graduate student and as a faculty member at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, NY, he developed innovative models for studying human cancer. Dr. Hanahan continued this work when he joined the Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics and Hormone Research at the University of California, San Francisco, CA, USA in 1988. He became head of ISREC in 2009. Dr. Hanahan’s accomplishments in the field of oncology and the tumor microenvironment have been recognized by his election to several honor societies, such as the American Academy of Arts & Sciences (2007), the Institute of Medicine of the US National Academies (2008), the US National Academy of Science (2009), and the European Molecular Biology Organization (2010). Dr. Hanahan’s paper, “The Hallmarks of Cancer,” which he co-authored with Robert Weinberg and published in the journal Cell in January 2000, is one of the seminal papers in the history of cancer research, and one of Cell’s most cited articles.
Riccardo Lencioni, MD, FSIR, EBIR, (University of Miami)
Dr. Riccardo Lencioni is professor of clinical radiology at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine and director of the Interventional Oncology Research Group. Previously Dr. Lencioni was professor and director of Diagnostic Imaging and Intervention at Pisa University School of Medicine in Pisa, Italy. He is the founder of the International Liver Cancer Association (ILCA) and served as the ILCA executive secretary. Dr. Lencioni has also served as chairman of the World Conference of Interventional Oncology, a network of interventional oncologists dedicated to the development of treatment approaches based on imaging, such as intratumoral delivery. He has been involved in the development of recommendations for the research and clinical management of hepatocellular carcinoma, and recently co-authored the white papers, “Design and Endpoints in Clinical Trials in Hepatocellular Carcinoma” (2008), “Modified RECIST (mRECIST) Assessment for Hepatocellular Carcinoma” (2010), and “EASL-EORTC Clinical Practice Guidelines: Management of Hepatocellular Carcinoma” (2012). Riccardo Lencioni has published 190 articles in peer-reviewed international journals and 61 textbook chapters, and is the editor of nine books.
Mario Sznol, MD: Yale University – Smilow Cancer Center, New Haven
Dr. Sznol is currently professor of internal medicine at Yale University School of Medicine, co-director of the Yale Melanoma Program, and co-director of Yale SPORE in Skin Cancer. He is an investigator in several clinical trials at the Yale Cancer Center, including those focusing on immunotherapy and novel agents. Dr. Sznol has an international reputation in cancer drug development with expertise in cancer immunotherapy and the treatment of patients with melanoma and renal cell carcinoma. Dr. Sznol received his undergraduate degree from Rice University, trained in internal medicine and Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas, and completed a medical oncology fellowship in the Department of Neoplastic Diseases in Mount Sinai Hospital, New York. He spent the next twelve years in the Biologics Evaluation Section (BES), Investigational Drug Branch of the Cancer Therapy Evaluation Program at the National Cancer Institute (NCI), and was head of the BES from 1994-1999.
“Intensity’s innovative platform and its unique approach of rendering tumors more highly antigenic, thereby productively engaging anti-tumor immunity for therapeutic benefit, is very promising and I am happy to contribute to the development and application of this new technology to the breakthrough field of immuno-oncology,” said Dr. Douglas Hanahan.
Dr. Riccardo Lencioni continued, “We were inspired to support Intensity’s novel approach that makes use of interventional oncology methods that could dramatically improve cancer patient care.”
“Patients with inoperable or malignant cancer desperately need new ideas and treatments to help alleviate their suffering. We are pleased to be part of the collaborative team exploring this new drug product technology,” concluded Dr. Mario Sznol.
In addition, Intensity Therapeutics is collaborating with the NCI under a Collaborative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA). Scientists working with the Company include:
- Jay Berzofsky, MD, Ph.D. – NCI Center for Cancer Research; chief of the Vaccine Branch at the National Cancer Institute
- Masaki Terabe, Ph.D. – NCI Center for Cancer Research; deputy section chief of the NCI Vaccine Branch
- Anja Bloom, Ph.D. – NCI Center for Cancer Research; research scientist in the NCI Vaccine Branch
Dr. Berzofsky’s lab (The Molecular Immunogenetics & Vaccine Research Section) is a group within the Vaccine Branch at the NCI that conducts animal research as well as human clinical trials. Areas of research include the immunology of antigen-specific T cell activation and regulation, as well as translation strategies for design of vaccines for HIV, cancer, and viruses that cause cancer. Other research includes use of synergistic combinations of cytokines and TLR ligands in vaccines, methods to increase CTL avidity, and analysis of a new NKT cell immunoregulatory axis and regulatory circuits that inhibit tumor immunity and vaccine-induced immune responses. The group also studies cancer interactions with other regulatory mechanisms to improve vaccine efficacy, and strategies to induce mucosal immunity. Several basic discoveries are currently being translated into clinical trials.
“The CRADA with Intensity has been an excellent partnership and scientific exchange,” said Dr. Jay Berzofsky. “Our team here at the NCI has reproduced the results observed by Intensity Therapeutics, and we look forward to continuing our work together.”
INT230-6 is a novel, anticancer drug product able to disperse through tumors and diffuse into cancer cells. The product was identified from Intensity’s DfuseRxSM platform technology. Using in vivo preclinical models of severe cancer, INT230-6 treatment results in substantial improvement in overall survival compared to standard therapies. The product can completely clear large tumors in animal models. Complete responders have long term protection even after multiple re-inoculations of the cancer. INT230-6 administration has shown an increased recruitment of immune cells to the tumor microenvironment.