Enara Bio, the Oxford Science Park-based cancer biotech has expanded its senior research team. Dr Robert Ang has been appointed the Company’s Board of Directors as an independent non-executive director.
Enara Bio is leveraging its proprietary T-cell/T-cell receptor discovery and Dark Antigen platforms to deliver targeted cancer immunotherapies, has expanded its senior research team.
Dark Antigens represent a new class of cancer-associated antigens that derive from the genomic “dark matter” – the portion of the human genome that is normally not expressed as protein. These sequences are usually silenced in healthy cells but are activated and presented on tumour cells. This makes them good targets for targeted therapies that will attack cancer cells while leaving healthy cells alone.
Dr Ang currently serves as the President and Chief Executive Officer of Vor Biopharma, a clinical-stage cell and genome engineering company based in Cambridge, Massachusetts in the USA where he has led a successful Series B fundraising and a subsequent NASDAQ IPO.
Houman Ashrafian, Co-founder and Chair of Enara Bio, said “I am delighted to welcome Dr Ang to the Board at a time of significant progress for Enara Bio. Dr. Ang’s broad experience as a senior business executive in the life sciences industry, deep understanding of the immune-oncology landscape and successful track record building innovative companies will bring an invaluable perspective as we continue advancing our research and development of next-generation cancer immunotherapies.”
Kevin Pojasek, President and CEO said “It’s a pleasure to welcome Robert to Enara Bio. His passion and leadership in nurturing a positive team culture is fully aligned with the purpose and values we aspire to as an organization. I look forward to working closely with him as we continue to grow Enara into a leading cancer immunotherapy company.”
Dr Ang joined Vor Biopharma in 2019 from Neon Therapeutics (acquired by BioNTech) where, as Chief Business Officer, he helped oversee the company’s transformation from pre-seed stage through to a successful NASDAQ IPO. Before Neon, he served as Senior Vice President of Business Development at Bavarian Nordic,where he was primarily responsible for conducting a $975 million transaction between the company and Bristol-Myers Squibb for PROSTVAC, a Phase 3 immuno-oncology asset. Prior to that, he was Head of both Business Development and Medical Affairs for the specialty pharma company Cadence Pharmaceuticals and worked at Frazier Healthcare Ventures, a leading life sciences venture capital firm. He also has experience in strategy consulting at the Boston Consulting Group as well as general surgical training.
Dr Ang added: “I am thrilled to join the Board at Enara Bio, which I believe has a truly differentiated approach to the development of the next generation of cancer immunotherapies driven by better targets outside the conventional areas of discovery. I look forward to working with Enara and the Board to help further the Company’s mission to develop transformational therapies for cancer patients.”
Dr Ang holds an MBBS (Doctor of Medicine) from the University of Western Australia and an MBA with Honors from Columbia Business School.
In March Enara Bio announced the appointment of Dr Mark Creighton-Gutteridge as Vice President, Head of Research. Mark brings more than 17 years of experience in academia and industry, with highly relevant expertise in oncology R&D, cell therapy, and immunotherapy and Dr Rachel Abbott as Head of TCR Pipeline and Dark Antigen Research, joining the Company from Adaptimmune, the Oxford-based pioneer in TCR T-cell therapy, where she was Head of Pipeline Cell Biology. Rachel brings more than 14 years of experience from her time at Adaptimmune and prior to this as a Research Fellow at the University of Birmingham.
Rachel will be responsible for scaling Enara’s proprietary EDAPT™ platform, and will also oversee all TCR discovery, validation and preclinical testing to identify and progress TCRs targeting Dark Antigens along with other novel antigens into early development.