Stephen Farrand, Ph.D., former Merck executive appointed Senior Vice President Global Manufacturing
CULVER CITY, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Oct. 6, 2015– NantKwest, Inc. (Nasdaq: NK), a clinical-stage immunotherapy company focused on harnessing the power of the innate immune system by using natural killer cells to treat cancer, infectious diseases and inflammatory diseases, today announced the appointment of Stephen Farrand, Ph. D., as senior vice president of global manufacturing.
“Dr. Farrand is an experienced executive, with an impressive track record of achievement in chemistry, manufacturing and control (CMC) development,” said Patrick Soon-Shiong, M.D., chairman and chief executive officer of NantKwest. “He brings expertise in all aspects of biologics development and manufacturing, as well as a full understanding of cGMP compliance requirements and the regulatory environment. With our recent acquisition of two production sites in Southern California, including a 45,000 square foot facility in Torrey Pines, Dr. Farrand fills a key function as we expand in-house production capacity for our aNK, haNK and taNK products.”
Prior to joining NantKwest, Dr. Farrand was vice president bioprocess development for Merck Research Laboratories, where his leadership was instrumental to the successful development and commercialization of Merck’s PD-1 checkpoint inhibitor, Keytruda. Previously, he held a number of positions of increasing responsibility with Schering Plough, most recently as vice president global biologics & sterile product development. Before that, Dr. Farrand served in senior level development & manufacturing positions with Delta Biotechnology, Sigma Chemical and G. D. Searle. Dr. Farrand has a PhD in Microbial Physiology from the University of Leicester, UK, and a BSc in Microbiology from the University of Bath, UK.
About NantKwest Inc.
NantKwest (Nasdaq:NK) is a pioneering, next generation, clinical-stage immunotherapy company focused on harnessing the unique power of our immune system using natural killer (NK) cells to treat cancer, infectious diseases and inflammatory diseases. NK cells are the body’s first line of defense due to the innate ability of NK cells to rapidly identify and destroy cells under stress, such as cancer or virally-infected cells.
NantKwest’s unique NK cell-based platform, with the capacity to grow active killer cells as a biological cancer therapy, has been designed to induce cell death against cancer or infected cells by three different modes of action: (1) Direct killing using activated NK cells (aNK) that release toxic granules directly into the cell through cell to cell contact, (2) Antibody-mediated killing using haNKs, which are NK cells engineered to incorporate a high affinity receptor that binds to an administered antibody, enhancing the cancer cell killing effect of that antibody, and (3) Targeted activated killing using taNKs, which are NK cells engineered to incorporate chimeric antigen receptors (CARs) to target tumor-specific antigens found on the surface of cancer cells.
Our aNK, haNK and taNK platform addresses certain limitations of T cell therapies including the reduction of risk of serious “cytokine storms” reported after T cell therapy. As an “off-the-shelf” therapy, NantKwest’s NK cells do not rely on a patient’s own often compromised immune system. In Phase 1 clinical trials in patients with late stage cancer, NantKwest’s NK cells have been successfully administered as an outpatient infusion therapy without any reported severe side effects, even at doses of 10 billion cells.
By leveraging an integrated and extensive genomics and transcriptomics discovery and development engine, together with a pipeline of multiple, clinical-stage, immuno-oncology programs that include a Phase 2 trial for a rare form of melanoma and the planned initiation of a clinical trial of NK cells targeted to breast cancer, we believe NantKwest is uniquely positioned to be the premier immunotherapy company and transform medicine by delivering living drugs in a bag and bringing novel NK cell-based therapies to routine clinical care.
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Jen Hodson, 562-397-3639