Refuge Biotechnologies Appoints Scott Smith to Board of Directors
Former President and COO of Celgene to Help Guide Pipeline and Corporate Development Activities
MENLO PARK, Calif., Oct. 15, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- Refuge Biotechnologies, Inc. ("Refuge"), a synthetic biology company developing intelligent cell therapeutics for cancer immunotherapy, today announced the appointment of Scott Smithto the company's board of directors.
"Scott joins our board at an important time in Refuge's growth as our receptor-dCas platform continues to showcase promise in creating a pipeline of next-generation cell therapies for cancer," said Bing C. Wang, Ph.D., co-founder and chief executive officer of Refuge. "His expertise in corporate and pipeline development will be valuable as our organization evaluates the best path forward for the pipeline – both internally and through collaborations with potential partners."
Mr. Smith brings more than 30 years of biotechnology and pharmaceutical industry experience to the Refuge board of directors. He recently retired from Celgene, where he held multiple positions over a ten year tenure culminating in an appointment as president and chief operating officer. He previously held leadership positions in inflammation and immunology, guiding growth of the franchise from 13 people to more than 1,300 worldwide. He oversaw the clinical development, global registration and commercial success of the blockbuster drug Otezla and worked closely with Juno post acquisition to integrate the capabilities of cellular immunotherapy into Celgene. Mr. Smith's prior experience at Pharmacia (acquired by Pfizer) and at Biovail included global responsibility for sales and marketing, creating and executing commercial and business development strategies and contributing to regulatory and clinical development strategies. Mr. Smith also serves on the board of directors of Titan Pharmaceuticals, Triumvira Immunologics and Springbank Pharmaceuticals. Mr. Smith received both his bachelor's degree in chemistry and biology and his honours bachelor's degree in pharmacology and toxicology from the University of Western Ontario, and his masters of international business management from the American Graduate School of International Management (Thunderbird).
Added Mr. Smith, "I see tremendous promise in the receptor-dCas platform to create highly targeted cell therapies that can potentially make a meaningful impact as anti-cancer therapies. I look forward to working with the leadership team and board at Refuge to help lead the organization to capitalize on this tremendous promise."
Refuge's pipeline is led by RB-1916, a CAR-T cell therapy designed to concurrently inhibit the expression of the PD-1 gene, with a potential initial application in diffused large B-cell lymphoma. Refuge is also advancing research into additional CAR cell therapy programs that conditionally repress PD-1 and other checkpoint inhibitors for the potential treatment of solid tumors.
About Refuge Biotechnologies
Refuge Biotechnologies is a synthetic biology company developing intelligent cell therapeutics for cancer immunotherapy. Refuge's proprietary receptor-dCas platform leverages a unique gene engineering approach based on precision CRISPR activation (CRISPRa) and CRISPR interference (CRISPRi). By connecting ligand specific receptors to dCas, Refuge enables cells to sense its surroundings and conditionally activate or repress multiple genes when they encounter specific external antigens. In particular, with receptor-dCas, immune cells can now be engineered to conditionally turn off certain genes, such as PD-1, to generate more potent CAR-T immune cells when it senses the presence of a tumor cell. For further information, please visit www.refugebiotech.com.