Melbourne, Australia, 17 October 2023 – Cartherics Pty Ltd (“Cartherics” or “Company”), a biotechnology company developing immune cell therapies for the treatment of cancer, announced today that it has appointed Dr Walid Azar as Chief Scientific Officer (CSO), effective immediately. He holds extensive experience from a diverse scientific background encompassing both academic research and the biotechnology industry.
Prior to joining Cartherics three years ago, Dr Azar worked as a molecular biologist at CSL Limited, where he was part of the international R&D team. He brings valuable expertise in cancer research to the CSO role, having completed a PhD in molecular biology and biochemistry at the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute and a postdoctoral research fellowship at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, focusing on clear cell carcinoma, a rare subtype of ovarian cancer.
As CSO, Dr Azar will be responsible for overseeing the Company’s scientific activities, building on current capabilities, product pipeline, and platforms. This includes ensuring that the Company remains at the forefront of the latest developments in the immune cell therapy space. He will also be focused on managing and leading the team of highly skilled and committed scientists working at Cartherics.
“I am passionate about developing novel treatments for cancer and there is a strong alignment between Cartherics’ mission and my commitment to delivering new options for cancer patients. It is great to be working alongside very talented and committed scientists with the same goal,” said Dr Azar.
“CAR-T and CAR-NK cell therapies are yet to reach their potential in solid tumours. With the rapid developments in gene editing technologies and our evolving knowledge of the tumour microenvironment and NK cell biology, there is an opportunity for us to significantly improve the efficacy of CAR-NK therapy in solid tumours,” Dr Azar added.
Cartherics CEO, Prof Alan Trounson AO, commented: “We are pleased to promote Walid to this important position. He has a strong background in molecular genomics cancer research, and science management, and will be a valuable addition to the Company’s executive team. Prof Richard Boyd will remain with the Company as Chief Scientific Advisor, a part-time advisory role, and will act as a mentor for Walid. The combination will enable us to maintain excellence in immunology and genomics/gene editing.”
Cartherics is a privately held biotechnology company based in Melbourne, Australia that is rearming the body’s immune system to fight cancer. It is developing cell-based immunotherapies for the treatment of cancer, with a portfolio of CAR-T and CAR-NK cell products. The Company’s allogeneic (“off-the-shelf”) cell platform is based upon induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) generated from donated cord blood that can be differentiated into NK cells, T cells and other cells of the immune system. The iPSCs are genetically engineered to provide enhanced function for the derived NK and other immune cells.
The Company is also developing autologous CAR-T cell therapies. These use the patient’s own immune system T cells, which are modified to be effective against the patient’s cancer cells. CTH-004 is created by genetically modifying patient T cells to insert a chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) to target a marker (TAG-72) on ovarian cancer cells and delete genes that are involved in suppression of T cell function. https://cartherics.com/
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