Vaxil Bio, an Israeli-Canadian biotech developing innovative immunotherapy treatments for cancer, announced the appointment of Dr. Terry Plasse as its chief medical officer, responsible for the company's clinical program surrounding its drug candidate, ImMucin. Dr. Plasse brings 30 years of clinical development experience, including advancing products from IND through to commercially marketed treatments for several big-pharma companies.
"We are thrilled to have Dr. Plasse joining Vaxil at this critical juncture, as we are ready to formally advance ImMucin toward a phase I/II clinical trial under an FDA Investigational New Drug (IND)," commented Dr. Saeid Babaei, Vaxil's chairman. "Dr. Plasse brings a tremendous wealth of knowledge and drug development experience, having led the development of several cancer products through all phases of clinical trials. His skillset is exactly what is needed to advance our lead drug candidate in addition to his guidance for pipeline expansion."
Dr. Terry Plasse commented, "I'm excited to be joining Vaxil which is now well positioned to file for a phase I/II clinical trial in cancer patients. Subsequent to its prior successful trial in myeloma patients in Israel, Vaxil conducted a robust R&D program, both in terms of ImMucin's combination potential as well as its applicability to other cancer types. I am excited about taking all of these data and leading the transition into a larger clinical trial, with an eye toward potentially including several major tumor types. My ultimate goal is to obtain approval to launch the new clinical trial just as our ImMucin will be finishing its production."
As recently announced, manufacturing is underway for Vaxil's lead product ImMucin. The company maintains its target for completion of manufacturing by late "Q4 2017 to early Q1 2018."
Dr. Terry Plasse began his career as a New York oncologist before entering the biotech world, most recently in Israel. Dr. Plasse was previously North American Director, Oncology Clinical Research, for multi-national Rhone-Poulenc Rorer, which merged with Sanofi, now the world's 5th largest pharma company. There, Dr. Plasse oversaw North American R&D focused on clinical trials for its cancer products, including docetaxel which is marketed worldwide by Sanofi with sales in the billions.
Additionally, Dr. Plasse oversaw a clinical trial for AstraZeneca's gefitnib, a drug which has been approved for lung cancer. He consulted Merck in relation to vorinostat (Zolinza), approved by FDA for treatment of cancer. Dr. Plasse conducted early analyses for Bristol-Myers Squibb for its renowned checkpoint inhibitor ipilimumab, the first approved cancer immune checkpoint inhibitor.
Dr. Plasse also brings experience leading small biotech companies, with leadership positions at Interferon Sciences, UniMed and Cytokine PharmaSciences. Most recently, Dr. Plasse became Medical Director for Redhill BioPharma, an Israeli biotech which successfully listed on the NASDAQ and just last month announced positive phase-III results from a clinical trial which he managed. Dr. Plasse completed his medical residency at Beth Israel Hospital and fellowship in medical oncology at Mt Sinai Medical Center, both in New York. He is a graduate of the Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, and received his Bachelor's in Chemistry from Brandeis University. Dr. Plasse was also a Lieutenant-Commander (Full Surgeon) in the US National Health Service Corps.