San Diego CA/March 28, 2022: NEUVOGEN, an immunoncology company, announced today that Mark Backer, PhD has joined the company as Head of Technical Operations, and will be responsible for leading all aspects of technical operations and chemistry, manufacturing and controls (CMC) technical development for NEUVOGEN’s cancer vaccines.
“Dr. Backer’s extensive knowledge and experience in vaccine development, and his accomplishments in manufacturing cellular and other biologic products make him a clear choice to lead our technical operations and CMC” said Todd Binder, Chief Executive Officer of NEUVOGEN. “As we prepare to enter the clinic, Mark’s CMC expertise will ensure that our manufacturing meets all clinical goals and regulatory requirements.”
Dr. Mark Backer has more than 35 years of technical management experience in the development and manufacturing of a wide variety of biopharmaceuticals including antibodies, proteins, viral-based vaccines and cell therapies. He was founding chairman of the vector manufacturing firm Molecular Medicine BioServices (now a division of Millipore Sigma, a Merck KGA company). Dr. Backer’s industry experience began in 1978, when he was the seventh employee of Genentech and initiated its pilot manufacturing operations. He led pioneering efforts in large-scale cell culture technology and ex-vivo expansion and transfection of hematopoietic stem cells. Dr. Backer is owner and manager of the consulting firm Alava Biopharm Partners LLC, supporting development of advanced therapies since 2013. He has served as Sr. VP, Technical Operations with Jennerex with responsibility for all CMC operations. He also served as CEO of Vaxart, creating a novel viral-based oral vaccine platform, VP Technical Development at Protein Design Labs, and served in positions of increasing responsibility at Aviron (now AstraZeneca Vaccines), Systemix, IDEC, and Eli Lilly. Dr. Backer received a PhD in chemical engineering from the University of Washington, and a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Stanford University.
“I am thrilled to join NEUVOGEN, after serving as a technical advisor for the last four months” said Dr. Backer. “The company has optimized the approach to cancer vaccines by developing a second-generation adjuvant strategy able to direct cytotoxic T cells to recognize major classes of tumor targets. NEUVOGEN’s vaccines can prime T cells against less prevalent tumor specific antigens (TSAs) with high affinity, but also overcome peripheral tolerance to target the broad array of tumor associated antigens (TAAs) that are present on virtually every cell within the tumor.
Dr. Backer continued, “Importantly, NEUVOGEN’s manufacturing risk is minimized because the adjuvant and indication-specific TAAs and TSAs are genetically engineered into the cell lines, making the manufacturing operations straightforward compared to other cell-based approaches. In addition, irradiating the cells at the end of manufacturing allows them to be cleared from the patient’s body within a few days, avoiding many of the risks inherent in other cell therapies. I look forward to helping the company implement this platform and to building a strong manufacturing organization to support clinical testing of these promising vaccines.”
A link to comprehensive biographies can be found at www.neuvogen.com/about-us/.
NEUVOGEN, Inc. is an immunoncology company focused on whole cell cancer vaccine therapies. NEUVOGEN believes its cancer vaccines have the broadest combination of tumor associated antigens and tumor specific antigens ever delivered in a cancer vaccine and as a result can directly target a greater percentage of cancer cells in a solid tumor than any previous cancer vaccine. Based in San Diego, California, NEUVOGEN’s goal is to develop therapeutic cancer vaccines that activate the body’s immune system to eradicate solid tumors and meaningfully extend the lives of patients while limiting side effects. To learn more, visit www.neuvogen.com.