Cell Therapy Industry Pioneer, Gwendolyn Binder, Ph.D., to Join Cabaletta Bio Leadership Team
— Dr. Binder is an expert in T cell product development, translational research and GMP manufacturing
– Joins Cabaletta Bio as Executive Vice President, Science & Technology on February 1, 2019
RADNOR, PA, December 12, 2018 – Cabaletta Bio, Inc., a biopharmaceutical company focused on the discovery and development of cellular therapies for B cell-mediated autoimmune diseases, has appointed cell therapy industry pioneer, Gwendolyn Binder, Ph.D., as Executive Vice President, Science & Technology. In this role, Dr. Binder will lead product research as well as all aspects of manufacturing innovation and operations for the Company. Dr. Binder will transition from her current role as a member of the Cabaletta Bio Scientific Advisory Board on February 1, 2019.
“Gwen brings profoundly relevant background in T cell therapy translational research, product development and manufacturing innovation and operations to Cabaletta,” said Steven Nichtberger, M.D., co-founder, CEO and Chairman of Cabaletta Bio. “Because she worked closely with Dr. Carl June and with our scientific founder, Dr. Michael Milone, on early development of the chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cell therapy program while at the University of Pennsylvania (“Penn”), Gwen is intimately familiar with the foundational technology underlying our emerging portfolio of products as well as many of our collaborators at Penn. In 2011, Dr. Binder left Penn to become the first U.S. employee of Adaptimmune where she led much of the early clinical development, manufacturing, translational and, more recently, research components of the company. All of Gwen’s prior experience will directly benefit Cabaletta as we prepare to submit our first IND for a chimeric autoantibody receptor (CAAR) T cell therapy for the treatment of mucosal pemphigus vulgaris.”
Dr. Binder said, “Cabaletta’s CAAR T platform for B cell-mediated autoimmune diseases will build on what we have learned from CAR T cell therapy in B cell-mediated cancers and enable it to be applied to specifically eradicate the disease-causing B cells in antibody-mediated autoimmune disorders. I find Cabaletta’s technology to be an elegant concept with novel development opportunities and challenges in autoimmune disease. I am very pleased to work with a great team and to have the opportunity to apply my translational medicine and manufacturing development experience towards efficiently progressing a series of potentially transformational CAAR T products for patients with debilitating B cell-mediated autoimmune diseases.”
Dr. Binder has more than 17 years of industry and academic leadership in translational research and development, T cell manufacturing and the early development of first-in-human engineered T cell therapies. Most recently, Dr. Binder served as Chief Technology Officer at Adaptimmune, where she established manufacturing, compliance, regulatory and clinical operations to lead the transfer of certain T cell receptor (TCR) clinical programs from the Translational Research Program at Penn, now known as the Center for Cellular Immunotherapy (CCI). Dr. Binder then led Adaptimmune’s early internal manufacturing and process development teams for vector and cell manufacturing and assembled the company’s translational research team. She also established and executed the strategic plan for the company’s currently operational GMP facility and built the initial manufacturing and quality team. She went on to lead the company’s approximately 150-person research team. Prior to Adaptimmune, Dr. Binder was a Director in the Translational Research Program at Penn, working under Dr. June and closely with Dr. Milone. Dr. Binder earned her Ph.D. from the Johns Hopkins University in Cellular and Molecular Medicine, with a focus in viral immunology.
Editor’s Note: Drs. June, Milone and Nichtberger are Penn faculty members and hold equity stakes in the Company, and the University of Pennsylvania is an equity holder and investor in the Company. In addition, both Penn and the inventors of the licensed technology may receive additional financial benefits under the license in the future.
About CAAR T Cell Therapy
Chimeric autoantigen receptor (CAAR) T cells are believed to work by binding and destroying only disease-causing B cells, while sparing the normal B cells which are essential for human health. CAAR T cells are based on revolutionary chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cell technology developed at the University of Pennsylvania and are related to the technology platform that resulted in the first FDA-approved CAR T cell therapy. Rather than a CD19-targeting molecule, CAAR T cells express the autoantibody-targeted antigen on their surface. The 4-1BB co-stimulatory domain and the CD3-zeta signaling domain carry out the same activation and cytotoxic functions as in the CAR T setting. Thus, Cabaletta’s CAARs direct the patient’s T cells to kill only the B cell population that produces self-reactive antibodies, potentially leading to complete and durable remission of specific autoimmune disease while sparing other B cell populations that provide beneficial immunity from infection.
About Mucosal Pemphigus Vulgaris (mPV)
Pemphigus vulgaris, an orphan disease, is a potentially fatal, chronic autoimmune disease characterized by the loss of adhesion between cells of the skin and mucous membranes. Pemphigus vulgaris is caused by specific pathogenic autoantibodies that target desmosomes, the major intercellular adhesion structures in the epidermis. Pemphigus vulgaris (PV) has two major clinical forms – mucosal PV (mPV), caused only by autoantibodies to the cell adhesion protein desmoglein (DSG) 3, and mucocutaneous PV (mcPV), caused by antibodies to DSG3 and DSG1. mPV comprises approximately 25% of the PV population and is characterized by painful blisters of the mucous membranes, including the mouth, nose, larynx, esophagus, eyes, genitals and other orifices. Mucocutaneous PV affects the other 75% of PV patients and has the additional involvement of skin blistering..
About Cabaletta Bio
Cabaletta Bio is a biopharmaceutical company focused on the discovery and development of cellular therapies for B cell-mediated autoimmune diseases. Cabaletta’s therapeutic platform produces highly selective autologous chimeric autoantibody receptor (CAAR) T cells that bind and destroy only disease-causing B cells, while sparing healthy B cells which are essential for human health. Cabaletta has signed an exclusive licensing agreement and partnership with Penn focused on treating B cell-mediated autoimmune diseases with CAAR T cells. Cabaletta was founded by Dr. Michael Milone, Dr. Aimee Payne and Dr. Steven Nichtberger. Dr. Milone and Dr. Payne are physician/scientists at Penn and also serve as co-chairs of Cabaletta’s Scientific Advisory Board. The Company’s lead therapeutic program is a potential treatment for a prototypical B cell-mediated autoimmune disease, mucosal pemphigus vulgaris (mPV). mPV is a rare skin disorder that causes painful blisters and sores on mucous membranes such as the mouth, nose, throat, and genitals, leading to severe and sometimes debilitating and life-altering effects. For more information, visit www.cabalettabio.com.
Steven Nichtberger, M.D.
Co-Founder, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer
212-213-0006, ext. 318
Robert Flamm, Ph.D.
212-213-0006, ext. 364
Bill Slattery, Jr.
212-213-0006, ext. 351