TEL AVIV, Israel, Jan. 09, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Kitov Pharma Ltd. (“Kitov”) (NASDAQ/TASE: KTOV), a clinical-stage company advancing first-in-class therapies to overcome tumor immune evasion and drug resistance, today announced that it has appointed Bertrand Liang, M.D., Ph.D., as its Chief Medical Officer. Dr. Liang brings to Kitov extensive experience leading clinical development programs in oncology, and he will lead the medical affairs of Kitov in the development of its oncology pipeline including, CM-24, a novel checkpoint inhibitor, and NT-219, a novel small molecule targeting cancer drug resistance pathways. Kitov intends to initiate clinical trials for both programs in 2020.
“Dr. Liang’s deep oncology expertise and demonstrated track record of successful drug development from concept through approval will be vital resources for Kitov as we begin progressing our novel assets into the clinic this year,” said Isaac Israel, chief executive officer of Kitov. “Dr. Liang is an innovative leader who has founded multiple successful biopharmaceutical companies based on cutting-edge technologies across oncology, and we are thrilled to have him join our team. Furthermore, Dr. Liang’s prior leadership experience across all phases of clinical development at leading large biopharmaceutical companies, including Biogen, IDEC and Amgen, will be invaluable to Kitov’s clinical development plans.”
Dr. Liang previously founded several leading biotechnology companies, including Tracon Pharmaceuticals, Coronado Biosciences (subsequently merged with Fortress Biotech) and Pfenex Inc. Earlier in his career, Dr. Liang was Site Head at Biogen IDEC (now Biogen), leading pre-clinical and clinical development, and Vice President, New Ventures; managing member, Forward Medical Sciences (a venture capital firm). He also served as Vice President and Head of Hematology and Oncology at IDEC; and Global Development Leader at Amgen, where he led the development of various cytokines that received U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval, including Neulasta®. Dr. Liang has also held academic positions at the National Cancer Institute, University of Colorado and University of Vermont, where he headed Human Medical Genetics. He is an alumnus of the Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University, the Institute of Materials Research and Innovation, University of Bolton, the Law School at University of London, Boston University, Regis University, and the MIT Sloan School of Management. Dr. Liang has authored over 75 peer-reviewed publications, chapters and books, and edited a number of volumes in the fields of Neurology and Oncology.
“Kitov’s focused approach in oncology to specifically target the challenges associated with current standards of care, namely the pathways leading to cancer drug resistance and tumor immune evasion, is a compelling strategy and I am incredibly excited to join the clinical development and leadership team,” said Dr. Liang. “As a clinician and entrepreneur committed to advancing promising and innovative oncology treatments, I was encouraged by the differentiated mechanisms of action and early preclinical data for both CM-24 and NT-219 and I look forward to bringing both programs into the clinic and to strengthen Kitov as a leader in the Oncology arena.”
About Kitov Pharma
Kitov Pharma (Kitov Pharma Ltd.; NASDAQ/TASE: KTOV) is a clinical-stage company focusing on advancing first-in-class therapies to overcome tumor immune evasion and drug resistance, to create successful long-lasting treatments for people with cancer. Kitov’s oncology pipeline includes NT-219 and CM-24. NT-219 is a small molecule targeting the novel cancer drug resistance pathways IRS1/2 and STAT3. Kitov is currently advancing NT-219 in combination with cetuximab as a third-line or second-line treatment option for the treatment of recurrent and metastatic squamous cell carcinoma of head & neck cancer (SCCHN). CM-24 is a monoclonal antibody blocking CEACAM1, a novel immune checkpoint that supports tumor immune evasion and survival through multiple pathways. Kitov will advance CM-24 as a combination therapy with anti-PD1 checkpoint inhibitors for the treatment of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Kitov has entered into a clinical collaboration agreement with Bristol Myers Squibb (BMY) for the planned Phase 1/2 clinical trials to evaluate the combination of CM-24 with the PD-1 inhibitor nivolumab (Opdivo®). Kitov is also the owner of Consensi™, a fixed-dose combination of celecoxib and amlodipine besylate, for the simultaneous treatment of osteoarthritis pain and hypertension which was approved by the FDA for marketing in the U.S in May 2018 and is expected to be launched in the U.S. by early 2020 by its partner Coeptis Pharmaceuticals. Kitov has also partnered to commercialize Consensi in China and South Korea. The company is headquartered in Tel Aviv, Israel. For more information, please visit http://www.kitovpharma.com.