October 21, 2021
Obsidian Therapeutics Appoints Maria Fardis, Ph.D., to Board of Directors
Board expansion supports progression of engineered TIL therapies into clinical studies
CAMBRIDGE, Mass., Oct. 21, 2021 – Obsidian Therapeutics, Inc., a biotechnology company pioneering engineered cell and gene therapies, today announced the appointment of Maria Fardis, Ph.D., to its Board of Directors. Maria currently serves as a Venture Partner at Frazier Life Sciences. She previously served as President and Chief Executive Officer of Iovance Biotherapeutics.
“Maria is highly accomplished and brings significant development and management expertise which will be invaluable as we advance our lead engineered TIL (cytoTIL15™) program, OBX-115, to the clinic,” said Paul Wotton, Chief Executive Officer of Obsidian. “Maria’s proven leadership navigating the complexities of early- and late-stage clinical programs, including cell therapies, will help guide Obsidian toward clinical and commercial success as a pioneer in engineered TIL therapy. We are incredibly excited to have Maria on board.”
Maria added, “Obsidian is developing next-generation engineered TIL products that may offer advantages translatable to clinical outcomes. By engineering cytoTIL15 with membrane-bound IL15, Obsidian has demonstrated the persistence and potency of cytoTIL15 in human patient-derived-xenograft (PDX) models without reliance on IL2.”
Maria has over 20 years of scientific and management experience in numerous public and private companies. As CEO at Iovance, she led the transformation from an early-stage development company to a company with multiple late-stage programs for the treatment of solid tumors. Prior to Iovance, Maria served as the Chief Operating Officer of Acerta Pharma B.V., where she worked on the development of Calquence® until the company’s acquisition by AstraZeneca. Prior to that, she worked at Pharmacyclics, Inc., where she was a key contributor in the creation of a broad clinical program leading to global approvals for Imbruvica® in multiple hematologic malignancies, and where she served as Chief of Oncology Operations and Alliances. Prior to joining Pharmacyclics, Maria held increasingly senior positions in Medicinal Chemistry and the project and portfolio management department at Gilead Sciences, Inc., where she was involved with multiple therapeutic areas including antivirals, oncology, and cardiovascular therapeutics and worked on the development and life cycle management of Letairis®.
Maria received her Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry from the University of California, Berkeley and her B.S. summa cum laude, in chemistry from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. She also holds an M.B.A., received with highest honors, from Golden Gate University.
OBX-115 is Obsidian’s lead cytoTIL15 program, currently in preclinical development for the treatment of patients with metastatic melanoma and other solid tumors. OBX-115 is a novel engineered tumor infiltrating lymphocyte therapy engineered with regulated membrane-bound IL15 that does not require patients to receive concomitant IL2 therapy, a toxic and costly requirement for conventional TILs. The Company expects to submit an IND for OBX-115 in mid-2022.
About Obsidian Therapeutics
Obsidian Therapeutics, Inc. is a biotechnology company pioneering engineered cell and gene therapies to deliver transformative outcomes for patients with intractable diseases. Obsidian’s proprietary cytoDRiVE® technology provides a way to control protein degradation using FDA-approved small molecules, permitting precise control of the timing and level of protein expression. Obsidian is headquartered in Cambridge, Mass. The Company has collaborations with Bristol Myers Squibb and Vertex Pharmaceuticals. For more information, please visit www.obsidiantx.com and follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn.
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