Appia Bio Announces Appointment of Irving Weissman, MD, and Mark Exley, PhD, to Scientific Advisory Board

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LOS ANGELES, Dec. 2, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- Appia Bio, Inc., an early stage biotechnology company developing engineered allogeneic cell therapies from hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) for cancer patients, today announced the appointment of Irving Weissman, MD, and Mark Exley, PhD, to its Scientific Advisory Board. Drs. Weissman and Exley are two of the world's foremost experts in stem cell biology and NKT cell biology, respectively, and join Appia Bio's scientific founders in advising the Company's research and development.

Appia Bio logo (PRNewsfoto/Appia Bio)
Appia Bio logo (PRNewsfoto/Appia Bio)

Appia Bio is focused on discovering and developing off-the-shelf allogeneic cell therapies across a broad array of cancer indications, utilizing a scalable technology platform with the goal to increase access for patients. With its ACUA technology platform, Appia Bio leverages the biology of lymphocyte development with chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) and T-cell receptor (TCR) gene engineering to generate CAR-engineered invariant natural killer T (CAR-iNKT) cells from HSCs. The ACUA platform originated from groundbreaking research in the laboratory of Lili Yang, PhD, associate professor at UCLA and her collaborations with the Company's other scientific founders.

"We are truly excited to have Drs. Weissman and Exley join our outstanding Appia Bio Scientific Advisory Board. Their expertise in cell biology, particularly natural killer T cell biology, and stem cell biology, cancer stem cells, and macrophage immune checkpoints, will be critical as we develop our ACUA platform and advance our pipeline of CAR-engineered NKT cells from hematopoietic stem cells," said Jeff Wiezorek, MD, Appia Bio's chief medical officer.

Dr. Weissman is director of the Stanford Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine, Virginia & D.K. Ludwig Professor of Clinical Investigation in Cancer Research, Professor of Developmental Biology and, by courtesy, of Biology. As the first scientist to identify and isolate mammalian blood-forming stem cells in mice, Dr. Weissman is considered the father of hematopoiesis, and is an expert in stem cell biology, cancer stem cells, and macrophage immune checkpoints. His group has successfully defined the stages of development that occur between stems cells and mature progeny. Dr. Weissman's lab was the first to identify, prospectively isolate, and transplant human and murine HSCs. He earned an MD from Stanford University and a BS from Montana State College.

Dr. Exley is chief scientific officer at Imvax Inc. He performed the first functional characterization of human natural killer T (NKT) cells and brings deep expertise in NKT cell biology as well as the clinical application of NKT cell therapies. Previously, Dr. Exley was vice president, cellular immunology for AgenTus, on faculty at Harvard Medical School and at the University of Manchester, UK, where he retains honorary appointments, and was a scientist at Immulogic, Inc. He received his PhD from the Institute of Cancer Research, London and a BS from Imperial College, London, and completed his post-doctoral fellowship at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute.

Drs. Weissman and Exley join Appia Bio's Scientific Advisory Board comprised of the following leaders in immunology, immuno-oncology, and cell therapy engineering:

  • Mitchell Kronenberg, PhD, president and CSO, La Jolla Institute for Immunology

  • Antoni Ribas, MD, PhD, professor of medicine, UCLA, and director of the Tumor Immunology Program at the Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center

  • Margo Roberts, PhD, former CSO, Kite Pharma and Lyell Immunopharma

Appia Bio was founded in 2020 in Los Angeles, California, by a team of experts and industry leaders with a proven track record of cell therapy development and company building.

  • David Baltimore, PhD, Nobel Laureate, president emeritus and distinguished professor of biology, Caltech

  • JJ Kang, PhD, CEO, Appia Bio; former partner, The Column Group

  • Edmund Kim, PhD, chief operating officer of Appia Bio; former vice president of corporate development, Kite Pharma

  • Pin Wang, PhD, professor of chemical engineering and materials science and biomedical engineering, University of Southern California (USC)

  • Jeff Wiezorek, MD, CMO, Appia Bio; former head of cell therapy development, Kite Pharma

  • Lili Yang, PhD, associate professor of microbiology, immunology, and molecular genetics, UCLA

About Appia Bio
Appia Bio is an early stage biotechnology company based in Los Angeles, California. Founded in 2020, Appia Bio is focused on discovering and developing engineered allogeneic cell therapies across a broad array of indications with a scalable technology platform that increases access for patients. With its ACUA (Appia Cells Utilized for Allogeneic) technology platform, Appia Bio leverages the biology of lymphocyte development with chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) and T-cell receptor (TCR) gene engineering to generate CAR-engineered invariant natural killer T (CAR-iNKT) cell subtypes from hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs). For more information, please visit www.appiabio.com.

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