Affimed Therapeutics AG Appoints Dr Eugene Zhukovsky as New Chief Scientific Officer

Mon Dec 5, 2011 3:02am EST

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Affimed Therapeutics AG / Affimed Therapeutics AG Appoints Dr Eugene Zhukovsky as New Chief Scientific Officer . Processed and transmitted by Thomson Reuters ONE. The issuer is solely responsible for the content of this announcement.

Heidelberg, Germany - December 5, 2011: Affimed Therapeutics AG, the therapeutic TandAb® antibody company, today announced the appointment of Dr Eugene Zhukovsky as Chief Scientific Officer, effective January 1st 2012.

Dr Zhukovsky joins Affimed from Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals as successor to founder and current Chief Scientific Officer Prof Melvyn Little. Prof Little will retire from his position as CSO of the Company and will continue to work as a consultant to Affimed.

Dr Adi Hoess, CEO of Affimed, commented: "We are delighted to welcome an outstanding successor in Dr Eugene Zhukovsky, who will serve as a key member of the Executive Management Board. Eugene has an exceptional track record and brings biotech and pharma drug discovery and development experience, which is important for Affimed as it continues to grow as a leading biopharmaceutical company in the development of bispecific antibodies." 

Dr Zhukovsky has 20 years professional experience in the field of biotherapeutics research and development. Previously, he was a Senior Research Fellow in the Biotherapeutics Department at Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Prior to that, Dr Zhukovsky was an Associate Director at Xencor, Inc. where he led translational research efforts resulting in several therapeutic candidates targeting malignant and normal B cells. One of these therapeutic antibodies is currently undergoing clinical trials. Dr Zhukovsky began his professional career employing phage display technology at Neurex Corporation (now Elan Therapeutics). He then moved to Lynx Therapeutics (now Illumina, Inc.) to work on the development of genomics technologies before returning to protein/antibody engineering and biotherapeutics development at Xencor, Inc.

Dr Thomas Hecht, Chairman of Affimed, added: "On behalf of both, the Supervisory Board and the Executive Management Board, I would like to express my heartfelt thanks to Melvyn for founding Affimed and for his valuable contributions that have been central to building the Company into the success it is today."

Prof Little founded Affimed in 2000 and pioneered the development of Affimed's TandAb® technology as one of the leading bispecific antibody platforms. In 2010, the first TandAb antibody AFM13 entered clinical trials and the bispecific, tetravalent human antibody has shown very promising safety, tolerability and activity in the treatment of Hodgkin Lymphoma. Prof Little became interested in the potential of antibodies for cancer therapy while working at the German Cancer Research Center in Heidelberg and was appointed head of the newly founded research group "Recombinant Antibodies" in 1990. A major task for this unit was to develop methods for generating and screening human antibody libraries using phage display technology. Subsequently, novel approaches were devised for exploiting the potential of the body´s own defence system to kill cancer cells using recombinant bispecific antibodies.

"The TandAb® technology of Affimed Therapeutics is a valuable platform validated by the production of high quality products at a time when substantial efforts in the pharmaceutical industry are directed towards the discovery and development of bifunctional antibodies", said Dr Zhukovsky. "I am delighted to join the company and lead the discovery and preclinical development of drug candidates as well as the continued development of the TandAb® platform for the identification of medications that will benefit patients." 

Dr Zhukovsky received his PhD in biochemistry from Brandeis University for studies of GPCR structure-function relationships employing the visual pigment rhodopsin. Prior to this, he completed an MS degree in bioorganic chemistry at St. Petersburg's State University. From 1991 until 1995 Dr Zhukovsky was a Post Doc at Genentech, Inc. where he was engaged in studies evaluating the contribution of secondary structural elements to global protein stability.

For further information please contact:

Affimed Therapeutics AG
Dr Adi Hoess (CEO)
Tel.: + 49 6221 65307 64
Fax: + 49 6221 65307 77
a.hoess@affimed.com
MC Services AG
Anne Hennecke
Tel.: +49 89 210 228 18
Fax: +49 89 210 228 88
anne.hennecke@mc-services.eu

About Affimed:

Affimed Therapeutics AG is a therapeutic antibody company developing unique antibody therapeutics as novel treatments for life threatening diseases with high unmet medical needs. The company has generated a growing pipeline of drug candidates based on its proprietary TandAb® antibody platform. Affimed's lead product candidate AFM13 for the treatment of Hodgkin's disease is in Phase I clinical development. Its second product candidate AFM11 is in formal preclinical development for the treatment of Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. Further novel product candidates are in development to treat solid tumors and autoimmune diseases. Affimed's proprietary and highly productive TandAb® technology enables the company to generate unique tetravalent, bispecific, fully human antibody formats that promise increased therapeutic potential and superior profiles compared to monoclonal antibodies. The private company Affimed, which employs 30 people in Heidelberg, is a spin-off from the German Cancer Research Centre (DKFZ), Heidelberg.

About TandAbs®:

TandAbs®, which were invented and developed by Affimed scientists, are tetravalent bispecific antibody formats that have two binding sites for each antigen. RECRUIT-TandAbs®, such as AFM13 and AFM11, bind to target molecules on the surface of tumor cells (CD30 and CD19, respectively) and can activate immune effector cells such as natural killer (NK) cells or cytotoxic T-cells. RECRUIT-TandAbs® possess the same avidity and affinity for each target as an IgG; however, the much higher potency of TandAbs® versus IgG is achieved by a more efficient binding to the immune effector cells. Combined with their bispecificity, this format represents a potent further development of therapeutic monoclonal antibodies and, potentially, a superior alternative to first generation antibody formats/scaffolds. A robust production process for TandAbs has been established with excellent stability of the drug product.

Affimed has developed different kinds of TandAbs® for specific indications. While RECRUIT-TandAbs® are applied to oncology, BiBLOCK- and PROLONG-TandAbs® are developed for the treatment of autoimmune and inflammatory diseases.




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