Valo Therapeutics Appoints Industry Veteran Paul G Higham as CEO
Oxford, UK and Helsinki, Finland, 3rd August 2020: Valo Therapeutics Limited (Valo Tx), an immuno-oncology company developing targeted therapeutics using tumor antigen-coated oncolytic viruses, today announced it had appointed industry veteran Paul G Higham as Chief Executive Officer (CEO), to lead the company through a Series A round and take its PeptiCRAd platform into first-in-human cancer clinical trials.
Matti Hautsalo, Chairman of the Board, said, “I am delighted to welcome Paul to the Company. His wealth of experience in leading immuno-oncology companies means he is the perfect fit for Valo. I would like to thank Michael Stein for his excellent work, the smooth handover of the CEO role to Paul, and for providing the company with a strong foundation to progress its PeptiCRAd technology into the clinic.”
Paul G Higham, CEO of Valo Tx, said, “Despite the tremendous progress that has been made, there is still huge potential for immuno-oncology to further improve outcomes for patients. I am delighted to join Valo, and to apply my experience to move the exciting technology the company has created into the clinic. We want, and expect, to be able to significantly improve the prospects for patients across a broad range of cancer types.”
Dr Michael Stein, outgoing CEO of Valo Tx, commented, “It has been a great experience to lead Valo to this stage and to help create the company’s PeptiCRAd platform to develop tumor antigen-coated oncolytic viruses as therapeutics. I thank the exceptional team for all their hard work and look forward to continuing my role on the Board of Directors.”
Paul G Higham brings over 15-years C-Suite biotech experience, including previously as CEO of two immuno-oncology companies, Germany’s Glycotope, and Immatics Biotechnologies (NASDAQ: IMTX). His CEO experience is built on a strong foundation of strategic and operational roles including Director of Commercial Development at Ark Therapeutics Group, where he established the company’s adenovirus gene-based medicine production facilities in Finland, as VP Commercial Development at GSK, and as General Manager of Bayer Pharmaceuticals for Sweden and Denmark.
About Valo Tx
Valo Therapeutics (Helsinki and Oxford) is an immuno-oncology company that is developing tumor antigen-coated oncolytic viruses as anti-cancer therapeutics stimulating specific anti-tumor T-cell responses. The Valo Tx platform, PeptiCRAd (Peptide-coated Conditionally Replicating Adenovirus), originates from the laboratory of Professor Vincenzo Cerullo at the University of Helsinki. PeptiCRAd turns oncolytic adenoviruses into targeted tumor specific cancer therapeutics without the need to generate and manufacture multiple genetically modified viruses. The company is also developing other oncolytic virus platforms including PeptiENV (enveloped oncolytic virus platform), and can flexibly utilise shared antigens, and neoantigens, to generate enhanced specific T-cell responses against a wide range of tumor types. Valo has raised EUR 10m funding to date from private investors and the Finnish Funding Agency for Innovation (Business Finland, previously Tekes).
PeptiCRAd (Peptide-coated Conditionally Replicating Adenovirus) is an innovative way of combining the best features of two clinically proven cancer immunotherapy approaches, an oncolytic adenovirus and a peptide vaccine. PeptiCRAd uses immunogenic viruses as active carriers of tumor-specific peptides to direct the immune system to generate specific T-cell populations to target and kill cancer cells. Recent in-vivo data has demonstrated a synergistic improvement in tumor clearance when Valo Tx’s platform was combined with checkpoint inhibitors. A film explaining the PeptiCRAd technology can be found here.
About Paul G Higham
Paul G Higham is a healthcare industry veteran with extensive leadership experience in large pharmaceutical and biotech companies. He has over 15 years C-Suite Biotech company experience. He has been CEO of two immuno-oncology companies: CEO (2016-17) of Glycotope GmbH, a glycobiology company focussing on immuno-therapeutics in oncology, and CEO (2008-15) at Immatics Biotechnologies, which developed several peptide-based immunotherapies and has become one of the leading T-cell focused cancer immunotherapy companies, recently listing on NASDAQ.
Previously, Paul was Director Commercial Development at Ark Therapeutics Group plc where he was responsible for commercial strategy and all business development activities, as well as establishing the operations and adenovirus gene-based medicine production facilities of Ark Therapeutics in Finland (Kuopio).
Prior to Ark, he worked as International Commercial Vice President for GI, Metabolic and Pain at GlaxoWellcome plc, a heritage company of GSK, where he was responsible for all aspects of international commercial strategy, building on experience from sales and marketing positions at Bayer AG, including becoming General Manager of Bayer Pharmaceuticals for Sweden and Denmark.
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