On behalf of the OncoSec team, we’re thrilled to announce the first patient enrolled in the Phase II Investigator Sponsored Trial led by the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) to assess the safety and efficacy of the combination of our investigational therapy, ImmunoPulse™ IL-12, and Merck’s approved anti-PD-1 agent, KEYTRUDA® (pembrolizumab), in patients with unresectable metastatic melanoma.
Former Merck Research Labs Executive Director/Member of Global Anti-PD-1 Development Team to Oversee OncoSec’s Clinical Development Studies
SAN DIEGO – December 12, 2013 — OncoSec Medical Inc. (OTCQB: ONCS), a company developing its advanced-stage ImmunoPulse DNA-based immunotherapy to treat solid tumors, announced today that Dr. Robert H. Pierce has joined the company as Chief Medical Officer.
A graduate of Yale College and the Brown University School of Medicine, Dr. Pierce is well regarded for his career-long research into mechanisms of immune tolerance as well as recent drug development experience, most notably being a key member of the global development team behind Merck’s FDA-designated “breakthrough” anti-PD-1 program (MK-3475). Dr. Robert H. Pierce joins OncoSec Medical from Merck Research Labs – Palo Alto (formerly DNAX Research Institute/Schering-Plough Biopharma) where he spent almost seven years leading a 20–person team, dedicated to developing disease-oriented and tissue-based translational medicine platforms. As Executive Director, Dr. Pierce was responsible for contributions to multiple successful IND applications, including critical biomarker development programs such as the anti-PD-L1 immunohistochemistry assay supporting Merck’s MK-3475 trials. In addition, Dr. Pierce was instrumental in designing two Phase 2 anti-PD-1 (MK-3475) oncology studies. Prior to focusing on immunomodulatory receptor (IMR) programs, Dr. Pierce had served as a discovery project team leader for two novel drug candidates.
From 2001 to 2007, before leaving academics to join industry, Dr. Pierce held several leadership positions at the University of Rochester School of Medicine, including Director of the Autopsy Service at Strong Memorial Hospital. From practicing as a staff pathologist to developing the graduate curriculum in pathomechamism of disease, to acting as the principal investigator of a RO1-funded research lab, Dr. Pierce played an important role in the university’s clinical and academic research programs. He continues to act as an adjunct professor at the university to this day.
He is the co-author of over fifty peer-reviewed journal articles and book chapters, and has been a reviewer for numerous scientific journals as well as National Institute of Health grants.
Dr. Pierce received his post-doctoral training at the University of Washington, Seattle, WA, his graduate education and training at Brown University School of Medicine in Providence, RI, and received his undergraduate education at Yale University in New Haven, CT. As a Fulbright Award recipient, Dr. Pierce studied Philosophy at the Albert-Ludwigs-University in Freiburg, Germany.
Dr. Pierce comments, “We stand at a transformational moment in oncology. I’m convinced that intralesional therapy with IL12 drives systemic anti-tumor immune responses and has the potential to augment immunomodulatory therapies such as anti-PD-1.”
Punit Dhillon, President and CEO of OncoSec, said, “Robert’s expertise in immunotherapy and drug development will be invaluable to OncoSec as we advance our immunotherapy products through human trials, and he will help us move forward in our efforts to develop and innovate new therapies to target solid tumors. Also, his background represents a unique mix of medical and scientific expertise that is highly relevant to OncoSec’s proprietary DNA-based immunotherapy and delivery technology, and complementary to our existing management team and advisors.”