Advaxis Announces Executive Leadership Changes
Advaxis, Inc. (ADXS), a late-stage biotechnology company focused on the discovery, development and commercialization of immunotherapy products, today announced that Kenneth A. Berlin has been appointed as President and Chief Executive Officer, effective April 23, 2018, and will also serve as a Director of the company. Interim CEO Anthony Lombardo will remain with Advaxis for a period of time to ensure a smooth transition to Mr. Berlin.
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In addition, Andres A. Gutierrez, M.D., Ph.D. has been named Executive Vice President, Chief Medical Officer, effective April 23, 2018. Advaxis also announced that CFO Sara Bonstein will be leaving the company as of April 30, 2018 to pursue a new professional opportunity. The Company is actively engaged in the search for a new CFO, and will announce an interim appointment shortly.
“After a comprehensive and methodical search, we are very pleased to announce that Ken Berlin has agreed to join Advaxis as President and CEO, and that Dr. Andres Gutierrez is joining our team as CMO. Both of these executives are eminently qualified for their new positions, and we expect to benefit greatly from their expertise. Under their leadership, we look to the future of the company with excitement and confidence,” stated David Sidransky, M.D., Chairman of the Board. “On behalf of the Board, I would like to take this opportunity to sincerely thank Sara Bonstein and Anthony Lombardo for their valued service to the company as CFO and interim CEO, respectively, and extend best wishes to both of them.”
Mr. Berlin joins Advaxis from Rosetta Genomics, where since 2009 he was President and Chief Executive Officer. During his tenure at Rosetta, Mr. Berlin spearheaded the effort of repositioning the company for commercial success with various microRNA-based oncology diagnostic products and raised nearly $100 million in capital to fund these efforts. Prior to Rosetta Genomics, Mr. Berlin was Worldwide General Manager at cellular and molecular cancer diagnostics developer Veridex, LLC, a Johnson & Johnson company. At Veridex he grew the organization to over 100 employees, launched three cancer diagnostic products, led the acquisition of its cellular diagnostics partner, and delivered significant growth in sales as Veridex transitioned from an R&D entity to a commercial provider of oncology diagnostic products and services. During Mr. Berlin’s tenure, Veridex received numerous awards including recognition from the Cleveland Clinic and Prix Galien for the use of its innovative CellSearch® technology in the fight against cancer.
Mr. Berlin joined Johnson & Johnson in 1994 and served as corporate counsel for six years. He led and participated on the legal team that oversaw several mergers, acquisitions, divestitures and commercial transactions. He then held positions of increasing responsibility within Johnson & Johnson and a number of its subsidiary companies. From 2001 until 2004 he served as Vice President, Licensing and New Business Development in the pharmaceuticals group, and from 2004 until 2007 served as Worldwide Vice President, Franchise Development, Ortho-Clinical Diagnostics. He has been responsible for numerous licensing and/or research collaboration deals in oncology, metabolic disease, cardiovascular disease, CNS and women’s health, including the ex-U.S. license to Millennium Pharmaceutical’s VELCADE, a first-in-class, oncology therapeutic with peak reported sales outside the U.S. of approximately $1.8 billion.
“Ken brings to Advaxis a truly valuable combination of executive leadership experience with large and small, development-stage and commercial companies with a particular expertise in oncology. He has a proven ability to raise capital, launch products, achieve rapid sales growth, build businesses and complete strategic M&A and licensing transactions. We are fortunate to have Ken as our new chief executive,” commented Dr. Sidransky.
“The opportunity to join Advaxis at such a pivotal and active time is very exciting,” stated Mr. Berlin. “I look forward to building on the company’s strong foundations and to maximize the value of our Lm-based platform technology worldwide and in multiple indications.”