Cellectis Appoints Well-Known Cancer R&D Chief

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Stéphane Depil, M.D., Ph.D. has been appointed Cellectis’ CMO and senior vice president of Research and Development. This marks Depil’s, former director of oncology R&D at Servier, homecoming to the industry after directing the cancer immunotherapy program at a cancer center. Depil shall continue as an adjunct professor in academic and research activities at the Léon Bérard Cancer Center in Lyon.

During his time at Servier, Depil directed twenty oncology programs of which five were in the clinic. The remaining programs were divided between late and early preclinical. That breakdown like what Depil will come across with his new role at Cellectis. Depil’s experience also encompasses a biotech as former CEO of Netris Pharma, which is a cancer startup that earlier this year moved a monoclonal antibody targeting Netrin-1 into human testing.

Earlier this year, Cellectis progressed its lead in-house drug UCART123 into human testing. Besides that, the biotech gene editing specialist has three candidates in its pipeline, all of which are at different stages ranges from the start of preclinical studies to IND filings. Cellectis will utilize Depil’s knowledge to move its off-the-shelf CAR-T assets into the clinic following a difficult start as one of first patients received the therapy died. Depil’s role will be to take Cellectis’ candidates to clinical development as well as strategic and operational management in therapeutic activities.

Cellectis CEO André Choulika acknowledged Depil’s range of experience in explaining his enthusiasm for adding Depil to the team.

“Stéphane Depil’s deep medical, academic and clinical regulatory oncology experience … will be invaluable as he leads Cellectis’ strategy,” Choulika said in a statement, “His strategic alliance-building, collaboration skills, understanding of the global environment with oncological clinical research and firsthand experience running a pharma company all add a great degree of ability and depth to our leadership team.”

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