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Mr. O’Connor’s appointment is effective immediately. The company reports that previously, on September 7, 2017, Mr. O’Connor joined the Company’s Board of Directors. Mr. Punit Dhillon, co-founder of OncoSec, will continue to serve as the Company’s President and a member of its Board of Directors.
Avtar Dhillon, Chairman of OncoSec, “We are pleased to welcome Dan to OncoSec at this important time, and believe he is uniquely qualified to lead the company through the successful completion of its phase 2b registration directed trial, PISCES/KEYNOTE-695 in patients with unresectable metastatic melanoma who have progressed or are progressing on an anti-PD-1 therapy.” He added, “Dan is a proven leader with a strong track record of success and brings exceptional strategic and operational expertise in building thriving, successful biopharma companies.”
“The Board and I want to thank Punit Dhillon for the contributions he made to OncoSec which positioned the Company for the next stage of growth and shareholder value creation.”
“Dan’s history commercializing and licensing cancer immunotherapy products is vital as we continue to progress our lead melanoma program through clinical trials and registration,” said Punit Dhillon, President of OncoSec. “I am excited to welcome Dan as OncoSec’s CEO and look forward to working with him to continue to advance the Company’s intratumoral cancer immunotherapies.”
Mr. O’Connor has 20 years of executive, legal, and regulatory experience in the biopharmaceutical industry, including CEO and other executive leadership positions at Advaxis, Inc., ImClone Systems, Bracco Diagnostics, Inc., and PharmaNet (today, inVentiv Health). Most recently, Mr. O’Connor was the President, Chief Executive Officer and Director of Advaxis, Inc., located in Princeton, NJ, from 2013 until 2017. As CEO of Advaxis, Mr. O’Connor uplisted Advaxis onto NASDAQ and, in five years raised more than $250 million in funding, transforming it into a patient-focused, fully-integrated, leading cancer immunotherapy company with collaboration partners including Amgen Inc., Merck & Co., Bristol Myers Squib and AstraZeneca.
At ImClone, Mr. O’Connor served as Senior Vice President, General Counsel, and Corporate Secretary where he supported the clinical development, launch, and commercialization of ERBITUX® and resolved several critical corporate issues, including extensive licensing negotiations, to facilitate ImClone’s sale to Eli Lilly in 2008. While at PharmaNet (today, inVentiv Health), Mr. O’Connor served as General Counsel and was part of the senior leadership team that grew the company from a start-up contract research organization to a leader in clinical research.
Mr. O’Connor is a 1995 graduate of the Penn State University’s Dickinson School of Law in Carlisle, Pennsylvania and currently serves as a Special Advisor to its Dean. Mr. O’Connor graduated from the United States Marines Corps Officer Candidate School in 1988 and was then commissioned as an officer in the U.S. Marines, attaining the rank of Captain and serving in Saudi Arabia during Operation Desert Shield. He received the National Service Metal and the Southwest Asia Service Medal. He is a former New Jersey criminal prosecutor. In 2017, Mr. O’Connor was appointed Vice Chairman of the Board of Trustees of BioNJ, leveraging his experience to guide and support the organization’s mission of fostering the innovation of research-based life science companies in the New Jersey region. In October 2017, Mr. O’Connor was appointed to the New Jersey Biotechnology Task Force by Governor Chris Christie.
“I am delighted to join Punit and the Company at this important time and look forward to guiding the continued development of its strong, intratumoral pipeline,” said Dan O’Connor. “I am eager to work with our Board, senior management and the entire organization to execute on our promising future, delivering on the Company’s long-standing goal of positively impacting the lives of patients with cancer. I believe ImmunoPulse® IL-12 in late-stage melanoma, when used in combination with pembrolizumab, can reshape the tumor microenvironment and converting “cold” tumors to “hot,” potentially improving clinical outcomes in patients predicted to not respond to anti-PD-1 therapy.”