October 12, 2020
Sandra Aung, Ph.D. has joined OncoSec Medical as Senior Vice President, Chief Clinical Development Officer. The news was announced today.
Sandra Aung, Ph.D. will be responsible for overseeing KEYNOTE-695, the Company’s Phase 2b trial evaluating intratumoral delivery of its interleukin-12 (IL-12) based immunotherapy, TAVO™ (tavokinogene telseplasmid), in combination with intravenous KEYTRUDA® (pembrolizumab) in patients with unresectable, advanced melanoma, as well as overseeing OncoSec’s additional clinical trials evaluating TAVO.
“Prior to joining OncoSec, Dr. Aung was an integral part of the development of Nektar Therapeutics’ lead clinical compound, pegylated interleukin-2 (IL-2) (bempeg), in combination with immune checkpoint therapies for multiple solid tumors. She led the effort in achieving Breakthrough Therapy Designation for their melanoma therapy, which resulted in their transformational deal with Bristol Myers Squibb,” said Daniel J. O’Connor, President and Chief Executive Officer of OncoSec. “Her extensive scientific and clinical experience with immune modulating cytokines and checkpoint therapies, in addition to her strong relationship with clinical investigators and key opinion leaders (KOLs) in the field of melanoma, makes her ideal to lead KEYNOTE-695 as we complete enrollment. We are thrilled to add her to the leadership team at this important time for the Company.”
Dr. Aung stated, “OncoSec’s unique IL-12 plasmid and gene delivery platform has the potential to become a life-extending treatment option for patients diagnosed with cancer where current therapies have proven insufficient. I am particularly excited to be joining the Company as it prepares to report new clinical data for the KEYNOTE-695 trial in November at the Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer (SITC). My immediate focus is to successfully complete KEYNOTE-695 to bring what I believe is an important new therapy to patients in need.”
Dr. Aung brings over 20 years of experience in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industry having led teams and projects in companies of different sizes. Dr. Aung has a versatile background in autoimmunity, immune-oncology, and infectious disease and has authored over 20 peer-reviewed publications and received multiple Small Business Innovate Research (SBIR) grants from the National Cancer Institute/ National Institutes of Health (IH/NCI) for her work in immune-oncology drug development. Dr. Aung helped lead Nektar Therapeutics’ lead clinical compound, pegylated interleukin-2 (IL-2) (bempeg), from First-In-Human studies to multiple Phase 3 registrational trials in less than 3 years.
Dr. Aung’s cross industry and academic relationships with KOLs and more importantly expertise with high dose IL-2 (Proleukin®) were instrumental for this success. Dr. Aung’s extensive immuno-oncology drug development experience additionally comes from previous research and leadership positions she held at UbiVac, Inc. and Cell Genesys, Inc. Dr. Aung earned her Ph.D. in microbiology and immunology from Vanderbilt University and performed her post-doctoral research at The Scripps Research Institute.
Dr. Aung will also assume all clinical development leadership responsibilities from Kellie Malloy, who previously served as Chief Clinical Development Officer and Chief Operating Officer and who will be leaving the Company to pursue another opportunity.
Mr. O’Connor added, “We greatly benefitted from Kellie’s experience and guidance in the advancement of KEYNOTE-695 and other clinical programs. We wish her all the best in her new endeavor.”
In connection with her appointment, Dr. Aung received a one-time inducement award of 300,000 stock options, of which 75,000 (25%) are fully vested as of the grant date. The remaining shares vest twelve months from the date of grant. The Company approved the award as an inducement material to Dr. Aung entering into employment with the Company in accordance with NASDAQ Listing Rule 5635(c)(4).