Affimed Therapeutics AG Appoints Dr Eugene Zhukovsky as New Chief Scientific Officer
Affimed Therapeutics AG /
Affimed Therapeutics AG Appoints Dr Eugene Zhukovsky as New Chief Scientific
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Heidelberg, Germany - December 5, 2011: Affimed Therapeutics AG, the therapeutic
TandAbÂ® antibody company, today announced the appointment of Dr Eugene Zhukovsky
as Chief Scientific Officer, effective January 1st 2012.
Dr Zhukovsky joins Affimed from Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals as
successor to founder and current Chief Scientific Officer Prof Melvyn Little.
Prof Little will retire from his position as CSO of the Company and will
continue to work as a consultant to Affimed.
Dr Adi Hoess, CEO of Affimed, commented: "We are delighted to welcome an
outstanding successor in Dr Eugene Zhukovsky, who will serve as a key member of
the Executive Management Board. Eugene has an exceptional track record and
brings biotech and pharma drug discovery and development experience, which is
important for Affimed as it continues to grow as a leading biopharmaceutical
company in the development of bispecific antibodies."
Dr Zhukovsky has 20 years professional experience in the field of
biotherapeutics research and development. Previously, he was a Senior Research
Fellow in the Biotherapeutics Department at Boehringer Ingelheim
Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Prior to that, Dr Zhukovsky was an Associate Director at
Xencor, Inc. where he led translational research efforts resulting in several
therapeutic candidates targeting malignant and normal B cells. One of these
therapeutic antibodies is currently undergoing clinical trials. Dr Zhukovsky
began his professional career employing phage display technology at Neurex
Corporation (now Elan Therapeutics). He then moved to Lynx Therapeutics (now
Illumina, Inc.) to work on the development of genomics technologies before
returning to protein/antibody engineering and biotherapeutics development at
Dr Thomas Hecht, Chairman of Affimed, added: "On behalf of both, the Supervisory
Board and the Executive Management Board, I would like to express my heartfelt
thanks to Melvyn for founding Affimed and for his valuable contributions that
have been central to building the Company into the success it is today."
Prof Little founded Affimed in 2000 and pioneered the development of Affimed's
TandAbÂ® technology as one of the leading bispecific antibody platforms. In
2010, the first TandAb antibody AFM13 entered clinical trials and the
bispecific, tetravalent human antibody has shown very promising safety,
tolerability and activity in the treatment of Hodgkin Lymphoma. Prof Little
became interested in the potential of antibodies for cancer therapy while
working at the German Cancer Research Center in Heidelberg and was appointed
head of the newly founded research group "Recombinant Antibodies" in 1990. A
major task for this unit was to develop methods for generating and screening
human antibody libraries using phage display technology. Subsequently, novel
approaches were devised for exploiting the potential of the bodyÂ´s own defence
system to kill cancer cells using recombinant bispecific antibodies.
"The TandAbÂ® technology of Affimed Therapeutics is a valuable platform validated
by the production of high quality products at a time when substantial efforts in
the pharmaceutical industry are directed towards the discovery and development
of bifunctional antibodies", said Dr Zhukovsky. "I am delighted to join the
company and lead the discovery and preclinical development of drug candidates as
well as the continued development of the TandAbÂ® platform for the identification
of medications that will benefit patients."
Dr Zhukovsky received his PhD in biochemistry from Brandeis University for
studies of GPCR structure-function relationships employing the visual pigment
rhodopsin. Prior to this, he completed an MS degree in bioorganic chemistry at
St. Petersburg's State University. From 1991 until 1995 Dr Zhukovsky was a Post
Doc at Genentech, Inc. where he was engaged in studies evaluating the
contribution of secondary structural elements to global protein stability.
For further information please contact:
Affimed Therapeutics AG MC Services AG
Dr Adi Hoess (CEO) Anne Hennecke
Tel.: + 49 6221 65307 64 Tel.: +49 89 210 228 18
Fax: + 49 6221 65307 77 Fax: +49 89 210 228 88
Affimed Therapeutics AG is a therapeutic antibody company developing unique
antibody therapeutics as novel treatments for life threatening diseases with
high unmet medical needs. The company has generated a growing pipeline of drug
candidates based on its proprietary TandAbÂ® antibody platform. Affimed's lead
product candidate AFM13 for the treatment of Hodgkin's disease is in Phase I
clinical development. Its second product candidate AFM11 is in formal
preclinical development for the treatment of Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. Further
novel product candidates are in development to treat solid tumors and autoimmune
diseases. Affimed's proprietary and highly productive TandAbÂ® technology enables
the company to generate unique tetravalent, bispecific, fully human antibody
formats that promise increased therapeutic potential and superior profiles
compared to monoclonal antibodies. The private company Affimed, which employs
30 people in Heidelberg, is a spin-off from the German Cancer Research Centre
TandAbsÂ®, which were invented and developed by Affimed scientists, are
tetravalent bispecific antibody formats that have two binding sites for each
antigen. RECRUIT-TandAbsÂ®, such as AFM13 and AFM11, bind to target molecules on
the surface of tumor cells (CD30 and CD19, respectively) and can activate immune
effector cells such as natural killer (NK) cells or cytotoxic T-cells. RECRUIT-
TandAbsÂ® possess the same avidity and affinity for each target as an IgG;
however, the much higher potency of TandAbsÂ® versus IgG is achieved by a more
efficient binding to the immune effector cells. Combined with their
bispecificity, this format represents a potent further development of
therapeutic monoclonal antibodies and, potentially, a superior alternative to
first generation antibody formats/scaffolds. A robust production process for
TandAbs has been established with excellent stability of the drug product.
Affimed has developed different kinds of TandAbsÂ® for specific indications.
While RECRUIT-TandAbsÂ® are applied to oncology, BiBLOCK- and PROLONG-TandAbsÂ®
are developed for the treatment of autoimmune and inflammatory diseases.
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