SAN DIEGO, June 15, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Fate Therapeutics, Inc. ( FATE), a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company dedicated to the development of programmed cellular immunotherapies for cancer, today announced that Mark Plavsic, DVM, PhD, RAC has been appointed Chief Technical Officer. Dr. Plavsic brings over 20 years of broad technical excellence in global biopharmaceutical operations, having led teams in the commercial-scale cGMP manufacture and distribution, as well as the clinical-stage process, assay, and formulation development, of complex biologics. As Chief Technical Officer, Mark will oversee the Company’s manufacturing, technical, and supply chain operations.
“We are excited to welcome Mark to Fate Therapeutics as we continue to scale our iPSC product platform and prepare to launch our second in-house GMP manufacturing facility to support late-stage clinical and commercial production of our off-the-shelf NK cell and T-cell product candidates,” said Scott Wolchko, President and Chief Executive Officer of Fate Therapeutics. “Mark’s technical excellence in building and leading complex biologics operations and in bringing novel product candidates through to approval and commercial launch is a terrific complement to our management team.”
Dr. Plavsic’s global biopharmaceutical experience includes end-to-end technical operations in the US, Europe, and Australasia and successful translation and scale-up of complex biologics from preclinical development through commercial launch and distribution. Prior to joining Fate Therapeutics, Dr. Plavsic served as Chief Technical Officer at Lysogene, a late-stage gene therapy company focused on the treatment of orphan diseases of the central nervous system, and was previously SVP Technology Development & Manufacturing at Torque Therapeutics, a clinical-stage company developing recombinant immune-modulating therapies for cancer. Dr. Plavsic also spent over 10 years at Sanofi Genzyme in Technical Operations, where he was head of product safety and global manufacturing process improvement, and in Technology Development & Manufacturing, where he was head of gene therapy development. Before joining Sanofi Genzyme, Dr. Plavsic held various technical leadership positions with AstraZeneca, Q-One Biotech, and Life Technologies. Dr. Plavsic received his PhD in Virology and Immunology and his DVM from the University of Belgrade, and is Board certified in Microbiology from the American College of Veterinary Microbiologists and RAC credentialed.
“Engineered cell therapies are changing the treatment landscape for patients with cancer, and I am thrilled to join Fate Therapeutics and lead in the development of off-the-shelf solutions that can maximize patient reach and impact,” said Dr. Plavsic. “Fate Therapeutics founded the field of iPSC-derived, cell-based cancer immunotherapy, and I look forward to working with the team to build a first-class global manufacturing, technical, and supply infrastructure to deliver on late-stage development and commercial product opportunities.”
In connection with his commencement of employment, Fate Therapeutics granted Dr. Plavsic an option to purchase 18,500 shares of the Company’s common stock with an exercise price equal to $89.97, the closing price per share of the Company’s common stock as reported by NASDAQ on June 14, 2021, which was the date of commencement of Dr. Plavsic’s employment with the Company and the effective date of grant. The option is a non-qualified stock option and vests over a period of four years, with twenty-five percent vesting on the one-year anniversary of the grant date and the remaining seventy-five percent vesting in approximately equal monthly increments over the succeeding thirty-six months, subject to Dr. Plavsic’s continuous employment through each vesting date. In addition, Fate Therapeutics granted Dr. Plavsic an award of 38,000 restricted stock units, with each restricted stock unit equal to one share of the Company’s common stock. Twenty-five percent (25%) of the restricted stock units vest on the one-year anniversary of the date of commencement of employment, and thereafter twenty-five percent (25%) of the restricted stock units shall vest on each anniversary of the date of commencement of employment, subject to Dr. Plavsic’s continuous employment through each vesting date. The option and the restricted stock unit award each were granted as an inducement material to Dr. Plavsic entering into employment with Fate Therapeutics in accordance with NASDAQ Listing Rule 5635(c)(4), and were granted pursuant to the Company’s Inducement Equity Plan.
About Fate Therapeutics’ iPSC Product Platform
The Company’s proprietary induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) product platform enables mass production of off-the-shelf, engineered, homogeneous cell products that are designed to be administered with multiple doses to deliver more effective pharmacologic activity, including in combination with other cancer treatments. Human iPSCs possess the unique dual properties of unlimited self-renewal and differentiation potential into all cell types of the body. The Company’s first-of-kind approach involves engineering human iPSCs in a one-time genetic modification event and selecting a single engineered iPSC for maintenance as a clonal master iPSC line. Analogous to master cell lines used to manufacture biopharmaceutical drug products such as monoclonal antibodies, clonal master iPSC lines are a renewable source for manufacturing cell therapy products which are well-defined and uniform in composition, can be mass produced at significant scale in a cost-effective manner, and can be delivered off-the-shelf for patient treatment. As a result, the Company’s platform is uniquely designed to overcome numerous limitations associated with the production of cell therapies using patient- or donor-sourced cells, which is logistically complex and expensive and is subject to batch-to-batch and cell-to-cell variability that can affect clinical safety and efficacy. Fate Therapeutics’ iPSC product platform is supported by an intellectual property portfolio of over 350 issued patents and 150 pending patent applications.
About Fate Therapeutics, Inc.
Fate Therapeutics is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company dedicated to the development of first-in-class cellular immunotherapies for patients with cancer. The Company has established a leadership position in the clinical development and manufacture of universal, off-the-shelf cell products using its proprietary induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) product platform. The Company’s immuno-oncology pipeline includes off-the-shelf, iPSC-derived natural killer (NK) cell and T-cell product candidates, which are designed to synergize with well-established cancer therapies, including immune checkpoint inhibitors and monoclonal antibodies, and to target tumor-associated antigens using chimeric antigen receptors (CARs). Fate Therapeutics is headquartered in San Diego, CA. For more information, please visit www.fatetherapeutics.com.
This release contains "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 including statements regarding the advancement of, plans related to, and the therapeutic potential of the Company's product candidates, the Company’s clinical development and manufacturing strategies, and the Company’s plans for the clinical investigation and manufacture of its product candidates. These and any other forward-looking statements in this release are based on management's current expectations of future events and are subject to a number of risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially and adversely from those set forth in or implied by such forward-looking statements. These risks and uncertainties include, but are not limited to, the risk that results observed in studies of its product candidates, including preclinical studies and clinical trials of any of its product candidates, will not be observed in ongoing or future studies involving these product candidates, the risk that the Company may cease or delay clinical development of any of its product candidates for a variety of reasons (including requirements that may be imposed by regulatory authorities on the initiation or conduct of clinical trials, the amount and type of data to be generated, or otherwise to support regulatory approval, difficulties or delays in subject enrollment and continuation in current and planned clinical trials, difficulties in manufacturing or supplying the Company’s product candidates for clinical testing, and any adverse events or other negative results that may be observed during preclinical or clinical development), and the risk that its product candidates may not produce therapeutic benefits or may cause other unanticipated adverse effects. For a discussion of other risks and uncertainties, and other important factors, any of which could cause the Company’s actual results to differ from those contained in the forward-looking statements, see the risks and uncertainties detailed in the Company’s periodic filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including but not limited to the Company’s most recently filed periodic report, and from time to time in the Company’s press releases and other investor communications. Fate Therapeutics is providing the information in this release as of this date and does not undertake any obligation to update any forward-looking statements contained in this release as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.
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