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BioOra Appoints Cell Therapy Pioneer, Professor Carl June To Board Of Directors

BioOra, a biopharma joint venture between the Malaghan Institute of Medical Research and Bridgewest Ventures, has appointed Carl June, MD to its Board of Directors.

Carl June is globally recognised as a pioneer of CAR (chimeric antigen receptor) T cell immunotherapy, receiving international recognition for his work, including most recently being awarded the 2024 Laureate in Life Sciences; a Breakthrough Prize honouring impactful discoveries which have progressed the treatment of major diseases.

June continues his leadership in the field through his roles as the Richard W. Vague Professor in Immunotherapy in the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania and director of the Centre for Cellular Immunotherapies at the Abramson Cancer Centre. June is also a Director and Advisor to many leading pharmaceutical and biopharma companies developing CAR T cell therapies.

CAR T cells are immune cells reprogrammed to recognise and kill patients’ cancer cells. June’s ground-breaking work developing CAR T cells for the treatment of lymphoma and leukaemia led to the first FDA approved cellular therapy and has saved the lives of many children and adults around the world.

“BioOra is using an automated process to produce CAR T cell therapies,” says June. “This approach to manufacturing introduces efficiency, scalability, and cost savings facilitating access to these lifesaving treatments to New Zealanders. I look forward to helping the company build upon its success both locally and globally.”

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“BioOra is an important partner for the Malaghan Institute as it will play a pivotal role in advancing this therapy, first for patients in New Zealand and then elsewhere in the world,” says Dr Robert Weinkove, Malaghan Institute’s Clinical Director. “To have such a leader in CAR T cell therapy lend his extensive scientific, clinical, and commercial expertise to the board of BioOra is a major affirmation of our clinical results and plans with the company.”

Dr Peter Crabtree, Chair of BioOra, says Dr June’s appointment is a validation of BioOra’s strategy and technology. “BioOra is focused on meeting the urgent and unmet need for New Zealanders to access CAR T cell therapies. BioOra’s technology is already delivering CAR T to patients with lymphoma in the Malaghan Institute’s ENABLE trial. Through this program we will leverage our platform to then address the large global demand for these cell therapies in populations and geographies where CAR T remains unavailable.” says Crabtree.

About BioOra

Based in New Zealand, BioOra is a privately held biopharma joint venture between the Malaghan Institute of Medical Research and Bridgewest Ventures. The company is transforming how CAR T cell therapies are delivered in New Zealand and beyond. As follow on to the Malaghan Institute of Medical Research Phase 1 ENABLE trial ( NCT04049513), BioOra is partnering with the Malaghan Institute to commercialise a third generation CAR T cell therapy designed to treat patients with lymphoma.

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