Sutro Biopharma Announces Expansion of Leadership Team
– Nicole M. Chieffo, MBA, appointed to Vice President of Clinical Operations
– Werner Rubas, Ph.D., appointed to Vice President of Preclinical Development
SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO, Calif., Sept. 16, 2021 – Sutro Biopharma, Inc. (NASDAQ: STRO), a clinical-stage drug discovery, development and manufacturing company focused on the application of precise protein engineering and rational design to create next-generation cancer and autoimmune therapeutics, announced today the appointment of two executives to the Company’s leadership team. Nicole M. Chieffo, MBA, has joined as Vice President of Clinical Operations and Werner Rubas, Ph.D., has joined as Vice President of Preclinical Development.
Nicole Chieffo has over 25 years of clinical operations and development experience. Nicole joins Sutro from Janssen Pharmaceuticals where she previously held Sr. Director, Oncology Global Operations Head and Lead Oncology Clinical Scientist positions. Nicole worked directly with Janssen’s medical oncology and hematology physician team leaders in advancing the Early and Late-Stage Research and Development portfolio. In this capacity, Nicole led and supported clinical operations at Janssen, resulting in successful approvals of ZYTIGA®, SYLVANT®, YONDELIS®, IMBRUVICA®, DARZALEX®, ERLEADA®, BALVERSA™, and RYBREVANT™. Prior to Janssen, Nicole was with Cougar Biotechnology Inc. (acquired by Janssen in 2009) and established the Clinical Operational infrastructure to manage the development of Abiraterone Acetate (Zytiga). Nicole held various operational positions at IDEC Pharmaceuticals, a predecessor of Biogen Idec, and led the Global Clinical Development Teams for multiple indications (Non-Hodgkin’s and Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, multiple solid tumors, and psoriasis) of target monoclonal antibodies. Nicole has also held various clinical operations and development positions at Dura and Amylin Pharmaceuticals, Immune Response Corporation, and Oncology Pre-Clinical Research positions at University of Pennsylvania, Department of Radiation Oncology, and Adamantech Inc. Nicole holds degrees in Animal Science, a B.A. in Business Management, and a Master’s in Business Administration (MBA).
Dr. Arturo Molina, Chief Medical Officer of Sutro commented, “We welcome Nicole to our clinical operations and development team; her extensive expertise and excellent leadership capability in clinical operations complement the expert clinical development, regulatory and biometrics teams in place. Nicole brings valued experience and industry knowledge as we continue to advance Sutro’s first two internally-developed ADCs, STRO-001 and STRO-002, through the clinic.”
Werner Rubas, Ph.D., brings to Sutro 30 years of biotech and pharmaceutical industry experience. Formerly, Dr. Rubas was at Nektar Therapeutics for over nine years, most recently as Executive Director in Non-Clinical Pharmacokinetics and Pharmacodynamics. At Nektar he provided leadership support, directed the generation of data packages for regulatory submissions of NKTR-214, NKTR-358, NKTR-262 and NKTR-255, filed a patent application for an immunotherapeutic tumor treatment method, and provided scientific input on cross-functional teams from research concepts to late stage development. Prior to Nektar, Dr. Werner was at Roche in Palo Alto, where he was the Associate Director of the Drug Metabolism and Pharmacokinetics group. Additionally, he has been a SPARK advisor at Stanford University since 2010 and lectures classes on Drug Development at UC Berkeley Extension. Dr. Rubas earned his Ph.D. from ETH, Zurich and received his pharmacy license from the School of Pharmacy at ETH, Zurich.
Trevor Hallam, Ph.D., President of Research and Chief Scientific Officer commented, “The collective expertise of our preclinical development team is a valued strength at Sutro as we focus on execution across robust and innovative clinical-stage programs. Werner brings a remarkable scope of accomplishments and experience to Sutro, with extensive research expertise in oncology and immune-modulatory therapeutics, to support the long-term potential of Sutro’s pipeline for cancer patients.”
About Sutro Biopharma
Sutro Biopharma, Inc., located in South San Francisco, is a clinical-stage drug discovery, development and manufacturing company. Using precise protein engineering and rational design, Sutro is advancing next-generation oncology therapeutics.
Sutro’s proprietary and integrated cell-free protein synthesis platform XpressCF® and site-specific conjugation platform XpressCF+™ led to the discovery of STRO-001 and STRO-002, Sutro’s first two internally-developed ADCs. STRO-001 is a CD74-targeting ADC currently under investigation in a Phase 1 clinical trial for patients with advanced B-cell malignancies, and was granted Orphan Drug Designation by the FDA for multiple myeloma. STRO-002, a folate receptor alpha (FolRα)-targeting ADC, is currently being investigated in a Phase 1 clinical trial for patients with ovarian and endometrial cancers and was granted Fast Track designation by the FDA for ovarian cancer. A third product candidate, CC-99712, a BCMA-targeting ADC, which is part of Sutro’s collaboration with Bristol Myers Squibb, formerly Celgene Corporation, is enrolling patients for its Phase 1 clinical trial of patients with multiple myeloma and has received Orphan Drug Designation from the FDA. A fourth product candidate, M1231, a MUC1-EGFR, first-in-class bispecific ADC, which is part of Sutro’s collaboration with Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, known as EMD Serono in the U.S. and Canada (EMD Serono), is enrolling patients for its Phase 1 clinical trial of patients with metastatic solid tumors, non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and esophageal squamous cell carcinoma. These four product candidates above being evaluated in clinical trials resulted from Sutro’s XpressCF® and XpressCF+™ technology platforms. Bristol Myers Squibb and EMD Serono have worldwide development and commercialization rights for CC-99712 and M1231, respectively, for which Sutro is entitled to milestone or contingent payments and tiered royalties.
Sutro is dedicated to transforming the lives of cancer patients by creating medicines with improved therapeutic profiles for areas of unmet need. To date, Sutro’s platform has led to ADCs, bispecific antibodies, cytokine-based immuno-oncology therapies, and vaccines directed at precedented targets in clinical indications where the current standard of care is suboptimal.
The platform allows it to accelerate discovery and development of potential first-in-class and best-in-class molecules through rapid and systematic evaluation of protein structure-activity relationships to create optimized homogeneous product candidates. In addition to developing its own oncology pipeline, Sutro is collaborating with select pharmaceutical and biotech companies to discover and develop novel, next-generation therapeutics.
This press release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of the “safe harbor” provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, including, but not limited to, anticipated clinical development activities and timelines, the pace of the FDA’s review of STRO-002, and potential benefits of the company’s product candidates and platform. All statements other than statements of historical fact are statements that could be deemed forward-looking statements. Although the company believes that the expectations reflected in such forward-looking statements are reasonable, the company cannot guarantee future events, results, actions, levels of activity, performance or achievements, and the timing and results of biotechnology development and potential regulatory approval is inherently uncertain. Forward-looking statements are subject to risks and uncertainties that may cause the company’s actual activities or results to differ significantly from those expressed in any forward-looking statement, including risks and uncertainties related to the company’s ability to advance its product candidates, the receipt and timing of potential regulatory designations, approvals and commercialization of product candidates, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the Company’s business, clinical trial sites, supply chain and manufacturing facilities, the Company’s ability to maintain and recognize the benefits of certain designations received by product candidates, the timing and results of preclinical and clinical trials, the Company’s ability to fund development activities and achieve development goals, the Company’s ability to protect intellectual property, the value of the Company’s holdings of Vaxcyte common stock, and the Company’s commercial collaborations with third parties and other risks and uncertainties described under the heading “Risk Factors” in documents the company files from time to time with the Securities and Exchange Commission. These forward-looking statements speak only as of the date of this press release, and the company undertakes no obligation to revise or update any forward-looking statements to reflect events or circumstances after the date hereof.
Annie J. Chang