ONCAlert | 2017 NANETS Symposium

Kaufman Appointed Chief Medical Officer of Replimune Group

Published Online:12:06 PM, Wed October 11, 2017

Howard L. Kaufman, MD, FACS
Howard L. Kaufman, MD, FACS, has been appointed chief medical officer of Replimune Group Inc, a developer of oncolytic immunotherapies for the treatment of cancer. Kaufman has 25 years of leadership in academic oncology and is recognized as one of the leading physician scientists in the oncolytic immunotherapy field. Most recently, he served as chief of the Division of Surgical Oncology at the Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School.

“Howard is one of the pioneers of immuno-oncology, and has an inspiring commitment to translating exciting science into real medicines for patients,” Robert Coffin, PhD, co-founder and CEO of Replimune, said in a statement. “I am very pleased to welcome him to the team and look forward to the many contributions he will make as Replimune transitions to a clinical stage biotechnology company at the forefront of its field.”

Replimune is developing novel oncolytic immunotherapies with the intent to maximize the direct antitumor effect of oncolytic therapy and induce systemic antitumor immune response. Kaufman, whose research focuses on oncolytic viruses, was a vital addition to the company as Replimune’s first product, RP1, will enter clinical trials later this year. RP1 is based on a proprietary strain of herpes simplex virus engineered for tumor selectivity and enhanced systemic potency through the expression of a potent fusogenic glycoprotein.

“I am excited to join Replimune, which I believe to be the leading oncolytic immunotherapy platform company and see this as the nexus of my medical and scientific interests,” Kaufman said in a statement. “I look forward to bringing these potentially powerful treatments to patients.”

Kaufman is a leading authority on cancer immunotherapy, tumor immunology, and the optimization of viral approaches for the treatment of cancer. Founding the tumor vaccine program at the National Cancer Institute (NCI) in 1988, Kaufman pioneered the development of recombinant viruses for cancer therapy and developed the first vaccinia virus to express a human tumor antigen.

He was also involved in the clinical development of talimogene laherparepvec (T-VEC; Imlygic), which became the first oncolytic virus therapy to receive FDA approval for patients with melanoma in October 2015.

Kaufman was recruited to be the chief surgical officer and associate director for clinical services for the Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey in 2014. He also previously served as deputy director of the Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center at Columbia University and director of the Cancer Center at Rush University. He has extensive drug development experience and is an expert consultant on several scientific advisory boards.

While serving as president of the Society for the Immunotherapy of Cancer from 2014 to 2016, Kaufman helped to establish national immunotherapy guidelines for clinicians. He is the recipient of several awards including the Judson Daland Prize for Outstanding Achievement in Clinical Investigation and the Humanitarian Award from the Melanoma Research Foundation.
Kaufman has published over 400 peer-reviewed scientific papers, books, review articles, and abstracts, and serves on the editorial board of the Journal for Immunotherapy of Cancer. He is senior associate editor at the Journal of Translational Medicine and has served as the editor in chief of The Journal of Targeted Therapies in Cancer and Targeted Therapies in Oncology.

Kaufman received his medical degree from Loyola University, completed a residency in general surgery at Boston University, and completed his fellowship training in tumor immunology and surgical oncology at the NCI.

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