Tiziana Life Sciences PLC (NASDAQ:TLSA, AIM:TILS) said Dr Napoleone Ferrara, an award-winning scientist who helped invent two blockbuster drugs, has agreed to serve on the company’s scientific advisory board for a further three years.
Ferrara, currently a professor at the University of California San Diego Medical Center, made pivotal contributions to the discovery of cancer drug Avastin and Lucentis, for an eye condition called macular degeneration. Last year the two products netted sales of more than US$9bn worldwide.
A highly decorated researcher, Ferrara, a member of the National Academy of Sciences, has won the coveted Lasker Award and the Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences.
He also brings with him more than 30 years of experience in the clinical development of monoclonal antibodies (mAbs).
Tiziana said he had been "very useful" in the formulation and clinical progress of Foralumab, a fully human anti-CD3 mAb that is being developed for Crohn’s Disease and progressive multiple sclerosis.
The company is also working on TZLS-501, anti-IL-6 receptor monoclonal antibody, that can be directly inhaled to treat the lung inflammation caused by the coronavirus (COVID-19).
“Dr Ferrara’s experience with monoclonal antibodies will be extremely useful for us in the clinical development of our innovative mAb delivery approaches and for further development of our immunotherapy-based assets,” said Dr Kunwar Shailubhai, Tiziana’s chief executive.
Ferrara said he was “excited” to be a continued part of the scientific board, adding that Tiziana’s immunotherapy pipeline was both “highly innovative and conceptually very logical”.
“The approaches to administer mAbs by oral and nasal routes to stimulate mucosal immune system to induce disease-modifying benefits are like human physiological defence systems,” he added.
“Thus, these alternative routes of administration have the potential to transform immunotherapies.”