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VAB member experience with vaccine research and immunology will guide development of the PLACCINE platform
for the prevention and treatment of infectious agents, including SARS-CoV-2
LAWRENCEVILLE, N.J., July 15, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Celsion Corporation (NASDAQ: CLSN), a clinical-stage development company focused on DNA-based immunotherapy and next-generation vaccines, today announced the addition of Dan H. Barouch, M.D., Ph.D and Luke D. Handke, Ph.D. to its Vaccine Advisory Board (VAB). They join Britt A. Glaunsinger, Ph.D. and Xinzhen Yang, M.D., Ph.D. on the VAB, which was formed in February 2021.
Dr. Barouch is the principal investigator at the Barouch Laboratory, Director of the Center for Virology and Vaccine Research at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and William Bosworth Castle Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. In addition, he is a key participant in the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Collaboration for AIDS Vaccine Discovery, the National Institutes of Health Martin Delaney HIV-1 Cure Collaboratory and the Ragon Institute of MGH, MIT and Harvard. Dr. Barouch and his team were instrumental in developing the vector, a variant of an adenovirus called Ad26, that was used to make single-dose vaccines for HIV, tuberculosis and Zika, and ultimately, in conjunction with Johnson & Johnson researchers, SARS-CoV-2. He has authored numerous peer-reviewed articles.
Dr. Handke is a highly skilled molecular biologist and microbiologist with a decade of pharmaceutical industry experience including nine years with Pfizer’s Vaccine Research and Early Development Unit. At Pfizer he served as molecular biology lead on an early phase viral vaccine program and was the lead reviewer of data sources and literature citations for licensure application for the Trumenba® meningococcal group B vaccine in the U.S. and in Europe. He began his career in vaccine research at Wyeth. He is co-author and co-inventor on various patent applications for a protein-based RSV vaccine and a SARS-CoV-2 detection assay and authored 10 peer-reviewed publications including six as first author. Dr. Handke is currently a Senior Scientist at the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha.
In addition to serving on the VAB, Dr. Handke will provide consulting services to Celsion in connection with its vaccine development program, which involves DNA-based vectors in combination with proprietary non-viral cellular delivery agents. He also will advise Celsion as it advances this program into human clinical studies.
“We are excited to add these distinguished virologists with their industry-leading perspectives and experiences to the Celsion Vaccine Advisory Board,” said Khursheed Anwer, Ph.D., Executive Vice President and Chief Scientific Officer of Celsion.
“Dr. Handke is particularly adept at designing and troubleshooting experimental approaches, and his work at Pfizer should provide invaluable support for our vaccine initiatives,” he added. “Dr. Barouch has a distinguished career developing vaccines for diseases that have plagued both developed and developing nations, and his work to deliver a single-dose DNA vaccine to address the COVID-19 pandemic was recently highlighted in New York magazine. Our VAB now counts four highly respected vaccine experts as Drs. Handke and Barouch join Drs. Glaunsinger and Yang.”
Dr. Barouch received an M.D. degree from Harvard Medical School, a Ph.D. in immunology from Oxford University and an A.B. degree in Biochemistry from Harvard University.
Dr. Handke received a B.S. degree in biology from Kansas State University and a Ph.D. in Pathology and Microbiology from the University of Nebraska Medical Center. He was a postdoctoral associate in the Department of Molecular Biology and Microbiology at Tufts University.
About the PLACCINE Platform
PLACCINE is Celsion’s proprietary plasmid and DNA delivery technology and the subject of a provisional patent application that covers a broad range of next-generation DNA vaccines and was announced on January 28, 2021. An adaptation of the Company’s TheraPlas technology, PLACCINE is a DNA vaccine technology platform characterized by a single plasmid DNA with multiple coding regions. The plasmid vector is designed to express multiple pathogen antigens along with a potent immune modifier. It is delivered via a synthetic delivery system and has the potential to be easily modified to create vaccines against a multitude of infectious diseases, addressing:
Viral Mutations: PLACCINE may offer broad-spectrum and mutational resistance (variants) by targeting multiple antigens on a single plasmid vector.
Enhanced Efficacy: The potent immune modifier IL-12 may improve humoral and cellular responses to viral antigens and can be incorporated in the plasmid.
Durable Efficacy: PLACCINE delivers a DNA plasmid-based antigen that can result in durable antigen exposure and a robust vaccine response to viral antigens.
Storage & Distribution: PLACCINE allows for stability that is compatible with manageable vaccine storage and distribution.
Dosing & Administration: PLACCINE is a synthetic delivery system that should require a simple injection that does not require viruses or special equipment to deliver its payload.
About Celsion Corporation
Celsion is a fully integrated, clinical stage biotechnology company focused on advancing a portfolio of innovative cancer treatments, including immunotherapies, DNA-based therapies and directed chemotherapies through clinical trials and eventual commercialization. The company’s product pipeline includes GEN-1, a DNA-based immunotherapy for the localized treatment of ovarian cancer. ThermoDox®, a proprietary heat-activated liposomal encapsulation of doxorubicin, is under investigator-sponsored development for several cancer indications. Celsion also has two feasibility stage platform technologies for the development of novel nucleic acid-based immunotherapies and other anti-cancer DNA or RNA therapies. Both are novel synthetic, non-viral vectors with demonstrated capability in nucleic acid cellular transfection. For more information on Celsion, visit www.celsion.com.
Forward-looking statements in this news release are made pursuant to the "safe harbor" provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These statements are based upon current beliefs, expectation, and assumptions and include statements regarding the platform having the potential to provide broad protection against coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), and possible future mutations of SARS-CoV-2 or other coronaviruses. These statements are subject to a number of risks and uncertainties, many of which are difficult to predict, including the ability of the Company’s platform to provide broad protection against COVID-19, and possible future mutations of SARS-CoV-2 or other coronaviruses, the issuance of a patent to the Company for use of its technology platform for treating or preventing infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19, unforeseen changes in the course of research and development activities and in clinical trials; the uncertainties of and difficulties in analyzing interim clinical data, particularly in small subgroups that are not statistically significant; FDA and regulatory uncertainties and risks; the significant expense, time and risk of failure of conducting clinical trials; the need for Celsion to evaluate its future development plans; possible acquisitions or licenses of other technologies, assets or businesses; possible actions by customers, suppliers, competitors or regulatory authorities; and other risks detailed from time to time in the Celsion's periodic filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Celsion assumes no obligation to update or supplement forward-looking statements that become untrue because of subsequent events, new information or otherwise.
Celsion Investor Contact
Jeffrey W. Church
Executive Vice President and CFO
LHA Investor Relations
Kim Sutton Golodetz
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