Sesen Bio (Nasdaq: SESN) a late-stage clinical company developing targeted fusion protein therapeutics for the treatment of patients with cancer, today announced the appointment of Carrie Bourdow, chief executive officer of Trevena, Inc., and Jason Keyes, chief financial officer of Equillium, to the Company’s Board of Directors (the "Board"). In addition, Wendy L. Dixon, Ph.D., has resigned from her position as chairwoman of the Board and member of the Board. Dr. Dixon will continue to serve as a CEO advisor to Sesen Bio with a focus on commercial and launch planning. The Board has appointed Dr. Jay Duker, chairman of Ophthalmology at Tufts Medical Center and co-founder of Hemera Biosciences, to succeed Dr. Dixon as chair. Dr. Duker has served on the Board since 2015. With the appointments of Ms. Bourdow and Mr. Keyes, and the resignation of Dr. Dixon, the Company’s Board will be comprised of six directors of which five are independent.
"I am very pleased to welcome Carrie and Jason to Sesen Bio’s Board," said Dr. Thomas Cannell, president and chief executive officer of Sesen Bio. "They join the Board at a pivotal time in the Company’s evolution as we drive toward the completion of our BLA submission later this year and prepare for commercialization. Carrie’s proven track record in product launches and company leadership coupled with Jason’s financial strategy and operational expertise will be invaluable to the Board and to our management team as we work together to deliver upon Sesen’s mission of improving and saving the lives of patients with cancer."
Dr. Cannell continued, "I would like to sincerely thank Wendy for her very valuable contributions to the Board and to the Company and, particularly, for her insights and recommendations which helped shape our late-stage clinical and pre-commercial strategies. Sesen Bio has certainly benefited from Wendy’s substantial industry insight and experience. I look forward to having her continue on as a CEO advisor."
"I am proud of the many milestones that the Sesen Bio team has achieved during my tenure," said Dr. Dixon. "I am confident the experience and skillsets among the Board and management will set Sesen Bio up for continued success as the team works to launch a potentially life-saving product. I look forward to participating in Sesen’s continued success as an advisor."
Dr. Dixon brought more than 35 years of biopharmaceutical, commercial and R&D leadership experience to Sesen Bio. As a well-respected senior executive, Dr. Dixon played an integral role in the evolution of Sesen Bio from a development company to a company with significant growth aspirations moving into the pre-commercial phase. Leveraging her extensive experience across commercial and development, including her role as chief marketing officer and president of global marketing of Bristol-Myers Squibb, Dr. Dixon has helped position the Company for success as it advances toward commercialization.
Ms. Bourdow brings significant experience in product launch and commercial operations in specialty care across multiple therapeutic areas, including leadership experience in key products in the oncology space. Ms. Bourdow currently serves as chief executive officer of Trevena. Prior to her role as chief executive officer, Ms. Bourdow joined Trevena as chief commercial officer in 2015 and was appointed executive vice president and chief operating officer in January 2018. Prior to joining Trevena, Ms. Bourdow was vice president of marketing at Cubist Pharmaceuticals, Inc., from 2013 until its acquisition by Merck & Co., Inc. in January 2015. At Cubist, Ms. Bourdow led launch strategy, marketing, reimbursement, and operations for products totaling over $1 billion in annual revenues. Prior to Cubist, Ms. Bourdow served for more than 20 years at Merck & Co., Inc., where she held positions of increasing responsibility across commercial functions and therapeutic areas. Since June 2017, she has served on the board of Nabriva Therapeutics plc., a publicly traded biopharmaceutical company.
Mr. Keyes is an accomplished executive with extensive experience in corporate finance and strategy within the biotechnology industry. Mr. Keyes currently serves as chief financial officer of Equillium. Prior to joining Equillium, he was executive vice president and chief financial officer of Orexigen Therapeutics, Inc. where he played a key role in setting the business and financial strategy for the global commercialization of the product portfolio. Prior to Orexigen, Mr. Keyes was Senior Director of Finance at Amylin Pharmaceuticals, Inc. until its acquisition by Bristol Myers-Squibb Company. Earlier in his career, Mr. Keyes held leadership positions in finance and corporate strategy at Amgen, Inc. and Baxter Healthcare Corporation. Over his career, Mr. Keyes has been responsible for leading financial planning across the biotechnology value chain, managing investor relations, raising capital, and driving business development.
Vicinium, a locally administered fusion protein, is Sesen Bio’s lead product candidate being developed for the treatment of high-risk non-muscle invasive bladder cancer (NMIBC). Vicinium is comprised of a recombinant fusion protein that targets epithelial cell adhesion molecule (EpCAM) antigens on the surface of tumor cells to deliver a potent protein payload, Pseudomonas Exotoxin A. Vicinium is constructed with a stable, genetically engineered peptide tether to ensure the payload remains attached until it is internalized by the cancer cell, which is believed to decrease the risk of toxicity to healthy tissues, thereby improving its safety. In prior clinical trials conducted by Sesen Bio, EpCAM has been shown to be overexpressed in NMIBC cells with minimal to no EpCAM expression observed on normal bladder cells. Sesen Bio is currently conducting the Phase 3 VISTA trial, designed to support the registration of Vicinium for the treatment of high-risk NMIBC in patients who have previously received a minimum of two courses of bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG) and whose disease is now BCG-unresponsive. Additionally, Sesen Bio believes that cancer cell-killing properties of Vicinium promote an anti-tumor immune response that may potentially combine well with immuno-oncology drugs, such as checkpoint inhibitors. The activity of Vicinium in BCG-unresponsive NMIBC is also being explored at the US National Cancer Institute in combination with AstraZeneca’s immune checkpoint inhibitor durvalumab.
About Sesen Bio
Sesen Bio, Inc. is a late-stage clinical company advancing targeted fusion protein therapeutics for the treatment of patients with cancer. The Company’s lead program, Vicinium®, also known as VB4-845, is currently in a Phase 3 registration trial for the treatment of high-risk, BCG-unresponsive non-muscle invasive bladder cancer (NMIBC). In December 2019, the Company initiated the BLA submission for Vicinium to the FDA under rolling review. Vicinium is a locally administered targeted fusion protein composed of an anti-EPCAM antibody fragment tethered to a truncated form of Pseudomonas Exotoxin A for the treatment of high-risk NMIBC. For more information, please visit the company’s website at www.sesenbio.com.
Cautionary Note on Forward-Looking Statements
Any statements in this press release about future expectations, plans and prospects for the Company, the Company’s strategy, future operations, and other statements containing the words "anticipate," "believe," "estimate," "expect," "intend," "may," "plan," "predict," "project," "target," "potential," "will," "would," "could," "should," "continue," and similar expressions, constitute forward-looking statements within the meaning of The Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Actual results may differ materially from those indicated by such forward-looking statements as a result of various important factors, including the safety and efficacy of Vicinium, the Company’s ability to achieve regulatory approval for Vicinium and other factors discussed in the "Risk Factors" section of the Company’s Annual Report on Form 10-K, Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q and other reports filed with the SEC. In addition, the forward-looking statements included in this press release represent the Company’s views as of the date hereof. The Company anticipates that subsequent events and developments may cause the Company’s views to change. However, while the Company may elect to update these forward-looking statements at some point in the future, the Company specifically disclaims any obligation to do so. These forward-looking statements should not be relied upon as representing the Company’s views as of any date subsequent to the date hereof.
Erin Clark, Vice President, Corporate Strategy & Investor Relations