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Ziopharm Oncology Appoints Raffaele Baffa, M.D., Ph.D., as Chief Medical Officer

ZIOPHARM Oncology Inc
·5 min read

Pharmaceutical Executive with 20+ Years of Experience Across All Phases of Clinical Research Including IND Submissions, Trial Design and Regulatory Filings

Former Chief Medical Officer for Servier Pharmaceuticals; Oncology R&D Leadership Roles at Shire, Pfizer and Sanofi

BOSTON, Nov. 17, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Ziopharm Oncology, Inc. (“Ziopharm” or “the Company”) (Nasdaq:ZIOP) today announced the appointment of Raffaele Baffa, M.D., Ph.D., as Chief Medical Officer.

Dr. Baffa joins the Company from Medisix, an immune engineering company developing novel cellular therapies to address T cell malignancies, where he held the role of Head of R&D and Chief Medical Officer. Previously, Dr. Baffa was Vice President and Therapeutic Area Head of Oncology, Global Clinical Development for Shire, and, subsequent to the acquisition of the oncology division by Servier, Dr. Baffa served as Chief Medical Officer of Servier Pharmaceuticals. Dr. Baffa has also held industry leadership positions as Executive Director, Early Oncology Development and Clinical Research at Pfizer and at Sanofi, where he was Head of Translational Sciences - External Science & Innovation, Global Biotherapeutics.

“We’re pleased to welcome Raffaele to the Company and to the leadership team,” said Laurence Cooper, M.D., Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer. “He brings a deep understanding of engineered T cells, cancer biology, pharmacogenomics and cancer pathology, and has led early development teams in IND filings for new clinical trials for twelve compounds in the area of oncology and led late development teams in three regulatory approval submissions. We look forward to his leadership in shaping and directing our internal and external programs and partnerships to maximize the value of our distinctive and innovative science.”

Dr. Baffa added, “Ziopharm has a compelling opportunity to build on ground-breaking science across a range of clinical applications to help treat cancer patients. I am delighted to join Laurence and the team, and I look forward to contributing to the next phase of clinical development and ultimately to commercialization.”

Dr. Baffa earned an M.D. from University of Padova, School of Medicine, and a Ph.D. in biology and molecular pathology from University of Parma, both in Italy. As an associate professor at the Kimmel Cancer Center, Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia, where he served as Director of Urology Research and as Co-Director of the Genito-Urinary Cancer Program. Dr. Baffa has authored more than 100 peer-reviewed articles, invited articles and book chapters.

About Ziopharm Oncology, Inc.
Ziopharm is developing non-viral and cytokine-driven cell and gene therapies that weaponize the body’s immune system to treat the millions of people globally diagnosed with a solid tumor each year. With its multiplatform approach, Ziopharm is at the forefront of immuno-oncology with a goal to treat any type of solid tumor. Ziopharm’s pipeline is built for commercially scalable, cost effective T-cell receptor T-cell therapies based on its non-viral Sleeping Beauty gene transfer platform, a precisely controlled IL-12 gene therapy, and rapidly manufactured Sleeping Beauty-enabled CD19-specific CAR-T program. The Company has clinical and strategic collaborations with the National Cancer Institute, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center and Regeneron Pharmaceuticals. For more information, please visit www.ziopharm.com.

Forward-Looking Statements Disclaimer
This press release contains forward-looking statements as defined in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, as amended. Forward-looking statements are statements that are not historical facts, and in some cases can be identified by terms such as "may," "will," "could," "expects," "plans," "anticipates," and "believes." These statements include, but are not limited to, statements regarding the growth of Ziopharm from a development-stage entity to a commercial-stage company, development of its clinical portfolio and research and development programs. Although Ziopharm’s management team believes that the expectations reflected in such forward-looking statements are reasonable, investors are cautioned that forward-looking information and statements are subject to various risks and uncertainties, many of which are difficult to predict and generally beyond the control of Ziopharm, that could cause actual results and developments to differ materially from those expressed in, or implied or projected by, the forward-looking information and statements. These risks and uncertainties include among other things, changes in our operating plans that may impact our cash expenditures, the uncertainties inherent in research and development, future clinical data and analysis, including whether any of Ziopharm’s product candidates will advance further in the preclinical research or clinical trial process, including receiving clearance from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration or equivalent foreign regulatory agencies to conduct clinical trials and whether and when, if at all, they will receive final approval from the U.S. FDA or equivalent foreign regulatory agencies and for which indication; the strength and enforceability of Ziopharm’s intellectual property rights; competition from other pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies as well as risk factors discussed or identified in the public filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission made by Ziopharm, including those risks and uncertainties listed in Ziopharm’s Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q filed by Ziopharm with the Securities and Exchange Commission. We are providing this information as of the date of this press release, and Ziopharm does not undertake any obligation to update or revise the information contained in this press release whether as a result of new information, future events or any other reason.

Investor Relations Contacts:
Adam D. Levy, PhD, MBA
EVP, Investor Relations and Corporate Communications
T: 508.552.9255
E: alevy@ziopharm.com

Chris Taylor
VP, IR and Corporate Communications
T: 617.502.1881
E: ctaylor@ziopharm.com

Media Relations Contact:
LifeSci Communications:
Patrick Bursey
T: 646.876.4932
E: pbursey@lifescicomms.com