Kelonia Therapeutics adds Dr. Kristen Hege and Dr. Mathai Mammen to its Board of Directors

– USA, MA –  Kelonia Therapeutics, a biotech company revolutionizing in vivo gene delivery, announced the appointments of Dr. Kristen Hege (M.D.) and Dr. Mathai Mammen (M.D., Ph.D.) to its board of directors.

About Dr. Kristen Hege

Dr. Kristen Hege has nearly three decades of hematology, oncology, and cell therapy translational and clinical research experience. Previously, she held leadership roles in early clinical and translational development in hematology/oncology and cell therapy at Bristol Myers Squibb and Celgene. In these roles, she was responsible for global early clinical development and oversight of their internal pipeline and partnered assets, in all hematologic and solid tumor indications from first-in-human studies through human proof-of-concept. In particular, she led the Bluebird Bio (now 2seventy bio) partnered BCMA CAR-T cell product development from target identification to FDA approval. Dr. Hege also spent nearly three decades as a part-time clinical faculty member in the division of hematology at the University of California, San Francisco, most recently as a clinical professor of medicine. Before BMS and Celgene, she was a senior medical advisor and CMO to development-stage biotech companies, including Aragon, Cellerant, and Theraclone. A pioneer in immuno-oncology, Dr. Hege began her career at Cell Genesys Inc., where she spent 14 years in various roles of increasing responsibility, culminating in an executive officer role leading clinical development. While there she focused on cell and gene therapy development, including oversight of pioneering clinical studies of CAR-T cells in HIV infection and cancer.

Dr. Kristen Hege said, “The first wave of CAR-T cell therapies have been unquestionable breakthroughs in treating blood cancer. However, challenges posed by the complexity and time requirements for ex vivo manufacturing of autologous CAR-T cell products may limit patient access to these breakthrough therapies. Furthermore, some patients never receive their autologous CAR-T products due to disease progression or clinical deterioration during the manufacturing window. Kelonia’s iGPS technology holds tremendous potential to overcome these barriers and help deliver on the promise of CAR-T cell therapies for a much larger segment of patients who need them. I am particularly encouraged by Kelonia’s use of a next-generation targeted lentivirus platform, that enables in vivo CAR delivery specifically to T cells, along with amplification of one CAR modified T cell into an exponential number of CAR modified daughter cells. In addition, the field of cell and gene therapy has gained tremendous expertise and insight into the manufacturing of lentiviral vectors at commercial scale. I look forward to working with the Kelonia team to apply this compelling, potentially transformative science to create significant change for patients.”

Dr. Hege holds an M.D. from the UCSF School of Medicine and a B.A. in biochemistry from Dartmouth College. She completed her residency in Internal Medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School, and completed a subspecialty fellowship in hematology and oncology at UCSF.

About Dr. Mathai Mammen

Dr. Mathai Mammen is currently the CEO, president, and chairman at FogPharma. Previously, he was a member of the executive committee at Johnson & Johnson, where he served as EVP of pharmaceuticals, and R&D and spearheaded a significant evolution of Janssen’s R&D – one of the largest R&D organizations in the world. Dr. Mammen was a key leader in Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine development, and under his leadership, Janssen R&D executed 40+ acquisitions and licenses and 350+ strategic partnerships and collaborations and created one of the top portfolios in the industry. He led his team to global approvals of eight new medicines, including Tremfya, Darzalex Faspro, Balversa, Carvykti, Rybrevant, Ponvory, Spravato, and Tecvayli, with many additional global approvals for expanded indications of marketed products. Before his role at Johnson & Johnson, Dr. Mammen served as SVP at Merck, where he was responsible for multiple research areas, including cardiovascular, metabolic, and renal diseases, immunology, oncology, and immuno-oncology. Before Merck, he led R&D at Theravance, Inc., a company he co-founded out of graduate school based on his work at Harvard University with Dr. George Whitesides. Under his leadership, Theravance advanced a robust pipeline of multiple development-stage compounds resulting in five approved pharmaceutical products including Breo, Anoro, Trelegy, Yupelri, and Vibativ, and separated into two companies: Theravance Biopharma, Inc. and Innoviva, Inc.

Dr. Mammen said, “The field of CAR-T immunotherapy is at a critically important juncture: Its impacts, as I’ve seen firsthand, can be transformational, but we must find ways to expand its benefits to more people with cancer, in more geographies around the world. Kelonia’s in vivo CAR-T technology holds exciting promise to upend today’s model for CAR-T delivery, and the company’s team has demonstrated a phenomenal level of execution that lays the groundwork for significant impact to come. I am excited to join Kelonia’s board of directors to support its continued progress and contribute to the success of its important therapeutic mission.”

Dr. Mammen holds an M.D. from the Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a Ph.D. in chemistry from Harvard University.

About Kelonia Therapeutics

Kelonia is pioneering a new wave of genetic medicines using its in vivo gene placement system. The company’s elegant, cutting-edge in vivo gene delivery technology uses an advanced lentiviral vector particle harboring envelope modifications to improve in vivo gene transfer efficiency and tropism molecules to facilitate tissue-specific delivery. Initially focused on developing transformational in vivo CAR-T therapies for hematologic cancers, Kelonia is building a pipeline of genetic medicines for a range of diseases, with the bold goal of making genetic medicines accessible to every patient in need, when and where they need them.

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