San Diego, CA, January 5 2021 (Bloomberg) — Artiva Biotherapeutics, Inc., an oncology company focused on developing and commercializing primary allogeneic natural killer (NK) cell therapies to treat cancer, announced today the appointment of Fred Aslan, M.D., as President and Chief Executive Officer. Dr. Aslan brings a twenty-year track record as an executive and investor in the life sciences industry.
“Fred is a highly accomplished leader who can help us deliver the full potential of Artiva’s platform,” stated Brian Daniels, M.D., chairman of Artiva Biotherapeutics. “Fred brings strong strategic acumen from his experiences as an investor and proven operating skills building teams, scaling businesses, and orchestrating creative partnerships. We look forward to working with Fred as Artiva grows into a fully integrated oncology cell therapy company.”
Prior to Artiva, Dr. Aslan was President and CBO at Vividion Therapeutics where he was responsible for business development, finance, operations, and alliance and project management. He had the opportunity to orchestrate Vividion’s Series B financing and $135M-upfront collaboration with Roche. Prior to Vividion, Dr. Aslan had a 12 year affiliation with Venrock; initially as an investor from 2006 to 2013, when he co-founded and served as a board member of Receptos Pharmaceuticals (acquired by Celgene for more than $7 billion), led Venrock’s investment in Zeltiq (acquired by Allergan for more than $2 billion), and was involved in the early formation of Fate Therapeutics; and subsequently as an entrepreneur from 2013 to 2018, when he was CEO of Adavium Medical, a Brazilian medical device company, which he grew from zero to 350 employees, increased sales to more than $40 million, and established fully integrated R&D, manufacturing, and commercial capabilities. Prior to Venrock, Dr. Aslan was Director of Business Development and Head of Investor Relations for CuraGen, a Nasdaq-listed oncology-focused biotech company. Prior to CuraGen, he was a consultant at Boston Consulting Group. Dr. Aslan currently serves as Chairman of the board of Vydence Medical and as a board member of Cytrellis Biosystems. Fred holds a B.S. in biology from Duke University, an M.D. from Yale School of Medicine, and an MBA from Harvard Business School.
“The NK cell therapy landscape is evolving rapidly – few approaches have such broad potential to generate transformational therapies against both hematologic and solid tumors, and I am excited to be joining the Artiva team as we scale our efforts,” stated Dr. Aslan. “The available supporting clinical evidence of NK cell therapeutic activity, coupled with our manufacturing head-start to generate an allogeneic, off-the-shelf product thanks to the pioneering work by our strategic partner GC LabCell, positions Artiva as one of the leaders in this exciting emerging field. With our first IND now allowed and two more planned for the next 18 months, we plan to be the first company to dose cord-blood derived NK cells to patients using a highly scaled, cryopreserved, end-to-end GMP manufacturing process. We are also encouraged by the pharmaceutical industry’s growing interest in this field and our work.”
Tom Farrell, founder and former CEO of Artiva, will transition to Chief Strategy Officer where he will continue to lead several strategic initiatives for the Company. “Tom has done an outstanding job recognizing the potential of GC LabCell’s pioneering work in the NK cell therapy space, establishing strong ties between the two companies, and successfully building Artiva to where it is today,” stated Dr. Aslan. “I look forward to working with Tom as we further accelerate Artiva’s rapid pace of progress.”
About Artiva Biotherapeutics: Scaling NK Cell Therapy for Cancer
Artiva’s mission is to deliver highly effective cellular immunotherapies that are also safe and immediately accessible to cancer patients. Artiva’s pipeline of universal and targeted NK cell therapies leverages the innate anti-tumor biology and safety features of NK cells. The therapies are optimized for enhanced efficacy through chimeric antigen receptors (CARs) or therapeutic antibody combinations. Artiva’s pipeline is built on a manufacturing platform that supports large-scale production and cryopreservation of off-the-shelf allogeneic NK cell therapies and proprietary CAR-NK technologies to augment therapeutic activity. Artiva’s platform incorporates cell expansion, activation, and engineering technology developed by the company’s corporate partner, GC LabCell, a member of the GC family of companies, one of the Republic of Korea’s leading biopharmaceutical groups. Artiva is headquartered in San Diego. For more info, please visit www.artivabio.com.