Achilles Therapeutics appoints cancer immunology specialist

Professor Sergio Quezada has joined the UK-based company as its Chief Scientific Officer

Achilles Therapeutics, a clinical-stage oncology company developing personalised cell therapies targeting clonal neoantigens, a novel class of tumour target, has appointed Professor Sergio Quezada as Chief Scientific Officer (CSO) from 6 April 2020.

Professor Quezada is an internationally-recognised leader in the field of cancer immunology and is one of the scientific founders of Achilles. He is a professor of cancer immunology and immunotherapy at University College London Cancer Institute and a CRUK senior cancer research fellow. During his career, work conducted in his laboratory unveiled the critical role of Fc receptors and the tumour microenvironment in the mechanism of action of anti-CTLA-4 antibodies.

Quezada is an inventor of several key patents supporting the clinical development of antibodies targeting immune checkpoints such as VISTA, ICOS and CD25. He co-led the development of a first-in-class Treg-depleting anti-human CD25 antibody with TUSK Therapeutics, which was acquired by Roche in 2018 and is currently under clinical evaluation.

In 2016 Quezada co-led ground-breaking research supporting the key role of clonal tumour neoantigens in the immune response to cancer; research that underpins the Achilles approach. Professor Quezada holds a PhD from Dartmouth Medical School and from 2004 to 2010 held a post-doctoral position at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.

“Sergio played an instrumental part in the formation of Achilles and has an exceptional track record of discovering and developing ground-breaking science and therapies,” said Dr Iraj Ali, CEO of Achilles Therapeutics. “His contributions will be invaluable as we progress our lead products for non-small cell lung cancer and melanoma through the clinic and broaden our pipeline into other solid tumor indications.”

"I am delighted to be joining Achilles at this very exciting time and looking forward to leading its R&D activities through the next stage of growth,” said Professor Sergio Quezada, CSO of Achilles Therapeutics. “The company is at a transformational stage as we develop our next-generation, truly patient-specific clonal-neoantigen therapies that have the potential to harness the immune system to destroy cancer cells and could fundamentally change how cancer is treated.”