Christina Herder has been appointed new acting CEO by the board of directors. Herder has for the past five years been a board member of Idogen and also has more than 30 years of experience in several senior positions in the pharmaceutical industry. BioStock talked to Christina about the potential for Idogen’s cell therapy and the company’s plans for the autumn.
Idogen develops innovative tolerogenic cell therapies to counteract unwanted activation of the immune system. The leading programme IDO 8 aims to develop a cell therapy for patients with hemophilia A who have developed inhibitory antibodies against their vital treatment with factor VIII. The drug candidate ItolDC-028 within the IDO 8 programme will shortly be tested in patients for the first time. This takes place in a so-called clinical phase I/IIa study.
The company is also developing two other programmes – IDO T to counteract organ rejection in kidney transplantation, and IDO AID for the treatment of various autoimmune diseases.
Christina Herder takes on the role of acting CEO. Christina has been a board member of Idogen for five years and is now looking forward to her new assignment:
»I look forward to leading Idogen operationally in these exciting and transformative times as we take the IDO 8 programme forward in the clinical phase I/IIa study in the Nordic region, which is the most important milestone in the company’s history to date.«
Christina Herder on the plans and potential
BioStock contacted Christina Herder to find out more about her plans for Idogen.
You have now been appointed acting CEO of Idogen. What do you find particularly exciting about the company’s cell therapy?
– Idogen’s tolerogenic cell therapy opens a whole new field in immune tolerance treatment. From a global perspective, we are at the absolute forefront of the development of tolerogenic cell therapies with autologous cells, i.e., the patient’s own cells. The fact that Idogen is the “front-runner” in this exciting area has of course meant that we have been faced with completely new issues that few or none have previously dealt with, but we have now managed to develop new methods and solutions and have reached the finish line that takes us from preclinical phase to clinical phase.
»From a global perspective, we are at the absolute forefront of the development of tolerogenic cell therapies with autologous cells«
If we focus specifically on IDO 8 – what opportunities do you see in this programme?
– There is a possibility that Idogen’s treatment could replace the costly and long ITI treatment, which would bring great benefits to hemophilia A patients who have suffered from antibodies to FVIII. Then we would also reach out to a significantly larger patient group than we previously assumed, about three times as large. This is extremely important not only because we would be able to help many more patients, but also because it would mean a greater commercial value.
Could you tell us a little more about your previous experiences and how you benefit from these in your role as acting CEO?
– I have a master’s degree in chemical engineering and a PhD from the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, as well as an Executive MBA from Stockholm University. I have previously held leading roles in Swedish Orphan Biovitrum (Sobi), Medivir, Biovitrum and Modus Therapeutics.
– With my solid experience in both drug development and business development, I look forward to keeping a steady course and a high pace to show safety and tolerability and thus be able to show proof-of-concept for our technology platform in which we have invested almost 300 MSEK.
»With my solid experience in both drug development and business development, I look forward to keeping a steady course and a high pace«
What will be the main tasks in your new role?
– We are well on our way to initiating the first clinical study and my mission is to make sure that we get started and then start planning for the next step.
– The milestone that the start of the clinical trial represents will also be the starting point for raising the intensity of our business development work by increasing our external contacts and discussing with future potential partners who are interested in developing our cell therapy further towards commercialization and thus reach patients with unmet medical needs.
– We also see good opportunities to be able to apply for different types of “soft money”, like when we were granted 2.9 MEUR from the EU Horizon 2020 framework programme.
In addition to starting the clinical study in the IDO 8 program, what other milestones can we expect fromIdogen during the autumn?
– We will continue to work on the roll-out of the clinical trial outside our Nordic countries.
– Since we have come so far in our development, we will also publish scientific articles and participate in medical conferences.
– Our Horizon project, which we received in 2017, is now finalized and we are waiting for the final payment of approximately 4 MSEK.The content of BioStock’s news and analyses is independent but the work of BioStock is to a certain degree financed by life science companies. The above article concerns a company from which BioStock has received financing.