While working at Organon in Oss, Dutch scientists Hans van Eenennaam and John Dulos were part of the team that discovered KEYTRUDA, the first FDA-approved anti PD-1 therapy, which is used to treat melanoma, head & neck cancer and non-small cell lung cancer. KEYTRUDA, marketed by MSD (known as Merck & Co. Inc. in the United States and Canada), is one of the first of a new generation of cancer drugs that harnesses the immune system to detect and fight tumor cells. Hans and John will be presented with Inventor of the Year award from the Intellectual Property Owners Education Foundation in a ceremony on December 6 in Washington, DC.

The scientists believe the immuno-oncology field is rich with opportunity. Now working at Oss-based Aduro Biotech Europe, Hans and John are focused on development of new types of antibody drugs to induce a robust anti-cancer immune response, either themselves as a single agent therapy or in combination with other agents, including other immune-oncology products develop by parent company Aduro Biotech. Data from Aduro Biotech Europe’s anti-APRIL program will be presented at the American Society of Hematology (ASH) annual meeting in December. Clinical studies with up to three of these new drugs discovered in Oss could start in 2017.

“It is an honor to have been part of the team whose work led to the discovery of KEYTRUDA and positively impacted the lives of many cancer patients,” said Dr. van Eenennaam. “Now as part of Aduro Biotech Europe, where we are focused on developing novel B-select antibodies to modulate the immune system, we are pleased to be collaborating once again with the MSD team on what we believe to be the best-in-class anti-CD27 therapeutic antibody.”

Dr. Dulos, principal scientist and project team lead for Aduro’s anti-APRIL BION-1301 program, commented, “As a scientist, it is incredibly satisfying to have been part of a team whose discoveries today are having a meaningful impact on the lives of many patients with several cancer types. We thank the Intellectual Property Owners Education Foundation for this honor and will continue to leverage our knowledge and discoveries in the field of immuno-oncology with the aim of helping cancer patients in need.”

Hans van Eenennaam, Ph.D., a chemist by training, has nearly 15 years of experience in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industry and in-depth expertise in the field of immunology. He currently serves as chief operational officer and executive director of Aduro Biotech Europe, where he leads the development of new anti-cancer antibodies using the company’s proprietary B-select antibody technology. Prior to its acquisition by Aduro in 2015, Dr. van Eenennaam served as chief operational officer of BioNovion, a company he co-founded in 2011 to focus on the development of innovative therapeutic antibodies in the field of immuno-oncology. He is named as inventor on seven pending and granted patent families, including the patents for KEYTRUDA, and an author on over 25 publications. Dr. van Eenennaam received his doctorate in autoimmune biochemistry (cum laude) from Radboud University Nijmegen, the Netherlands.

John Dulos, Ph.D., an immunologist with more than 20 years of experience in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industry, is a leader in the field of immunology, oncology and infectious diseases. He currently serves as principal scientist at Aduro Biotech Europe where he oversees research and development of the company’s proprietary anti-APRIL (A PRoliferation-Inducing Ligand)-targeting monoclonal antibody, BION-1301, for the treatment of multiple myeloma. Throughout his career at multiple companies, Dr. Dulos has applied his expertise in in vitro and in vivo pharmacology of small molecules, vaccines and antibodies from preclinical development through Phase 2 clinical studies. He is named as an inventor on two patent applications relating to KEYTRUDA and an author on 16 peer-reviewed publications, including lead authorship on a 2012 paper that first described the immune stimulating activity of KEYTRUDA (Journal of Immunotherapy 35:169-78). Dr. Dulos received his doctorate from Utrecht University in the Netherlands.

About the IPOEF Inventor of the Year Award

Each year, the IPOEF recognizes outstanding recent inventions with its annual Inventor of the Year Award. In 2016, the foundation is celebrating innovation that has led to breakthroughs in cancer treatment by honoring the inventors of six drugs in the field of immunotherapy oncology treatment, including Merck & Co.’s KEYTRUDA®. To learn more about the IPOEF and this award, visit www.ipoef.org.

Source: HollandBIO & Aduro Biotech