CAMBRIDGE, Mass., Jan. 24, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — eGenesis, a biotechnology company developing human-compatible organs and cells for the treatment of organ failure, today announced that Knut Niss, Ph.D., has joined the company as Chief Technology Officer. Dr. Niss is a seasoned biotechnology executive with more than 20 years of experience spearheading the development and manufacturing of novel therapies across cell and gene therapy, regenerative medicine, and oncology.
“We are pleased to welcome Knut to the team and are confident he will help us advance our goal of transforming the treatment paradigm for organ failure,” said Michael Curtis, Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer of eGenesis. “Synthetic biology and gene engineering are core components of our approach to developing high-quality, transplantable organs that ultimately save lives. Knut’s extensive experience pioneering cell and gene therapies further bolsters the company’s deep technological know-how.”
Most recently, Dr. Niss served as Chief Technology Officer at Mustang Bio Inc., where he oversaw the development and manufacturing of cell therapy products across the portfolio, including the build-out of the company’s autologous CAR-T manufacturing platform. Before assuming the role of CTO, Dr. Niss served as the Vice President of Operations, with a focus on the establishment of facilities to support commercial manufacturing.
Prior to his tenure at Mustang, Dr. Niss held various scientific and technical leadership roles at the vanguard of innovation in cell and gene therapy. At Biogen, Dr. Niss led the Cell Therapies group, overseeing operations and supporting several regulatory filings. Dr. Niss played a pivotal role in the advancement of Kymriah® (tisagenlecleucel), the first chimeric antigen receptor therapy to be approved in the US, establishing critical CMC and manufacturing capabilities and supporting cross-functional development activities. At EMD Millipore and Pfizer, Dr. Niss led global research teams supporting target identification and validation as well as preclinical, clinical development.
Dr. Niss earned a Ph.D. in Molecular Biology from Humboldt University in Berlin, Germany, and an M.S. in Biology at Georg-August University in Goettingen, Germany. He completed post-doctoral work at the Children’s Hospital and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.
“Powered by a strong technological platform, eGenesis is well-positioned to address the hurdles that have hindered the field of xenotransplantation to date,” Dr. Niss said. “The shortage of transplantable organs constitutes a growing health crisis. I look forward to helping advance our HuCo™ organs into clinical studies and creating an entirely new organ transplantation paradigm that improves donor organ quality, equity, and efficiency for patients and for the healthcare system.”
About Transplantation and Xenotransplantation
Organ failure is a life-threatening condition for which transplantation is considered to be the gold standard treatment. However, the growing demand for organs far outstrips supply – of the more than 100,000 individuals on the organ transplantation waitlist in the U.S., less than 40% will receive a potentially life-saving organ. In addition, the existing organ failure treatment paradigm is suboptimal for patients and the healthcare system due to organ incompatibility and variable donor organ quality.
Xenotransplantation – the transplantation of cells, tissues and organs from one species to another – is widely viewed by the transplant community to be a viable solution to address the organ shortage crisis. The advent of cutting-edge gene editing technologies, such as CRISPR, has enabled scientists to address the virologic and immunologic hurdles that have historically prevented the advancement of xenotransplantation.
eGenesis is leveraging a genome engineering-based approach in the development of safe, effective, and transplantable organs. The company’s EGEN™ platform is the only technology of its kind to address both viral risk and cross-species molecular incompatibilities. eGenesis has demonstrated durable preclinical success to date and is advancing development programs for kidney transplant, pediatric as well as adult heart transplant, ex-vivo liver perfusion, and islet cell transplant. Learn more at www.egenesisbio.com.