PRINCETON, N.J., Jan. 22, 2024 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — PDS Biotechnology Corporation (Nasdaq: PDSB), a clinical-stage immunotherapy company developing a growing pipeline of targeted cancer immunotherapies and infectious disease vaccines based on the Company’s proprietary T cell activating platforms, today announced the appointment of Kirk V. Shepard, M.D., as Chief Medical Officer, effective January 22, 2024. Dr. Shepard succeeds Lauren V. Wood, M.D., who is retiring from the Company after five years in the role. Dr. Wood will continue to be available to PDS Biotech during a handover period to facilitate the transition of the role to Dr. Shepard.
“We are pleased to welcome Kirk to the PDS Biotech team. His wealth of oncology and clinical expertise will be invaluable as we transition from a focus on clinical development research to regulatory strategy and commercialization for our lead targeted cancer immunotherapy candidates,” said Frank Bedu-Addo, Ph.D., President and Chief Executive Officer of PDS Biotech. “We wish to thank Dr. Wood for her invaluable contributions to PDS Biotech’s clinical development progress over the past five years. Her guidance was instrumental in the evolution of our clinical pipeline, including our Versamune® platform and antibody drug conjugate PDS01ADC. I have enjoyed working very closely with Lauren, and we wish her all the best in her retirement from PDS Biotech.”
Dr. Shepard is a board-certified medical oncologist and hematologist with more than 30 years of experience in the pharmaceutical industry. His experience spans multiple therapeutic areas and includes operational and strategic product development from Phases 1 through 4 and diverse disciplines of medical affairs and product commercialization. Prior to joining PDS Biotech, Dr. Shepard was Chief Medical Officer, Senior Vice President and Head of the Global Medical Affairs Oncology Business Group at Eisai Pharmaceutical Company. He served as President of the Medical Affairs Professional Society from 2016 to 2017. Dr. Shepard previously held leadership roles including Senior Vice President & Head, Global Medical Affairs at Baxter International Inc., Senior Vice President, Global Medical Affairs at Takeda Pharmaceuticals International and Vice President, Clinical and Scientific Affairs at Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
Before his pharmaceutical industry career, Dr. Shepard served as a staff physician in the Department of Hematology and Medical Oncology at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation, where he supervised numerous studies in oncology and symptom control. He has been published in more than 50 medical publications. Dr. Shepard holds a bachelor’s degree from Cornell University and earned his medical degree from the University of Cincinnati Medical School. He completed his internship and internal medicine residency at Case Western Reserve University and fellowships in hematology and oncology at the University of Chicago Hospitals and Clinics.
“I’m excited to contribute to the development of PDS Biotech’s targeted immunotherapies which have generated impressive data underscoring their potential to revolutionize the treatment of cancer,” said Dr. Shepard. “I look forward to working with the team to advance PDS Biotech’s promising pipeline toward commercialization.”
The Company also announced today that on January 22, 2024, PDS Biotech granted nonstatutory stock options to Kirk Shepard, the Company’s new Chief Medical Officer, to purchase a total of 200,000 shares of the Company’s common stock as a material inducement to Dr. Shepard’s employment with PDS Biotech and in accordance with Nasdaq Listing Rule 5635(c)(4) and PDS Biotech’s 2019 Inducement Plan, as amended, which was adopted on June 17, 2019 and provides for the granting of equity awards to new employees of PDS Biotech.
The stock option has an exercise price of $4.49, the closing price of PDS Biotech’s common stock on January 22, 2024. The stock option vests over a four-year period, with one-quarter of the shares vesting on the first anniversary of the grant date and the remaining shares vesting monthly over the 36-month period thereafter, subject to continued employment with the company through the applicable vesting dates.
About PDS Biotechnology
PDS Biotech is a clinical-stage immunotherapy company developing a growing pipeline of targeted cancer and infectious disease immunotherapies based on our proprietary Versamune®, Versamune® plus PDS01ADC and Infectimune® T cell-activating platforms. We believe our targeted immunotherapies have the potential to overcome the limitations of current immunotherapy approaches through the activation of the right type, quantity and potency of T cells. To date, our lead Versamune® clinical candidate, PDS0101, has demonstrated the ability to reduce and shrink tumors and stabilize disease in combination with approved and investigational therapeutics in patients with a broad range of HPV16-associated cancers in multiple Phase 2 clinical trials and plan to advance into a Phase 3 clinical trial in combination with KEYTRUDA® for the treatment of recurrent/metastatic HPV16-positive head and neck cancer in the first quarter 2024. Our Infectimune® based vaccines have also demonstrated the potential to induce not only robust and durable neutralizing antibody responses, but also powerful T cell responses, including long-lasting memory T cell responses in pre-clinical studies to date. To learn more, please visit www.pdsbiotech.com or follow us on Twitter at @PDSBiotech.