BioAtla, a global biotechnology company with operations in San Diego, California, and Beijing, China, focused on the development of Conditionally Active Biologic (CAB-) antibody therapeutics, confirmed the appointment of Eric L. Sievers, MD, as the company’s new chief medical officer.
Sievers, an experienced biotechnology drug developer in oncology, joins the company bringing clinical development and management experience directly relevant to BioAtla’s oncology focus and pipeline of Conditionally Active Biologic (CAB-) candidates including in immuno-oncology and antibody-drug conjugates (ADCs).
Clinical and translational experience
Sievers joins BioAtla with over 25 years of clinical and translational biomedical research experience in multiple settings, including biotechnology industry, hospital- and clinic-based clinical practice and academics. During his nine years at Seattle Genetics, he was closely involved with the development and regulatory approval of brentuximab vedotin (Adcetris ®).
Serving in multiple roles of increasing leadership responsibility, Sievers led the Seattle Genetics clinical team and Takeda’s development partner to design, initiate and enroll four randomized Phase III registration trials for brentuximab vedotin that each ultimately resulted in new indications approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). He has managed clinical development efforts from Phase I to Phase III clinical trials, from strategy planning to study execution and BLA/NDA submissions.
Prior to his career at Seattle Genetics, Sievers was Medical Director at ZymoGenetics (now part of Bristol Myers Squibb) where he designed and supervised clinical trials of recombinant human interleukin 21 (rHu IL-21), expressed by activated CD4(+) T cells, a member of the common gamma-chain family of cytokines, and TACI-Fc5 for patients with cancer and evaluated new oncology opportunities.
Before then, he was with the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center for 12 years where he attained the position of Assistant Member and was Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Washington. During this time, he served as the lead investigator of Phase I and pivotal trials that resulted in the approval of an antibody-drug conjugate gemtuzumab ozogamicin (Mylotarg®; Pfizer) indicated for patients with acute myeloid leukemia. Sievers’ most recent position was Chief Medical Officer at Trillium Therapeutics where he developed clinical trial strategies and oversaw all clinical development employing a decoy receptor to block the CD47 “do not eat” signal overexpressed by cancer cells. Sievers received both his medical degree and his B.A. degree from Brown University.
“Sievers’ experience and proven capabilities in leading the clinical development of innovative oncology products greatly enhances BioAtla’s ability to design, implement, and execute clinical programs evolving from our CAB platform that uniquely yields tumor-targeting antibodies with high safety,” noted Jay M. Short, Ph.D., chairman and chief executive officer of BioAtla.
“Sievers’ knowledge of and background in developing advanced biologics including ADC’s, and his experience in leading partnership interactions with pharmaceutical company partners is directly applicable to our current and future product and strategic plans,” concluded Scott Smith, president of BioAtla.
BioAtla’s Conditionally Active Biologics (CABs)
Conditionally Active Biologics are proteins generated using a proprietary protein discovery, evolution and expression technology developed by BioAtla. These proteins can be monoclonal antibodies, enzymes and other proteins designed with functions dependent on changes in micro physiological conditions (e.g., pH level, oxidation, temperature, pressure, presence of certain ions, hydrophobicity and combinations thereof) both outside and inside cells.
Studies have shown that cancerous tumors create highly specific conditions at their site that are not present in normal tissue. These cancerous microenvironments are primarily a result of the well understood unique glycolytic metabolism associated with cancer cells, referred to as the Warburg Effect in aerobic cancer cells. CAB proteins are designed to deliver their therapeutic payload and/or recruit the immune response in specific and selected locations and conditions within the body and to be active only in the presence of a particular cellular microenvironment. In addition, the activation is designed to be reversible to repeatedly switch ‘on and off’ should the CAB move from a diseased to a normal cellular microenvironment and vice versa. CABs can be developed in a variety of formats, including antibodies, antibody drug conjugates (ADCs), bispecifics, chimeric antigen receptor T-cells (CAR-Ts) and combination therapies.