EAGAN, MN – March 6, 2007 – John P. Vasilakos, Ph.D., has joined Biothera as vice president of Immunology, with responsibility for biology/immunology research, including management of the company’s research collaborations.
Dr. Vasilakos is one of the pharmaceutical industry’s leading experts in innate immunology. Previously, he was an Advanced Research Specialist at 3M Pharmaceuticals and has held research positions at Parke-Davis Pharmaceutical Research Company (Pfizer) and Eli Lilly and Company. During the past decade, his work has focused on the discovery and development of compounds for immune response modification/potentiation for oncology, chronic viral diseases and vaccine adjuvants.
Dr. Vasilakos is known for his research on toll-like receptors (TLRs), which play a key role in innate immune function. TLRs are pattern recognition receptors that recognize foreign molecules that are shared by pathogens and are distinguishable from host or “self” molecules. His research in understanding how the TLRs work has resulted in numerous peer-reviewed articles in medical and scientific journals and 10 published or issued patents. While at 3M Pharmaceuticals, Dr. Vasilakos made key contributions to the development of a TLR7 agonist or activator currently in Phase II clinical trials for cancer.
“John’s expertise in immune modulation will make an excellent contribution to Biothera’s efforts to develop pharmaceuticals that harness and direct the body’s innate immune responses to identify and kill cancer and other challenges,” said Daniel Conners, Biothera founder and chairman.
The company currently has two Investigational New Drug applications for its lead compound, Imprime PGG and has completed three clinical trials. Biothera has initiated a Phase II clinical trial for the combination of Imprime PGG and Erbitux for the treatment of colon cancer. A second Phase II trial is studying the effect of Imprime PGG and G-CSF to enhance stem cell mobilization prior to transplantation.
In addition to internal research, Dr. Vasilakos will manage Biothera’s research collaborations, which include The Mayo Clinic, Brown University, the University of Louisville, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and the U.S. Department of Defense.
Dr. Vasilakos has a Ph.D. in Immunology from the University of Cincinnati Medical School and a MS in Immunology from Wright State University Medical School.
About Biothera, the Immune Health Company
Biothera is a biotechnology company dedicated to improving immune health. The company's primary focus is developing pharmaceuticals that engage the immune system to fight cancer and that produce white blood cells following chemotherapy or radiation. In addition, Biothera manufactures and markets food-grade ingredients that support healthy immune function to the nutritional supplement, functional food, cosmetic and animal nutrition markets.
Biothera, the Immune Health Company