Arovella Therapeutics appoints new head of development and translational medicine

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Arovella Therapeutics (ASX:ALA) has announced the appointment of Dr Mini Bharathan as its vice president of development and translational medicine for its iNKT cell therapy platform.

Arovella recently announced that it secured the exclusive global licence from MD Andreson to a novel monoclonal antibody targeting a DKK1 peptide that can be used as a chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) for cell therapy.

The company said Dr Bharathan’s role will encompass leading the non-clinical studies for its DKK1 technology to advance the therapy into clinical studies.

Dr Bharathan joins Arovella from Cellectis, a biotechnology company that is using its gene-editing platform to develop allogeneic therapies.

Dr Bharathan served as Cellectis' director of translational medicine and clinical development where she coordinated the development programs for key products, recommended patient stratification and biomarker strategies and oversaw the development and validation of novel clinical-stage assay methodologies, patient selection markers and biomarkers for multiple global allogenic CAR-T clinical trials.

Dr Bharathan also held senior roles at Celgene, Celularity and Immatics, all focused on the development of cell therapies.

Arovella’s CEO and managing director Dr Michael Baker said, “Dr Bharathan is an exceptionally talented immunologist, with many years of experience taking cell therapies from preclinical stages and into and through clinical trials, particularly allogenic therapies. As we look to develop our iNKT cell therapy platform to advance our two cell therapy products into clinical trials, Dr Bharathan will provide immense value and we are delighted that she has decided to join Arovella.”