News

BioAtla® Appoints James Allison PhD and Padmanee Sharma MD PhD as Scientific Advisors

Leading researchers in immuno-oncology will advise BioAtla on company’s proprietary CAB programs and design of combination therapies

SAN DIEGO, CA – November 16, 2017 - BioAtla, LLC, a global biotechnology company focused on the development of Conditionally Active Biologic (CAB) antibody therapeutics, today announced the appointments of James Allison, Ph.D. and Padmanee Sharma, M.D., Ph.D. as scientific advisors.  Drs. Allison and Sharma are leading researchers in the field of immuno-oncology.  Dr. Allison’s pioneering research in the regulation of T cell responses and strategies for cancer immunotherapy led to the development of the ipilimumab antibody to CTLA-4, the first immune checkpoint blockade therapy approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.  Dr. Sharma has participated in numerous impactful research studies since 1996, focusing primarily on immunotherapy in collaboration with Dr. Allison.  In their collaborative work, Dr. Sharma is exploring combinations of immunological therapies and targeted drugs in preclinical studies to more effectively treat a variety of cancers.

“The knowledge, experience and insights of Drs. Allison and Sharma will provide valuable contributions to the direction and prioritization of our CAB development programs.  In particular, their advice will enhance our decisions and design of combination CAB immunotherapies and CAB bispecifics,” said Jay M. Short, Ph.D., chairman, president and chief financial officer of BioAtla.

About Dr. Allison

James Allison, Ph.D., is Chair of the Department of Immunology, the Vivian L. Smith Distinguished Chair in Immunology, Director of the Parker Institute for Cancer Research, and the Executive Director of the Immunotherapy Platform at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center (MD Anderson).

Among Dr. Allison’s most notable discoveries in his distinguished career studying the regulation of T cell responses, are the determination of the T cell receptor structure and that CD28 is the costimulatory molecule that allows full activation of naïve T cells and prevents anergy in T cell clones.  His lab resolved a major controversy by demonstrating that CTLA-4 inhibits T cell activation by opposing CD28-mediated costimulation and that blockade of CTLA-4 could enhance T cell responses, leading to tumor rejection in animal models, and launched the emerging field of immune checkpoint blockade therapy for cancer. Dr. Allison is a member of the National Academies of Science and Medicine and received the Lasker-Debakey Clinical Medical Research Award in 2015.

About Dr. Sharma

Padmanee Sharma, M.D., Ph.D., is Professor of Genitourinary Medical Oncology and Immunology in the Division of Cancer Medicine at MD Anderson. Dr. Sharma is also Scientific Director, Immunotherapy Platform, and Co-Director, Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy at M. D. Anderson Cancer Center.  She has tested novel cancer immunotherapy strategies in clinical trials that permitted access to surgical samples or longitudinal biopsy samples, which allowed her to identify mechanisms of response and resistance to therapy. She has won numerous awards during her career including the Doris Duke Clinical Scientist Development Award, the Prostate Cancer Foundation Challenge Award, the MD Anderson Cancer Center Faculty Scholar Award and the Emil Frei Award for Translational Research.