Adaptimmune Limited has announced the full-time appointment of James Noble as Chief Executive Officer. Mr Noble has been CEO of Adaptimmune since its formation in 2008, but until now has been combining this position with his role as CEO of sister company, Immunocore. He will remain on the Board of Immunocore as a non-executive director.
Dr Jonathan Knowles, currently Executive Chairman of both Adaptimmune and Immunocore, will serve as acting CEO of Immunocore until the company’s board appoints a permanent replacement.
Adaptimmune employs nearly 40 staff and has operations in the UK and the USA, with multiple trials in progress across the United States.
European trials will shortly commence and the company announced yesterday (25 March) that it is taking a second T cell-based therapy into clinical trials in 2015, supported by a major grant from the Technology Strategy Board.
Adaptimmune is expected to grow significantly over the next few years and to sign major pharmaceutical partnerships and, potentially, to seek new sources of equity funding.
The Board of Adaptimmune therefore considers that it is now appropriate to employ a full-time CEO to take the company to the next stage. The appointment will become effective from 31st March.
The origins of Adaptimmune and Immunocore go back to 1999, when a novel T cell receptor technology was spun out of the University of Oxford into a company named Avidex Limited, where James Noble was CEO until its acquisition by MediGene in 2006.
Adaptimmune and Immunocore were both spun out in 2008 from MediGene to address two different ways of exploiting the T cell receptor technology. Adaptimmune has the rights to exploit the technology in the form of engineered T cells, while Immunocore has the rights to the technology in the form of soluble proteins called ImmTACs and entered into three major partnerships during the second half of 2013 with GlaxoSmithKline, Genentech and MedImmune, the global biologics and research arm of AstraZeneca.
James Noble commented: “It has been a privilege to oversee the successful expansion of Immunocore through its partnerships and I am delighted to be able to focus on Adaptimmune going forward. The company, with its unique ability to engineer T cell receptors on T cells, is at the forefront of an extraordinarily exciting wave of interest in using the body’s own T cell system to fight cancer. I look forward to building the company up over the coming years”.
Jonathan Knowles added: “Adaptimmune and Immunocore are both at the cutting edge of technology and are starting to see real progress in clinical trials. They have now each grown to the size where they need full-time leadership and I am delighted that James will be taking on this role at Adaptimmune, while retaining his Board seat at Immunocore”.