It is my honour to address you in my capacity as new Chief Executive Officer of Medigene AG. Two years ago when I took on the role of Chief Scientific Officer at Medigene, shortly after the acquisition of Trianta Immunotherapies GmbH in 2014 – a company I had established together with my co-founders – Medigene was undergoing a period of change. The Executive Board at the time, comprising Dr Frank Mathias and Peter Llewellyn-Davies, had successfully implemented its strategy to bring in innovative projects while licensing out older projects to business partners. With the acquisition of Trianta, which has since evolved into today’s Medigene Immunotherapies GmbH, we jointly built a new basis for Medigene with a new focus on innovative immunotherapies to treat cancer.
Since then, we and our outstanding team have worked to hone the Company’s profile and further advance and secure financing for our immunotherapy programmes. In the financial year 2015, we once again made important and significant progress.
Just one year after initiating the immunotherapy programmes at Medigene, we started the first clinical trial with our DC vaccines at the beginning of 2015. Other clinical trials utilizing our DC vaccine technology had commenced prior to this date. However, these investigator-initiated trials (IITs) are conducted by academic partners, who are also responsible for the trials. The launch of our own first clinical DC vaccine study thereby marked our transition to a new phase for Medigene: clinical-stage immunotherapies. The title of our 2015 Annual Report reflects this development. At the same time, it reflects our plan to initiate the clinical phase of our TCR programme in the current year, 2016.
In 2015, first clinical data on our DC vaccine technology was presented at leading international conferences such as the annual AACR and ASH conferences. Our academic partners reported on promising early-stage clinical data from their IITs, which are based on Medigene’s DC technology. Equally, encouraging for us was a scientific progress in the TCR field as seen in the publication in the scientific journal Nature Biotechnology with research findings on T-cell receptors (TCRs) made with our long-standing academic collaborators. They confirm the sound scientific basis and medical potential associated with these technologies. We continually enhanced our technology platforms in 2015, strengthening and protecting our assets by expanding our patent portfolio.
Scientific progress also requires sound financing. We are therefore delighted and grateful to you, our investors, for supporting us in the successful completion of a further capital measure in 2015, which generated funds in excess of €46 m. This facilitates the further implementation of important steps in the development of our immunotherapy programmes. It enables us to continue our current DC trial as planned and allows us to rapidly advance our TCR programme.
Together with our academic partners, we are preparing the launch of the first clinical trial with TCRs. It will be the first of its kind in Germany. In addition to this IIT trial in which Medigene is a cooperation partner, two further TCR studies are in planning to be conducted by Medigene, starting 2017 and 2018 respectively. Clinical TCR development will gather further momentum this year, with a view for our T-cell platform to become the central focus of activity.
The new positioning of Medigene has provided a sharper profile for our Company. By commercializing diverse Medigene legacy projects, including the sale of EndoTAG®, and placing the focus on the research & development of highly innovative immunotherapies, science has become central to Medigene and with it my role within the Company. The previous CEO Dr Frank Mathias and Peter Llewellyn-Davies played major roles in shaping the positive new direction of this Company, ultimately resulting in a significant rise in the share price of almost 140% in 2015. I sincerely thank them both for their enormous commitment to Medigene, their trust and kindness in our cooperation and for everything I learned from them about combining science and business.
I look forward to leading the Company and continuing its advancement with Dave Lemus, who steps down from Medigene’s Supervisory board to assume the newly created role of Chief Operating Officer. We welcome his many years of experience and success in the international pharmaceutical and biotechnology sectors. We are supported by high-calibre managers in preclinical, clinical and corporate development, and our excellent employees in all corporate divisions. Their expertise and commitment forms the basis of Medigene’s success.
Medigene is unique. Its history means that, today, it combines the very latest research and start-up spirit with the established structure and experience of a company which has evolved over many years. Our combination of cutting-edge science, long-time experience and a well-functioning infrastructure gives us an advantage over many of our competitors. We intend to expand this edge and develop into a global leader in the field of T-cell immunotherapies.
Immunotherapies, many experts agree, will play a major role in future cancer treatment. We continue to be inspired by the vast potential of T cells, key players in the immune system. It motivates us to develop our innovative therapeutic approaches, which have the potential to fundamentally improve the lives of cancer patients.
I invite you to share our vision with us and thank you for your trust.
Dolores J. Schendel
Prof. Dr. Dolores J. Schendel
Chief Executive Officer (CEO/CSO)
Prof Dolores Schendel joined Medigene as Chief Scientific Officer (CSO) in 2014 with the acquisition of Trianta Immunotherapies (now Medigene Immunotherapies) where she was a majority founding member and has been Managing Director since 2013. In February 2016 Prof Schendel took over as new Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Medigene AG. Prior to this, Prof Schendel was Director of the Institute of Molecular Immunology of the German Research Center for Environmental Health at the Helmholtz Center in Munich from 1998 - 2013. Previous to this Prof Schendel served as a University Professor for Immunology at Ludwig Maximilian University, focusing on human cellular immunology and T cell responses within the field of oncology. Prof Schendel completed her PhD in Genetics at the University of Wisconsin, USA, followed by post-doctoral training in immunology at University College London, UK.
Dr. Frank Mathias
Member of the Executive Management Board (until 31 March 2016)
Dr. Frank Mathias was Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Medigene AG from May 2009 until January 2016. He joined the company in 2008 as Chief Operating Officer. Frank Mathias, previously Corporate Vice President of Amgen Inc. and General Manager, possesses over 25 years of relevant experience in the pharmaceutical and biotech industries. He holds a PhD in pharmacy in the field of immunology and worked for Hoechst, among other companies, prior to assuming the General Manager position at Servier Deutschland GmbH in Munich. In 2002, he joined Amgen GmbH, Munich, as Head of Marketing. He then served as the company’s General Manager from 2003 – 2008.
Peter Llewellyn Davies
Chief Financial Officer (CFO) (until 31 March 2016)
Peter Llewellyn-Davies has been Chief Financial Officer and Member of the Executive Board of Medigene AG since October 2012. He has extensive experience in senior positions in medium-sized companies in the commercial as well as the financial sector. From 2006 to 2012 he served as Chief Financial Officer and Member of the Executive Board of WILEX AG, Munich. Prior to this, he was Managing Director of Müller Dairy (UK) and Executive Director Finance at Süd-Chemie AG. Mr. Llewellyn-Davies read business management, banking, marketing and controlling in London, St. Gallen and Munich, and has a certificate in business studies from the University of London.
Chief Operating Officer (effective 01 January 2016)
Dave Lemus has been Vice Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Medigene AG since 2013 until end of 2015 and joined the Management Board in January 2016 as Chief Operating Officer (COO). Prior to this, he has served as the Chief Executive Officer of Sigma Tau Pharmaceuticals Inc. Mr. Lemus played a pivotal role in the turnaround of the company, including the commercial revival of the company’s lead oncology product, resulting in its successful sale for USD 900m in July 2015. From 1998 to 2011, Mr Lemus was the Chief Financial Officer and Executive Vice President of MorphoSys AG, where he launched Germany’s first biotech IPO in 1999. Dave Lemus in his capacity as Medigene’s new COO, will also assume the responsibilities of the Chief Financial Officer from 1 April 2016 in addition to his operating responsibilities which he had assumed from the previous Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Frank Mathias.