Virogin Announces New Senior Director of R&D

Vancouver, Canada – Virogin Biotech Ltd. (“Virogin”) is pleased to announce the appointment of a new Senior Director of Research & Development, Dr. Ismael Samudio.

“We are very excited about Ismael’s vision for Virogin,” said Dr. William Jia, Chief Scientific Officer & Co-Founder of Virogin. “His extensive knowledge of immunotherapy and oncolytic viruses will complement and strengthen Virogin’s vision to provide next-generation oncolytic therapeutics to patients.”

Ismael will be responsible for overseeing the development of our oncolytic virus pipeline and supporting the clinical translation of the lead program VG-161. “With Virogin’s novel HSV-1 based OV platform entering clinical trials in China and Australia, and a robust R&D pipeline poised to deliver subsequent generations of more powerful and immune-stimulatory HSV-1 vectors, this is an incredibly exciting time to join the team,” Ismael says. “I have been very impressed with the creativity and scientific rigor that William and his team use to approach development of powerful and tumor-selective OV therapeutics. Our vision is to develop the best in class OV platforms that will prevent as many cancer deaths as possible and give patients and their families more time with their loved ones.”

Ismael Samudio obtained his Ph.D. in genetics from Texas A&M University (2002) and received postdoctoral training in pharmacology and toxicology at the Institute of Biotechnology in Houston. Starting in 2004, Ismael was a research scientist and instructor in the Section of Molecular Hematology at MD Anderson Cancer Center (MDACC). While at MDACC Ismael led and supported various clinical and pre-clinical studies on the anti-leukemic and anti-tumor effects of various targeted agents. In addition, in collaboration with Dr. Michael Andreeff and Dr. Frank Marini, he demonstrated the therapeutic efficacy of gene-modified mesenchymal stromal cells in animal models of pancreatic and ovarian cancer.

From 2013 until 2015, while receiving additional postdoctoral training in immunotherapy at the BC Cancer Agency, Ismael reported in the prestigious journal Blood that HSV-1 is a potent activator of immune cell function and can be an adjuvant in the setting of bone marrow transplantation for the treatment of leukemia. These findings also support the notion that HSV-1 could be broadly used to potentiate solid tumor immunotherapy. In 2015, Ismael was recruited to the Centre for Drug Research and Development (CDRD) to lead a nascent immunotherapy initiative and eventually became Director of Biologics for CDRD.  Ismael’s Biologics team developed several novel anti-tumor biotherapeutics of various formats, including CAR-T, antibody drug-conjugates (ADC), and functional antibodies. Ismael has published over 70 peer reviewed articles and various book chapters on the use of small molecules, cellular therapeutics, and immunotherapy strategies for the treatment of cancer, and is a leading expert on tumor metabolism.

Virogin Biotech Ltd. ("Virogin") is an oncolytic virus research & development company, based in Vancouver, Canada. Since 2015, Virogin is dedicated to developing the next generation of oncolytic virus (OV) therapeutics using their novel Synerlytic™ technical platform for improved cancer treatment. By exploring innovative approaches to immunotherapy, Virogin is committed to becoming a world leader in the field of immuno-oncology.