SAN DIEGO, Nov. 15, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- Tocagen Inc. (Nasdaq: TOCA), a clinical-stage, cancer-selective gene therapy company, today announced that Lori Kunkel, M.D. has been named acting chief medical officer, effective November 26, 2018. Asha Das, M.D., senior vice president and chief medical officer will be leaving the company effective November 23, 2018 to allow her to focus on unforeseen and immediate personal matters. The company has initiated a search process to fill the position.
"On behalf of the management team and Board of Directors, we are thankful for the significant contributions Asha has made over the past three years," said Marty J. Duvall, chief executive officer of Tocagen. "With Lori's remarkable track record in the biotechnology industry coupled with her deep familiarity of our program and clinical data we look forward to working closely with her to advance our cancer-selective gene therapy platform, and our lead product candidate. This transition is not expected to impact our current business plans or development timelines."
Among other responsibilities, Dr. Kunkel previously served as acting chief medical officer of Loxo Oncology, Inc, chief medical officer of Pharmacyclics LLC, acquired by AbbVie Inc., and chief medical officer of Proteolix, Inc., acquired by Onyx Pharmaceuticals. Dr. Kunkel currently serves on the board of directors of Loxo Oncology, Inc., a publicly held biotechnology company, Curis, Inc., a publicly held biotechnology company, and Maverick Therapeutics, Inc., a privately held biotechnology company. A full biography is available here. In connection with Dr. Kunkel's appointment as acting chief medical officer of Tocagen, Dr. Kunkel will be temporarily leaving the board of directors of Tocagen in order for the company to maintain compliance with the Nasdaq listing rules regarding independent directors.
"Being dedicated to the development of new treatment options for patients with brain cancer, I am extremely grateful to have worked closely with the Tocagen team on advancing Toca 511 & Toca FC and regret having to leave the company at this time," said Dr. Das. "I am excited about the potential of the Toca 5 trial and future development in newly diagnosed brain cancer to positively impact patients around the world."
Tocagen is a clinical-stage, cancer-selective gene therapy company developing first-in-class, broadly applicable product candidates designed to activate a patient's immune system against their own cancer. Tocagen's lead investigational product candidate, Toca 511 & Toca FC, is under evaluation in a pivotal Phase 3 trial (Toca 5) for recurrent high grade glioma (HGG), a disease with significant unmet medical need. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration awarded Tocagen an orphan drug grant for the Toca 5 trial and has granted Toca 511 & Toca FC Breakthrough Therapy Designation for the treatment of recurrent HGG. The European Medicines Agency has granted Toca 511 PRIME (PRIority MEdicines) designation for the treatment of glioma. For more information about Tocagen, visit www.tocagen.com.
Statements contained in this press release regarding matters that are not historical facts are "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Because such statements are subject to risks and uncertainties, actual results may differ materially from those expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. Such statements include, but are not limited to, statements regarding our expectations regarding our business plans and development timelines and the potential of Toca 511 & Toca FC to positively impact patients in the future. Risks that contribute to the uncertain nature of the forward-looking statements include: the success, cost and timing of our product candidate development activities and planned clinical trials; our ability to execute on our strategy; regulatory developments in the United States and foreign countries; and our estimates regarding expenses, future revenue and capital requirements. These and other risks and uncertainties are described more fully under the caption "Risk Factors" and elsewhere in Tocagen's filings and reports with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission. All forward-looking statements contained in this press release speak only as of the date on which they were made. Tocagen undertakes no obligation to update such statements to reflect events that occur or circumstances that exist after the date on which they were made.
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SOURCE Tocagen Inc.