Calimmune Inc., a clinical-stage gene therapy company, has appointed Dr. Salim Yazji as executive vice president and chief medical officer.
Yazji most recently served as the vice president and global therapeutics head of oncology for Baxalta Inc.
“Salim’s depth of experience and proven leadership in shepherding innovative products from pre-clinical development through product approval will be vital to Calimmune as we move our next generation hematopoietic stem cell therapies forward in the clinic,” Louis Breton, CEO at Calimmune, said. “I believe that his direct global pharmaceutical product development experience will also provide us with important insights as we advance our therapeutic candidates toward commercialization and seek to establish partnerships to further validate our pipeline programs. Therefore, on behalf of the Calimmune team, I welcome Salim and look forward to his contributions as we advance the field of gene therapy.”
Yazji has more than 20 years of experience in the field. In his roles at Baxalta, he helped advance the oncology product pipeline into successful global marketing authorizations.
“Calimmune is at the forefront of developing the next generation of gene therapies for the treatment of hematologic diseases, building on its successful early clinical work of applying hematopoietic stem cell gene therapy to the treatment of HIV,” Yazji said. “I am thrilled to join the Calimmune team at this important juncture in the development of gene therapy with the opportunity to work alongside a highly skilled scientific team, key opinion leaders and management team. Together, we will work to develop products that liberate patients currently facing chronic and currently incurable hematologic diseases.”
He also held leadership positions at Novartis Pharmaceutical, Exelixis Inc., PDL BioPharma Inc. and Johnson & Johnson.
The doctor earned his medical degree from the Pavlov School of Medicine, University of St. Petersburg, Russia, and completed his postgraduate training at University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Park Plaza Hospital, Houston, and the cardiology department at Almozov Hospital in St. Petersburg.
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