Next-generation genetic neoantigen vaccines
and targeted oncolytic virus for cancer medicine

Our History

  • Riccardo Cortese | MD, PhD Co-Founder

    Riccardo founded the genetic vaccine company Okairos in 2007 and led the company through its successful acquisition by GSK in 2013. He sadly passed away in April 2017, but his intuitions, leadership and ability to recognize fields of research with untapped potential continue to drive and inspire our work each day.

     

Building upon our knowledge and success in infectious disease genetic vaccines

Nouscom’s leadership and research team are successful entrepreneurs, who have previously developed innovative candidate vaccines for a range of infectious diseases that include: Malaria (Ewer et al, 2013), Ebola (Stanley et al, 2014; Ewer et al, 2016), Respiratory Syncytial Virus (Taylor et al, 2015; Green et al, 2015), and Hepatitis-C virus (Swadling et al, 2014). The platform technology, originally developed at Okairos, is based on recombinant Adenovirus isolated from non-human great apes (GAd) and Modified Vaccinia Virus Ankara (MVA). The use of viral vectors derived from primates has several advantages, in that they generate potent immune responses, and are much less susceptible to neutralization by pre-existing immunity in humans (Colloca et al, 2012). These vaccine therapies have been evaluated in over 4,000 adult, newborn, and elderly healthy subjects, as well as in patients with chronic infectious diseases, and shown to be safe and efficacious.

The team is now leveraging its experience and expertise in genetic vaccine development to develop a portfolio of novel, safe, and effective neoantigen and oncolytic-based vaccine therapies to target human malignancies and expand the utility of existing immunotherapeutic agents, such as checkpoint inhibitors.

Successful past experiences are the building block of our new objectives.

Nouscom’s leadership and research team are successful entrepreneurs, who have previously developed innovative candidate vaccines for a range of infectious diseases that include: Malaria (Ewer et al, 2013), Ebola (Stanley et al, 2014; Ewer et al, 2016), Respiratory Syncytial Virus (Taylor et al, 2015; Green et al, 2015), and Hepatitis-C virus (Swadling et al, 2014). The platform technology, originally developed at Okairos, is based on recombinant Adenovirus isolated from non-human great apes (GAd) and Modified Vaccinia Virus Ankara (MVA). The use of viral vectors derived from primates has several advantages, in that they generate potent immune responses, and are much less susceptible to neutralization by pre-existing immunity in humans (Colloca et al, 2012). These vaccine therapies have been evaluated in over 4,000 adult, newborn, and elderly healthy subjects, as well as in patients with chronic infectious diseases, and shown to be safe and efficacious.

The team is now leveraging its experience and expertise in genetic vaccine development to develop a portfolio of novel, safe, and effective neoantigen and oncolytic-based vaccine therapies to target human malignancies and expand the utility of existing immunotherapeutic agents, such as checkpoint inhibitors.

  • Riccardo Cortese | MD, PhD Co-Founder

    Riccardo founded the genetic vaccine company Okairos in 2007 and led the company through its successful acquisition by GSK in 2013. He sadly passed away in April 2017, but his intuitions, leadership and ability to recognize fields of research with untapped potential continue to drive and inspire our work each day.

     

Executive Team

  • Alfredo Nicosia | PhD CEO and Member

    Alfredo was previously one of the co-founders and Chief Scientific Officer of Okairos. He led the preclinical and clinical development of several vaccines and monoclonal antibodies against various infectious diseases and human cancers.

  • Elisa Scarselli | MD Chief Scientific Officer and Co-founder

    Elisa was formerly a Research Scientist at IRBM/Merck, where she worked on immunological aspects of Hepatitis C infection and was subsequently appointed Group Leader in Oncology. She joined Okairos in 2010 as Clinical Director of the infectious disease vaccine programmes.

  • Marina Udier | PhD Chief Operating Officer

    Marina joined Nouscom in 2016 and prior to that was an Operating Principal at Versant Ventures. Before Versant, she headed up the Global Neurodegeneration portfolio for Novartis International AG. She received her Ph.D. in Chemistry from Yale University.

  • Adrian Woolfson | MD, PhD Chief Medical Officer

    Adrian was formerly Global Clinical Leader of Early- and Late-Stage Immuno-Oncology/Hematology at Pfizer. His work with Nobel Prize winner César Milstein led to the discovery of soluble human CD1 antigens.

  • Stefano Colloca | MD Chief Technical Officer and Co-founder

    Stefano co-founded Okairos, where he was Senior Director for Vector Development. He has overseen and directed GMP manufacturing campaigns for numerous clinical trials.

  • Antonella Folgori | PhD Senior Director of Immunology and Co-founder

    Antonella was a co-founder of Okairos and Director of Immunology. She is a named inventor on several patents, and contributed to the preclinical and clinical validation of multiple infectious disease vaccine programmes.

  • Cinzia Traboni | PhD Senior Director of Regulatory Affairs and Co-founder

    Cinzia was formerly the Head of Regulatory Affairs at Okairos. Prior to that, she was Professor of Molecular Genetics at the University of Rome, La Sapienza and an EMBL post-doctoral Fellow.

Board of Directors

  • Guido Magni | MD Chairman

    Guido has been closely involved in multiple biotech investments. He was previously Managing Director of EuroVentures, a Versant incubator. He is a physician with a specialty in neuro-psychiatry, and the co-author of over 100 peer-reviewed papers.

  • Joachim (JR) Rothe | PhD Member

    Joachim joined LSP in 2002, and is currently a Managing Partner and co-owner of the firm. He has facilitated the growth and development of a large number of companies by leveraging his scientific and pharmaceutical expertise, and extensive global network.

  • Genghis Lloyd-Harris | MD, PhD Member

    Genghis’ current and past board positions include: Avillion, GenSight Biologics, HBI, Novexel, Solexa, Synosia and Wilson Therapeutics, and several others. He identifies and invests in new businesses, and supports portfolio companies.

  • Scott Rocklage | PhD Member

    Scott joined 5AM Ventures in 2003 as a Venture Partner and became a Managing Partner in 2004. He has over three decades of healthcare management experience and has entered multiple drug candidates into clinical trials.

  • Alfredo Nicosia | PhD CEO and Member

    Alfredo was previously one of the co-founders and Chief Scientific Officer of Okairos. He led the preclinical and clinical development of several vaccines and monoclonal antibodies against various infectious diseases and human cancers.

  • Jean-Paul Prieels | PhD Member

    Jean-Paul is a Director of Vaximm AG and a member on Curevac independent Advisory Board. He was instrumental in developing several licensed vaccines and served as the Head of Research at GSK Vaccines.

  • John F. McDonald | JD, MBA Member

    John has over 25 years of business development experience with some of the industry’s premier companies, including Genentech, Genzyme, Millennium Pharmaceuticals, MPM Capital, Biogen and currently Novo Nordisk.

  • Gianni Gromo | MD Observer

    Gianni is a Partner at Versant Ventures. He previously served as a Senior Executive with several pharmaceutical companies, most recently at Hoffmann-La Roche, where he successfully led several research and development teams.

  • Vincent Brichard | MD, PhD, MBA Observer

    Vincent has more than 25 years of oncology and immunology experience. His experience encompasses a broad and integrated approach to immunotherapy – from bench discovery through to regulatory and commercial activities.

Key Advisors

  • Gabriella Campadelli | PhD Advisor and co-founder

    Gabriella has pioneered the field of re-targeting and de-targeting of HSV to selectively recognize target cancer cell receptors, and is the named inventor on the family of corresponding patents.