– Scientific leader with multi-company cell therapy drug development experience spanning early discovery initiatives through late-stage development –
SAN MATEO, Calif., Sept. 12, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — CARGO Therapeutics, Inc. (CARGO), a clinical-stage biotechnology company uniquely positioned to advance next generation, potentially curative cell therapies for cancer patients, today announced the appointment of Michael Ports, PhD, as Chief Scientific Officer. Dr. Ports will be responsible for advancing CARGO’s proprietary platform technologies and discovery-stage programs.
“I am delighted to welcome Michael, an experienced leader in cell therapy, to CARGO as our Chief Scientific Officer. Michael brings strong scientific leadership and a deep understanding of cell therapy to this role and will be an inspiring thought partner to our research and development teams,” said Gina Chapman, CARGO’s President and Chief Executive Officer. “We look forward to partnering with Michael to further progress our platform technologies and pipeline programs to the clinic as we strive to deliver more cures to patients.”
“I am pleased to join the exceptional team at CARGO and am inspired by their dedication, scientific excellence and vision. Throughout my career, I have sought opportunities to develop differentiated therapeutics and treatment strategies to significantly improve outcomes for patients,” said Michael Ports, Chief Scientific Officer, CARGO Therapeutics. “I have a passion for bringing new cell therapy options to the clinic, and I am eager to contribute to CARGO’s important work to bring new CAR T-cell therapies to patients.”
Prior to joining CARGO, Dr. Ports was the Vice President and Head of Cell Therapy Discovery at Janssen Pharmaceuticals, overseeing the strategy and management of teams to advance both autologous and allogeneic cell therapy development candidates. Before joining Janssen, Dr. Ports held roles of increasing responsibility at Juno Therapeutics (acquired by Celgene Corporation) and Celgene (acquired by Bristol-Myers Squibb) where he served as head of late-stage research. In this role, he led preclinical efforts that enabled two investigational new drug (IND) applications in multiple myeloma for the anti-BCMA CAR T, JCARH125, and five IND/IND amendments and documentation for a BLA filing in support of the anti-CD19 CAR T, Breyanzi®. Breyanzi® is a CAR T-cell therapy approved in the United States and the European Union to treat certain types of lymphoma including large B cell lymphoma (LBCL). Dr. Ports began his industry career at Gilead Sciences where he explored the use of Zydelig® and other small molecules as immuno-oncology agents for use in solid tumors.
Dr. Ports was a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Netherlands Cancer Institute and Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. He received his PhD in Cancer Biology from the University of Arizona and his BS in Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology from University of California, Santa Barbara.
About CARGO Therapeutics
CARGO Therapeutics is a clinical-stage biotechnology company uniquely positioned to advance next generation, potentially curative cell therapies for cancer patients. CARGO’s programs, platform technologies, and manufacturing strategy are designed to directly address the limitations of approved cell therapies, including limited durability of effect, safety concerns and unreliable supply. CARGO is currently evaluating its lead program, CRG-022, an autologous CD22 chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapy candidate, in a potentially pivotal Phase 2 clinical trial in patients with large B-cell lymphoma (LBCL) whose disease relapsed or was refractory (R/R) to CD19 CAR T-cell therapy. CARGO also plans to evaluate CRG-022 in patients at earlier stages of disease, including LBCL and other hematologic malignancies. Beyond its lead program, CARGO is leveraging its proprietary cell engineering platform technologies to develop a pipeline of programs that incorporate multiple transgene therapeutic “cargo” designed to enhance CAR T-cell persistence and trafficking to tumor lesions, as well as to help safeguard against tumor resistance and T-cell exhaustion. CARGO’s founders are pioneers and world-class experts in CAR T-cell therapy, and its team has significant experience and success developing, manufacturing, launching and commercializing oncology and cell therapy products. For more information, please visit the CARGO Therapeutics website at https://cargo-tx.com/.