San Diego, CA – Fate Therapeutics, Inc. announced today that Christian Weyer, M.D., M.A.S. has been appointed President and Chief Executive Officer and elected to the Company’s Board of Directors, effective immediately. Dr. Weyer joins Fate Therapeutics after a 12-year tenure with Amylin Pharmaceuticals, Inc., where he most recently served as Senior Vice President of Research and Development until the completion of its acquisition by Bristol-Myers Squibb in August 2012. William H. Rastetter, a partner at Venrock who has served as Fate’s interim CEO since November 2011, will remain Chairman of Fate’s Board of Directors.
“Fate Therapeutics is pioneering innovative strategies to harness the therapeutic potential of adult stem cell biology, targeting disease areas of high unmet need that have not been adequately addressed by other pharmaceutical modalities,” said Dr. Weyer. “I am excited to join Fate as we are well-poised to accelerate the advancement of key programs, including ProHema, which may enable a new treatment paradigm for patients undergoing hematopoietic stem cell transplantation.”
During his tenure with Amylin, Dr. Weyer contributed to the development, approval, and commercialization of several first-in-class diabetes medicines. In addition, he was instrumental in establishing multiple development programs and global strategic partnerships in diabetes, obesity and lipodystrophy, working in different leadership positions in research, clinical development, medical affairs and corporate development. Prior to joining Amylin, Dr. Weyer spent three years with the National Institutes of Health, NIDDK, in Phoenix, AZ, where he conducted clinical research on the pathogenesis of obesity and type 2 diabetes. Dr. Weyer earned his M.D. degree from the University of Düsseldorf, Germany, and holds a postdoctoral masters degree in clinical research from the University of California, San Diego.
“Throughout his career, Dr. Weyer has demonstrated an unwavering commitment and passion to translate scientific advances into therapeutic options that have the potential to improve the standard of care for patients afflicted with serious conditions, from the very rare to the most common. With his broad experience and proven leadership across research, development, and commercialization, the Fate team is well served as we accelerate our patient mission for ProHema,” said Dr. Rastetter. “The Board and I look forward to working with Christian and the Fate team as we continue our quest to develop innovative regenerative medicines that can transform patient lives.”
ProHema is a first-in-class cell therapy consisting of pharmacologically-modulated hematopoietic stem cells. At the 53rd annual American Society of Hematology (ASH) meeting, Fate Therapeutics announced promising clinical results from a Phase 1b trial of ProHema as part of double-umbilical cord blood (UCB) transplants in adult patients with hematologic malignancies who have undergone reduced-intensity conditioning therapy. Of the twelve subjects that received ProHema, the median time to neutrophil recovery (> 500 cells/μL) was 17.5 days, which compares favorably to historical norms for patients undergoing double-UCB. In addition, ProHema provided the dominant source of hematopoiesis in ten of the twelve subjects, suggesting that treatment with ProHema may confer preferential, durable engraftment. In March 2012, the Company initiated a Phase 1b study to evaluate ProHema in a single-cord blood allogeneic transplant setting in adult patients with hematologic malignancies.