HOUSTON, Aug. 03, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Bellicum Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (Nasdaq:BLCM), a leader in developing novel, controllable cellular immunotherapies for cancers and orphan inherited blood disorders, today announced that Gregory Naeve, Ph.D., has been appointed as Chief Business Officer, effective August 21. Dr. Naeve, who will report to CEO Rick Fair, will lead product and portfolio strategy as well as business development for the Company.
“We are excited to welcome a leader of Greg’s caliber and experience as we look to expand our pipeline and secure strategic partnerships to leverage our technology platform,” said Bellicum’s President & CEO Rick Fair. “He brings an impressive track record of defining immuno-oncology portfolio strategy and implementing it through successful collaborations. His contributions will be critical as we look to capitalize on the unique strengths of our controllable cell therapy technologies.”
Commented Dr. Naeve, “It is becoming increasingly clear how important innovations like Bellicum’s cellular control technologies are to advancing CAR T and TCR candidates into more diseases, particularly solid tumors. I look forward to working with Bellicum’s leadership and R&D teams to further these novel technologies, which have the potential to transform the field of cellular therapy.”
Dr. Naeve joins Bellicum from Pfizer where he served as the ImmunoOncology & Cell Therapy Lead for Pfizer’s External Research and Development Unit. During his tenure, he was a key member of the executive team responsible for identifying and implementing many of the strategic partnerships in Pfizer’s ImmunoOncology portfolio, including the Cellectis and Servier CAR T alliances. Prior to Pfizer, Dr. Naeve served as Principal of The Column Group, a venture capital firm focused on investing in and creating innovative biotechnology companies. Prior to that, he was the President and Chief Scientific Officer at Parallax Biosystems, a company he co-founded that developed novel technologies with applications in preclinical drug discovery and diagnostics. Early in his career, Dr. Naeve held research positions at Neurocrine Biosciences and Amgen. He holds a Ph.D. in Biochemistry from the University of Southern California and a B.S. in Biochemistry and Biological Sciences from Colorado State University.
The Compensation Committee of the Board of Directors has approved inducement awards to Dr. Naeve, which will be granted effective on his start date. The inducement awards consist of a stock option to purchase up to 130,000 shares of the Company's common stock and a restricted stock unit for 15,000 shares. Each such stock award will be priced at the closing price of the Common Stock on the grant date of August 21, 2017. The stock option and restricted stock unit award will be granted subject to the terms of the Company’s 2014 Equity Incentive Plan. One-fourth of the shares subject to the stock option award will vest on the one-year anniversary of Dr. Naeve’s start date and the remainder of the shares will vest in a series of 36 successive equal monthly installments thereafter, and 25% of the shares subject to the restricted stock unit award will vest on each anniversary of Dr. Naeve’s start date, in each case subject to his continuous service with the Company through each such vesting date and subject to potential vesting acceleration under certain circumstances pursuant to the terms of Dr. Naeve’s employment agreement with the Company.
About Bellicum Pharmaceuticals
Bellicum is a clinical stage biopharmaceutical company focused on discovering and developing cellular immunotherapies for cancers and orphan inherited blood disorders. Bellicum is using its proprietary Chemical Induction of Dimerization (CID) technology platform to engineer and control components of the immune system. Bellicum is developing next-generation product candidates in some of the most important areas of cellular immunotherapy, including hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT), and CAR T and TCR cell therapies. More information can be found at www.bellicum.com.
This press release contains forward-looking statements for purposes of the safe harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Bellicum may, in some cases, use terms such as "predicts," "believes," "potential," "proposed," "continue," “designed,” "estimates," "anticipates," "expects," "plans," "intends," "may," "could," "might," "will," "should" or other words that convey uncertainty of future events or outcomes to identify these forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements include statements regarding our intentions, beliefs, projections, outlook, analyses or current expectations concerning, among other things: our research and development activities relating to our CID, CAR T and TCR programs, including our intentions to expand our pipeline, partner our technologies and expand our development into additional diseases. Various factors may cause differences between Bellicum’s expectations and actual results as discussed in greater detail under the heading “Risk Factors” in Bellicum’s filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including without limitation our annual report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2016 and our report on Form 10-Q for the quarter ended March 31, 2017. Any forward-looking statements that Bellicum makes in this press release speak only as of the date of this press release. Bellicum assumes no obligation to update our forward-looking statements whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, after the date of this press release.
A photo accompanying this announcement is available at http://www.globenewswire.com/NewsRoom/AttachmentNg/29512c02-8be9-4aec-84a9-268f535e08b9
Bellicum Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
Alan Musso, CFO