SAN DIEGO – (December 2, 2014) — Tocagen Inc. a clinical-stage selective cancer immunotherapy company, today announced that Franklin M. Berger, CFA, has been appointed to the board of directors. Mr. Berger will also serve as the chairman of a newly formed audit committee responsible for overseeing Tocagen’s accounting, financial reporting, disclosure and financial risk management activities.
Mr. Berger is a biotechnology industry analyst with over 25 years of experience in capital markets and financial analysis. He previously served as managing director, equity research, and senior biotechnology analyst at J.P. Morgan Securities from 1998 to 2003. During this time he was involved in the issuance of over $12 billion in biotechnology company equity or equity-linked securities. These activities included Genentech’s IPO, the largest biotechnology financing ever executed, and the first large financings for Celgene Corporation and Gilead Sciences. Previously, Mr. Berger served in a similar capacity at Salomon Smith Barney.
“Franklin is one of the most respected and accomplished Wall Street investment professionals and advisors in the biotechnology industry today,” said Harry Gruber, M.D., chief executive officer of Tocagen. “We are pleased that Franklin has joined the board and Tocagen will benefit greatly from his expertise in finance, business and technology as we advance into the next phase of development for Toca 511 & Toca FC.”
Added Mr. Berger, “Tocagen’s potentially transformative gene delivery technology platform and highly differentiated product candidates stand out among cancer immunotherapeutics. The company’s initial indication, glioblastoma, arguably has the greatest unmet medical need in cancer today, and I look forward to playing a role in the company’s continued work to make a difference in the lives of brain cancer patients.”
Presently, Mr. Berger serves on the board of directors of Immune Design and Five Prime Therapeutics. He has served on the board of directors for numerous companies, including Seattle Genetics, Inc. Mr. Berger is a founder and managing director of FMB Research and previously co-founded the small-cap focused NEMO fund at Sectoral Asset Management.
Mr. Berger is a CFA charterholder, holds a master’s degree in business from Harvard Business School, and received a master’s degree in international economics and a bachelor’s degree in international relations from Johns Hopkins University. He is a founding fellow of the Biotechnology Study Center at NYU School of Medicine.
About Toca 511 & Toca FC
Toca 511 & Toca FC, the company’s lead investigational combination product, is being evaluated in three clinical trials in patients with recurrent high grade glioma, including glioblastoma. Toca 511 & Toca FC, an extended-release formulation of 5-fluorocytosine (5-FC), is designed to have a dual mechanism of action. Toca 511 delivers a prodrug-activating gene selectively to cancer cells. Then the prodrug-activating enzyme produced in the cancer cell activates orally administered Toca FC given in cycles, into a powerful antimetabolite, 5-FU, selectively in the cancer. In animal models, the production of 5-FU locally kills dividing tumor cells during each 5-FC cycle, which leads to durable and selective anticancer immune responses. Data from ongoing clinical trials show encouraging evidence for increased survival compared to historical controls, safety and tolerability, antitumor activity and evidence to support the proposed mechanism of action. Based on these data the company is now planning to commence late-stage clinical trials in patients with high grade glioma.
Tocagen is a clinical-stage selective cancer immunotherapy company pursuing discovery, development and commercialization of gene therapy drugs using a novel retroviral replicating vector platform, which selectively infects cancer cells. These therapies are designed to help patients fight their cancer by locally activating their immune system selectively against their cancer, with subsequent systemic benefit.
Tocagen has received grant support from leading brain cancer foundations, including Accelerate Brain Cancer Cure (ABC2), National Brain Tumor Society (NBTS), American Brain Tumor Association (ABTA), Musella Foundation and Voices Against Brain Cancer (VABC). For more information about Tocagen or Toca 511 & Toca FC please visit www.tocagen.com or www.clinicaltrials.gov using the identifier NCT01470794, NCT01156584 or NCT01985256.