AskGene Announces Appointment of Chief Medical Officer and VP of Preclinical & Clinical Pharmacology

Camarillo, California, August 19, 2022AskGene Pharma Inc. (AskGene) today announced the appointment of Barbara Hickingbottom, J.D., M.D. as Chief Medical Officer and Matt Hsu, Ph.D. as VP of Preclinical and Clinical Pharmacology.  Dr. Hickingbottom will be responsible for leading the global clinical development of AskGene, including pipeline strategy, clinical development plans and operations, product registration, and guiding the global clinical collaborations with existing and potential partners.  Dr. Hsu will be responsible for leading global preclinical and clinical pharmacology activities.

Jian-Feng (Jeff) Lu, Ph.D., CEO of AskGene commented: “We are pleased to welcome Dr. Hickingbottom and Dr. Hsu to our management team earlier this year.  They will each bring us over two decades of global industry experience, which will help AskGene to continue to optimize our clinical development and global registration strategies for our lead biological products and to progress our promising pipeline of novel drugs positioned to address major areas of unmet clinical needs.  We believe the appointment will bring strong energy and leadership to AskGene for our global clinical development and facilitate regulatory approval of lead innovative cytokine projects and other innovative molecules.”

Barbara Hickingbottom J.D., M.D., CMO of AskGene commented: “I am profoundly excited to bring my experience to AskGene pipeline and join AskGene at this important time as ASKG315 is entering into the clinical stage in Australia.  The early preclinical data for ASKG315 and ASKG915 are very promising, and I look forward to working alongside AskGene’s highly skilled scientific teams to bring the whole AskGene portfolio to patients globally.”

Dr. Matt Hsu, VP of Preclinical and Clinical Pharmacology commented:  “AskGene’s innovative SmartKine® platform with a prodrug approach for cytokine therapies has demonstrated promising anti-tumor activities in preclinical species.  With strong efficacy and reduced toxicity, this technology has a potential to overcome the limitation of cytokine use clinically and revolutionize immunotherapies.  Therefore, I am looking forward to working with the company’s leadership team to advance novel and highly innovative clinical projects and candidates in the areas of oncology and immunological diseases, and to build a robust pipeline that has the opportunity to transform care for many more patients in need around the world.”

Before joining AskGene, Dr. Hickingbottom served as the Head of Clinical Development at Xencor, Inc. (Xencor).  During her time at Xencor, she was deeply involved in the clinical development of 12 anti-tumor biological innovative drugs in Xencor’s pipeline and responsible for all of the company’s clinical-stage products.  Prior to Xencor, Dr. Hickingbottom worked as both a consultant and a scientist in many biopharmaceutical companies, including BioMarin, Mannkind, Novartis, Xoma, Novacea, and CTL Immunotherapies.  Dr. Hickingbottom is an accomplished clinical pathologist with over 25 years of life sciences experience in clinical development, medical affairs, and registration strategy.  She received her Medicine Doctor degree from the Tufts University School of Medicine and completed her internship and residency in pathology at Stanford.  She also received a Juris Doctor degree from the Harvard Law School.

Dr. Hsu has more than two decades of experiences in drug development, ranging from proof of concept to approval.  Previously, Dr. Hsu was Senior Principal Scientist in the Clinical Pharmacology Modeling & Simulation group at Amgen, where he led the Technical and Professional Unit for clinical study data and report preparation, conducted clinical pharmacology studies in translational sciences, applied PK/PD knowledge for dose selection at IND and End-of-Phase 2 stages, and prepared NDA/BLA submission for drug approvals.  Prior to Amgen, Dr. Hsu worked in Preclinical Development at Johnson & Johnson in New Jersey and received his Ph.D. in Pharmaceutical Sciences from the University of Michigan.  He has published more than 35 peer-reviewed papers.

About AskGene Pharma

AskGene (California, USA), founded in 2012 in Los Angeles, California, is dedicated to the discovery and development of novel antibody and fusion protein therapeutics. AskGene is a pioneer in the discovery and development of next generation cytokine therapeutics. It has established the cutting edge SmartKine® cytokine prodrug platform. The SmartKine® platform significantly improves the developability of cytokines for oncology and inflammation indications. AskGene is actively moving multiple projects into preclinical and clinical developments.