Dr. Punnonen joins Hinge Bio with over 20 years of experience as a biopharmaceutical executive and drug developer in the fields of oncology and immuno-oncology
BURLINGAME, Calif., May 30, 2023 — Hinge Bio, Inc., a privately-held biotechnology company, today announced that Juha Punnonen, M.D., Ph.D. has joined the company as Chief Development Officer. Dr. Punnonen brings over 20 years of experience as a biopharmaceutical executive with a track record in building and managing R&D teams from early-stage research to development in oncology and immuno-oncology. He will lead Hinge Bio’s preclinical and clinical strategy and development of product candidates generated by the company’s GEM-DIMER™ technology.
“We are thrilled to welcome Juha to Hinge Bio,” said Barry Selick, Ph.D, Chief Executive Officer of Hinge Bio. “Juha brings a strong background in immuno-oncology therapeutics development with leadership experience in both large pharmaceutical as well as start-up biotech companies. His insights into the design of our oncology development candidates are already proving invaluable, and we look forward to advancing these candidates into the clinic.”
“I am excited to join Hinge Bio to advance GEM-DIMER candidates to development,” said Dr. Punnonen. “GEM-DIMERs truly have the potential to bring antibodies to the next dimension by merging the most desirable properties of multiple clinically relevant antibodies into a single molecule with dramatically improved activity, while retaining the robust stability and manufacturability of conventional antibodies. I am looking forward to working with the Hinge team to advance our first oncology candidates to patients.”
Dr. Punnonen comes to Hinge Bio from Ascendis Pharma (ASND) where he served as Senior Vice President & Head of Oncology coordinating oncology research and pipeline development and advancing two immuno-oncology programs through preclinical research and IND-filings to clinical development. Prior to Ascendis, he was Executive Director and member of the Oncology Leadership Team at Merck & Co., Inc. where he coordinated oncology research and early development programs and was a member of the Product Development Team for KEYTRUDA® External Collaborations and KEYTRUDA® Risk and Safety Management Team. Prior to that, he was CEO and Co-founder at STATegics Inc., where he was responsible for the company’s R&D and business development activities and was the Principal Investigator on six grant-funded programs. Prior to STATegics, Inc., he was Vice President, R&D and Head of Biology & Pharmacology at Maxygen, Inc. (MAXY), Redwood City, CA with responsibilities focusing on development of molecular evolution/DNA shuffling technologies as well as preclinical and early clinical development of next generation genetic vaccines and protein therapeutics, such as IFN-alpha, G-CSF, Factor VIIa, CTLA4-Ig and TPO agonist protein. Prior to Maxygen, he was a Scientist at DNAX Research Institute (SPG, now Merck Research Labs), Palo Alto, CA, where he also did his post-doctoral training at the Human Immunology Department. His clinical work involved patient care in pediatrics and internal medicine as well as hospital work as a consulting physician in medical microbiology. He has authored 93 scientific publications and 28 issued US patents, and he received MD and PhD (immunology) degrees from the University of Turku, Finland.
Hinge Bio is a privately held biotechnology company leveraging its powerful GEM-DIMER™ platform to develop therapeutics that address the problems of inadequate efficacy and resistance in diseases including cancer, inflammatory disease, and infectious disease. The GEM-DIMER platform creates multivalent, multispecific antibody-based therapeutics that bind their targets in a novel manner allowing for dramatically enhanced biological activity and unique functionality. The GEM-DIMER technology was invented by Hinge Bio’s Chief Scientific Officer, Daniel Capon, Ph.D., who previously was the first to clone and express recombinant Factor VIII (Genentech) and invented Fc-fusion proteins (Genentech) as well as chimeric antigen receptors for T cell therapy/CAR-T (Cell Genesys). Dr. Capon also holds patents on the XenoMouse for the production of fully human antibodies (Abgenix) and the PhenoSense drug susceptibility and resistance test (Monogram Biosciences/LabCorp). Learn more at www.hingebio.com.