Industry veteran brings deep expertise in translational medicine and clinical development in oncology

South San Francisco, Calif., June 13, 2022 – Asher Biotherapeutics, Inc. (Asher Bio), a biotechnology company developing precisely-targeted immunotherapies for cancer, autoimmune, and infectious diseases, today announced the appointment of Andrea Pirzkall, M.D., as its first Chief Medical Officer. Dr. Pirzkall has a multi-disciplinary clinical background and a proven track record in developing cancer therapies from research to commercialization.

“We are delighted to welcome Andrea to the Asher Bio team at this pivotal time as we transition to a clinical-stage company. Her broad background spans early and late-stage development and includes both small molecule and biologic agents.  She has expertise in immunotherapies for cancer and is a successful leader of growing clinical teams.  Andrea is an ideal fit to our team as we continue to advance our pipeline,” said Craig Gibbs, Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer of Asher Bio. “Her expertise and hands-on style will be valuable assets as we implement clinical strategies to deliver our selective and differentiated immunotherapies for patients with cancer and other diseases.”

“I am very excited to join Asher Bio’s highly experienced senior management team and to build and lead the clinical development organization to deliver on the company’s promising pipeline of cis-targeted therapeutics,” said Dr. Pirzkall. “I am particularly intrigued by the potential of Asher Bio’s cis-targeting platform approach to overcome limitations and broaden the potential of existing immunotherapy by selectively targeting immune cell subsets, and thereby aiming to improve outcomes for patients. That includes Asher Bio’s lead cis-targeted IL-2 immunotherapy, AB248, which is approaching an IND filing and the start of a Phase 1 clinical trial. AB248 has been designed to selectively activate IL-2 signaling in CD8+ effector T cells, while avoiding systemic toxicities and limiting counterproductive pleotropic signaling that results from IL-2 binding to non-targeted cells. I look forward to working with the team to transition this compound into the clinic.”

Most recently, Dr. Pirzkall served as Chief Medical Officer at Replimune Group, Inc., where she was responsible for building, developing, and leading clinical development of the company’s pipeline of next-generation oncolytic immunotherapies. Prior to that, Dr. Pirzkall served as Executive Director of Clinical Development at BeiGene, Ltd., where she led and supported the development, startup and execution of several pivotal studies in lung cancer and head and neck cancers, which successfully led to approvals of tislelizumab (anti-PD1) in China and ongoing filings in other jurisdictions. She also served as the global clinical development lead on the BeiGene, Inc./Celgene Corporation joint development committee. Earlier in her career, Dr. Pirzkall spent 10 years at Genentech, Inc., where she held roles of increasing responsibility, including Principal Medical Director and Clinical Development Team Leader. In this role, she worked with cross-functional teams on therapeutics including Avastin, Tarceva, Perjeta, Cotellic and Tecentriq supporting these novel biologic agents through early to late stages of development in oncology as well as through exploratory and combination studies.

Prior to moving to industry, Dr. Pirzkall trained in radiation oncology and completed her dissertation at the University of Heidelberg and the German Cancer Research Center. She completed a fellowship in Medical Physics/Radiation Oncology at the University San Francisco (UCSF) and held academic positions as Associate Adjunct Professor of Radiation Oncology, Radiology, and Neurosurgery at UCSF. Dr. Pirzkall holds a Doctor of Medicine from Friedrich-Schiller University Jena, Germany.

About Asher Bio

Asher Bio is a biotechnology company developing precisely-targeted immunotherapies for cancer, autoimmune, and infectious diseases. Its cis-targeting platform aims to enable selective activation of specific immune cell types, addressing the inherent limitations of otherwise pleiotropic immunotherapies that act on multiple cell types. Its approach has the potential to precisely direct different immune mediators against a range of target immune cell-types and create novel immunotherapies in cancer, autoimmune and infectious diseases. Asher Bio was founded by Ivana Djuretic and Andy Yeung with support from Third Rock Ventures and is located in South San Francisco. For more information, please visit and follow us on Twitter @AsherBio and on LinkedIn.


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