Prokarium expands its team to develop oncology programmes, appointing Livija Deban as Vice President Immunology and Oncology, and Kristen Albright as Vice President BD and Translational Research

Prokarium expands its team to develop a new microbial immunotherapy for solid tumours.

London, UK – Prokarium is a privately owned, UK-based biotechnology company with a vision to create targeted oral vaccines and immunotherapy. The company’s proprietary synthetic biology platform Vaxonella® enables thermostable microbes to be taken orally, to then produce vaccines from inside the body’s own immune cells, triggering all arms of immunity with minimal side effects and at lower costs than injectable vaccines.

Prokarium will begin investigating the use of microbes as immunotherapy for solid tumours, through the development of a new platform, Onconella™. “The use of microbes to fight cancer has its roots in the beginning of the 1900, when Dr. Coley saw tumour regression with the administration of bacterial extracts”, said Ted Fjallman, Ph.D, Chief Executive Officer, Prokarium. “With our expertise in microbial engineering, we aim to boost the immune system and kill cancer cells with the administration of modified bacteria.”

Livija Deban, PhD, will lead the research and development of Prokarium’s immune-oncology portfolio. She specializes in mucosal and tumour immunology, immunological assay development and immuno-oncology. Prior to joining Prokarium, Livija headed the lead selection and immuno-oncology R&D at Oxford BioTherapeutics where she focused on the target discovery and the development of immunomodulatory antibodies for cancer treatment. She has a MA in Medical Biotechnology and holds a PhD in Basic and Applied Immunology. Livija conducted her research at Cancer Research UK and King’s College London before joining the biotech industry.

Kristen Albright, PharmD, will lead the strategic and operational development of the oncology programmes, bringing her expertise in Business Development and Translational Research. Prior to joining Prokarium, Kristen was a Life Science Investor at Osage University Partners, a Philadelphia-based venture capital fund focused on academic spinouts from leading research universities. At Osage, Kristen completed multiple deals in the immunology, oncology and rare disease spaces ranging from target validation to clinical-stage companies. Earlier in her career, Kristen worked within Business Development at multiple mid-size companies including Emergent BioSolutions and Cangene Corporation, where she specialized in asset licensing and M&A. Kristen earned her Doctorate of Pharmacy from the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia and is a licensed pharmacist. She also holds an MBA from Saint Joseph’s University.