Highlight Therapeutics appoints Dr. Carlos Paya as Executive Chairman and Significantly expands Scientific Advisory Board

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Dr Ralph Weichselbaum, Dr. Antoni Ribas & Michael Docherty appointed to SAB
Company renamed to Highlight Therapeutics

Madrid, Spain – April 17, 2020: Highlight Therapeutics (“Highlight”), a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company developing RNA-based therapies against cancer, announces the appointment of Carlos Paya, MD, PhD, as Executive Chairman with immediate effect. The Company has also significantly expanded its Advisory Board with a number of internationally-renowned scientific and industry leaders. In line with these changes, the Company has been renamed from Bioncotech Therapeutics to Highlight Therapeutics – see separate press release.

Marisol Quintero, CEO of Highlight, said: “Dr Paya’s impressive industry experience, his track record of guiding biotech companies through product development to global launch and his extensive reach with both scientists and investors will all be of great assistance to Highlight at this important point in our development. In addition, we have significantly expanded our Advisory Board with distinguished scientists and industry specialists of the highest caliber. These key appointments provide Highlight with the broad range of skills and know how to drive our ambition to unlock the potential of immunotherapy for many more patients.”>

Dr. Paya has a distinguished track record of leadership in large-cap pharma and mid-cap biotech and start- up companies, with a focus on strategic execution, pipeline growth, product life cycle management and global product launches, as well as a number of successful public and private fundraises.

He is a director of Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals and of Fluidigm Corporation. Previously, he was president, chief executive officer and board member of Immune Design Corp., a late-stage immunotherapy company, from May 2011 until its acquisition by Merck & Co., Inc. in April 2019. He held leadership roles at Elan Pharmaceuticals and Eli Lilly and Co. in discovery research and clinical development. Prior to his industry roles, Dr. Paya spent nearly a decade at the Mayo Clinic-Rochester, including as professor of medicine, immunology and pathology and vice dean of the clinical investigation program.

Dr Paya received his medical and doctorate degrees from the Universidad Complutense of Madrid Medical School, and completed his specialty training in Internal Medicine, Infectious Diseases and Immunology at the Mayo Graduate School of Medicine. He was a research scientist in a post-doctoral position at Institute Pasteur in Paris and completed the advanced management program at the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business.


The Company’s Scientific Advisory Board has expanded and now comprises:

Ralph R. Weichselbaum MD

  • Professor of Radiation & Cellular Oncology Chair, Department of Radiation & Cellular Oncology, University of Chicago
  • Made discoveries in basic signal transduction after ionizing radiation exposure &, in separate studies, discovered that mechanisms of radiation resistance/sensitivity are mediated by cytokine activation in tumors
  • Currently investigating the relationship between radiotherapy & immunotherapy

Antoni Ribas MD, PhD

  • Professor of Medicine, Professor of Surgery & Professor of Molecular & Medical Pharmacology at UCLA
  • Director of Tumor Immunology Program at Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center
  • Director of Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy Center, UCLA
  • Chair of SWOG Melanoma Committee; member of American Society of Clinical Investigation
  • Recipient of AACR Richard & Hinda Rosenthal Award & NCI Outstanding Investigator Award

Michael Doherty

  • Led Global Regulatory Affairs function at Roche & launched first oncology portfolio with a franchise of monoclonal antibodies and targeted medicines
  • Member of the Roche portfolio committee from 2002 to 2016
  • Prior positions: Global Head, Pharma Regulatory Affairs
  • Hoffmann La-Roche Ltd., Basel/Genentech, San Francisco
  • Head Product Development Foundation Medicine


For more information, please contact:>

Highlight Therapeutics Marisol Quintero, CEO

Mo PR Advisory
Mo Noonan / Jonathan Birt
Tel: +44 (0) 7876 444977 / 07860 361746


Notes to Editors

About Highlight Therapeutics

Highlight, formerly known as Bioncotech Therapeutics S.L, is a private, clinical-stage company dedicated to unlocking the full potential of immuno-oncology. Its lead drug candidate BO-112 is a best-in-class RNA-based therapy which has been demonstrated to initiate a powerful immune response, leveraging a unique multi- target approach to turn ‘cold’ tumors ‘hot’ and therefore visible to the immune system. It has the potential to rescue patients who are resistant to current checkpoint inhibitor therapy, a very large market opportunity. BO-112 is currently being investigated in a range of clinical trials as a monotherapy and in combination with checkpoint inhibitors. In addition to in-house research, Highlight Therapeutics has a number of external collaborators, including Merck & Co and UCLA.

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