Riva Named CEO at Intima Bioscience
10 November 2021 - - US-based clinical stage biotechnology company Intima Bioscience has appointed Alessandro Riva, M.D. as chief executive officer, the company said.

Dr. Riva is a veteran biotech executive who has held senior leadership positions at Novartis Pharmaceuticals and Gilead Sciences, where he was responsible for the company's hematology and oncology programs and managed the US and EU approvals of multiple innovative cancer treatments including Yescarta, a CAR-T cell therapy.

Dr. Riva most recently served as chief executive officer at Ichnos Sciences, where he built a biotechnology company focused on bi- and tri-specific antibodies in oncology and biologics in autoimmune diseases.

Before Ichnos, he was EVP and Global Head of Oncology Therapeutics and Cell and Gene Therapy at Gilead Sciences, where he was instrumental in the USD 12bn acquisition of Kite Pharma and led its integration and growth.

He also managed the US and EU approvals of Yescarta, the first approved CAR-T cell therapy for adult patients with diffuse large B cell lymphoma and the therapy's development in additional indications.

Prior to Gilead, Dr. Riva was EVP and Global Head of Oncology Development and Medical Affairs at Novartis Pharmaceuticals, where he contributed significantly to the creation of the Cell and Gene Therapy Unit. He was also president ad interim of Novartis Oncology during the USD 16bn acquisition of GSK Oncology.

Dr. Riva is an author and co-author of more than 100 papers and abstracts in the field of oncology. He is currently on the board of directors for Century Therapeutics.

He received his bachelor's degree in medicine and surgery from the University of Milan and a certificate board in oncology and hematology from the same institution.

Intima recently shared a study showing that the deletion of the intracellular immune checkpoint CISH from primary human T cells can enhance anti-tumor activity across a broad range of cancer types regardless of the cancers' PD-L1 biomarker status.

This approach potentially offers novel treatment paradigms and possibilities to extend the efficacy of current cell surface checkpoint inhibitors such as PD-1 and TIGIT.

CISH is a gene found in humans and many other mammals that controls T cell receptor signaling.

A member of a new class of intra-cellular immune checkpoint molecules, CISH functions downstream of the T cell receptor to regulate antigen-specific effector functions, including reactivity to cancer neoantigens. Intima is investigating the anti-tumor impact of CISH inhibition through the use of CRISPR gene editing in tumor infiltrating lymphocytes in a Phase 1/2 clinical trial.

Intima Bioscience is a company advancing checkpoint cell therapy, an approach that combines the use of patients' own immune cells with immune checkpoint targeting, in solid tumors with curative intent.

Intima is currently running a Phase 1/2 clinical study of its checkpoint cell therapy, which targets the immune checkpoint CISH in patients with gastrointestinal and colon cancers.