EMERYVILLE, Calif., August 23, 2022 – Kyverna Therapeutics (“Kyverna”), a cell therapy company engineering a new class of therapies for serious autoimmune diseases, today announced the appointment of Georg Schett, M.D., Professor and Head of the Department of Internal Medicine 3, and Vice President of Research, Friedrich-Alexander University, Erlangen-Nürnberg, Erlangen, Germany, and Peter A. Merkel, M.D., MPH, Chief of Rheumatology and Professor of Medicine and Epidemiology at the University of Pennsylvania, as Scientific Advisors.
“We are thrilled to have Georg and Peter, two internationally recognized experts in rheumatic and autoimmune diseases, join our Scientific Advisory Board,” said Dominic Borie, M.D., Ph.D., President and CEO of Kyverna. “Georg’s pioneering work recently demonstrated that CD19 CAR T-cell therapy can induce rapid and prolonged remission of B-cell driven autoimmune diseases such as severe refractory lupus.1,2 His experience with this transformative approach will be essential to help us successfully introduce KYV-101, a novel CD19 CAR T-cell therapy for the treatment of lupus nephritis, in the clinic in Q4 2022. Futher, as we explore advancing KYV-101 for other B-cell driven autoimmune diseases, Peter’s hands-on experience treating B-cell driven diseases and working with industry to bring new approaches to patients with rheumatic diseases is unparalleled.”
“Their expertise will be invaluable as we advance our transformative therapeutic platforms and clinical programs to bring new and much-needed treatment options to patients with serious autoimmune and inflammatory diseases,” added Dr. Borie.
Prof. Dr. Schett’s interests include basic, translational, and clinical research on molecular and cellular pathogenesis of rheumatic and autoimmune diseases. He most recently reported on the transformative nature of CD19 CAR T-cell therapy for severe refractory lupus.1,2 Prof. Dr. Schett serves/has served as Principal Investigator for numerous third-party funded projects including IMMUNOBONE, funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG) in 2008, which aims to elucidate the interactions between the skeletal and the immune systems; Collaborative Research Centre 1181 (Checkpoints for Resolution of Inflammation), where he has led the program since 2015; ERC Synergy Grant (4D+ NanoSCOPE), which started in 2018; and the BMBF funding project ‘MASCARA’ (Molecular Assessment of Signatures Characterizing the Remission of Arthritis), which began in 2020. Prof. Dr. Schett was a visiting researcher at Amgen and visiting professor at several institutions around the world. He is a Leopoldina member of the National Academy of Sciences of Germany, a member of the DFG review board, a reviewer for several academic societies and journals and has collaborated on organizing a large number of international congresses. Prof. Dr. Schett is widely published with more than 820 peer-reviewed papers and has been honored with several awards, including the Carol-Nachman Prize from Wiesbaden and the Dr. Franciscus Blondel Medal from the city of Aachen for outstanding contributions to the field of rheumatology. He earned his medical degree from the University of Innsbruck and completed his specialty training in internal medicine and rheumatology at the University of Vienna.
Dr. Merkel is an internationally recognized research and clinical expert in vasculitis and scleroderma, two diseases he has studied for more than 25 years and is an author on more than 300 scientific publications. He is the Principal Investigator of the National Institutes of Health (NIH)-Sponsored Vasculitis Clinical Research Consortium, a leading international research infrastructure for vasculitis clinical investigation. He is also a Trustee and longstanding leader within the Scleroderma Clinical Trials Consortium. Dr. Merkel’s research focuses on clinical trial design and conduct, outcome measure development, clinical epidemiology, genetic epidemiology, and biomarker discovery. He has been directly involved in several clinical development programs that have led to regulatory approval of drugs for rare autoimmune diseases. Dr. Merkel received his medical degree from Yale University and his MPH from Harvard University. He completed his residency training at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and his fellowship at the Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Medical School.
About Kyverna Therapeutics
- Mougiakakos D, Kronke G, Volkl S, Kretschmann S, Aigner M, Kharboutli S, et al. CD19 Targeted CAR T Cells in Refractory Systemic Lupus Erythematosus. N Engl J Med. 2021;385(6):567-569.
- Schett G, Boeltz S, Müller F, Kleyer A, Völkl S, Aigner M, et al. OP0279 CAR-T Cell Treatment of Refractory Systemic Lupus Erythematosus- Safety and Preliminary Efficacy Data From the First Four Patients. Ann Rheum Dis. 2022;81(Suppl 1):185.