MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA: Arovella Therapeutics Ltd (ASX: ALA), a biotechnology company focused on developing its invariant Natural Killer T (iNKT) cell platform to treat cancer, announced that Dr Nicole van der Weerden has been appointed to the role of Chief Operating Officer, commencing 4 January 2023.
Dr van der Weerden brings over 15 years of strong leadership experience in the biotechnology industry, driving business objectives including pre-clinical discovery, proof-of-concept, manufacturing, and clinical development.
Dr van der Weerden holds a PhD in biochemistry from La Trobe University and an MBA from Melbourne Business School and is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.
Dr van der Weerden is taking up the newly created COO role as Arovella enters a pivotal stage of development for its iNKT cell therapy platform, progressing towards first-in-human clinical trials.
Before this appointment, Dr van der Weerden was Chief Operating Officer and Executive Director at the ASX listed biotechnology company, Hexima Limited. Dr van der Weerden led the strategic pivot of Hexima from an agricultural biotechnology company to a human therapeutics company. She led the financing and development strategy, pre-clinical and clinical programs, manufacturing, and worldwide patent strategy, for Hexima’s lead asset, pezadeftide.
Arovella Therapeutics’ CEO and MD, Dr Michael Baker, commented, “We are extremely pleased that a biotechnology focused executive of Nicole’s calibre has accepted the COO role. Nicole has a wealth of experience in developing biotechnology assets and a strong operational and research background. We are embarking on an exciting time in Arovella’s evolution, with multiple programs under development at the leading edge of cancer treatment. Nicole’s proven ability to execute will add enormous value as we look to deliver on the goals we have set ourselves for the year ahead.”
Commenting on her appointment, Dr van der Weerden said, “I am thrilled to be joining Arovella Therapeutics at such an exciting time and to be able to work on developing a novel technology with the potential to make a real difference to patients.”