Jun 06

Artiva Biotherapeutics Appoints Dr. Thorsten Graef as Chief Medical Officer

SAN DIEGO, June 6, 2022 – Artiva Biotherapeutics, Inc., an oncology company whose mission is to deliver highly effective, off-the-shelf allogeneic natural killer (NK) cell therapies that are safe and accessible to cancer patients, today announced the appointment of Thorsten Graef, M.D., Ph.D., as Chief Medical Officer. As a highly respected drug development leader, Dr. Graef brings to Artiva more than a decade of experience building and managing clinical development organizations, global multidisciplinary groups and cross-functional teams.

“I am delighted to welcome Thorsten to our team. He brings substantive expertise to Artiva, including having led the development of IMBRUVICA® through its registration in a number of indications, coupled with his recent experiences in the NK cell therapy space,” stated Fred Aslan, MD, CEO of Artiva. “He joins Artiva as we transition from being a company with a single clinical trial to one with potentially multiple trials in both hematopoietic and solid tumor indications where we hope to demonstrate the clinical impact of allogeneic, off-the-shelf, NK cell therapies.”

“I was impressed by Artiva’s Manufacturing-First approach and pragmatic development program choices,” stated Dr. Graef. “NK cell therapies are making good clinical progress, but to achieve registration and commercial success, therapies will also need to be truly off-the-shelf and cost-effective with a scalable process in place. This is where I believe Artiva’s investments in manufacturing can strengthen and accelerate our development plans.”

Most recently, Dr. Graef served as Chief Medical Officer at Acepodia USA, with responsibility for all of the company’s research and clinical development activities. Prior to his role at Acepodia, he served as Vice President of Oncology Early Development at AbbVie Inc., overseeing clinical activities, including the development and regulatory preparations of 20+ clinical assets. In addition, he held a series of senior leadership roles, including Head of Global Clinical Development, at Pharmacyclics LLC before and after AbbVie Inc.’s acquisition of the company in May of 2015, where he led the development of IMBRUVICA (ibrutinib). Prior to Pharmacyclics, Dr. Graef served as medical director of Merck Research Lab, Oncology at Merck & Co., Inc.

Prior to his time in the life sciences industry, Dr. Graef was an attending physician in the hematology, oncology, and immunology department at the University Hospital of Düsseldorf in Germany. He received his M.D. in internal medicine and his Ph.D. in molecular medicines from Heinrich-Heine University Medical School in Düsseldorf and completed his postdoctoral research fellowship at the Stanford University School of Medicine. Dr. Graef has published more than 50 original peer-reviewed publications, including many in top journals, such as NEJM, Lancet, Blood, PNAS, and Journal of Experimental Medicine.

About Artiva Biotherapeutics

Artiva’s mission is to deliver highly effective, off-the-shelf, allogeneic NK cell-based therapies utilizing our Manufacturing-First approach, that are safe and accessible to cancer patients. Artiva’s pipeline includes AB-101, an ADCC enhancer NK-cell therapy candidate for use in combination with monoclonal antibodies or innate-cell engagers. Artiva is currently advancing a Phase 1/2 clinical trial of AB-101 in combination with rituximab for the treatment of relapsed or refractory B-cell lymphomas. Artiva’s pipeline also includes AB-201, an anti-HER2 CAR-NK cell therapy candidate for the treatment of HER2-overexpressing tumors, such as breast, gastric, and bladder cancers, and AB-202, a CD19-specific CAR-NK cell therapy candidate for the treatment of B-cell malignancies. Artiva has entered into therapeutic NK cell collaborations with Merck and with Affimed GmbH. Artiva’s AlloNK™ platform incorporates cell expansion, activation, and engineering technology developed by Artiva’s strategic partner, GC Cell Corporation, a member of the GC family of companies, a leading healthcare company in Korea. Artiva is headquartered in San Diego.


Media: Jessica Yingling, Ph.D., Little Dog Communications Inc., jessica@litldog.com, +1.858.344.8091

Investors: Michael E. Faerm, Artiva Biotherapeutics, ir@artivabio.com


Recent Posts

Artiva Biotherapeutics Readies for the Next Phase of Growth with the Appointment of Neha Krishnamohan as CFO and EVP, Corporate Development and Promotion of Jennifer Bush to Chief Operating Officer

Neha Krishnamohan brings extensive experience across strategic growth, business development, M&A and financing Jennifer Bush, Esq., who brings 14 years of executive leadership, has been promoted to Chief Operating Officer  SAN DIEGO, April 24, 2024 — Artiva Biotherapeutics, Inc., a clinical-stage company whose mission is to deliver broadly accessible, off-the-shelf natural killer (NK) cell-based therapies...

Cell & Gene: NK Cell Therapies – How Artiva Biotherapeutics Leverages Its “Manufacturing First” Approach

Chris Horan, chief technical operations officer, Artiva Biotherapeutics discusses with Cell & Gene natural killer (NK) cell therapies and Artiva’s experiences and strategies with its candidate, AlloNK. He answers the following questions: Why do NK cell therapies hold promise in treating autoimmune disease? What is the biggest technical/scientific challenge of developing NK-based therapies, and what...

Artiva Biotherapeutics Announces First Patient Dosed in Phase 1 Trial of AlloNK® Cell Therapy Candidate in Lupus Nephritis

To Artiva’s knowledge, this marks the first patient to receive an allogeneic, off-the-shelf NK cell therapy in a U.S. clinical trial for treatment of an autoimmune disease Data demonstrated AlloNK drove deep depletion of peripheral B-cells and complete responses in relapsed or refractory B-cell-non-Hodgkin lymphoma (B-NHL) patients in ongoing clinical trial, supporting potential mechanism of...