December 2, 2022
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New CEO, new board chair, new funding for ImmPact Bio

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Camarillo-based ImmPact Bio made multiple headlines with one announcement on Jan. 20: the a new CEO, a new board chair, and the closing of a $111 million Series B funding round.

Sumant Ramachandra

ImmPact, a biotechnology company developing cancer treatments based on chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapies, named Sumant Ramachandra as its new president and CEO.

Ramachandra is a 30-year veteran of the health care and pharmaceutical industry. He most recently worked at Baxter International, a healthcare company based in Illinois. There, he was the chief scientific officer before becoming president of Baxter Global Pharmaceuticals in mid-2019. He also spent nearly a decade at Pfizer, reaching the title of senior vice president, head of research and development, at Pfizer Essential Health.

“I am excited to join ImmPact Bio at such a crucial time in our development,” Ramachandra said in a news release. “I am impressed with the strong scientific foundation that the co-founders, management team, and board have built across its programs and platforms that aim to bring curative therapies to patients living with cancer.”

Ramachandra replaces Rick Kendall as ImmPact’s CEO. Kendall will remain with the company as chief scientific officer.

Sheila Gujrathi was also named as the chair of ImmPact’s board of directors on Jan. 20. She previously served as chair of Turning Point Therapeutics and is the co-founder and former CEO of Gossamer Bio.

Sheila Gujrathi

One of the first things Ramachandra will oversee as CEO is a planned relocation. Currently based in Camarillo, ImmPact will move to West Hills, in the San Fernando Valley, later this year.

ImmPact will also have another $111 million in capital this year, thanks to its latest funding round, which was led by venBio Partners along with co-leads Foresite Capital and Decheng Capital.

ImmPact said the money will be used to further advance the company’s pipeline of CAR-T Cell therapies. CAR T-cell therapies use patients’ own immune cells, treating them to recognize and attack proteins on tumor cells. Thousand Oaks-based Amgen and Atara Biotherapeutics, an Amgen spin-off, are developing similar therapies.

ImmPact is “encouraged” by the initial results of an ongoing Phase 1 clinical study on patients with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, Ramachandra said in the company’s news release. Seven of the eight patients in the study remain in complete remission, ImmPact said.