Experienced Biotechnology Executive to Lead Company’s Growth Strategy for Cancer Immunotherapies, Including Lead Clinical Candidate SNS-301

Sensei CEO John Celebi (Photo: Business Wire)

Sensei CEO John Celebi (Photo: Business Wire)

GAITHERSBURG, Md.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Sensei Biotherapeutics, Inc., a privately-held biopharmaceutical company developing immuno-oncology therapies that teach the immune system to recognize and attack cancer, today announced the appointment of John Celebi, M.B.A., as President and Chief Executive Officer. He also joins the company’s board of directors. Mr. Celebi brings more than two decades of leadership experience with innovative and growing biotechnology companies, most recently in the field of cancer immunotherapies.

Sensei Biotherapeutics appoints John Celebi as President & Chief Executive Officer as Sensei emerges in Phase 1 with a focused immuno-oncology strategy/platform.

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The appointment of Mr. Celebi as President and Chief Executive Officer occurs at a time when Sensei is emerging with a focused immuno-oncology strategy, promising clinical data from the Phase I trial of its lead drug candidate SNS-301, and the proprietary SPIRIT drug development platform that is generating a pipeline of innovative immuno-oncology therapies. SNS-301 and the SPIRIT platform originated at Panacea Pharmaceuticals which has become Sensei Biotherapeutics. Sensei’s growing team of 14 employees is focused on its growth strategy in immuno-oncology, operating out of its new 30,000 square foot laboratory and office space.

“I am delighted to join Sensei at this exciting time when we have the opportunity to apply our SPIRIT platform to develop immuno-oncology therapies with an innovative mechanism for detecting and eliminating cancer. We are encouraged by the clinical data that is emerging for our lead drug candidate, SNS-301, which we are advancing to lead the way in our strategy to build a precision pipeline of immuno-oncology therapies through companion diagnostics,” said Mr. Celebi. “Sensei is well positioned to leverage our unique technology to develop novel therapies with the potential to achieve our mission to have a positive and profound impact for cancer patients.”

“We welcome John’s strong experience and strategic business acumen to help build our vision and future for Sensei,” said Hossein Ghanbari, PhD, Chief Scientific Officer and Board Chair of Sensei Biotherapeutics, and the company’s original co-founder and Chief Executive Officer. “John’s oncology background and accomplished track record in biotech will serve Sensei exceptionally well as we move forward with our innovative immuno-oncology platform and advance new medicines for patients.”

Mr. Celebi has a distinguished track record for growing innovative entrepreneurial biotechnology companies, including in the field of oncology. Previously, Mr. Celebi served as the Chief Operating Officer of X4 Pharmaceuticals where he established and oversaw the company’s oncology business strategy. He also served as Chief Business Officer of Igenica Biotherapeutics, Inc., an immunotherapy company formed by The Column Group, 5AM Ventures, Orbimed and Third Rock Ventures, where he established key academic and industry relationships, including with MedImmune. He has extensive transactional and alliance management experience. Previously, he served as Vice President of Business Development, New Product Planning and Alliance Management at ArQule, Inc., where he played a central role in the formation of alliances with Roche, Daiichi-Sankyo, and Kyowa Hakko Kirin. Mr. Celebi was one of the early employees at Tularik, Inc., where he conducted drug discovery and basic research for an anti-viral drug program. Mr. Celebi received an M.B.A. from Carnegie Mellon University and a B.S. in Biophysics from the University of California, San Diego.

About Sensei Biotherapeutics

Sensei Biotherapeutics is a privately-held biopharmaceutical company developing immuno-oncology therapies that stimulate the immune system to ‘teach’ it to recognize cancer-specific antigens and attack cancer cells. The company’s patented and proprietary technology platform, called SPIRIT, creates novel therapies that target neoantigens or altered self-antigens – which are antigens encoded by tumor-specific mutated genes – and are designed to overcome self-tolerance by eliciting a potent cellular and humoral immune response to eliminate cancer cells. Sensei’s precision medicine approach in immuno-oncology includes novel therapies along with companion diagnostics. The company’s lead drug candidate, SNS-301, is a first-in-class cancer vaccine that targets a novel embryonic self-antigen and has successfully completed a Phase 1 clinical study. Sensei Biotherapeutics is located in Gaithersburg, MD. For more information, please visit www.senseibio.com.



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Kathryn Morris, 914-204-6412