President & Chief Executive Officer
Interview conducted by:
Lynn Fosse, Senior Editor, CEOCFO Magazine, Published – March 4, 2019
CEOCFO: Dr. Lammers, you have been president and CEO for a little over a year now. What attracted you to Triumvira Immunologics, Inc?
Dr. Lammers: When I started to look at my next opportunity, I came across a number of companies and was really intrigued by the Triumvira technology. Given the fact that CAR-T therapy is about the hottest area in immune-oncology, and the TAC technology is very well differentiated from CAR-T cells and invented by a very reputable professor at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario. I thought, “Man, would it not be great to build a company around this technology and bring this technology into the clinic for patients.”
CEOCFO: What has happened over the last year at Triumvira? How are you leading the charge?
Dr. Lammers: When I joined on January 1st of 2018 there were two full-time Triumvira scientists up in Hamilton at Dr. Bramson’s lab. Right now, we have fourteen. The typical conundrum in biotech is that “you need a team to raise the money and you need money to raise the team”. Therefore, I told the board of directors, “If you want me build the team, then get ready, because I will build the team.” I then started to build the team and hired the best people in T-Cell therapy that I could find, no matter where they lived. We have an R&D group in Hamilton, Ontario that we moved out of the academic labs into a separate lab facility there. Then we opened a corporate headquarters here in Austin, Texas, where we have six people. Then we have a number of experienced professionals around the country, from Miami, to Seattle, to Houston. So far it is working very well, and a great deal of progress has been made! We had a great pre-IND meeting with FDA last December. We are moving our pipeline forward and aim to have our first IND submitted in March, which means that we could have our first patients treated with our technology in the middle of the year. Then we will move our second program forward into the IND-stage later this year. We also expanded our Board of Directors. We brought in two very strong independent directors with a lot of experience in oncology and cell therapy. Therefore, it has been a fantastic ride so far!
CEOCFO: What, if any, are the challenges of collaboration in science when you are working remotely? What have you learned over this year about how to do that successfully?
Dr. Lammers: I think the two critical components for any business are information and communication. I think that when you have a semi-virtual business model, it requires you to be more informative and communicate more often. Therefore, we have our weekly management team calls, and every other week we have a teleconference with the whole team. I want to make sure that the R&D group in Hamilton knows that there is a management team to support them, and so members of the management team try to spend two to three days a month up in Hamilton to make sure that we have presence and visibility. That is important, because for me, leadership is visibility to a large extent as well. I want to make sure that they realize that we come to work every day and we work hard to make things happen. So far it has been going really well.