Nekonal Oncology

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In February 2017, SalvaRx formed a collaboration with Nekonal SARL (“Nekonal”), a Luxembourg-based company holding intellectual property rights for therapeutics and diagnostics in the field of autoimmune disorders and oncology.  As part of the agreement, SalvaRx and Nekonal formed a joint venture company, Nekonal Oncology Limited (“Nekonal Oncology”), that will explore  applications of Nekonal's technology in the field of cancer imunotherapy.

Nekonal Oncology will focus on the development of first-in-class antibodies against a novel T-cell based target having potential for use as a monotherapy and combination therapy for solid and haematological malignancies.  SalvaRx will oversee a work plan that will advance multiple therapeutic antibodies towards the clinic for use in oncology.

Nekonal Oncology Board of Directors and Senior Management

  • Ian B Walters, MD, MBA

    Ian B. Walters, M.D., M.B.A., is the Entrepreneur in Residence at Mediqventures and is part-time CMO of Intensity Therapeutics, Inc. Over his 16 year career, he has demonstrated both leadership and expertise in drug development, including the advancement of multiple cancer compounds from research stages through approval.

    Ian specialises in the evaluation, prioritization, and the innovative development of new therapies for the treatment of severe diseases. He has worked at PDL BioPharma, Inc., Millenium Pharmaceuticals, Inc., and Sorrento Therapeutics, Inc., leading corporate development, translational medicine, clinical development and medical affairs.

    Ian spent seven years at Bristol-Myers Squibb, where he managed physicians overseeing the international development of more than eight oncology compounds (including Nivolimab (anti-PD-1), Ipilimumab (anti-CTLA-4), brivanib (anti VEGF/FGF), anti-IGF/IR, VEGFR2 biologic, Elotuzimab (antiCS1), as well as biomarker and companion diagnostic work. He was a core member of Bristol- Myers Squibb’s Strategic Transactions Group evaluating and executing licensing agreements, mergers and acquisitions, clinical collaborations, and the company’s immuno-oncology strategy.

    Before entering the private sector, Ian was a lead investigator at the Rockefeller University and initiated advanced immunology research to understand the mechanism of action of several compounds. Ian received his MD from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine and an MBA from the Wharton School of The University of Pennsylvania.
  • John Edwards, MBA


    John Edwards has 30 years of experience in discovery, development, and global commercialisation of biopharmaceuticals, involving over 10 FDA approved biologics at a series of successful biotechnology companies. Most recently John helped lead Adnexus from a start-up to the $450M acquisition by BMS within 4 years, where he then continued with the company for next 3 years serving as President.

    Prior to joining Adnexus, John was Vice President of Sales, Marketing, and Medical Affairs at Transkaryotic Therapies. Additionally, during his 15-year tenure with Genetics Institute/Wyeth, John held senior-level positions in research and development, manufacturing, and commercial operations, during which time he built what has become a >$1B global pharmaceutical business in hematology. Following the acquisition of Genetics Institute by Wyeth he held senior-level positions in U.S. and global marketing at Wyeth, where he successfully launched four products in three different therapeutic areas (hematology, oncology, and immunology).

    John started his career at Genzyme (pre-IPO), working in research and development. John received his M.B.A. from Boston University (class valedictorian) and his B.S. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. Currently, John serves as executive chairman of F-star and ImmuneXcite.

  • Nalân Utku, MD


    Nalân Utku, MD is currently Managing Director of Research & Development CellAct Pharma GmbH which she co-founded.   Previously Dr. Utku founded GenPat77 Pharmacogenetics AG in 1998 and served as its President, Chief Scientific Officer and Chief Executive Officer. She has more than 18 years of experience in immunological research, thereof 10 years in commercial environments. She spent several years in clinical medicine at the departments of Neurology and Rheumatology at the University of Bonn and Transplant Immunology, Renal Division, Department of Medicine at Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston. She started as research fellow at the department of Medicine, Brigham and Womens's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, USA in 1993. She served as a Principal Investigator in the Department of Immunology of the Charité Hospital in Berlin, where she led her own research laboratory. Dr. Utku studied Medicine at the Universities of Münster, Bonn in Germany and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in the USA.