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Affini-T Therapeutics Appoints Jill DeSimone to its Board of Directors


BOSTON, Mass., and SEATTLE, Wash. – July 12, 2022 – Affini-T Therapeutics, Inc., a biotechnology company unlocking the power of T cells against oncogenic driver mutations, today announced the appointment of Jill DeSimone to its board of directors. Ms. DeSimone brings more than 40 years of global business expertise in life sciences to Affini-T’s board.

“Jill has an established record of driving forward innovative therapies in oncology, which is demonstrated by her leadership in launching two of the most successful immunotherapies for patients with solid tumor cancers,” said Kathy Yi, MBA, Chief Operating Officer, Affini-T Therapeutics. “Her bold vision and deep expertise will be vital as we aim to go beyond incremental advancements in oncology by utilizing our differentiated TCR discovery engine and suite of synthetic biology tools to develop transformational medicines.”

Most recently, Ms. DeSimone served as President of U.S. Oncology at Merck & Co., Inc., where she established the company’s oncology division, growing it from less than $500 million in annual revenue to $9 billion in just eight years. She led three key product launches and more than 45 indication launches, including Keytruda®, the fastest growing product in company history. Prior to joining Merck, Ms. DeSimone was Senior Vice President of Global Women’s Health at Teva Pharmaceutical Industries, Ltd., where she created its first global business unit by managing multiple acquisitions. Ms. DeSimone began her career at Bristol Meyers Squibb and held roles of increasing responsibility culminating as the Senior Vice President of U.S. Oncology, a role in which she helped launch the first FDA-approved CTLA-4 immune checkpoint inhibitor, Yervoy®.

Ms. DeSimone currently serves as a board member for the Florida Cancer Specialists Foundation, a nonprofit organization that delivers non-medical aid for individuals undergoing treatment for cancer, and Praxis Precision Medicines, Inc. She earned a B.S. in pharmacy from Northeastern University and completed a fellowship with the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

“Affini-T’s accomplished team and differentiated approach to developing medicines for solid tumor patients stands out in a crowded landscape,” said Ms. DeSimone. “I have dedicated my career to advancing innovative medicines that shift the paradigm of disease across a variety of modalities and therapeutic areas, including immuno-oncology, and look forward to continuing this work as a member of Affini-T’s board.”

“We welcome Jill to our board as her unique background, outstanding leadership, and deep understanding of the oncology market complements the industry expertise of our board,” said Jak Knowles, M.D., Co-founder, President and Chief Executive Officer, Affini-T Therapeutics. “Her professional experience aligns with Affini-T’s goal to lead the next wave of innovation in cell therapy by targeting core oncogenic driver mutations like KRAS for solid tumor malignancies.”

About Affini-T Therapeutics

Affini-T is unlocking the power of T cells and targeting core oncogenic drivers to develop potentially curative therapies for solid tumor cancers. Our differentiated cell therapy platform harnesses state-of-the-art engineering and synthetic biology capabilities to target even the most devastating cancer-driving mutations, beginning with KRAS. We leverage these tools to optimize T cell functions and rewrite the rules of the solid tumor microenvironment, enabling the potential for sustained clinical outcomes in patients. Building on the world-class innovation inherent in our leadership team, founders and technologies, we are powered to develop transformational medicines that last. Follow us on LinkedIn and Twitter.


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