EAGAN, Minn., May 16, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Biothera Pharmaceuticals, Inc., announced the appointment of Andrew D.C. LaFrence, CPA as Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, effective May 29. Biothera Pharmaceuticals is a clinical stage immuno-oncology company developing a novel immunotherapy in combination with immune checkpoint inhibitors for multiple types of cancer.

Mr. LaFrence has 34 years of accounting and finance experience, including executive management positions at public and private life sciences companies. He succeeds interim Chief Financial Officer Steve Karel, who will continue to serve on Biothera’s board of directors.

Previously, Mr. LaFrence was Vice President Finance, Information Systems and Chief Financial Officer at Surmodics, Inc. (NASDAQ:SRDX) for five years. Prior to Surmodics, he served as Chief Financial Officer for CNS Therapeutics, a venture-backed intrathecal drug company that was later sold to Mallinckrodt, then a subsidiary of Covidien. Mr. LaFrence was an audit partner at KPMG LLP where he focused on supporting venture-backed, high-growth medical technology, pharmaceutical, biotech and clean tech private and public companies. He has served on the Biothera Holding Corporation Board of Directors since 2011, including as Chairman of the Audit Committee. Mr. LaFrence is a certified public accountant and has a bachelor’s degree in accounting and a minor in business administration from Illinois State University.

In connection with his appointment as Chief Financial Officer, Mr. LaFrence has resigned from his positions on the Boards of Directors of Biothera Pharmaceuticals, Inc. and Biothera Holding Corporation.

“We are pleased to welcome Andy to the Biothera management team, following his longstanding contributions as a member of our Board of Directors,” said Barry Labinger, Biothera Pharmaceuticals’ President and Chief Executive Officer. “Andy’s deep knowledge of Biothera and his extensive experience leading and advising both private and public companies will be instrumental as we execute our business plan.”

“We thank Steve Karel for his outstanding leadership as the interim Chief Financial Officer,” Mr. Labinger added. “We will continue to benefit from Steve’s guidance as a Director of Biothera.”

About Biothera Pharmaceuticals, Inc.Biothera Pharmaceuticals is a privately held clinical stage immuno-oncology company developing Imprime PGG, a Phase 2 cancer immunotherapy that has been shown in preclinical studies to enhance the efficacy of anti-cancer immune responses in combination with immune checkpoint inhibitor, tumor-targeting and anti-angiogenic antibodies. Biothera Pharmaceuticals has clinical research agreements with Merck to evaluate Imprime PGG and KEYTRUDA® (pembrolizumab), Merck’s anti-PD-1 therapy, in Phase 2 studies in advanced melanoma, metastatic triple negative breast cancer and head and neck squamous cell cancer. This therapeutic combination also is the focus of a Big Ten Cancer Research Consortium Phase 1b/2 trial in patients with non-small cell lung cancer. In addition, Biothera Pharmaceuticals has a clinical collaboration agreement with Genentech to study Imprime PGG in combination with TECENTRIQ® (atezolizumab) and AVASTIN® (bevacizumab) in metastatic colorectal cancer.

Contact: David Walsh, Communications Biothera Pharmaceuticals, Inc. 651-256-4606 dwalsh@biothera.com