Noted pediatric neurosurgeon Dr. Benjamin Carson has been named chairman of Vaccinogen in Frederick.
The company focuses on developing vaccines to fight cancer. The Frederick facility is at 5300 Westview Drive.
"A personalized disease like cancer requires a personalized weapon," Carson wrote in a letter to shareholders. "I believe Vaccinogen has developed the first truly personalized, and potentially commercializable, approach to combat cancer and that is why I'm joining the board and accepting the role of chairman."
Carson said the company's product OncoVax, which has been shown to be successful in reducing the risk of colon cancer, may be setting the stage for the vaccine's use in fighting other cancers.
The company on Monday announced it had closed on $10 million, the initial part of an $80 million financing plan. Through an agreement with the Stockholm-based Investment Syndicate, a group of investors have committed a total of $80 million through the purchase of common stock within the next 90 days.
Vaccinogen will look to enroll 550 patients from about 50 hospitals in the study of OncoVax, the first step toward commercial use of the vaccine in the U.S. and Europe.
“We’re really excited about getting the study up and running as fast as possible,” CEO Andrew L. Tussing said in a statement.
"Dr. Ben Carson is nationally known and so well respected," Helen Propheter, manager of the county's economic development office, wrote in an email. "I remember seeing him speak over 20 years ago, at the Weinberg, he was so memorable that I still can recall him speaking so fondly of his mother and how important education was to her and of his motto to Think Big."
"The concept of education and thinking big will blend nicely with Frederick and our strong support of innovation and education. We are thrilled to welcome him to the life science community of Frederick and look forward to working with him and Vaccinogen," Propheter wrote.
Carson, emeritus professor of neurosurgery, oncology, plastic surgery and pediatrics at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, also serves on the boards of many corporations.