Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Vague endows Penn immunotherapy chair

Consumer marketing mogul Richard W. Vague endows Dr. Carl June's Immunotherapy professorship

Vague endows Penn immunotherapy chair


(Adds Vague comments) Richard W. Vague, the former credit card mogul (First USA Bank; Barclaycard USA) who sold his University City company, EnergyPlus, to NRG Corp. for $190 million last year, has endowed a Professorship in Immunotherapy at the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Carl H. June will be named to the post at a ceremony at Penn's Simlow Center for Translational Research on Dec. 5.

Vague says he's supporting June's promising immunotherapy, which alters the DNA of T-cells that attack disease. He says the treatment, which patients find difficult and debilitating, works in a period of weeks on healthy patients, and left three adult leukemia sufferers and a Harrisburg-area girl "cancer-free" after a year.

June's group hopes to match that success with a larger trial of pancreatic cancer patients, who are typically more resistant to treatment than leukemia patients.  Novartis beat out two rival drugmakers for the right to invest $20 million in Penn and June's "ultra-personalized therapy" in August.

Vague told me he agreed to back June after reviewing June's early results with biotech investor Brian Dovey, head of Philadelphia- and San Diego-based Domain Associates; with member of the biotech group at Morgan Stanley; and leaders of Philadelphia's Wistar Institute. All warned him that biotech cancer treatments are often promising in their early stages but can't be reproduced to scale; and that investment returns can take decades. So Vague made a contribution, hoping for social returns.

We encourage respectful comments but reserve the right to delete anything that doesn't contribute to an engaging dialogue.
Help us moderate this thread by flagging comments that violate our guidelines.

Comment policy: comments are intended to be civil, friendly conversations. Please treat other participants with respect and in a way that you would want to be treated. You are responsible for what you say. And please, stay on topic. If you see an objectionable post, please report it to us using the "Report Abuse" option.

Please note that comments are monitored by staff. We reserve the right at all times to remove any information or materials that are unlawful, threatening, abusive, libelous, defamatory, obscene, vulgar, pornographic, profane, indecent or otherwise objectionable. Personal attacks, especially on other participants, are not permitted. We reserve the right to permanently block any user who violates these terms and conditions.

Additionally comments that are long, have multiple paragraph breaks, include code, or include hyperlinks may not be posted.

Read 0 comments
comments powered by Disqus
About this blog

PhillyDeals posts drafts, transcripts and updates of Joseph N. DiStefano's columns and stories about Philly-area business, which he's been writing since 1989.

DiStefano studied economics, history and a little engineering at Penn and taught writing at St. Joseph's. He has written thousands of columns and articles for the Inquirer, Bloomberg and other media, wrote the book Comcasted, and raised six children with his wife, who is a saint.

Reach Joseph N. at,, 215.854.5194 or 302.652.2004.

Reach Joseph N. at or 215 854 5194.

Joseph N. DiStefano
Also on
letter icon Newsletter