– USA, CA – Afferent Pharmaceuticals, a leader in the development of small molecule compounds targeting P2X3 for the treatment of respiratory and urologic disorders as well as chronic pain, today announced the election of K. Peter Hirth, Ph.D., to Afferent’s Board of Directors. Dr. Hirth has more than 30 years of drug discovery and development experience in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries, and has built several successful biotech companies.
“Peter has had an esteemed career in the life sciences, and I have had the great satisfaction of working with him previously in building a company and advancing innovative programs from discovery through development to commercialization,” said Kathleen Sereda Glaub, Afferent’s chief executive officer. “Peter’s experience in all phases of R&D in multiple therapeutic indications, as well as one of the most successful track records in the industry as a drug hunter and entrepreneur, will be a great asset to Afferent as we advance our clinical programs and build the company. I also look forward to his counsel and leadership as an independent director.”
Dr. Hirth co-founded Plexxikon Inc., with operations starting in 2001 and serving as CEO until May 2013. During Dr. Hirth’s tenure, Plexxikon discovered and advanced several NCEs to the clinic in a variety of indications, including a selective BRAF inhibitor approved by the FDA and sold under the brand name Zelboraf™ along with a companion diagnostic. Plexxikon was acquired by Daiichi Sankyo in 2011. Prior to this, Dr. Hirth was president of SUGEN, Inc., helping to build the company from its inception and advance several kinase inhibitors through clinical trials for the treatment of oncology, including SUTENT. SUGEN was acquired by Pharmacia & Upjohn, Inc. in 1999. Prior to joining SUGEN, Dr. Hirth was vice president of research immuno-pharmacology and virology at Boehringer Mannheim GmbH. During his tenure, he served as project-leader in the development of erythropoietin, licensed from Genetics Institute. In addition to Afferent, Dr. Hirth serves on the Board or advisory board of several other companies, including Alios BioPharma, Inc. (acquired in October 2014), Kolltan Pharmaceuticals and Trovagene, Inc. Dr. Hirth received his M.Sc. and his Ph.D. degrees in molecular genetics from Heidelberg University, Germany, and completed his post-doctoral work at the University of California, San Diego.
Dr. Hirth stated, “Afferent has made exceptional progress and validated a novel and important mechanism, establishing compelling clinical proof-of-concept in multiple indications and is now advancing its lead program in cough to a Phase 2b trial. With multiple options available to the company both in terms of science and business, I look forward to working again with Kathy Glaub and the Afferent board of directors to optimally move the company forward.”
About Afferent Pharmaceuticals
Afferent Pharmaceuticals is a clinical-stage biotechnology company and leader in the development of first-in-class, small molecule compounds that target P2X3 receptors for the treatment of respiratory and urologic disorders, as well as chronic pain. Afferent’s industry-leading position in the research and development of P2X3 antagonists enables the company to widely explore this novel mechanism of action and evaluate its utility in a broad range of indications. These indications include chronic pain in the joints, hyperresponsive airways (chronic cough, acute cough, IPF, asthma, COPD), pelvic pain and hyperactivity (interstitial cystitis/bladder pain syndrome (IC/BPS), overactive bladder), resistant hypertension and various other chronic pain disorders, including migraine.
Afferent’s platform is built on more than a decade of research on P2X3 receptors and P2X3 antagonists. The company’s lead candidate, AF-219, is expected to be evaluated in a Phase 2b study initiating in early 2015. A second and differentiated P2X3 antagonist is targeted for IND filing in 2015. Additionally, the company’s pipeline of P2X3 antagonists represents diverse and further differentiated molecules that are being evaluated for multiple indications.
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