Hemogenyx Pharmaceuticals announces Sir Marc Feldmann to its Board of Directors as Executive Chairman

– UK, London – Hemogenyx Pharmaceuticals Plc (LSE: HEMO), the biotechnology company developing novel therapies to transform bone marrow, or blood stem cell, transplantation for the treatment of blood diseases, announces the appointment of Sir Marc Feldmann, AC, FRS, as Executive Chairman effective as of 9 April 2018. He has a unique blend of scientific, medical and commercial experience and expertise.

Sir Marc shares the Academic credit for inventing and developing anti-TNF therapy for rheumatoid arthritis, the first major use of monoclonal antibodies in a common disease. Centocor, Inc licensed Sir Marc’s key patent, and then developed Infliximab, ultimately branded as Remicade. Remicade was the main driver of the $4.9 billion acquisition of Centocor by Johnson and Johnson in 1999, and is still J&J’s best selling drug. Since 2012 Anti-TNF therapy has become the world’s largest drug class with sales in 2016 exceeding US$36 billion. Sir Marc was previously Chairman of the Company’s Scientific Advisory Board and has a remarkably broad experience of discovering new medicines, having worked through all stages from developing new concepts of how diseases emerge, through testing ideas and early clinical development, leading clinical trials, approval, registration and commercial reality.

Robin Campbell, Chairman, will become a Non-Executive Director and Adrian Beeston, Non-Executive Director, will step down from the Board, both with immediate effect.

About Sir Marc Feldmann

Professor Sir Marc Feldmann is a pre-eminent medically trained immunologist at the University of Oxford where he was Head of the Kennedy Institute of Rheumatology until 2014 and now Emeritus Professor. He trained in medicine at Melbourne University and then earned a Ph.D. in Immunology at the Walter & Eliza Hall Institute with Sir Gus Nossal, before working in London at the Imperial Cancer Research Fund. Sir Feldmann’s main research interests are immunoregulation, understanding mechanisms of autoimmunity and the role of cytokines in disease, and working out how to fill unmet medical needs.

His work in London led to the generation of a new hypothesis for the mechanism of autoimmunity, linking upregulated antigen presentation and cytokine expression. Testing this hypothesis led to the discovery, with colleague Sir Ravinder Maini, of the pivotal role of TNFα (Tumor Necrosis Factor alpha) in the pathogenesis of rheumatoid arthritis. This major discovery has revolutionised therapy not only of rheumatoid arthritis but other chronic inflammatory diseases (eg Inflammatory bowel disease, psoriasis, ankylosing spondylitis), and helped change the perception of monoclonal antibodies from niche products to mainstream therapeutics. Anti-TNF therapeutics are the current leading drug class with 2016 sales exceeding US $36 Billion.

This has led to much scientific recognition, for example election to the Royal Society and Academy of Medical Sciences in London, the National Academy of Sciences USA and the Australian Academy of Science, and multiple major International prizes: including the Crafoord Prize of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, the Albert Lasker Clinical Research Award (NY), the Ernst Schering Prize , the Paul Janssen Award for Biomedical Research and the Canada-Gairdner Award. He was also the first recipient in biology or medicine of the EU/ European Patent office Inventor of the Year Award in the Lifetime Achievement category. In addition, Sir Marc has advised more than 20 of the largest pharmaceutical and biotech companies in the world and has mentored some of the most successful scientists, many of whom have become senior figures in the commercial pharmaceutical world. Sir Marc was knighted in the 2010 Queen’s Birthday Honours, and was honoured in Australia with the knighthood equivalent, the Companion of the Order of Australia.

Dr. Vladislav Sandler, CEO of Hemogenyx, commented: “I am delighted that after eight months as Chairman of our Scientific Advisory Board, Sir Marc has agreed to join us as Chairman. I know that Sir Marc shares our enthusiasm for developing transformational therapies for Bone Marrow and Blood Stem Cell transplants that will have a major impact on the way we routinely treat lethal blood diseases. Since Sir Marc has been at the forefront of promoting effective scientific-medical-pharmaceutical interactions, he has built up a huge network of friends and collaborators who meet regularly in Oxford and they will help Hemogenyx grow and go clinical.

“I would also like to extend my thanks to Robin for his role as Chairman and his continued contribution as a Non-Executive Director and we also thank Adrian for his support on the Board and we wish him well.”

Sir Marc Feldmann, said: “I am pleased to become Chairman of Hemogenyx. There is a huge unmet need for more effective transplantation, and while bone marrow transplants are the most frequently performed, there are still problems to solve to improve their efficacy. Vladik Sandler’s pioneering work has led to a strategy for improving clinical BM transplantation that I will together with members of my network help Hemogenyx to deliver.”

For more information : https://www.hemogenyx.com

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