ORYZON Appoints Clinical Development Leader Lori A. Kunkel, M.D., as a Scientific Advisor
MADRID, SPAIN and CAMBRIDGE, MA–(Marketwired – February 05, 2018) – Oryzon Genomics (ISIN Code: ES0167733015) (MAD: ORY), a public clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company leveraging epigenetics to develop therapies in diseases with strong unmet medical need, has announced today another key addition to its Scientific Advisory Board (SAB) to reinforce its development capabilities for its epigenetic drug ORY-1001 in leukemia and solid tumors with the appointment of Dr. Lori A. Kunkel.
“Dr. Kunkel has an extraordinary track record in the development of clinical and regulatory strategies resulting in the global commercialization of successful hemato-oncology and immuno-oncology products. She brings strong industry-leading expertise and deep knowledge in oncology drug development that will play a critical role in the development of our epigenetic pipeline as the company is committed to advancing the development of ORY-1001 in hemato-oncology and some solid tumors,” said Carlos Buesa, President and CEO of ORYZON.
Dr. Kunkel has more than two decades of experience in oncology and immunology drug development and commercialization. Kunkel began her career in industry as a clinical scientist at Genentech working on the development of RITUXAN®. Dr. Kunkel presently serves on the Board of Directors of Loxo Oncology, Curis, Inc, Tocagen and Maverick Therapeutics. She was previously the acting Chief Medical Officer at Loxo and she served as Chief Medical Officer at Pharmacyclics (acquired by AbbVie) and Proteolix, Inc (acquired by Onyx Pharmaceuticals), contributed to the approvals of cancer therapeutics IMBRUVICA® and KYPROLIS®, respectively. She has advised multiple clients including Chiron (acquired by Novartis), Genentech/Roche, Salmedics (acquired by Celgene), Stemcentrx, Inc (acquired by Abbvie), Amphivena Therapeutics, Atreca, Inc and Verastem, Inc.
Dr. Kunkel served as a faculty member in the Division of Hematology/Oncology at University of California, Los Angeles. Dr. Kunkel obtained a medical degree from University of Southern California and a bachelor’s degree in biology from University of California, San Diego. She is board certified in internal medicine and held board certifications in hematology and oncology.
“I am excited to work with the management team to help advance the ORY-1001 program forward as a potential treatment for patients with leukemia as well as their other programs,” said Dr. Kunkel. “Oryzon is working towards addressing significant unmet medical needs and I look forward to being a part of their efforts.”
ORY-1001 is a highly potent and selective oral epigenetic inhibitor that modulates LSD1, a histone demethylase that removes (“erases”) signals in the histone, provoking changes in the reading context of the chromosome and turning off genes. Aberrant “erasing” activity may lead to disease. LSD1 has been related with several malignancies such as solid tumors and hematological diseases. In Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML) ORY-1001 affects AML stem cells, a sub-population of cancer cells that has been proposed to be responsible for frequent relapses of the disease. ORY-1001 also significantly reduces tumor cell load and increases survival time in mouse models of Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. LSD1 inhibition has been proposed as a meaningful therapeutic option, alone or in combination, in several solid tumors such as Small cell lung cancer (SCLC). In a First in Man Phase I-IIA study in relapsed-refractory AML patients ORY-1001 was safe and well tolerated and produced a clear proof of biological concept as a differentiating agent with 29% (12/41) of all patients showing some degree of anti-leukemic clinical activity including one CRi in a selected patient subgroup.
Founded in 2000 in Barcelona, Spain, Oryzon (ISIN Code: ES0167733015) is a clinical stage biopharmaceutical company considered as the European champion in Epigenetics. The company has one of the strongest portfolios in the field. Oryzon’s LSD1 program has resulted in + 20 patent families and has rendered two compounds in clinical trials. In addition, Oryzon has ongoing programs for developing inhibitors against other epigenetic targets. The company has a strong technological platform for biomarker identification and performs biomarker and target validation for a variety of malignant and neurodegenerative diseases. Oryzon’s strategy is to develop first in class compounds against novel epigenetic targets through Phase II clinical trials, at which point it is decided on a case by-case basis to either keep the development in-house or to partner or outlicense the compound for late stage development and commercialization. The company has offices in Spain and USA. For more information, visit www.oryzon.com.
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