HASSELT, Belgium and CHEPSTOW, Wales, October 24, 2018 /PRNewswire/ --
Keith Martin to retire as CEO, continue as Non-Executive Director
Hayley French appointed COO and interim CEO
Apitope, a clinical stage biotech company developing potential first-in-class antigen-specific immunotherapies targeting autoimmune diseases, today announces that Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Dr Keith Martin has decided to retire from the CEO role after 12 years at the helm of Apitope. He will remain on the Apitope Board as a non-executive director. Dr Hayley French will move to Chief Operations Officer (COO) and act as interim CEO of Apitope until a permanent replacement is in place. Dr French will join the Board of Directors effective immediately.
Dr French brings over 25 years of experience in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industry, most recently as Chief Business Officer & General Counsel of Apitope and prior to this she spent three years at Novartis where she worked on all global deals and collaborations in the respiratory division. She has been with Apitope since November 2010 and has over twenty years' experience of negotiating licences and collaborations and managing alliances in the life sciences sector.
Stéphane Verdood, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Apitope, commented: "Keith's contribution to Apitope's growth during his 12-year tenure has been immeasurable. Under his strategic leadership Apitope has grown to be a clinical stage biotech with multiple programmes in development for diseases with high unmet needs. On behalf of the Board we would like to thank Keith for his contribution to Apitope and we are delighted he will stay on the Board as a Non-executive Director."
"I am very pleased that Hayley has agreed to take on the role of COO and interim CEO to ensure the smooth running of the company. She has played a major role in Apitope's growth and success over the past eight years and the Board is confident in her expertise and experience in progressing Apitope's growth and maximising the potential of its clinical programmes."
Dr Keith Martin said: "It has been an honour to have led Apitope and the transformation of the company from a University of Bristol spin-out to a clinical stage company with a strong clinical pipeline. I am proud of our achievements to date and I look forward to supporting the growth and development of Apitope as a Board member."
Dr Hayley French, newly appointed interim CEO of Apitope, added: " With efficacy demonstrated in two diseases, Apitope has a robust clinical pipeline of first-in-class antigen-specific immunotherapies for the treatment of autoimmune diseases. Apitope's ATX-MS-1467 is a potential game changer in the treatment of multiple sclerosis and ATX-GD-59 appears to be the first disease-modifying treatment for Graves' disease in over 60 years. I look forward to maximising the potential of these important new treatments and lead the Company through its next phase of growth."
Prior to joining Apitope, Dr French spent three years at Novartis and prior to this worked in the Life Sciences Group of Bird & Bird, London, specialising in advising pharmaceutical and biotech companies. Prior to joining Bird & Bird, she was Head of Commercial Legal Affairs at the Centre for Applied Microbiology and Research (CAMR) in Salisbury, UK. Dr French started her career at University College London Ventures where she was responsible for the development, management and commercialisation of technologies in the life sciences sector. She is past president of the Licensing Executives Society Britain & Ireland, and Chair of the Licensing Executives Society International (LESI) life sciences committee.
Dr French teaches on the LESI Intellectual Asset Management courses and is a regular speaker on IP licensing and negotiation. She has a B.Sc. in Microbiology from the University of Liverpool, as well as a PhD in Microbiology and a M.Sc. in intellectual property from the University of London and is a certified licensing professional (CLP).
Apitope is a clinical stage biotech company that develops first-in-class antigen-specific immunotherapies targeting autoimmune diseases.
Apitope uses its novel, proprietary discovery platform to select and develop highly specific peptide-based therapeutics, known as "apitopes®" (antigen processing independent epitopes), that directly target the immunological basis of autoimmune diseases, including multiple sclerosis (MS), Graves' disease and uveitis, as well as undesired immune responses against biologic therapeutics used in the treatment of life-threatening disorders such as haemophilia A.
While current therapies for autoimmune diseases typically have the effect of suppressing the immune system, apitopes® modulate only the malfunctioning part of the immune system in order to avoid such global immune suppression. The apitope® mechanism of action and platform have the broad potential to treat a wide variety of autoimmune diseases. Apitope has a robust pipeline of innovative, potential first-in-class product candidates in clinical and pre-clinical development. Product candidate ATX-GD-59 has successfully completed a Phase I in the treatment of Graves' disease and is ready to start Phase II clinical trials. Apitope's other lead product candidate, ATX-MS-1467, is in development for the treatment of MS and is ready to start a Phase IIb clinical trial. ATX-UV-3 is also being prepared for Phase II trials in uveitis. In addition, Apitope has an innovative pipeline with several potential first-in-class candidates advancing towards clinical development.
An autoimmune disease occurs when the immune system mounts an undesired response to an innocuous self-antigen and attacks healthy tissues in the body. Autoimmune diseases are typically treated with therapies that globally suppress the immune system. Such therapies address the symptoms of the disease, not the cause, and increase the risk to life-threatening infections, cancers and other immune complications.
There are at least 80 types of autoimmune diseases including MS, Graves' disease, and uveitis. Up to 50 million people are suffering from autoimmune disease in the U.S. alone, where it is one of the leading causes of death in women in all age groups up to 65.
Treatments for autoimmune diseases represent a large and active industry that has been gaining momentum, with five out of ten best selling drugs in 2016 targeting autoimmune diseases.
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