BALTIMORE, MD – AsclepiX Therapeutics, Inc., a biopharmaceutical company that uses computational biology to identify potent peptide regulators of vascular and cellular homeostasis for the treatment of retinal and other important diseases, today announced the appointment of Theresa G. H. Heah, M.D., M.B.A., as its Chief Medical Officer (CMO). Dr. Heah brings over fifteen years of global pharmaceutical leadership experience, including in the core business area of ophthalmology drug development and commercialization. In her new role as CMO, Dr. Heah will be responsible for overall clinical development and regulatory strategy at AsclepiX.
Prior to joining AsclepiX Therapeutics, Inc., Dr. Heah served as Chief Medical Officer at Applied Genetic Technologies Corporation (AGTC), where she worked on developing ophthalmic gene therapies. Before her tenure at AGTC, Dr. Heah was Vice President, Global Head of Clinical Research, Medical and Professional Affairs at Aerie Pharmaceuticals, where she played a key role in driving growth and success of the organization globally. In this position, Dr. Heah was responsible for global strategy and development of ophthalmology programs, leading an experienced team executing clinical research, clinical operations, medical affairs, and professional affairs. During her tenure, she successfully expanded her global team size from 10 to 52 professionals and took a leading role in Aerie’s pharmaceutical development program for milestone product candidates, including Rhopressa® and Rocklatan®. Prior to her tenure at Aerie, Dr. Heah served with increasing responsibility, initially as the Director, Senior Global Medical Affairs Physician lead in the worldwide launch of EYLEA® followed by the role of Global Strategic Marketing Director at Bayer Healthcare Pharmaceuticals, where she served as the brand plan lead for EYLEA, an anti-VEGF compound indicated for the management of 5 retinal diseases. As part of her work on EYLEA, Dr. Heah oversaw the development of brand strategy, positioning, market research, advisory boards, key message development, pricing & reimbursement and promotional campaigns. While at Bayer, her product portfolio’s value exceeded €1B annually. Dr. Heah earned her Doctorate of Medicine from Guy’s Kings and St. Thomas’ School of Medicine, King’s College, University of London, and her Executive Master’s in Business Administration from the European School of Management & Technology (ESMT), Berlin.
“We are extremely pleased to welcome Dr. Heah to our leadership team in the role of Chief Medical Officer. With the appointment of Dr. Heah to the position of CMO, we’re pairing our novel, potentially best-in-class lead product, AXT107, with a specialist experienced in the clinical development of current best-in-class agents like EYLEA. Dr. Heah also has a successful track record building out development teams that have led to successful drug approvals and we are excited to bring that record of success to AsclepiX,” said Wendy Perrow, MBA, CEO of AsclepiX Therapeutics, Inc.
“I am delighted to join the AsclepiX team at this time of exciting momentum for the company as it advances the development of AXT107 for the treatment of DME, wet AMD and other ocular diseases, as well as develops the other exciting, novel peptides in their portfolio,” said Theresa Heah, MD, MBA.
“Over the course of my career in ophthalmology, I have been fortunate to work with patient-focused companies that are committed to innovation, quality and the advancement of standard of care. With the promising lead candidate AXT107, AsclepiX has the potential to radically change the way retinal diseases are managed. I look forward to utilizing my experience in drug and market development to advance clinical studies in 2020 and beyond thereby laying the foundation to bring innovative new treatment options to patients and addressing the burden of care.”
AXT107 is an investigational drug candidate that is a potential best in class agent, that inhibits the activity of VEGF-A1 and VEGF-C, and activates Tie22 as monotherapy for diabetic macular edema (DME). AXT107 is derived from a cryptic peptide within collagen IV that works by activating naturally existing, homeostatic mechanisms of angiogenesis that have evolved over millions of years. AXT107 was found to work through these mechanisms after it was identified using computational biologic tools to “mine” the proteome for anti-angiogenic peptide sequences and selected as a drug candidate for its strong efficacy. Due to its long half-life, AXT107 can potentially be dosed not more than one intravitreal injection per year to dramatically reduce the treatment burden associated with standard therapies. AXT107 has demonstrated superiority and greater durability to EYLEA® in animal models1 , along with an excellent safety profile in animal and toxicology studies for 15 months.
About AsclepiX Therapeutics
AsclepiX Therapeutics, Inc. is a biologics company using computational biology to identify potent peptide regulators of vascular and cellular homeostasis. The clinical candidate peptides discovered by AsclepiX tap into these naturally existing self-regulating mechanisms, evolved over millions of years, that the body uses to maintain homeostasis and thus restore and maintain health. AXT107, an investigational product and the lead clinical candidate, has a unique mechanism of action that inhibits the activity of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF-A and VEGF-C) and activates Tie2, two clinically proven pathways of diseases of the retina, and has the potential to transform the treatment of ocular diseases with best in class efficacy and a long duration of action that could support not more than once yearly dosing. AXT107 is poised to enter the clinic in 2020. Learn more at www.asclepix.com.
- Lima e Silva R, Kanan Y, Mirando AC, Kim J, Shmueli RB, Lorenc V, Fortmann S, Sciamanna J, Pandey NB, Green JJ, Popel AS, Campochiaro PA. Tyrosine kinase blocking collagen IV-derived peptide suppresses ocular neovascularization and vascular leakage. Science Translational Medicine. 2017 Jan 18;9(373).
- Mirando AC, Shen J, Lima e Silva R, Chu Z, Sass NC, Lorenc VE, Green JJ, Campochiaro PA, Popel AS, Pandey NB. A collagen IV–derived peptide disrupts a5b1 integrin and potentiates Ang2/Tie2 signaling. JCI Insight. 2019 Feb 21;4(4).
This press release contains “forward-looking statements” concerning the development of AsclepiX Therapeutics, Inc. products, the potential benefits and attributes of such products, and the company’s expectations regarding its prospects. Forward-looking statements are subject to risks, assumptions and uncertainties that could cause actual future events or results to differ materially from such statements. These statements are made as of the date of this press release. Actual results may vary. AsclepiX Therapeutics, Inc. undertakes no obligation to update any forward-looking statements for any reason.