SAN DIEGO, August 29, 2018 – selectION, Inc. a biotechnology company that has established an efficient technology platform to develop novel peptide therapies incorporating highly selective peptide blockers for ion channels, today announced the appointment of Cam Gallagher to its board of Directors and Dr. Christopher J. Larson, Ph.D to its scientific advisory board.
Antonius Schuh, PhD, Chief Executive Officer of selectION commented, “Cam Gallagher is an experienced leader in the industry and will be an important addition to selectION’s board of directors. Cam’s in-depth experience in various leadership roles of clinical stage companies will be a valuable asset to selectION as we progress into clinical trials and raise capital.”
Mr. Gallagher has served in various senior management and director roles with several biotech companies from formation through financing and successful acquisitions. His previous and current roles include positions with Retrosense Therapeutics (acquired by Allergan), Zavante Therapeutics (acquired by Nabriva Therapeutics), Oncternal Therapeutics, Velos BioPharma, Immusoft, Kalyra Pharmaceuticals and Zeno Pharmaceuticals. He was previously Managing Director of Nerveda, LLC, a life science seed fund he co-founded in 2007. Cam also served in various senior marketing positions of increasing responsibility at Verus Pharmaceuticals, a privately held specialty pharmaceutical company in San Diego, California. Prior to Verus, he held positions of increasing management responsibilities at CV Therapeutics and Dura Pharmaceuticals. Mr. Gallagher holds an M.B.A. from the University of San Diego and a B.S. in Business Administration from Ohio University.
Dr. Andreas Klostermann, Chief Scientific Officer of selectION also commented “We are fortunate to welcome Chris Larson as strategic advisor and member of the selectION Scientific Advisory Board. Chris’ deep understanding of unmet medical needs in the etiology and pathophysiology of a broad spectrum of diseases and the predicted consequences of drug mediated target modulation will be a valuable asset to the company as it prepares for clinical development of its lead drug candidate si-544, a best-in-class Kv1.3 blocker for treatment of effector memory T cell (TEM) driven diseases.”
Currently, Dr. Larson is an advisor to the pharmaceutical industry and serves as Adjunct Associate Professor of the Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute (SBP) after previously serving as SBP’s Vice President for Drug Discovery. Before joining SBP, Dr. Larson spent six years at Takeda Pharmaceuticals, where he advanced numerous drug candidates from research to global clinical development. Earlier in his career, Dr. Larson helped launch Karus Therapeutics, a biotechnology company focused on innovative classes of small molecule cancer and rheumatology drugs. Prior to that, he led discovery research projects and oversaw translation of the first clinical program at Kemia, Inc., a biotech company located in San Diego, California. Dr. Larson earned his Ph.D. in chemistry at Harvard University and did postdoctoral research at the Salk Institute.
selectION Inc., San Diego, is developing a novel peptide therapy based on its lead candidate si-544 to treat severe effector memory T cell (TEM) driven diseases like CTCL (cutaneous T cell lymphoma), acute draft rejection or autoimmune indications such as Vasculitis, Rheumatoid Arthritis or Multiple Sclerosis. The immuno-selective agent si-544 addresses an unmet medical need by functionally inhibiting / eliminating disease-specific chronically activated TEM cells without compromising the protective immune response.
si-544 – A Selective Antagonist of Kv1.3
selectION´s lead candidate si-544 binds Kv1.3 with a picomolar IC50 and does not bind to any cardiovascular or neuronal ion channel, such as Kv1.5, hERG, Kv1.1 or Kv1.2, avoiding off-target effects. Preclinical data in the antigen-induced arthritis rat model and ex vivo proliferation experiments with human TEM cells, indicate proof of concept. Acute toxicity in dose escalation experiments and repeated dosing in the rat has proven safety for si-544 in animal experiments. These data also indicate that the general immune response in the rat is not impaired under si-544 therapy. The German regulatory authorities (BfArM) already recognized the preclinical data package.
Immuno-Selective Therapy – Background and Scientific Rationale
TEM cells play a cardinal role in the human immune response system reacting to pathogen-derived antigenic stimuli. The potassium channels Kv1.3 and KCa3.1 are compensatory and cooperatively maintaining ion homeostasis in TEM cells upon the antigen stimulation triggered rise of intracellular calcium levels. Interestingly, disease associated chronically activated TEM cells become exclusively dependent on Kv1.3 due to loss of KCa3.1 expression. Blockade of Kv1.3 by selective antagonists disrupts the signaling pathway of diseases associated chronically activated TEM cells, terminates the activation and inhibits the pathogenic proliferation cascade, but leaves the overall immune response untouched. Therefore, Kv1.3 can be regarded as a target of choice for immuno-selective therapies in numerous TEM cell driven diseases.
Investor & Media Contacts
Dr. Andreas Klostermann
Founder & CSO