SAN DIEGO, November 30, 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 Fred Ramsdell, Ph.D. and Mark Benedyk, Ph.D. to its scientific advisory board.
Dr. Andreas Klostermann, Chief Scientific Officer of selectION commented “We are fortunate to welcome Dr. Ramsdell as strategic advisor and member of the selectION Scientific Advisory Board. The appointment of Dr. Ramsdell and the expansion of our Scientific Advisory Board is in line with selectION’s strategy of rapid advancement to a clinical stage immuno-therapeutic company. Dr. Ramsdell has contributed significantly to the understanding of the different functions of T cells in the immune system and will optimally support the further development of our immunotherapies at the Advisory Board level. We are very happy that Dr. Ramsdell excellently fulfills the qualifications needed for this important role driving clinical development and product development. I look forward to an intensive collaboration”
Currently, Dr. Ramsdell leads the development of collaborative research programs at the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy as vice president of research. Before joining the Parker Institute, Dr. Ramsdell served as vice president at aTyr Pharma in San Diego and served on several scientific advisory boards. The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, which also awards the Nobel Prizes, honored Dr. Ramsdell and two other scientists in 2017 with the Crafoord Prize for their pioneering work related to regulatory T-cells and the role of the FOXP3 gene. Earlier in his career, Dr. Ramsdell led teams studying novel proteins with potential regulatory activity in lymphoid cells at ZymoGenetics and helped establish NovoNordisk’s Inflammation Research Center in Seattle where he lead the immunobiology group. He earned his doctoral degree in microbiology and immunology from the University of California, Los Angeles and holds a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry and cell biology from the University of California, San Diego.
Dr. Andreas Klostermann, Chief Scientific Officer of selectION also commented, “Dr. Benedyk is an experienced leader in the industry and will be an important addition to selectION’s Scientific Advisory Board. The appointment of Dr. Benedyk to the Scientific Advisory Board comes at the right time and reflects selectION’s growing clinical focus. With this step, the Scientific Advisory Board will be optimally positioned to address current and future tasks. Dr. Benedyk has extensive, long-standing and highly successful leadership experience in the life sciences industry and will be an excellent support for our ongoing and future development activities.”
Dr. Benedyk is a life sciences executive with over 25 years’ experience in forming and leading rapidly growing emerging biotech and specialty pharma companies. Dr. Benedyk is Operating Partner at Sweetwater Capital Partners, a private equity firm in Encinitas, California, Executive Director at AmebaGone, and serves on the boards of Pulmotect, Alafair Biosciences and Accel-Rx, Canada’s national health sciences accelerator. Dr. Benedyk is also an Advisor to RARE Science, an organization focused on applying clinical genomics to accelerate cures for children with rare diseases and serves on the Scientific Advisory Board of Soluventis Nanotherapeutics.
Previously, Dr. Benedyk was co-Founder, President and CEO of Telephus Biosciences and Senior Director at Pfizer and Head of The Pfizer Incubator, Pfizer’s internal incubator for early stage life sciences companies. Dr. Benedyk received his Ph.D. in Developmental Genetics from The Rockefeller University, where he was a Lucille P. Markey Graduate Fellow.
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, 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 pathogenderived 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