- Denmark-Based Santaris Pharma A/S Appoints Leading RNA Industry Expert Art Levin Ph.D. as President of US Operations and Chief Development Officer
- Utilizing its Proprietary RNA Chemistry - Locked Nucleic Acid (LNA) -and Drug Discovery Engine, the US Subsidiary Aims to Foster Relationships With New Partners, Increase Visibility With Capital Markets and Attract Leading Scientists
- Santaris Pharma A/S is First Company to Advance a microRNA-Targeted Drug into Human Clinical Trials; SPC3649 Targets miR-122 for the Treatment of Hepatitis C
- Recently Announced Strategic Alliance With Shire Demonstrates LNA is Rapidly Becoming the Chemistry-of-Choice and Adds to the Growing List of mRNA and microRNA Drug Discovery and Development Partnerships That Include Wyeth, GlaxoSmithKline and Enzon for a Range of Diseases
Santaris Pharma A/S, a privately-held biopharmaceutical company focused on developing RNA-based drugs targeted to disease-related mRNAs and microRNAs, today announced it has established operations in the United States. Internally and through its partners, the Company has a robust drug development pipeline including programs to treat metabolic disorders, infectious and inflammatory diseases, cancer and rare genetic disorders.
Increasing interest, new collaborations and breakthrough advancements utilizing the Company's proprietary RNA-based Locked Nucleic Acid (LNA) Drug Platform and Drug Discovery Engine led Santaris Pharma A/S, headquartered in Denmark, to establish US-based operations in San Diego, California.
To spearhead the US expansion, Santaris Pharma A/S has appointed leading RNA industry expert Arthur A. Levin, PhD, as President of its US operations. In addition, Dr. Levin will hold global responsibility as Vice President and Chief Development Officer of Santaris Pharma A/S.
Dr. Levin has 15 years of experience in RNA-based research and more than 25 years of experience in the pharmaceutical industry. Prior to joining Santaris Pharma A/S, Dr. Levin was Senior Vice President of Drug Development at Isis Pharmaceuticals where he was instrumental in advancing more than a dozen RNA-based antisense drugs from basic research to clinical development.
"We are pleased that Dr. Levin has joined our management team to establish operations in the US and oversee global development programs for Santaris Pharma A/S," said Soren Tulstrup, President and Chief Executive Officer, Santaris Pharma A/S. "His wealth of RNA-based research and development experience and industry knowledge will be instrumental in leveraging the Company's proprietary Locked Nucleic Acid chemistry and Drug Discovery Engine to explore new licensing opportunities and scientific collaborations, increase visibility with capital markets and attract leading scientists."
Santaris Pharma A/S recently achieved a breakthrough in medical science as the first company to advance a microRNA-targeted therapy into human clinical trials. A single-dose Phase 1 trial in healthy volunteers has now been completed and an additional Phase 1 multiple ascending-dose study is planned.
The drug SPC3649 specifically targets microRNA-122 (miR-122), a host factor for Hepatitis C virus replication. In 2008, Santaris Pharma A/S published the results of successful microRNA silencing with SPC3649 in non-human primates in Nature(1).
"Advancing the first microRNA therapy into human clinical trials is a testament to Santaris Pharma A/S leadership in the field," said Henrik Orum, Vice President and Chief Scientific Officer at Santaris Pharma A/S. "Our proprietary LNA Drug Platform incorporating short single-stranded LNAs offers higher affinity, greater specificity and remarkable potency compared to other RNA-based oligonucleotides. With a growing list of pharmaceutical partners and LNA rapidly becoming the chemistry-of-choice in RNA-targeted therapeutics, we are pleased to have Dr. Levin join our team to progress important new therapies into drug development."
Last month, Santaris Pharma A/S announced a multi-year worldwide strategic alliance with Shire plc to discover and develop new RNA-based medicines to treat rare genetic disorders utilizing Santaris Pharma's proprietary LNA Drug Platform. This collaboration adds to the growing list of mRNA and microRNA drug discovery and development partnerships, which includes Wyeth (delivery of lead candidates against up to ten targets), GlaxoSmithKline (four viral disease drug candidates) and Enzon Pharmaceuticals (eight cancer targets successfully delivered). Operations in the US aim to support existing relationships and generate new licensing and partnership opportunities.