ANN ARBOR, Mich., August, 18 2009 — Lycera Corp. today announced the appointment of five accomplished scientists and clinicians to its Scientific Advisory Board. The company, which recently announced a $36 million Series A financing, is developing novel small-molecule pharmaceuticals to treat autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and inflammatory bowel disease.
“Each of these five distinguished scientists brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to Lycera and will be instrumental in our continued development of treatments for autoimmune diseases,” said Dr. Gary Glick, Lycera’s co-founder and chief scientific officer.
Joining Lycera’s Scientific Advisory Board are: Jonathan A. Ellman, Ph.D., professor of chemistry at the University of California, Berkeley; David J. Mangelsdorf, Ph.D., chair of the Department of Pharmacology at University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas; Ruslan Medzhitov, Ph.D., professor of immunobiology at Yale University School of Medicine; Michael E. Weinblatt, M.D., co-director of clinical rheumatology at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital and professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School; Arthur Weiss, M.D., Ph.D., chief of the Division of Rheumatology in the Department of Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco. Drs. Mangelsdorf, Medzhitov, and Weiss are all investigators of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.
“We are excited to welcome these outstanding scientists and clinicians to our scientific advisory board as we continue to expand our development initiatives for small-molecule immunomodulators,” said Dr. Jeffrey Leiden, a Lycera board member. “We are particularly pleased to welcome three additional investigators of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute to our team.”
The addition of these five scientists and clinicians to Lycera’s team adds depth in several areas that are key to the company’s mission. Drs. Medzhitov and Weiss are both world-renowned immunologists. Drs. Ellman, Mangelsdorf, and Weinblatt are experts in chemisty, pharmacology and clinical rheumatology, respectively.
About the New Scientific Advisory Board Members
Dr. Jonathan A. Ellman is a professor of chemistry at UC Berkeley. He also holds a joint appointment in the Department of Cellular and Molecular Pharmacology at UCSF. Dr. Ellman’s research emphasizes practical and general methods for the asymmetric synthesis of amines, which are among the most important functionalities present in drugs. He is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, serves on the editorial advisory boards of several journals and is a consultant to pharmaceutical companies. He was co-founder of Sunesis Pharmaceuticals and has served on the scientific advisory boards of a number of life sciences companies. He has a B.S. from MIT and a Ph.D. from Harvard. He conducted postdoctoral research at UC Berkeley.
Dr. David J. Mangelsdorf is professor and chair of the Department of Pharmacology at University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas, where he holds the Beatrice and Miguel Elias distinguished chair in biomedical science. He is also an investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. Dr. Mangelsdorf’s long-time interests have focused on the study of nuclear receptors, a family of ligand-dependent transcription factors. In 2008 he was elected to the National Academy of Sciences. He received a B.S. in biology and chemistry (summa cum laude) from Northern Arizona University, and a Ph.D. in biochemistry from the University of Arizona. He completed postdoctoral studies at The Salk Institute for Biological Studies.
Dr. Ruslan Medzhitov is the David W. Wallace professor of immunobiology at Yale University School of Medicine and is also an investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. His research focuses on the analysis of the innate immune system, inflammatory response, innate control of adaptive immunity, and host-pathogen interactions. Dr. Medzhitov’s scientific contributions have been recognized with several awards, including the William B. Coley Award for Distinguished Research in Basic and Tumor Immunology from the Cancer Research Institute and the Howard Taylor Ricketts Award from the University of Chicago. In 2000, he was selected as a Searle Scholar. Following undergraduate studies at Tashkent State University, he obtained his Ph.D. in biochemistry from Moscow State University. He completed postdoctoral training at Yale University School of Medicine.
Dr. Michael E. Weinblatt is co-director of clinical rheumatology at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital and the John R. and Eileen K. Riedman professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School. His major research interest is in therapeutics for rheumatoid arthritis. Dr. Weinblatt is the author of The Arthritis Action Program and has authored or co-authored more than 160 published papers, reviews, and book chapters on rheumatology. He currently sits on multiple editorial boards for journals including Journal of Rheumatology. Dr. Weinblatt was a member of the Rheumatology Subspecialty Board of the American Board of Internal Medicine and served as the President of the American College of Rheumatology in 2001. He earned his B.A. at McDaniel College (formerly Western Maryland College) and his M.D. (magna cum laude) at the University of Maryland School of Medicine where he also completed an internship and residency. He had a clinical fellowship at Harvard Medical School and a clinical fellowship in rheumatology at Robert B. Brigham Hospital in Boston.
Dr. Arthur Weiss is the Ephraim P. Engleman distinguished professor and chief of the Division of Rheumatology in the Department of Medicine at UCSF. He is also an investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. Dr. Weiss is a leader in the study of the signal transduction events that control T lymphocyte responses, and their connection to autoimmune diseases. He is currently president of the American Association of Immunologists. He was also elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the National Academy of Sciences, and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Weiss received his B.A. at the Johns Hopkins University and his M.D. and Ph.D. from the University of Chicago School of Medicine. He did postdoctoral training at the Swiss Institute for Experimental Cancer Research and his clinical training in internal medicine and rheumatology at UCSF.
Lycera’s Scientific Advisory Board, including the newly announced members, is comprised of: Jonathan A. Ellman, Ph.D., John McCall, Ph.D., and William R. Roush, Ph.D., who are experts in medicinal chemistry; James L.M. Ferrara, M.D., and Michael E. Weinblatt, M.D., who are leaders in clinical testing and translational medicine of immunomodulators; Douglas Green, Ph.D., David J. Mangelsdorf, Ph.D., Michael A. Marletta, Ph.D., Anthony W. Opipari, Jr., M.D., who are biochemistry and cellular and molecular biology authorities; and Dan Littman, M.D., Ph.D. Ruslan Medzhitov, Ph.D., and Arthur Weiss, M.D., Ph.D., who are immunology experts.
Lycera Corp. is focused on the discovery and development of small-molecule immunomodulators for the treatment of patients with autoimmune diseases including psoriasis, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus erythematosis, inflammatory bowel disease and transplant rejection. Lycera is developing drug candidates that target two novel therapeutic pathways and have the potential for first-in-class oral efficacy without the adverse effects of current standard-of-care antiproliferative and immunosuppressive agents. Visit www.lycera.com for more information.