SAN DIEGO, March 28, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- aTyr Pharma ("aTyr"), a rare disease biotherapeutics enterprise, announced today that David M. Weiner, M.D., joined aTyr as chief medical officer. Dr. Weiner held key leadership positions at Proteostasis, Merck Serono and Acadia Pharmaceuticals. His background includes rare disease and extensive clinical trial experience. Dr. Weiner will spearhead aTyr's efforts to advance its Physiocrine biology into meaningful therapeutics to treat rare, grave immune disorders.
"At a key time for advancing our pipeline of therapeutics in the rare diseases arena, Dr. Weiner brings to our team a strong drug development background and important clinical experience, and he will lead, implement and execute aTyr's clinical development programs," said John Mendlein, Ph.D., CEO and executive chairman of aTyr Pharma. "We welcome Dr. Weiner to the team. He is driven to make life changing therapies for patients and will play an important role in our quest for meaningful medicines for patients with little or no treatment options at this time."
"The scientific team at aTyr has made important breakthroughs by uncovering the novel roles of Physiocrines in naturally balancing the immune system and resolving different types of immune responses," said Dr. Weiner. "I look forward to working with the aTyr team to advance a new therapeutic paradigm to treat rare diseases with immune imbalances."
Dr. Weiner most recently served as the chief medical officer and interim chief executive officer of Proteostasis Therapeutics in Boston. Dr. Weiner also served in key development roles over a five-year period at Merck Serono, as vice president and head of early clinical development, Neurodegenerative Disease. Before joining EMD Serono, Dr. Weiner spent almost a decade at Acadia Pharmaceuticals Inc., in both research and clinical development positions, including medical director and principal scientist and group leader for target validation. Dr. Weiner's clinical experience includes a faculty appointment in Neuroscience and Psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego. He trained in neurology at New York Hospital, Memorial Sloan Kettering Hospital, Cornell Medical Center, after completing a medical internship at St. Vincent's Hospital & Medical Center in New York, and receiving his M.D. from the School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, SUNY at Buffalo. Dr. Weiner also serves on the scientific advisory board of the Michael J. Fox Foundation.
Among their various homeostatic functions, some Physiocrines act as extracellular signaling molecules to orchestrate immuno-homeostasis in response to stress and other physiological changes. Physiocrines comprise naturally occurring proteins derived from tRNA synthetases that play fundamental roles in the function of human physiology and restoring pathophysiological states to a healthier state. aTyr is currently focused on Physiocrines that act as endogenous modulators of our immune system. Physiocrines offer the opportunity for modulating biological pathways through newly discovered, naturally occurring mechanisms, many of which may provide multiple therapeutic advantages, including improved efficacy and reduced side effect profiles compared to many existing therapeutics.
About aTyr Pharma
aTyr Pharma is developing a pipeline of therapeutic products based on Physiocrine biology. To protect these products aTyr built a dominant intellectual property estate comprising over 200 patent applications and patents. aTyr's key programs are currently focused on rare disorders where the immune system is imbalanced. These diseases are serious potentially life threatening autoimmune conditions, for which there are currently no effective, safe, long term treatments. The privately held biotech was founded by The Scripps Research Institute Professor Paul Schimmel, a leading aminoacyl tRNA synthetase scientist, and is backed by top life sciences investors Alta Partners, Cardinal Partners, Domain Associates and Polaris Ventures. For more information, please visit http://www.atyrpharma.com.
SOURCE aTyr Pharma