BEDMINSTER, N.J., June 24, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Omthera Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a privately-held emerging specialty pharmaceuticals company, announced today that Drs. Ben Machielse has joined the Company as Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, effective immediately. In this newly created position, Drs. Machielse's responsibilities will include manufacturing, regulatory affairs, and quality and supply chain management.
Commenting on today's news, Jerry Wisler, President and Chief Executive Officer of Omthera, noted, "Ben brings to Omthera over 20 years of experience in all aspects of biopharmaceutical manufacturing, quality assurance, quality control and operations, and we are very pleased to welcome him into the key position of Chief Operating Officer. As our pivotal Phase III EVOLVE (EpanoVa fOr Lowering Very high triglyceridEs) trial for Epanova™ progresses, it is critical that we continue to enhance our manufacturing and operational expertise and the robustness of our global supply chain for the anticipated future commercial launch of Epanova, our novel, Omega-3 free fatty acid product. Ben's deep experience in the biopharmaceutical industry will be invaluable as we navigate the next phase of the Company's development."
During his professional career, Drs. Machielse has been involved with the development and approval of seven biologic drugs. Prior to joining Omthera, he spent 11 years with MedImmune, the last five as Executive Vice President Operations. In that role, he led the worldwide manufacturing of therapeutic antibodies, small molecules and vaccine products – including the development and launch of the first H1N1 vaccine product available in the U.S. He also oversaw quality assurance/quality control, GxP compliance, validation, supply chain, health and safety, and other functional areas. Prior to his tenure with MedImmune, Drs. Machielse held the position of Vice President of Quality Assurance and Quality Control for Xoma, and before that, served in various positions in manufacturing, process and analytical development for Centocor BV. Drs. Machielse received his Master of Science in biochemistry and Bachelor of Science in Medical Biology from the University of Utrecht, in Utrecht, The Netherlands. He is a former member of the Board of Directors of Xencor and a current member of the Board of Directors for Tetragenetics.
"I am very pleased to be joining Omthera at such an exciting point in the Company's growth trajectory and was drawn to the position largely because of the tremendous potential represented by Epanova," noted Drs. Machielse. "Having demonstrated superior bioavailability compared to Lovaza® in a Phase II trial, Epanova may prove in Phase III trials to be as effective in lowering triglycerides as Lovaza® at a significantly lower dose, giving physicians the ability to titrate up for superior triglyceride lowering efficacy. I am excited about this unique opportunity to help bring a potentially game changing drug to market and to create a new, best-in-class product. As such, I am delighted to join Omthera's exceptional management team."
About Omthera Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
Founded in 2008, Omthera Pharmaceuticals, Inc. is a privately-held, emerging specialty pharmaceuticals company focusing its efforts on the clinical development of new therapies for dyslipidemia. Led by a team of experts with exceptional experience in developing new therapies for lipid disorders, Omthera is dedicated to developing innovative therapies for the millions of patients who have elevated triglyceride levels and increased risk of cardiovascular disease. In March 2011, the Company initiated a pivotal Phase III clinical trial for its lead product candidate, Epanova™, an Omega-3 fatty acid compound in development as a triglyceride-lowering adjunct therapy to diet in patients with very high triglycerides (greater than or equal to 500 mg/dL). Future planned clinical trials for Epanova include patients with high triglycerides (greater than or equal to 200 mg/dL and less than or equal to 500 mg/dL) currently on statin therapy. For more information, please visit www.omthera.com.
SOURCE Omthera Pharmaceuticals, Inc.