INDIANAPOLIS, Jan. 3, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Eli Lilly and Company (NYSE: LLY) announced that Michael P. Heffernan, M.D., a nationally recognized expert in complex medical dermatology, psoriasis and clinical trials, has joined its autoimmune team as distinguished medical fellow. Alisa E. Koch, M.D., a rheumatologist who has won numerous academic awards for her extensive work in rheumatoid arthritis, joined as senior medical fellow.
Most recently, Heffernan was in private practice at Central Dermatology in St. Louis, and was formerly the chair of the Department of Dermatology at the Wright State University Boonshoft School of Medicine. He is also a past president and a member of the board of directors of the Medical Dermatology Society. In this new position at Lilly, he will provide scientific and medical direction to those molecules in clinical development for the treatment of psoriasis and other autoimmune dermatological conditions. He will also serve as a senior medical advisor to Lilly's advocacy and medical education efforts in these disease states.
Koch recently served in an endowed chair position, the Frederick G.L. Huetwell and William D. Robinson, M.D. Professor of Rheumatology, at the University of Michigan Medical School. As senior medical fellow, her key responsibilities are to advance and support the development, launch and commercialization of the U.S. autoimmune programs. She will serve as a representative and advocate for the programs within the rheumatological professional medical community and support Lilly's overall medical education efforts in these disease states.
"At Lilly, we are committed to making ongoing improvements in the lives of patients with a broad range of autoimmune diseases, including psoriasis, lupus and rheumatoid arthritis, and we are very hopeful about the value we might add in the future," said Eiry Roberts, M.D., vice president of autoimmune product development at Lilly. "Mike and Alisa have expressed similar commitment to addressing unmet patient and provider needs in their respective fields of dermatology and rheumatology. Their expertise, passion and leadership are the perfect complement to our autoimmune team."
About Michael P. Heffernan, M.D.
A board-certified dermatologist, Heffernan has been the principal investigator for more than 80 research studies on disorders of the skin.
Prior to his tenure in private practice, Heffernan held faculty positions at established academic institutions. At Washington University School of Medicine, he was an assistant and associate professor and director of the Dermatology Clinical Research Fellowship. He was honored at the university twice as Dermatology Teacher of the Year. More recently, he served as the chair, Department of Dermatology, at Wright State University Boonshoft School of Medicine. While there, he was appointed to the board of directors and sat on both the clinical chairs committee and executive committee.
Among his accomplishments, Heffernan served as a dermatologist in the United States Air Force and the Air Force Reserves. He has authored more than 60 publications and textbook chapters and serves on the editorial boards for leading industry publications such as the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology and Archives of Dermatology.
Heffernan graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Notre Dame with a bachelor's degree in pre-professional studies. He received his M.D. from the University of Michigan. He was a dermatology resident at Stanford University, where he served as chief resident and started his focus in clinical trials and complex medical dermatology.
"I want to thank Lilly for giving me the opportunity to help patients all over the world with life-altering skin diseases find a better quality of life," said Heffernan.
About Alisa E. Koch, M.D.
Prior to holding an endowed chair at the University of Michigan, Dr. Koch held an endowed professorship, the Gallagher Professor of Arthritis Research, at Northwestern University. While there, she was awarded with the Northwestern University Distinguished Faculty Recognition. She also served as the chief of rheumatology at the Veterans Administration Chicago Health Care System, Lakeside Division, for 13 years.
Koch's research interests in the field of rheumatoid arthritis have spanned the length of her career. She is a member of more than 15 professional societies, including the Association of American Physicians. She has published more than 225 articles in a number of scientific journals, including Arthritis and Rheumatism, Science and Nature. For more than a decade, she has been the managing editor for Frontiers in Bioscience, while also sitting on a number of other editorial boards.
A board-certified rheumatologist, Koch is a member of several professional societies including the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American College of Rheumatology. In 2011, she received the Lee C. Howley Sr. Prize of the Arthritis Foundation, one of the most esteemed awards in research in her field.
Koch attended Northwestern University Medical School's honors program in medical education, where she received her bachelor's and M.D. degrees together in six years. She completed her fellowship in rheumatology at the Northwestern University Medical School.
"I'm extremely excited about being at Lilly and look forward to working with everyone to move novel therapies forward to combat rheumatic diseases," said Koch.
About Lilly's Autoimmune Pipeline
Lilly has established its presence in autoimmunity in just a few short years through internal research and development and partnerships. Lilly currently has three potential new medicines in clinical development for a variety of autoimmune conditions, including tabalumab, an anti-BAFF monoclonal antibody, for rheumatoid arthritis and lupus; ixekizumab, an anti-IL-17 monoclonal antibody, for psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis; and baricitinib, a janus kinase (JAK) inhibitor, for rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis and diabetic nephropathy.
Tabalumab and ixekizumab were discovered in Lilly's research laboratories. Baricitinib is being developed in partnership with Incyte Corporation.
About Eli Lilly and Company
Lilly, a leading innovation-driven corporation, is developing a growing portfolio of pharmaceutical products by applying the latest research from its own worldwide laboratories and from collaborations with eminent scientific organizations. Headquartered in Indianapolis, Ind., Lilly provides answers – through medicines and information – for some of the world's most urgent medical needs. Additional information about Lilly is available at www.lilly.com.
This press release contains certain forward-looking statements about tabalumab, ixekizumab and baricitinib as potential treatments for patients with rheumatoid arthritis and reflects Lilly's current beliefs. However, as with any pharmaceutical product, there are substantial risks and uncertainties in the process of development and commercialization. There is no guarantee that future study results and patient experience will be consistent with study findings to date or that the product will be commercially successful. For further discussion of these and other risks and uncertainties, see Lilly's filings with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission. Lilly undertakes no duty to update forward-looking statements.
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SOURCE Eli Lilly and Company