Soligenix Appoints Oreola Donini, PhD, as Vice President of Preclinical Research and Development

PRINCETON, N.J., Oct. 3, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Soligenix, Inc. (OTCQB: SNGX) (Soligenix or the Company), a clinical stage biopharmaceutical company focused on developing products to treat inflammatory diseases and biodefense medical countermeasures where there remains an unmet medical need, announced today that it has appointed Oreola Donini, PhD, as its Vice President of Preclinical Research and Development. Dr. Donini has more than 13 years experience in drug discovery and preclinical development with start-up biotechnology companies and has been instrumental in leading early stage development of several novel therapies into the clinic. Dr. Donini has worked previously with ESSA Pharma Inc., Inimex Pharmaceuticals Inc. and Kinetek Pharmaceuticals Inc., developing novel therapies for infectious disease, cancer and cancer supportive care.  

Dr. Donini is a co-inventor and leader of the SGX94 innate defense regulator technology, developed by Inimex Pharmaceuticals and subsequently acquired by Soligenix.  She was responsible for overseeing the manufacturing and preclinical testing of SGX94, which demonstrated efficacy in combating bacterial infections and mitigating the effects of tissue damage due to trauma, infection, radiation and/or chemotherapy treatment.  These preclinical studies culminated in a successful Phase 1 clinical study and clearance of Phase 2 protocols for oral mucositis in head and neck cancer and acute bacterial skin and skin structure infections. 

While with ESSA Pharma as the Vice President of Research and Development, Dr. Donini led the preclinical testing of a novel N-terminal domain inhibitor of the androgen receptor for the treatment of prostate cancer.  Prior to joining Inimex, she worked with Kinetek Pharmaceuticals in the discovery of novel kinase and phosphatase inhibitors for the treatment of cancer.  

Dr. Donini received her PhD from Queen's University in Kinston, Ontario, Canada and completed her post-doctoral work at the University of California, San Francisco. Her research has spanned drug discovery, preclinical development, manufacturing and clinical development in infectious disease, cancer and cancer supportive care.

"As we continue to execute on our growth strategy, we are clearly building momentum and the talent we are attracting is an absolute reflection of our solid progress to date," stated Christopher J. Schaber, PhD, President and CEO of Soligenix.  "We are delighted to welcome Oreola to our team, as she will leverage her extensive preclinical and early stage clinical drug development expertise in leading our SGX94, gastrointestinal acute radiation syndrome (GI ARS) and melioidosis programs.  Her preclinical experience in the areas of infectious disease, tissue damage and innate immunity will be instrumental to us as we advance OrbeShield™ in GI ARS, and SGX94 to Phase 2 completion in oral mucositis."  

About Soligenix, Inc.

Soligenix is a clinical stage biopharmaceutical company developing products to treat serious inflammatory diseases where there remains an unmet medical need, as well as developing several biodefense vaccines and therapeutics. Soligenix is developing proprietary formulations of oral BDP (beclomethasone 17,21-dipropionate) for the prevention/treatment of gastrointestinal disorders characterized by severe inflammation, including pediatric Crohn's disease (SGX203), acute radiation enteritis (SGX201) and chronic Graft-versus-Host disease (orBec®), as well as developing its novel innate defense regulator (IDR) technology SGX942 for the treatment of oral mucositis.  

Through its BioDefense Division, Soligenix is developing countermeasures pursuant to the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) Strategic Plan of 2011-2016 for inclusion in the US government's Strategic National Stockpile. Soligenix's lead biodefense products in development are a recombinant subunit vaccine called RiVax™, which is designed to protect against the lethal effects of exposure to ricin toxin and VeloThrax™, a vaccine against anthrax exposure. RiVax™ has been shown to be well tolerated and immunogenic in two Phase 1 clinical trials in healthy volunteers. Both RiVax™ and VeloThrax™ are currently the subject of a $9.4 million National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) grant supporting development of Soligenix's new vaccine heat stabilization technology known as ThermoVax™.  Soligenix is also developing OrbeShield™ for the treatment of gastrointestinal acute radiation syndrome (GI ARS) under a BARDA contract award valued up to $26.3 million and a NIAID contract award valued up to $6.4 million. OrbeShield™ has previously demonstrated statistically significant preclinical survival results in a canine model of GI ARS funded by the NIAID.  Recently, Soligenix announced a worldwide exclusive collaboration with Intrexon Corporation that will focus on the joint development of a treatment for Melioidosis, a high priority biothreat and an area of unmet medical need.

For further information regarding Soligenix, Inc., please visit the Company's website at www.soligenix.com.

This press release contains forward-looking statements that reflect Soligenix, Inc.'s current expectations about its future results, performance, prospects and opportunities, including but not limited to, potential market sizes, patient populations and clinical trial enrollment.  Statements that are not historical facts, such as "anticipates," "estimates," "believes," "intends," "potential," or similar expressions, are forward-looking statements.  These statements are subject to a number of risks, uncertainties and other factors that could cause actual events or results in future periods to differ materially from what is expressed in, or implied by, these statements.  Soligenix cannot assure you that it will be able to successfully develop, achieve regulatory approval for or commercialize products based on its technologies, particularly in light of the significant uncertainty inherent in developing vaccines against bioterror threats conducting preclinical and clinical trials of vaccines, obtaining regulatory approvals and manufacturing vaccines, that product development and commercialization efforts will not be reduced or discontinued due to difficulties or delays in clinical trials or due to lack of progress or positive results from research and development efforts, that it will be able to successfully obtain any further funding to support product development and commercialization efforts, including grants and awards, maintain its existing grants which are subject to performance, enter into any biodefense procurement contracts with the US Government or other countries, that it will be able to compete with larger and better financed competitors in the biotechnology industry, that changes in health care practice, third party reimbursement limitations and Federal and/or state health care reform initiatives will not negatively affect its business, or that the US Congress may not pass any legislation that would provide additional funding for the Project BioShield program.  These and other risk factors are described from time to time in filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including, but not limited to, Soligenix's reports on Forms 10-Q and 10-K.  Unless required by law, Soligenix assumes no obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements as a result of new information or future events.

SOURCE Soligenix, Inc.



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