US$7 Million Financing and Experienced Executive Team to Enable
Clinical Advancement of Clazakizumab
VANCOUVER, June 6, 2016 /PRNewswire/ - Vitaeris Inc., a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on innovative applications in chronic inflammatory diseases, today announced it has closed a US$7 million seed round financing, including participation by key founding investor HBM Healthcare Investments AG. This financing will enable Vitaeris to initiate operations and advance the best-in-class anti-interleukin-6 (IL-6) monoclonal antibody, clazakizumab, into new clinical studies.
Clazakizumab is designed to block interleukin-6 (IL-6), which plays a key role in the inflammatory disease cascade. Clazakizumab has been administered in clinical trials involving over one thousand patients. The therapeutic has not been approved in any indication.
In addition to the financing, Vitaeris today announced the appointments of Kevin Chow, PhD as president and chief executive officer, Dr. Edward Chong, MBChB, MRCP as chief medical officer, and John Parkinson, CPA, CA as chief financial officer.
Dr. Chow previously served as senior director and head of business development for Alder Biopharmaceuticals, where he was responsible for partnering efforts related to Alder's monoclonal antibody therapeutics pipeline and was instrumental in the strategic development and formation of Vitaeris. Before Alder, Dr. Chow served in corporate development with Gilead Sciences where he led pulmonary licensing and strategy efforts. Prior to Gilead, Dr. Chow served as director of business development with Corus Pharma, which was acquired by Gilead in 2006. Dr. Chow received BSc, MSc, and PhD degrees in Microbiology and Immunology from the University of British Columbia.
Dr. Chong is a physician with over 25 years' drug development experience. During this period, he has worked across several therapeutic areas, designing and implementing global clinical development programs resulting in several successful regulatory submissions in the USA, Europe and elsewhere. Prior to this role, he was the vice president responsible for global clinical research and biometrics at Vifor Pharma. Dr. Chong received his medical education and post-graduate training in internal medicine and cardiology at the Universities of Dundee and Glasgow, Scotland.
Mr. Parkinson is an experienced senior executive with over 20 years of management experience in a number of industry sectors. Prior executive roles include chief executive officer of a diverse group of investment funds, chief financial officer of Protox Therapeutics Inc., a TSX listed bio-technology company and vice president (Finance) at Aspreva Pharmaceuticals, a NASDAQ & TSX dual-listed pharmaceutical company. Prior to his role with Aspreva, Mr. Parkinson focused on financial, high-tech and public company practices during his 10 years with KPMG in both the United Kingdom and Canada. Mr. Parkinson holds Bachelor of Commerce and Bachelor of Arts in Economics degrees from the University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Canada. Mr. Parkinson achieved his designation as a Chartered Accountant from the Institute of Chartered Accountants of British Columbia in 1995.
"We are pleased to welcome Dr. Chow, Dr. Chong, and Mr. Parkinson to the Vitaeris team," said Noel Hall, co-founder and chairman of Vitaeris. "Together with our founding investor HBM Healthcare Investments AG, the team brings a wealth of cross functional operating experience to advance clazakizumab through additional clinical studies and hopefully one day to patients in need. We appreciate the generous support of the private life science investment community in British Columbia that has come together to support Vitaeris, and of course the entire team at Alder BioPharmaceuticals that made all of this possible through the discovery and development of clazakizumab."
About Vitaeris Inc.
Vitaeris Inc. is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company based in Vancouver, British Columbia, focused on the development of the anti-interleukin-6 (IL-6) monoclonal antibody clazakizumab for chronic inflammatory diseases. IL-6 is a key cytokine involved in the inflammation of rheumatoid arthritis, and is now being implicated in numerous other diseases characterized by chronic inflammation. Clazakizumab is a best-in-class IL-6 antagonist that has been studied in clinical trials involving over one thousand patients worldwide. For more information, please visit http://www.vitaerisbio.com.
About HBM Healthcare Investments AG
HBM is among the global leaders in healthcare-focused investing with approximately US$1.5 billion under management. HBM focuses on development stage, growth and buy-out financings of private companies as well as investments in public companies.
SOURCE Vitaeris Inc.