Anthera Pharmaceuticals Updates Its Lupus Scientific Advisory Board

Jun 10, 2010, 14:42 ET from Anthera Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

HAYWARD, Calif., June 10 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Anthera Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (Nasdaq: ANTH), a biopharmaceutical company developing therapeutics to treat serious diseases associated with inflammation and autoimmune disorders, today announced it has updated its Lupus Scientific Advisory Board.  A-623 is Anthera's Phase 2b compound being developed as a treatment for systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE).

"Anthera is developing a promising therapeutic for Lupus, a condition in great need of additional treatment options," commented Colin Hislop, M.D., Senior Vice President and Chief Medical Officer at Anthera.  "I am pleased that such a respected group of experts will be assisting with the clinical strategy for A-623 and hope that one day this therapy will help treat patients suffering from this debilitating illness."

The Scientific Advisory Board members include the following experts in immunology and rheumatology:

Richard Furie, M.D.

Dr. Furie is Chief of the Division of Rheumatology and Allergy-Clinical Immunology at the North Shore-Long Island Jewish Health System. He directs the Hospital's SLE and Autoimmune Disease Treatment Center, which has become nationally recognized for its role in the development of new therapies for SLE. Regarded as one of the senior rheumatologists in the New York metropolitan area, he has been on the Boards of Directors of the local chapters of the Arthritis Foundation and the Lupus Alliance of America and is a member of the editorial board of the Lupus Foundation of America Lupus News. Dr. Furie continues to serve on many committees of the American College of Rheumatology after completing a three-year term as chair of the Annual Scientific Meeting.

Kenneth Kalunian, M.D.

Dr. Kalunian is a Professor in the Division of Rheumatology, Allergy and Immunology at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine. He serves as the Associate Director of the UCSD Center for Innovative Therapy. Dr. Kalunian completed fellowships at the Lutheran General Hospital for arthroscopic surgery and the University of California, Los Angeles for rheumatology.  He has authored over 50 peer-reviewed papers and serves on several committees, including the Collective Data Analysis Initiative for the Lupus Foundation, serving as the Chair.

Michelle Petri, M.D.

Dr. Petri is a Professor of Medicine at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.  She is also the Director of the Hopkins Lupus Cohort, a longitudinal study of morbidity and mortality in SLE.  In addition, she serves as the Co-Director of the Hopkins Lupus Pregnancy Center.  Previously, she completed two fellowship programs at the University of California, San Francisco in allergy and immunology and rheumatology.

Lee S. Simon, M.D., FACP, FACR

Dr. Simon is a Rheumatologist and a Principal at SDG LLC, a consulting firm that helps companies create successful drug development programs.  He also serves as a regulatory consultant to Leerink Swann/Medacorp.  Previously, Dr. Simon was the Division Director of Analgesic, Anti-inflammatory and Ophthalmologic Drug Products (DAAODP) within the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research (CDER) of the U.S. FDA, where he was the recipient of several Quality Performance Awards, as well as a Faculty Recognition Award.  Before joining the FDA, he was an Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School.  Dr. Simon is a fellow of the American College of Physicians and the American College of Rheumatology.  In 2003, he was awarded the Scientific Leadership Award by the Lupus Research Institute. He has served on editorial boards of multiple journals and has authored more than 110 original publications, review articles and chapters, as well as co-edited four books.

David Wofsy, M.D.

Dr. Wofsy is a Professor of Medicine and Microbiology/Immunology at the University of California, San Francisco, where he also serves as Associate Dean for Admissions.  He has served as Chief of Rheumatology at the San Francisco VA Medical Center and as Director of the Department of Medicine Clinical Trials Center at UCSF.  Dr. Wofsy is also a former President of the American College of Rheumatology.  He is best known for his research in murine models of SLE, where he developed and tested several novel treatment strategies.  Dr. Wofsy's current clinical research is devoted to testing novel biologic therapies for patients with SLE.

About B Cell Activating Factor (BAFF or BLyS) and A-623

BLyS has been associated with a wide range of B-cell mediated autoimmune diseases, including systemic lupus erythematosus, lupus nephritis, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, Sjogren's Syndrome, Graves' Disease and others.  The role of BAFF in lupus has recently been clinically validated in multiple clinical studies with another BAFF antagonist.  Anthera intends to advance the development of its BAFF targeting molecule, A-623, a selective peptibody, to exploit its broad potential clinical utility in autoimmune diseases.  A peptibody is a novel fusion protein that is distinct from an antibody.  Anthera has worldwide rights to A-623 in all potential indications.  The Company is on track to initiate a Phase 2b clinical study in lupus in the second half of 2010 after reactivating the IND that was transferred from Amgen.

About Anthera Pharmaceuticals

Anthera Pharmaceuticals is a biopharmaceutical company focused on developing and commercializing products to treat serious diseases associated with inflammation, including cardiovascular and autoimmune diseases. Anthera has one Phase 3 clinical program, A-002, and two Phase 2 clinical programs, A-623 and A-001. A-002 and A-001 inhibit a novel enzyme target known as secretory phospholipase A2, or sPLA2. Elevated levels of sPLA2 have been implicated in a variety of acute inflammatory conditions, including acute coronary syndrome and acute chest syndrome, as well as chronic diseases such as stable coronary artery disease, or CAD. Anthera's Phase 2 product candidate, A-623, targets elevated levels of B-lymphocyte stimulator, or BLyS, which has been associated with a variety of B-cell mediated autoimmune diseases, including systemic lupus erythematosus, or lupus. For more information, please visit

Safe Harbor Statement

Any statements contained in this press release that refer to future events or other non-historical matters are forward-looking statements made pursuant to the safe harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995.  These include, but are not limited to, statements relating to the anticipated initiation of Anthera's clinical studies, anticipated duration and expected results of these studies, and the progression of Anthera's products through future stages of clinical development.  These forward-looking statements are based on Anthera's expectations as of the date of this press release and are subject to certain risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially as set forth in the Company's public filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including Anthera's Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for the quarter ended March 31, 2010.  Anthera disclaims any intent or obligation to update any forward-looking statements, whether because of new information, future events or otherwise, except as required by applicable law.

CONTACT: Juliane Snowden of Burns McClellan, Inc., or 212.213.0006.

SOURCE Anthera Pharmaceuticals, Inc.