SAN FRANCISCO, Aug. 23, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- E-Scape Bio, a biopharmaceutical company developing novel small-molecule therapeutics for patients with inherited forms of neurodegenerative diseases, today announced the appointment of Julie Anne Smith as president and chief executive officer and member of the board of directors. Ms. Smith brings more than 20 years of leadership in the life science industry, with a focus on leading private and publicly-held companies through development and commercialization of therapies for neurodegenerative and orphan diseases. She takes the helm as E-Scape nears clinical development for its lead program, which seeks to treat lysosomal storage disorders that impact the central nervous system (CNS). She succeeds former CEO Dr. Leon Chen, a venture partner with Orbimed Advisors.
"The board is very grateful to have had the services of Dr. Chen to lead the Company from inception to this exciting inflection point," said Dr. Peter A. Thompson, a director of the Company. "We are excited by the dynamic leadership, vision, and experience Julie brings to the company and look forward to working closely with her to advance E-Scape's therapies to patients."
E-Scape's lead program, an S1P5 receptor agonist for neuronopathic lysosomal storage disorders, will be in clinical development in 2019. In an agreement announced in June, E-Scape obtained worldwide rights to the small-molecule program from AbbVie, broadening a pipeline that also includes a Parkinson's program targeting LRRK2 and an Alzheimer's program targeting ApoE4.
"I'm delighted to join E-Scape at this time of rapid momentum for the company and need for therapeutic alternatives for neurodegenerative diseases," said Ms. Smith. "Backed by a stellar investor base, E-Scape has a robust pipeline of small molecule drugs targeting genetically defined patient populations suffering from neurodegenerative diseases. I look forward to building our team and executing a development and financing strategy that will enable us to advance these programs aimed at tackling some of the most devastating healthcare challenges of our time, such as orphan lysosomal storage disorders, Parkinson's and Alzheimer's disease, to patients in need of therapies."
Prior to joining E-Scape, Ms. Smith served as president and chief executive officer of Nuredis, a biotechnology company developing small-molecule therapies for nucleotide repeat disorders such as Huntington's disease. She previously served as president and CEO of Raptor Pharmaceuticals, which developed and commercialized therapies for the orphan disease nephropathic cystinosis and chronic pulmonary infections before its acquisition by Horizon Pharmaceuticals. Ms. Smith also served as chief commercial officer of Enobia Pharmaceuticals until it was acquired by Alexion in 2012. Earlier in her career, she held roles at Jazz Pharmaceuticals, Genzyme, Novazyme and Bristol-Myers Squibb. Ms. Smith serves as a director on the boards of Exelixis, Inc. (EXEL) and Audentes Therapeutics (BOLD). Ms. Smith obtained her bachelor of science in biology from Cornell University.
About E-Scape Bio
E-Scape Bio is a biopharmaceutical company developing novel small-molecule therapeutics for patients with inherited forms of neurodegenerative diseases. The company's drug development pipeline includes small molecules targeting known genetic drivers of CNS disorders including an S1P5 agonist for the treatment of CNS lysosomal storage disorders, a Parkinson's disease program targeting LRRK2, and an Alzheimer's disease program targeting ApoE4. For additional information, please visit www.e-scapebio.com.
SOURCE E-Scape Bio