BOSTON, Dec. 2, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Intarcia Therapeutics, Inc. today announced the appointment of Nancy Thornberry to its Board of Directors. Nancy's exceptional 34-year career at Merck demonstrates the power of her insight, innovation and ability to achieve competitively superior results in the pharmaceutical industry – particularly in diabetes. This makes an excellent match for the development and business opportunity expected with ITCA 650 (a breakthrough once- or twice-yearly GLP-1 for type 2 diabetes that is currently in Phase 3 clinical trials), as well as the Company's longer-term pipeline. Nancy's guidance and input will be of immediate benefit helping Intarcia chart the best course forward for ITCA 650 to bring the product to market and to help realize its full potential to improve treatment outcomes for appropriate patients with type 2 diabetes around the world.
"Nancy is an industry leader and icon of pharmaceutical innovation, having personally led the discovery, and subsequently the global franchise aspects, for a novel diabetes medicine and combinations that are fundamentally improving medical outcomes for type 2 diabetics around the world," said Kurt Graves, Chairman, President and CEO of Intarcia. "It's very exciting to have someone of Nancy's caliber and deep expertise in diabetes and metabolism join our Board and work shoulder-to-shoulder with us as we strive to bring our once-yearly and potentially game-changing medicine, ITCA 650, to patients suffering from type 2 diabetes. Our Board and management team are all extremely excited to have Nancy become our newest member of our Board of Directors."
Nancy Thornberry began her distinguished career at Merck Research Laboratories in 1979 as a Biochemist, and steadily assumed positions of increasing responsibility – distinguishing herself along the way with numerous and significant achievements. Those achievements came early as Nancy provided critical enzymology support to the angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitor project for the treatment of hypertension, and multiple other targets. Her early accomplishments also include the identification of the first caspase, interleukin-1b converting enzyme (ICE/caspase-1), and contributions to the discovery of the target of ezetimibe, the active ingredient in ZETIA™.
In 1999 Nancy became the Director of Enzymology, and then in 2001 the Director of Metabolic Disorders. It was during this same time that the full magnitude of Nancy's contributions became apparent. She initiated the DPP-4 program in 1999, and co-led the team resulting in the discovery of Januvia™ (sitagliptin) in 2001. Sitagliptin is currently the #1 branded oral agent for the treatment of type 2 diabetes, and the largest selling product in Merck history.
In 2007 Nancy became a Vice President and Worldwide Basic Research Head for Diabetes and Obesity, and then again was promoted in 2009 to SVP and Franchise Head of Diabetes and Obesity. Finally in 2011 Nancy became SVP and Franchise Head of Diabetes and Endocrinology for Merck Research Laboratories. In this role, she was responsible for strategy and pipeline management for R&D in the areas of diabetes, osteoporosis, fertility, and contraception, and numerous programs advanced under her leadership.
In addition to a prolific publishing record, Nancy has been awarded numerous times for her accomplishments, including in 2011 the PhRMA Discoverers Award. She has guest lectured at prestigious venues, as well as chaired many key scientific and medical sessions.
Nancy explained that she was drawn to the Intarcia Board opportunity because of the Company's capabilities and culture of innovation, and her assessment that ITCA 650 has the potential to make a real difference in the lives of patients with type 2 diabetes – Nancy knows very well that many patients around the world still need new treatment alternatives that can provide even better medical control, as well as markedly better compliance rates with their medicines over time. "I am very interested in new medicines that have the potential to be game changers in the treatment of serious diseases, and I see opportunities at Intarcia not only with ITCA 650 but in the Company's longer-term pipeline initiatives. I look forward to working with the Board and senior leadership to help to advance these programs and create the type of clinical outcomes success that will benefit patients."
About ITCA 650
ITCA 650 (a once- or twice-yearly continuous subcutaneous delivery of exenatide) is being developed for the treatment of type 2 diabetes. The investigational therapy employs Intarcia's proprietary technology platform involving a matchstick-size, miniature osmotic pump that is inserted subcutaneously to provide continuous and consistent drug therapy, and the company's proprietary formulation technology, which maintains stability of therapeutic proteins and peptides at human body temperatures for extended periods of time.
Data from Intarcia's ITCA 650 Phase 2 program have demonstrated significant and sustained reductions in HbA1c and body weight over 48 weeks of treatment with a marked reduction in the GI adverse events typically associated with the self-injection products in this class. ITCA 650 is an investigational new therapy and is not currently approved by any regulatory authority. Exenatide, the active agent in ITCA 650, is a glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonist currently marketed globally as twice-daily and once-weekly self-injection therapies for type 2 diabetes. Upon approval, ITCA 650 would represent the first injection-free GLP-1 therapy that can deliver a full year of treatment from a single placement. Intarcia's robust intellectual property portfolio protects ITCA 650 through 2031. ITCA 650 is currently in a global phase 3 clinical trial program called FREEDOM, first phase 3 results are expected in less than one year at the end of 3Q, 2014.
About Intarcia Therapeutics, Inc.
Intarcia Therapeutics, Inc. is a biopharmaceutical company developing therapies to enhance treatment outcomes by optimizing and improving the efficacy, continuous administration and tolerability of drug therapies. In addition, delivering medicines just once or twice yearly virtually ensures patient adherence and compliance, which is very poor in most chronic diseases. Intarcia's drug development expertise and competitive edge are demonstrated by its abilities to stabilize proteins and peptides at above-body temperature and to deliver them in a constant and consistent manner via Intarcia's proprietary technology platform. Intarcia is pursuing a Phase 3-stage development program for type 2 diabetes and has additional programs ongoing for weight regulation to control obesity. For more information on the Company, please visit www.intarcia.com.
SOURCE Intarcia Therapeutics, Inc.