SYDNEY, Nov. 15, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- Kazia Therapeutics Limited (NASDAQ: KZIA; ASX: KZA), an oncology-focused drug development company, is pleased to announce the appointment of John Friend, MD, as Chief Medical Officer.
In this role, Dr. Friend will be responsible for overseeing the development and commercialization of Kazia's pipeline drug candidates, and for collaborating with clinicians and scientists to advance the company's research programs. Dr. Friend is based in New Jersey in the United States.
Kazia CEO, Dr. James Garner, commented, "We are delighted to welcome John to the Kazia team. With paxalisib moving rapidly towards potential commercialization, and EVT801 now in the clinic, this appointment is very timely. John is a highly experienced oncology and haematology drug developer who brings to Kazia a wealth of expertise, as well as a passion for improving the lives of patients with cancer."
Dr. Friend gained his medical degree at Rutgers University (UMDNJ-Robert Wood Johnson) and also holds a BA in chemistry from Southern Methodist University. In a career spanning more than 25 years, he has worked across a wide range of therapeutic areas in roles spanning early clinical research through to medical affairs. Of note, he spent seven years with the US business unit of Helsinn Therapeutics, a leading European specialty pharmaceutical company, leaving as Senior Vice President of Medical and Scientific Affairs. Prior to joining Kazia, he was Chief Medical Officer at Cellectar Biosciences, Inc (NASDAQ: CLRB), a clinical-stage, oncology-focused biotech company based in Florham Park, NJ.
Dr. Friend commented, "I look forward to working with Kazia colleagues to drive the company's pipeline forward toward its full potential. Both paxalisib and EVT801 have enormous scope to address unmet needs in a number of different tumor types and I am pleased to be working with world-renowned cancer centers and their leading clinicians to develop these promising new therapies. I am delighted to join Kazia at such an exciting and pivotal time for the company."
About Kazia Therapeutics Limited
Kazia Therapeutics Limited (NASDAQ: KZIA; ASX: KZA) is an oncology-focused drug development company, based in Sydney, Australia.
Our lead program is paxalisib, a brain-penetrant inhibitor of the PI3K / Akt / mTOR pathway, which is being developed to treat glioblastoma, the most common and most aggressive form of primary brain cancer in adults. Licensed from Genentech in late 2016, paxalisib commenced recruitment to GBM AGILE, a pivotal study in glioblastoma, in January 2021. Eight additional studies are active in various forms of brain cancer. Paxalisib was granted Orphan Drug Designation for glioblastoma by the US FDA in February 2018, and Fast Track Designation for glioblastoma by the US FDA in August 2020. In addition, paxalisib was granted Rare Pediatric Disease Designation and Orphan Designation by the US FDA for DIPG in August 2020.
Kazia is also developing EVT801, a small-molecule inhibitor of VEGFR3, which was licensed from Evotec SE in April 2021. Preclinical data has shown EVT801 to be active against a broad range of tumour types and has provided compelling evidence of synergy with immuno-oncology agents. A phase I study commenced recruitment in November 2021.