VANCOUVER, British Columbia and SAN DIEGO, July 17, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- Phoenix Molecular Designs (PhoenixMD), a privately-held biotechnology company designing precise cancer therapeutics by targeting essential kinases, announced today the appointment of Dr. Gerrit Los as Chief Scientific Officer and a member of the executive management team. Dr. Los brings over 25 years of oncology, management and operations experience in both the biotechnology industry and academia to PhoenixMD. Dr. Los will be responsible for leading translational biology and medicine for PhoenixMD's emerging cancer therapeutics pipeline.
"I am truly excited to welcome Gerrit as a member of PhoenixMD's executive management team as we expand our oncology expertise and advance our lead asset, PMD-026, for triple negative breast cancer toward the clinic," said Sandra Dunn, Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer of PhoenixMD. "Gerrit's impressive background in developing targeted cancer drugs aligns perfectly with our approach to design precise therapies that target kinases essential to the development of devastating oncology diseases. The breadth and depth of his expertise bodes well for the future of PMD-026 and we look forward to his contributions."
Dr. Los added, "My career long passion for oncology research and advancing novel therapies drew me to PhoenixMD and I'm excited to be assuming executive leadership at the company. Our ability to target kinases is greatly needed to develop the next generation of novel oncology therapeutics and I look forward to harnessing this technology and know-how to advance PMD-026 and our emerging oncology pipeline toward the clinic."
Dr. Los joins PhoenixMD from AnaptysBio, an inflammation and immuno-oncology biotech company, where he served as Vice President of Pharmacology and provided direction and leadership during the preclinical development of two lead compounds in preparation for Phase 1 clinical trials. Prior to that, Dr. Los was Senior Director at Five Prime Therapeutics, where he led translational medicine across several novel oncology antibody programs. Before that, Dr. Los led oncology teams at Pfizer for over a decade in San Diego, CA and directed teams developing several targeted cancer therapeutics such as Crizotinib, axitinib, and palbociclib, which is used for advanced stage estrogen receptor breast cancers. Prior to his industry career, Dr. Los was an Adjunct Professor at the University of California San Diego where he focused on identifying response markers in cancer. Dr. Los received his Ph.D. in Pharmacology from the Free University in Amsterdam, Netherlands and was a Dutch Cancer Society post-doctoral fellow at the Netherlands Cancer Institute. Throughout his career, Dr. Los has published more than 100 peer-reviewed papers and is recognized as a leading expert in oncology research and development and pharmacology.
About Triple Negative Breast Cancer (TNBC) and RSK Kinases
Approximately 400,000 cases of TNBC are diagnosed every year worldwide and it is one of the most difficult breast cancer subtypes to treat due to lack of effective, targeted therapies. TNBC also claims the lives of young women more than any other type of breast cancer due to a lack of understanding around the therapeutic bullseye. It is also a very heterogeneous disease, therefore a common denominator across TNBC types was necessary to identify the bullseye. Through genome-wide screens, RSK was identified as the prime target for TNBC by scientists at PhoenixMD. Currently, there are still no targeted therapies available for TNBC.
There are four types of RSK involved in cancer, known as RSK1-4, and each type has a unique role in the development of the disease. RSK1 is responsible for cancer cell invasion and is an important driver in the spread of cancer. RSK2 controls cancer cell growth, while RSK3 and RSK4 are associated with drug resistance.
RSK1 and RSK2 have been proven critical to the survival of patients with TNBC. Over 90% of primary TNBC express high levels of RSK1 and RSK2. Inhibiting RSK2 eliminates TNBC cells completely, including cancer stem cells, which give rise to cancer recurrence. PhoenixMD, with its novel, targeted approach, is focused on creating patented cancer RSK inhibitors and companion diagnostics for cancer indications - initially in breast cancer - with the potential to treat blood, brain, ovarian, lung, skin, prostate, colon, head and neck cancers.
PhoenixMD is a privately-held biopharmaceutical company designing precise cancer therapeutics and companion diagnostics by targeting kinases, a class of highly druggable enzymes to treat a wide range of oncology indications. PhoenixMD is focused on developing first-in-class inhibitors against ribosomal S6 kinase (RSK), an important drug target for cancer, heart disease, and inflammation. Due to its emerging leadership in kinase inhibition, PhoenixMD has entered into partnerships with well-recognized academic and non-profit institutions such as the National Cancer Institute (NIH), University of Florida, Kyushu University, Mayo Clinic, and University of Hawaii Comprehensive Cancer Center. PhoenixMD is headquartered in Vancouver, British Columbia Canada with U.S. operations in San Diego, CA. For more information, visit phoenixmd.ca.
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SOURCE Phoenix Molecular Designs