Dr. Iman El-Hariry appointed Vice President, Clinical Research
LEXINGTON, Mass., Dec 01, 2010 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- Synta Pharmaceuticals Corp. (NASDAQ: SNTA), a biopharmaceutical company focused on discovering, developing, and commercializing small molecule drugs to treat severe medical conditions, today announced that Amar Singh has joined Synta as Senior Vice President, Business and Commercial Development and Iman El-Hariry M.D., Ph.D., has been appointed Vice President, Clinical Research.
"Iman and Amar bring a tremendous amount of expertise in functions essential to achieving our near-term and long-term goals," said Safi Bahcall, Ph.D., President and Chief Executive Officer, Synta. "Our two highest immediate priorities are to advance our lead oncology drug candidates into robust, registration-enabling programs and to create productive partnerships. Over a twenty-eight year career at both larger pharmaceutical companies and smaller biotechnology companies, Amar has driven seven oncology product launches and nine partnering transactions. Iman brings the experience of both a strong academic career and an impressive track record in oncology development in industry, including oversight of over 50 Phase 1 through Phase 4 oncology clinical trials and multiple successful regulatory agency submissions. The depth of experience that Iman and Amar bring to Synta will be of great value in realizing the broad potential of our cancer drug candidates."
"With two novel, exciting oncology drugs in twelve Phase 2 trials, registration programs targeted for 2011, and multiple partnership discussions ongoing, Synta is in a strong position with great potential and many opportunities," said Amar Singh. "I look forward to working closely with the full Synta team to help create valuable partnerships and advance our drug candidates to clinical and commercial success."
"This is a tremendously exciting time to be joining Synta," said Dr. El-Hariry. "STA-9090 is the leading Hsp90 inhibitor in the clinic today, with compelling clinical activity; a differentiated, favorable safety profile; broad medical community support across multiple indications; and a promising path to registration. Elesclomol represents a truly novel approach to treating cancer: directly targeting cancer cell energy production in the mitochondria. Clinical results across three randomized trials have identified a novel predictive biomarker related to the metabolic state of the cancer cell, LDH, and a sizable group of responding patients. These findings have the potential to be major breakthroughs for cancer patients, defining a new therapeutic class and approach to treatment. I look forward to working on both of these programs."
Amar Singh, Senior Vice President, Business and Commercial Development
Amar Singh joins Synta from Spectrum Pharmaceuticals, where he most recently served as Chief Operating Officer, and previously as SVP and Chief Commercial Officer. At Spectrum, he led the commercial and business development teams responsible for the successful re-launch of Zevalin and completed major partnerships for Zevalin (Cell Therapeutics) and Belinostat (TopoTarget). Prior to joining Spectrum, Mr. Singh was VP and Chief Commercial Officer at Novacea where he was responsible for securing major partnerships for the company's lead compound, Asentar. Prior to Novacea, Mr. Singh led the launch of the proprietary division of American Pharmaceutical Partners-Abraxis Oncology and provided leadership in all aspects of commercial, and strategic development of the company's flagship product, Abraxane. Prior to Abraxis, Mr. Singh held multiple leadership positions in the oncology franchise at Hoffman-La Roche, where he led the launches of several oncology and supportive care products including Xeloda and Kytril.
Mr. Singh holds an MBA from the Stern School of Business at New York University and a BA from the University of North Carolina.
Iman El-Hariry, Vice President, Clinical Research
Reporting to Vojo Vukovic, M.D., Ph.D., Senior Vice President and Chief Medical Officer, Dr. El-Hariry will lead development of the Company's most advanced oncology product candidates - STA-9090 and elesclomol.
Iman El-Hariry is an oncologist with 13 years global pharmaceutical oncology development experience. She joins Synta from Astellas Pharma where she served as Astellas' first Global Head of Oncology. Prior to Astellas, Dr. El-Hariry served in key clinical development roles at GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), where she oversaw over 50 Phase 1 through Phase 4 clinical trials, led multiple European and U.S. regulatory agency submissions resulting in successful product approvals, and initiated and led a broad network of academic and medical community collaborations in support of GSK oncology drug candidates.
Dr. El-Hariry holds an M.D. (Hons) from Alexandria Medical School, Alexandria, Egypt and a Ph.D. in Clinical Oncology from the Imperial College of Science and Medicine, London, UK.
STA-9090 is a potent, second-generation, small-molecule Hsp90 inhibitor, with a chemical structure unrelated to the first-generation, ansamycin family of Hsp90 inhibitors (e.g., 17-AAG or IPI-504). In preclinical studies, STA-9090 has shown potency up to 100 times greater than the first-generation Hsp90 inhibitors as well as activity against a wider range of kinases. In in vitro and in vivo models, STA-9090 has shown potent activity against a wide range of cancer types, including lung, prostate, colon, breast, gastric, pancreatic, gastrointestinal stromal tumors (GIST), melanoma, AML, chronic myeloid leukemia, Burkitt's lymphoma, diffuse large B-cell lymphoma, and multiple myeloma - as well as potent activity against cancers resistant to imatinib (Gleevec(R)), sunitinib (Sutent(R)), erlotinib (Tarceva(R)), and dasatinib (Sprycel(R)).
STA-9090 is currently being evaluated in clinical trials in non-small cell lung cancer, gastrointestinal stromal tumors, colon cancer, prostate cancer, breast cancer, gastric cancer, hepatic cancer, small cell lung cancer, ocular melanoma, pancreatic cancer, and certain types of leukemias. Information on clinical trials with STA-9090 can be found at www.clinicaltrials.gov.
Elesclomol is a first-in-class, investigational drug candidate that triggers programmed cell death (apoptosis) in cancer cells through a novel mechanism: selectively targeting the electron transport chain (ETC) in cancer cell mitochondria, disrupting cancer cell energy metabolism.
Elesclomol binds copper in plasma, which causes a change in conformation that enables its uptake through membranes and into cells. Elesclomol binds copper in an oxidative (positively charged) state called Cu(II). Once inside mitochondria, an interaction with the electron transport chain reduces the copper from Cu(II) to Cu(I), resulting in a cascade of redox reactions, a rapid increase of oxidative stress, disruption of mitochondrial energy production, and the initiation of the mitochondrial apoptosis pathway.
Mitochondria generate energy for cells, but also can induce apoptosis under certain conditions, such as a high level of oxidative stress. By sensitizing mitochondria and reducing barriers to apoptosis, elesclomol may provide a means to overcome resistance to traditional chemotherapy or targeted therapy.
Cancer cell mitochondria can be selectively targeted by elesclomol because cancer cell mitochondria are structurally and functionally different from their normal counterparts, making them more susceptible to changes to mitochondrial metabolism.
Trials of elesclomol are currently being initiated in ovarian cancer and in acute myeloid leukemia. Information on clinical trials with elesclomol can be found at www.clinicaltrials.gov.
About Synta Pharmaceuticals
Synta Pharmaceuticals Corp. is a biopharmaceutical company focused on discovering, developing, and commercializing small molecule drugs to extend and enhance the lives of patients with severe medical conditions, including cancer and chronic inflammatory diseases. Synta has a unique chemical compound library, an integrated discovery engine, and a diverse pipeline of clinical- and preclinical-stage drug candidates with distinct mechanisms of action and novel chemical structures. All Synta drug candidates were invented by Synta scientists using our compound library and discovery capabilities. For more information, please visit www.syntapharma.com.
Safe Harbor Statement
This media release may contain forward-looking statements about Synta Pharmaceuticals Corp. Such forward-looking statements can be identified by the use of forward-looking terminology such as "will", "would", "should", "expects", "anticipates", "intends", "plans", "believes", "may", "estimates", "predicts", "projects", or similar expressions intended to identify forward-looking statements. Such statements, including statements relating to the timing, developments and progress of our clinical and preclinical programs, reflect our current views with respect to future events and are based on assumptions and subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements, including those described in "Risk Factors" of our Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2009 as filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Synta undertakes no obligation to publicly update forward-looking statements, whether because of new information, future events or otherwise, except as required by law.
SOURCE: Synta Pharmaceuticals Corp.
Synta Pharmaceuticals Corp.
Rob Kloppenburg, 781-541-7125