CHICAGO & CAMBRIDGE, Mass.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Exicure, Inc. (NASDAQ:XCUR), the pioneer in gene regulatory and immunotherapeutic drugs utilizing spherical nucleic acid (SNA™) constructs, announced today that it has appointed Douglas E. Feltner, M.D. as its Chief Medical Officer effective May 18th, 2020. Dr. Feltner joins Exicure from AveXis (now part of Novartis) where he was the Vice President of Clinical Development, focusing on developing gene therapies for neurodegenerative and neurodevelopmental disorders, including the recent approval of Zolgensma™ for patients with Spinal Muscular Atrophy.
“Doug brings deep experience in all phases of drug development, starting with translational and early strategic decision making all the way to phase 3 registration trials. Exicure is committed to building a growing pipeline of neurological drug candidates and we are very pleased to have Doug bring his expertise and experience to this important initiative,” stated Dr. David Giljohann, CEO of Exicure.
Dr. Feltner is a physician-scientist, with over 20 years of experience in clinical drug development and in translational medicine, primarily focused on neurology, psychiatry and neuroscience. Prior to AveXis, Dr. Feltner, served as Vice President, Neuroscience Development, for AbbVie, Inc. and Vice President, Global Head of Translational Medicine for Pfizer, Inc. Dr. Feltner earned his M.D., with distinction in research, from the University of Michigan Medical School, did his residency in psychiatry at George Washington University, and was a postdoctoral fellow in the Lab of Mammalian Genes and Development at The National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.
Dr. Feltner commented, “I have watched with great interest the development of Exicure’s spherical nucleic acid technology. I see many compelling opportunities for addressing unmet neurological conditions with Exicure’s SNA platform technology and am thrilled to join their growing team.”
About Exicure’s Neurological Programs
Exicure has conducted extensive preclinical research evaluating the suitability of our SNA technology for genetically defined neurological diseases, including efficacy studies in animal models, and biodistribution in rodent and non-human primates. Our pre-clinical work suggests that the SNA platform may be well-suited for development of new therapeutics directed towards diseases of the central nervous system. We are currently developing XCUR-FXN, a SNA-based therapeutic candidate for the treatment of Friedreich’s ataxia, or FA. FA is an autosomal recessive, neurodegenerative disease characterized by progressively impaired muscle coordination caused by the degeneration of neurons in the cerebellum and dorsal root ganglia in the spinal cord. An estimated 5,000 patients in the US and 15,000 patients worldwide are affected by FA. There are no FDA-approved treatments for FA. Based on our pre-clinical studies, we believe we can target FA at the genetic source and meet an important unmet medical need for FA patients. XCUR-FXN, will be designed and developed with guidance from and in collaboration with the Friedreich’s Ataxia Research Alliance, or FARA, the non-profit, charitable organization dedicated to accelerating research leading to treatments and a cure for FA. We expect to initiate IND-enabling studies for XCUR-FXN in late 2020.
We believe there is significant unmet medical need in rare neurological disorders and look forward to building a pipeline of neurological drug candidates. Exicure is focused on diseases with genetically validated known targets known where few disease modifying therapies exist and which are not readily addressable by traditional therapeutic modalities. Such indications include by way of example: Spinocerebellar ataxia, Friedreich’s ataxia, Batten disease, Ataxia telangiectasia, Angelman syndrome, Huntington’s, ALS.
About Exicure, Inc.
Exicure, Inc. is a clinical-stage biotechnology company developing therapeutics for neurology, immuno-oncology, inflammatory diseases and genetic disorders based on our proprietary Spherical Nucleic Acid, or SNA technology. Exicure believes that its proprietary SNA architecture has distinct chemical and biological properties that may provide advantages over other nucleic acid therapeutics and may have therapeutic potential to target diseases not typically addressed with other nucleic acid therapeutics. Exicure is in preclinical development of XCUR-FXN, an SNA–based therapeutic candidate for the treatment of Friedreich’s ataxia (FA). Exicure’s drug candidate AST-008 is currently in a Phase 1b/2 clinical trial in patients with advanced solid tumors. Exicure is based outside of Chicago, IL and also has an office in Cambridge, MA. For more information, visit Exicure’s website at www.exicuretx.com.