WOBURN, Mass.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–ImmunoMolecular Therapeutics, Inc. (“IM Therapeutics”), a clinical stage company developing personalized therapies for autoimmune disease, announced today that Jonathan Rigby has joined its Board of Directors. Mr. Rigby brings extensive company building and pipeline development experience in autoimmune and other diseases. IM Therapeutics is developing small molecule oral genetic medicines targeting specific human leukocyte antigen (HLA) variants known to play a strong role in autoimmune diseases. The Company’s lead drug candidate, IMT-002, is in Phase 1b clinical trials in type 1 diabetes (T1D). Patients in the study were preselected for HLA-DQ8, the gene variant present in about 60% of T1D patients.
“Jonathan brings a strong corporate development and drug development perspective to our team as we position our technology platform towards multiple autoimmune conditions,” said Nandan Padukone, Ph.D., CEO of IM Therapeutics. “He is a great asset to the company as we complete Phase 1 studies in T1D, prepare for Phase 2 through early next year, and build our pipeline in celiac disease and other autoimmune diseases.”
Mr. Rigby has three decades of experience building biopharmaceutical companies from early stages to IPO and acquisitions. He is currently President and Group CEO and a member of the Board of Immune Regulation Ltd, a company involved in developing novel treatments for autoimmune and allergic diseases. Previously, he established SteadyMed Therapeutics Inc, (NASDAQ IPO 2015, STDY), acquired by United Therapeutics (Nasdaq: UTHR) in 2018, and Zogenix, Inc. (NASDAQ IPO 2010, ZGNX). Prior to Zogenix, he worked at Aradigm Corp, a leader in the development of inhaled insulin, and held commercial and business development positions at Merck, Bristol Myers Squibb and Phillips Medical.
Mr. Rigby currently serves on the Board of Directors of Thermalin Inc., and previously Xeris Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq: XERS); and Chairman of CollPlant Biotechnologies, (Nasdaq: CLGN). He holds a Bachelor of Science Degree, with Honors, in Biological Sciences from Sheffield University, UK, and an MBA from Portsmouth University, UK.
“I have a deep connection with autoimmune disease management, particularly type 1 diabetes, and am fascinated with the oral targeted drug approach of IM Therapeutics directed at genetic targets,” said Mr. Rigby. “I am also impressed by the clinical progress the team has achieved with IMT-002 as a lead drug in a short period of time and in the midst of a pandemic.”
IMT-002, the lead drug candidate of IM Therapeutics, is the first oral genetically targeted drug candidate to be tested in T1D patients, an incurable autoimmune disorder that affects nearly 1.6 million people in the United States. IMT-002 completed a Phase 1a study in August 2020 and is currently recruiting patients in a Phase 1b study in T1D preselected for the HLA-DQ8 gene variant. IMT-002 has been developed as a selective HLA-DQ8 blocker based on extensive computational work, in vitro and in vivo characterization. Previous studies of a tool drug, L-methyldopa, which is FDA-approved for treating hypertension, in a Phase 1b study, showed effective inhibition of DQ8 activity in new onset type 1 diabetes patients who had the DQ8 gene variant. Several in vivo IND studies indicate that IMT-002, which unlike the tool drug, is not metabolized physiologically, has more potency to block DQ8 activity and a favorable safety profile.
About IM Therapeutics
IM Therapeutics (http://imtherapeutics.com/) is a clinical stage company developing personalized medicines for autoimmune diseases by creating oral medicines against human leukocyte antigen (HLA) variants known to confer high risk of disease. The Company’s technology platform develops small molecule drugs using in silico docking of millions of compounds into pockets of an HLA variant where self-antigens may bind to trigger autoimmunity. Selected drug hits are then optimized using proprietary structure-based design and activity screening with cell-based assays for specificity of HLA inhibition. Lead drugs developed against an HLA variant have the ability to block a series of self-antigens and therefore the potential to treat several autoimmune indications related to a selected HLA. The Company is building a broad HLA-targeted pipeline in autoimmune disorders including type 1 diabetes, celiac disease, and lupus.
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