BOSTON–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Inozyme Pharma Inc., a biotechnology company developing novel medicines to treat rare and life-threatening mineralization disorders, today announced the addition of three industry veterans to its leadership team:
- Pedro Huertas M.D., Ph.D., as Chief Medical Officer,
- Gus Khursigara Ph.D., as Vice President of Medical Affairs and Clinical Operations, and
- Catherine Nester, as Vice President of Physician and Patient Strategies.
The executives will be instrumental in advancing Inozyme’s lead drug candidate, INZ-701, into clinical trials in 2020 for the treatment of patients with ENPP1 deficiency. INZ-701 is the first therapy that addresses the pathology of ENPP1 deficiency, including diseases such as generalized arterial calcification of infancy (GACI) type 1 and autosomal recessive hypophosphatemic rickets type 2 (ARHR2), both of which are rare and life-threatening manifestations of this enzyme deficiency. Inozyme Pharma received orphan drug designation for INZ-701 in the US and EU in 2018.
“We are pleased and excited to welcome Pedro, Gus and Catherine to the Inozyme team,” said Axel Bolte, co-founder and chief executive officer of Inozyme. “Their expertise in orphan drug development – spanning medical affairs, regulatory affairs and clinical development – will strengthen and accelerate our ability to bring potentially life-saving medicines to people who urgently need effective treatments.”
Dr. Huertas, a veteran of the pharmaceutical industry, has extensive experience in research and development and medical and regulatory affairs, especially regarding rare disorders and enzyme replacement therapies. He recently was the Chief Medical Officer at Sentien Pharmaceuticals and before that held the same position at Eloxx Pharmaceuticals. In addition, Dr. Huertas has worked for leading orphan drug developers such as Genzyme, Shire and Amicus and has experience working with small molecules, biologics and cellular therapies across multiple therapeutic categories, including cardiology, nephrology, hematology and ophthalmology.
Dr. Huertas trained at Massachusetts General Hospital and holds several advanced degrees, including an MD from Harvard Medical School, a PhD in cell and developmental biology from Harvard University, an MS in biochemistry from Stanford University, and an MS in management from the Sloan School of Management at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
“Inozyme’s approach to treating rare mineralization and bone disorders is innovative, elegant and far-reaching,” said Dr. Huertas. “I am honored to join the company at this exciting time and look forward to working with its distinguished team to bring INZ-701 to patients with limited or no therapeutic options.”
Dr. Khursigara has more than 15 years of experience in medical affairs and clinical development, which includes designing and executing global clinical trials. Most recently, he was the Vice President, Global Medical Affairs, at Biohaven Pharmaceuticals, where he created the medical affairs department and supported the preparations for the company’s first commercial launch. Prior to Biohaven, he spent 12 years at Alexion Pharmaceuticals where he held roles of increasing responsibility, finishing his tenure as Vice President, Global Medical Affairs Lead, Neurology.
Dr. Khursigara earned a PhD in molecular neuroscience from Cornell University, an MSc in physiology from the University of Connecticut, and a BA in biochemistry and cell biology from the University of California, San Diego. He is the co-author of more than a dozen peer-reviewed publications in neurology.
Catherine Nester has nearly 25 years of clinical and pharmaceutical experience, most recently as the Senior Oncology Business Director at Incyte Pharmaceuticals. She also spent more than eight years at Alexion Pharmaceuticals in various roles of increasing responsibility from a Regional Clinical Specialist to the Vice President Diagnostics and Global Training and Development. Prior to Alexion, she served as an oncology sales specialist at both Bristol Myers Squibb and Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation.
Before joining the pharmaceutical industry, Catherine worked as a clinical nurse and nursing supervisor. She earned her BS degree in nursing from Immaculata University.
About Inozyme Pharma
Inozyme Pharma is a biotechnology company committed to developing novel medicines to treat rare metabolic diseases characterized by mineral imbalances that lead to over-calcified soft tissues and under-mineralized bone. Its initial focus is on enzyme replacement therapies to address pyrophosphate deficiency, or low PPi, which plays a role in a broad range of rare calcification disorders that threaten and limit life. Inozyme’s lead drug candidate, INZ-701, is a first-in-class therapy designed to increase PPi levels and regulate calcification in multiple metabolic diseases. INZ-701 has received Orphan Drug Designations in the US and EU, and Inozyme expects to begin its clinical trials for two rare calcification disorders in 2020.
Inozyme Pharma was founded in 2017 by Joseph Schlessinger, PhD, Demetrios Braddock, MD, Ph.D., and Axel Bolte, MSc, MBA, with technology developed by Dr. Braddock and licensed from Yale University. For more information, please visit: www.inozyme.com.