Company strengthens executive team with addition of skilled HAE drug developer
Leiden, The Netherlands, Feb. 7, 2020 – Pharvaris B.V., a clinical-stage company focused on the discovery and development of novel oral B2-receptor antagonists for the treatment of hereditary angioedema (HAE) and other B2-receptor-mediated indications, has appointed Peng Lu, M.D., Ph.D., to the newly-created position of Chief Medical Officer, a role in which she will oversee global clinical development and regulatory strategies for Pharvaris. Dr. Lu brings 15 years of protein therapeutics and small molecule drug development experience including within genetic rare diseases, and was previously the Vice President, Global Program Lead for rare diseases at Takeda.
“Peng’s strong industry and operational leadership positions Pharvaris for success as we move quickly to develop PHA121 for patients with HAE,” said Berndt Modig, Chief Executive Officer and co-founder of Pharvaris. “Peng has deep experience in HAE drug development from both the clinical and regulatory perspective, which will prove valuable in our clinical development and registration strategies. Her ability to build and manage successful teams fits our vision for the company’s growth in the coming years. Peng will be based in Boston to expand the clinical development and operation teams in the U.S. in addition to our growing team in Europe.”
Dr. Lu added, “Pharvaris has an exciting portfolio and impressive executive team; it will be my privilege to lead the development activities for our lead product candidate, PHA121, to address patients’ strong desire for oral therapies that can treat and prevent HAE attacks. Pharvaris’ portfolio of B2-receptor antagonists provides an exciting platform to address bradykinin-mediated disease broadly. I look forward to growing and evolving Pharvaris with my new colleagues.”
During Dr. Lu’s time at Takeda (via acquisition of Shire), she was instrumental in leading project teams that successfully completed two Phase 3 pivotal HAE studies and achieved global approval of TAKHZYRO® (lanadelumab‐flyo) for the prevention of HAE attacks in the US, EU, and the rest of world. In addition, she has also led the life-cycle management of TAKHZYRO® beyond HAE, looking to broaden indications in other diseases with high unmet medical needs. Prior to Takeda/Shire, Dr. Lu held roles in clinical development, translational research and clinical pharmacology with increasing levels of responsibility at Abbvie and Roche/Genentech, where she was responsible for the design and implementation of early and late development clinical strategies across a broad range of indications including autoimmune, respiratory, and genetic diseases leading to multiple approvals. Dr. Lu received her medical degree from Beijing Medical University and Ph.D. from The University of Texas, Austin, in systems biology.
PHA121 is a highly potent, specific, and orally bioavailable small molecule that competitively antagonizes the B2 receptor. Pharvaris has developed this oral B2 receptor antagonist with novel chemistry to improve upon the mechanism of icatibant, the leading HAE therapy for treatment of clinical signs and symptoms of a HAE attack. Emerging clinical data from the ongoing Phase 1 study in healthy volunteers confirms PHA121’s oral bioavailability and rapid exposure, and demonstrates that PHA121 has been observed to be safe and well-tolerated at the doses studied to date.
About Hereditary Angioedema
Hereditary angioedema is a rare and potentially life-threatening genetic condition with incidence between 1 in 10,000 and 1 in 50,000 people according to HAE International (HAEi), the global umbrella organization for the world’s HAE patient groups. HAE patients are susceptible to sudden and prolonged attacks of edema in the hands, feet, face, gastrointestinal tract, and airways, resulting in severe swelling and pain, airway blockage, and nausea. Current therapies are limited by invasive routes of drug administration (injection or infusion), inconvenient dosing regimens, or undesired side effects.
Pharvaris is a clinical-stage company focused on bringing oral B2-receptor antagonists to patients. By targeting this clinically proven therapeutic target with novel small molecules, we are progressing new alternatives to injected therapies for all sub-types of HAE and other B2-receptor-mediated indications. The company brings together executives with a breadth of expertise across pharmaceutical development and rare disorders, including HAE. For more information, visit https://pharvaris.com/.
Chad Rubin, Solebury Trout
Maggie Beller, Russo Partners, LLC