SAN DIEGO, July 29, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Abide Therapeutics announced today the appointment of Nancy Thornberryto its board of directors. Thornberry was previously senior vice president and franchise head, Diabetes and Endocrinology for Merck & Co. Inc., where she led discovery, clinical research, strategy and overall pipeline management in diabetes, osteoporosis, fertility and contraception. Thornberry, a distinguished pharmaceutical scientist, initiated and co-led the program that resulted in the discovery of JanuviaTM, an inhibitor of DPP-4, a serine hydrolase, for the treatment of type 2 diabetes. Abide has pioneered innovative technologies to selectively target serine hydrolases, one of the largest enzyme families involved in regulating human physiology.
"Nancy has been an invaluable member of our scientific advisory board," said Alan Ezekowitz, MBChB, D.Phil., president and CEO of Abide Therapeutics. "As we advance our programs into the clinic, Nancy's in-depth knowledge of drug discovery and development will be invaluable. Additionally, her expertise in the serine hydrolase space will be advantageous in advising the Company on target selection and validation."
"As a member of Abide's scientific advisory board for the past year, I have seen firsthand the potential of Abide's disruptive technologies and the talent of the Company's team," said Thornberry. "As many know, DPP-4 is a member of the serine hydrolase family and inhibitors of this enzyme have proven to be important in the treatment of type 2 diabetes. With more than 200 members, the serine hydrolase family is involved in many key aspects of human physiology and disease. As a member of the board of directors, I look forward to helping Abide reach the full potential of their unique and powerful approach to target a validated but largely underexplored class of enzymes."
Nancy Thornberrybegan her long and distinguished career at Merck Research Laboratories (MRL) in 1979 as a biochemist. Among her most notable accomplishments are the identification of the first caspase, interleukin-1B converting enzyme (ICE/caspase-1), and development of a novel approach for the analysis of protease specificities. In 1999, she initiated the dipeptidyl peptidase 4 (DPP-4) program and co-led the team that led to the discovery of Januvia (sitagliptin). In 2007, Thornberry became a vice president and Worldwide Basic Research Head for Diabetes and Obesity, and was promoted in 2009 to SVP and franchise head of Diabetes and Obesity. In 2011, Thornberry became SVP and franchise head of Diabetes and Endocrinology. She has been an author on numerous publications and received a number of awards for her accomplishments, including the PhRMA's Discoverers Award, which honors research scientists whose work has been of special benefit to humankind.
About Serine Hydrolases
The large family of serine hydrolases are validated but largely underexplored as drug targets. These enzymes play a key regulatory role in human physiological processes, such as regulating CNS signaling, digestion, metabolism, inflammation, blood clotting, and life cycle of viruses and pathogens. Thus, the ability to target serine hydrolases has broad therapeutic applications. The proprietary Abide technology platform provides a unique highly selective small molecule collection that specifically targets the common catalytic site of serine hydrolases. The technology provides a rapid and effective method for target identification and validation.
About Abide Therapeutics
Abide Therapeutics is focused on developing innovative medicines that target serine hydrolases, one of the largest enzyme classes in nature with validated but mostly untapped therapeutic potential. Serine hydrolases play important regulatory roles in human physiology and disease. Abide has created a proprietary platform, based on technology developed at The Scripps Research Institute by Professors Ben Cravatt and Dale Boger, that specifically targets serine hydrolases with selective small molecules. The ability to target and modulate serine hydrolases has potential to develop new medicines in many therapeutic areas. Abide is located in San Diego. To learn more, visit www.abidetx.com.
SOURCE Abide Therapeutics