Company to Accelerate Development of Cancer Product Pipeline, with Filing of IND for Lead Product Candidate in Q2 2015
WATERTOWN, Mass.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Blend Therapeutics, Inc., a biopharmaceutical company discovering and developing two distinct classes of targeted anti-cancer medicines to advance the treatment of patients with solid tumor cancers, announced today the appointment of Drew Fromkin as President and Chief Executive Officer and a member of the company's Board of Directors. Mr. Fromkin previously served as President and Chief Executive Officer of Clinical Data, Inc., until its acquisition by Forest Laboratories. He is an accomplished, global healthcare leader with more than 25 years of experience leading private and public life sciences and healthcare services companies through all stages of growth, including product development and commercial operations.
"Drew's exceptional track record of leadership and operational expertise, as well as strong product and corporate development background, will serve Blend well as the company embarks on the next stage of its growth with two product candidates entering clinic over the next twelve months"
"We are very excited to work with Drew who is a highly strategic, energetic and visionary executive to build Blend into an important oncology company on a path to bringing innovative cancer treatments to patients," said Omid Farokhzad, MD, Founder and Chairman of Blend Therapeutics and Associate Professor at Harvard Medical School.
"Drew's exceptional track record of leadership and operational expertise, as well as strong product and corporate development background, will serve Blend well as the company embarks on the next stage of its growth with two product candidates entering clinic over the next twelve months," added James Barrett, PhD, Founding Investor of Blend Therapeutics and General Partner at New Enterprise Associates.
Mr. Fromkin takes on the role of CEO at a pivotal time when Blend is positioned to rapidly advance its novel pipeline of innovative anti-cancer therapeutics into human clinical trials in a variety of cancers. He will lead the company in its plans to file two Investigational New Drug (IND) applications with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, respectively, in 2Q 2015 for its novel personalized cisplatin prodrug, BTP-114, and in early 2016 for its first targeted drug candidate from its proprietary Pentarin™ platform, BTP-277. BTP-114, a novel small molecule prodrug of cisplatin, will proceed into clinical studies based on demonstrated superiority to the conventional cytotoxic drug, cisplatin, in tumor growth inhibition and tolerability in preclinical studies. Once administered, BTP-114 rapidly conjugates to serum albumin in blood with a high degree of specificity, and is preferentially taken up by cancer cells with certain molecular profiles.
Mr. Fromkin will also lead Blend's further evolution of the company's Pentarin platform to create proprietary Pentarins as well as applying the platform to externally-developed cancer assets which may include the targeting protein scaffolds or payloads of pharmaceutical collaborators. Blend's lead Pentarin, BTP-277, incorporates a novel miniaturized biologic drug conjugate (mBDC) and has shown impressive solid tumor efficacy achieved through tumor accumulation, deep tumor penetration, specific binding to overexpressing tumor cell antigens and selective intracellular payload delivery.
"I am excited to take the helm of Blend at this dynamic time as the company advances its novel, innovative anti-cancer therapies into the clinic with broad potential to impact patient care," said Drew Fromkin, President and Chief Executive Officer of Blend Therapeutics. "Blend is well positioned to simultaneously advance our personalized platinum product candidate, BTP-114, and deploy our Pentarin platform, led by BTP-277, to treat solid tumors cancers where penetration and efficacy have been elusive for current therapies. As Blend matures into a clinical stage company with multiple product candidate opportunities, I look forward to expanding our leadership team, broadening our investor base, and forming key strategic alliances to accelerate value creation for all stakeholders."
Drew Fromkin is an experienced, successful leader in the biopharmaceutical and healthcare industry with over 25 years of experience advancing innovative products and solutions to better meet the needs of patients. Prior to Blend, Mr. Fromkin served as President, CEO and Director of Clinical Data, Inc. (NASDAQ: CLDA) where he transformed the Company from a traditional diagnostics business with a sub-$100 million market capitalization to an innovative biopharmaceutical and personalized medicine company. Clinical Data was acquired for $1.2 billion by Forest Laboratories and he has since served in roles as an advisor, consultant or director to a variety of healthcare ventures. Prior to Clinical Data, Mr. Fromkin served as President and CEO of DoctorQuality, Inc. (acquired by Quantros, Inc.), President, CEO and Director of Endo Surgical Devices, Inc. and Corporate Vice President, Business Development, for Merck-Medco, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Merck & Co. Mr. Fromkin began his career at Health Information Technologies, Inc. as General Manager of their subsidiary, MCA, and Director of Marketing and Payer Alliances for the parent company. He was named to Business Week's "CEOs 40 and Under" list while at Clinical Data. Mr. Fromkin holds a B.A. from Brandeis University.
Pentarins represent a novel approach for the application of biologic drug conjugates to the treatment of cancer. Pentarins are comprised of a miniaturized biologic drug conjugate (mBDC) in a polymeric nanoparticle. Blend applies its proprietary suite of technologies to create novel mBDCs comprised of a proprietary targeting ligand conjugated to a potent cell-killing agent through a chemical linker. The mBDCs are incorporated in polymeric nanoparticles to protect them from their rapid clearance and allow for their accumulation in the tumor. Pentarins are designed to overcome the biological barriers that limit therapeutic effectiveness against solid tumors. Together, the components of Blend's proprietary Pentarins have distinct yet synergistic anticancer capabilities: the nanoparticle enables high therapeutic concentration at the tumor site, the small size of mBDCs allows for effective penetration and distribution deep into the tumor tissue, the ligand's targeting ability allows for specific binding to tumor cells, and the cell-killing payload is released inside the cancer cells.
About Blend Therapeutics
Blend Therapeutics, Inc., is a biopharmaceutical company discovering and developing two distinct classes of targeted anti-cancer medicines to advance the treatment of patients with solid tumor cancers. Blend's pipeline includes its lead drug candidate, BTP-114, a novel, personalized cisplatin prodrug derived from the company's R&D heritage in platinum drugs, as well as BTP-277 and other novel drug conjugates from the company's proprietary Pentarin™ platform. Blend's first Pentarin drug candidate, BTP-277, represents the proprietary components of Blend's miniaturized biologic drug conjugate (mBDC) technology – a novel targeting ligand conjugated to a potent cell-killing agent with a chemical linker – incorporated into nanoparticles to enable the penetration of the conjugates deep in to the tumor tissue where they selectively bind to tumor cells. Blend's strategy includes developing its own proprietary Pentarins as well as applying the Pentarin platform to enhance the therapeutic capabilities of the targeting protein scaffolds or payloads of pharmaceutical collaborators.
The company was founded by three leaders in the fields of chemistry and nanomedicine from the Brigham and Women's Hospital (BWH)–Harvard Medical School (HMS), and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT): Dr. Omid Farokhzad of BWH–HMS, and Dr. Robert Langer and Dr. Stephen J. Lippard of MIT. Blend has attracted top-tier investors including Eminent Venture Capital, Flagship Ventures, NanoDimension, and New Enterprise Associates.
For more information, visit www.blendtx.com.
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