David Thompson leaves Azure to join bone disorder startup Inozyme

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Inozyme is preparing to launch clinical studies of its enzyme replacement therapy INZ-701, for treating calcification and skeletal disorders. (Pixabay)

David Thompson has left Azure Biotech, the company he helped launch, to join Inozyme Pharma in a newly created position as senior vice president and chief scientific officer.

Thompson comes to Inozyme as it transitions from the discovery stage to the clinical stage, says its CEO Axel Bolte. Currently, the company is preparing to kick-start studies of its lead drug candidate, the enzyme replacement therapy INZ-701, to treat calcification disorders in infants that can lead to overmineralization of the circulatory system and kidneys, or undermineralization of bone.

Inozyme cited Thompson’s experience developing products for bone disorders and phosphate regulation, such as Alexion Pharmaceuticals’ Strensiq (asfotase alfa) in hypophosphatasia, as well as his work in osteoporosis and frailty research during his time at both Pfizer and Merck.

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While at Merck Research Labs, Thompson worked in preclinical and early clinical development of the osteoporosis treatment Fosamax (alendronate). And as president of Azure, he was responsible for a new formulation of lasofoxifene for treating osteoporosis in postmenopausal women.

At Inozyme, Thompson will be responsible for guiding scientific research as the company builds out its pipeline. The company plans to study INZ-701 for the treatment of ENPP1 deficiencies, including generalized arterial calcification of infancy and autosomal recessive hypophosphatemic rickets type 2, a rare skeletal disorder.

“Based on the compelling science and early-stage research conducted with this ENPP1 enzyme replacement therapy, Inozyme has the potential to help patients with devastating and debilitating rare metabolic diseases who currently lack effective treatment options,” Thompson said in a statement.

Last November, Inozyme announced it had raised $49 million in funding from the venture capital arms of Novo Nordisk, Sanofi and others. The company has also attracted other veterans from across the industry, including from rare disease developers Alexion and Ultragenyx Pharmaceutical.