BONN, Germany, July 15, 2015 /PRNewswire/ --
Rigontec GmbH, a privately held biopharmaceutical company developing RNA-based immunotherapeutics for the treatment of cancer and viral diseases, today announces that Dr. J. Donald (Don) deBethizy has been appointed as Chairman of the Board of Directors. He replaces outgoing Chairman Prof. Dr. Gunther Hartmann who co-founded Rigontec and led the Board since 2014. Prof. Hartmann will remain on the Board of Directors.
Dr. deBethizy brings more than 30 years of experience in research and development, as well as financial and operational management in the biotechnology and consumer products industry. He is currently President of White City Consulting ApS in Denmark and serves on the supervisory boards of arGEN-X NV (Euronext Brussels), Newron Pharmaceuticals SPA (SIX Swiss Exchange), Serendex Pharmaceuticals (Oslo Exchange) and Noxxon Pharma AG.
Previously, Dr. deBethizy served as President and CEO of Santaris Pharma A/S until the company was sold to Roche, and as Executive Chairman of Contera Pharma until it was sold to Bukwang Pharma in November 2014. He was also co-founder and CEO of Targacept, Inc., a public US biotechnology company listed on NASDAQ. He recently served on the supervisory boards of LigoCyte Pharma, Enbiotix and Biosource.
Dr. deBethizy holds MS and PhD degrees in toxicology from Utah State University and a BS in biology from the University of Maryland. He completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the Chemical Industry Institute of Toxicology at Research Triangle Park, NC, and is a Diplomat of the American Board of Toxicology.
Don deBethizy, new Chairman of the Board of Rigontec, said: "Immunotherapy is one of the most exciting and rapidly advancing areas in cancer treatment, and Rigontec's novel approach of using RNA to target the specific RIG-I receptor that stimulates the immune system is looking very promising. I am delighted to be joining the Board of Rigontec at this early stage in its life and I look forward to contributing to the advancement of the organisation."
Gunther Hartmann, co-founder and outgoing Chairman of Rigontec, said: "Dr. deBethizy brings extensive international industry experience and a proven track record in fundraising and corporate development to Rigontec. We are confident that these attributes will be invaluable in guiding and supporting the rapid progress of the Company's development over the coming years. There are exciting times ahead for Rigontec and I am pleased to welcome Dr. deBethizy to the Rigontec Board."
Rigontec GmbH is a privately held German biopharmaceutical company developing RNA-based immunotherapeutics for the treatment of cancer and viral diseases.
Rigontec is developing synthetic ligands of a novel receptor of the innate immune system, Retinoic acid Inducible Gene I (RIG-I), which recognizes viral RNA. RNA motifs that activate RIG-I promote the destruction of diseased cells and the induction of a lasting immune memory thereby treating and preventing recurrence of disease. Rigontec's lead compound RGT100, a proprietary first-in-class product targeting RIG-I, is currently being evaluated for development in several cancer types.
Rigontec was launched in 2014 as a spin-out of the Institute for Clinical Chemistry and Clinical Pharmacology at the University of Bonn, Germany. It is supported by a consortium of experienced life science investors including Wellington Partners, Boehringer Ingelheim Venture Fund, Forbion Capital Partners, Sunstone Capital, NRW.BANK and High-Tech Gruenderfonds (HTGF).
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