Santaris Pharma A/S Announces Appointment Of J. Donald Debethizy As President And Chief Executive Officer

HOERSHOLM, Denmark, and SAN DIEGO, Jan. 8, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Santaris Pharma A/S, a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on the discovery and development of RNA-targeted therapies, today announced that it has hired J. Donald deBethizy, PhD as President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO), effective January 1, 2014.


Dr. deBethizy brings more than 20 years of experience in managing and financing life science related technologies, and has played a key role in building and advising several life science companies. Prior to joining Santaris Pharma, Dr. deBethizy co-founded Targacept, Inc. and served as its President and CEO for 15 years. Dr. deBethizy led Targacept's private and public financings totaling approximately $330 million including the company's Initial Public Offering (IPO) in April, 2006. Dr. deBethizy played a key role in developing business relationships with GSK, AstraZeneca, Aventis, and Dr. Falk Pharma which generated non-dilutive revenues of over $300 million.

Dr. Walter Wenninger, Chairman of Santaris Pharma A/S' Board of Directors said: "we are delighted to have Don deBethizy join our team and welcome his experience at building strong R&D focused biotech companies. With our company emerging as a leader in this new field of RNA medicines, we are very pleased to have an executive of Don's caliber joining us to lead the Company through the next phase of its development".

"I am excited and honored to join Santaris Pharma," said Dr. deBethizy. "Since its founding in Denmark in 2003, Santaris has built a strong R&D team who has made great strides at developing a deep pipeline of preclinical and clinical stage RNA therapeutics and a significant patent estate. Importantly, the company has demonstrated in phase 2 clinical trials that the LNA platform can deliver potent and safe oligonucleotide compounds which treat disease (N Engl J Med, March 27, 2013). I am confident that the company will bring additional LNA-drugs against disease relevant mRNAs and microRNAs into the clinic in the near term."

Dr. deBethizy is currently serving as executive chairman for Contera Pharma and as independent director for Asceneuron. He is also serving or has served on the following biotech company boards: Biozeus, Enbiotix, Proterris, Biosource, and LigoCyte. Dr. deBethizy has a BS in Biology from the University of Maryland and an MS and PhD in Toxicology from Utah State University. He completed his post-doctoral work at the Chemical Industry Institute of Toxicology.

The company is also announcing that Henrik Stage, CEO since April, 2012, will continue with the company as Chief Financial Officer and Executive Vice President of Corporate Development.

Dr. Wenninger added: "I want to thank Henrik for his leadership during this critical period in the company's development, most notably the consolidation of the operations and growth secured through several new or extended strategic partnerships. We are fortunate to retain Henrik's financial and business experience as we move the company forward."

About Locked Nucleic Acid (LNA) Drug Platform

The LNA Drug Platform and Drug Discovery Engine developed by Santaris Pharma A/S combines the company's proprietary LNA chemistry with its highly specialized and targeted drug development capabilities to rapidly deliver LNA-based drug candidates against both mRNA and microRNA, thus enabling scientists to develop drug candidates against diseases that are difficult, or impossible, to target with contemporary drug platforms such as antibodies and small molecules. The LNA Drug Platform overcomes the limitations of earlier antisense and siRNA technologies through a unique combination of small size and very high affinity that allows this new class of drugs candidates to potently and specifically inhibit RNA targets in many different tissues without the need for complex delivery vehicles. LNA is also sometimes referred to as BNA (Bicyclic or Bridged Nucleic Acid).

About Santaris Pharma A/S

Santaris Pharma A/S is a privately held clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on the discovery and development of RNA-targeted therapies. The LNA Drug Platform and Drug Discovery Engine developed by Santaris Pharma A/S combine the company's proprietary LNA chemistries with its highly specialized and targeted drug development capabilities to rapidly deliver potent single-stranded LNA-based drug candidates across a multitude of disease states. The company's research and development activities focus on cardiometabolic disorders, infectious and inflammatory diseases, cancers and rare genetic disorders, while partnerships with major pharmaceutical companies include a range of additional undisclosed therapeutic areas. The company has strategic partnerships with Bristol-Myers Squibb, Shire PLC, Pfizer, miRagen Therapeutics, RaNa Therapeutics Inc. and Isarna Therapeutics GmbH. As part of its broad patent estate, the company holds exclusive worldwide rights to manufacture, have manufactured and sell products that contain LNA as an active ingredient for studies performed with a view to obtaining marketing approval. Santaris Pharma A/S, founded in 2003, is headquartered in Denmark with operations in the United States. Please visit for more information.

SOURCE Santaris Pharma A/S

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