Marseille, France – February 24, 2016 – Genoscience Pharma today announces the arrival of four new members to its board of directors. Dr Mahkam Zanganeh, Robert Duggan and Manmeet Soni, respectively the former chief operating officer, chief executive officer and chief financial officer of Pharmacyclics, are joining the board along with Chaim Hurvitz, who has worked in many management roles for Teva International Group. The new members will support the strategic and financial development of Genoscience, alongside existing board members – Antoine Béret, Jean-Marc Feryn, Vincent Fert and Chalom Sayada. Their arrival is accompanied by an increase in capital, the terms of which have not been disclosed.
The four new members are all recognized biotechnology entrepreneurs. While at Pharmacyclics Pharmaceuticals, in less than seven years, Mahkam Zanganeh and Robert Duggan developed and brought to the market Imbruvica, a first-in-class compound treating patients with Mantle Cell Lymphoma (MCL), Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (CLL) and Waldenstrom’s macroglobulinemia (WM). In May 2015, Abbvie acquired Pharmacyclics for $21Bn (€18.9Bn), one of the biggest buyouts for a biotechnology company to date.
Genoscience Pharma’s most advanced compound, GNS561, is in preclinical development for the treatment of liver cancer. It is a small active molecule that works against a new target. It is unique as it targets not only hepatic cancerous cells, but also the progenitors of the cancerous hepatocyte stem cells. GNS561 begins its regulatory process with the aim of starting the first-in-man phase 1b/2a trials in 2017. Preclinical studies have demonstrated GN561’s potential to become a major therapeutic breakthrough in the treatment of hepatocellular carcinoma.
“I am delighted to welcome this high caliber team to our board of directors. Robert Duggan and Mahkam Zanganeh’s experience in the development of anti-tumor molecules will be a credit to our company,” said Prof. Philippe Halfon, president and founder of Genoscience Pharma. “It is an honor and a true mark of recognition to be joined by such a team, who participate very selectively in high potential projects. Their scientific expertise in pharmaceutical development will undoubtedly help us achieve our objectives and get to Phase 2 quickly.”
“The next challenge in oncology is to cure cancer patients by targeting the seed of the disease; cancer stem cells which cause cancer to recur,” said Dr. Mahkam Zanganeh. “The strategy proposed by Genoscience Pharma is unique and will allow us to make a decisive step forward in curing cancer.”