Protein therapeutics company aTyr Pharma has appointed R. Alan Ezekowitz to aTyr’s Therapeutic advisory board. Physician scientist Dr. Ezekowitz has led various research and development programs at Merck. The privately-held biotech company was founded by The Scripps Research Institute Professor Paul Schimmel and is backed by life sciences investors Alta Partners, Cardinal Partners, Domain Associates and Polaris Ventures.
aTyr Pharma, an innovative protein therapeutics company, announced today the appointment of R. Alan Ezekowitz, M.D., Ph.D. to aTyr’s Therapeutic Advisory Board. Dr. Ezekowitz, a world-renowned physician scientist led diverse and innovative research and development programs at Merck that transformed promising research into meaningful treatments for patients. As a member of aTyr’s advisory board he joins a select group of industry experts with a track record of success in innovative drug development. aTyr’s Therapeutic Advisory Board includes Drs. Thomas O. Daniel, L. Patrick Gage, Rich Heyman, Keith James, Paul Negulescu, Timothy Rink, Wendell Wierenga and Doug Williams. The group helps aTyr’s discovery and development of novel Physiocrine-based medicines. Physiocrines are naturally occurring human proteins with extracellular signaling functions. The compelling in vivo biological activity of Physiocrines offers new protein therapeutic horizons for patients with grave maladies.
“aTyr’s recent discoveries of Physiocrine in vivo activities afford unique opportunities to advance first-in-class opportunities in immunomodulation,” said Dr. Ezekowitz. “I look forward to supporting aTyr in the translation of these discoveries in Physiocrine biology into vital, new therapeutics for patients with insufficient treatment options that lead to serious consequences.”
Dr. John Mendlein, executive chairman and CEO of aTyr, said, “aTyr is tapping into novel therapeutic intervention points. As we develop these innovative therapeutics, our experienced advisory board challenges us to move forward as effectively and expediently as possible. With Dr. Ezekowitz’s expertise in leading high quality research and development programs, we will have another force among our advisory team to help us deliver on our mission to develop the best medicines with first-in-class mechanisms.”
Dr. Ezekowitz is currently an entrepreneur-in-residence for Cardinal Partners and president and CEO of Abide Therapeutics, which he co-founded with Drs. Dale Boger and Ben Cravatt from The Scripps Research Institute. He is a pioneer in the field of innate immunity, and, along with Drs. Charles Janeway, Fotis Kafatos and Nobel laureate Jules Hoffman, helped define the role of pattern recognition molecules in first line host defense. He was previously senior vice president and franchise head of bone, respiratory, immunology, and endocrine at Merck Research Laboratories, where he led the overall scientific direction of the drug discovery and development process for these key therapeutic areas. Previous to Merck, Dr. Ezekowitz served as chief of Pediatric Services and chaired the Executive Committee on Research at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH). He also served as chief of Pediatric Services for Partners HealthCare in Boston and the Charles Wilder Professor of Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School. Prior to joining MGH, he served on the staff of Children’s Hospital in Boston for 11 years. In 2008, Dr. Ezekowitz was honored with the establishment of the R. Alan Ezekowitz Professorship in Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School. He has served on the board of directors of Partners HealthCare, Massachusetts General Physicians Organization, Anika Therapeutics and NatImmune, a biotech company that he founded. Dr. Ezekowitz completed two postdoctoral fellowships at Children’s Hospital Boston in the Division of Hematology and Oncology and Oxford University. He was awarded a Doctor of Philosophy degree from Oxford University and received his medical training at the University of Cape Town in South Africa.
Physiocrines are produced from ancient genes, aminoacyl tRNA synthetases, an intercellular gene family in protein synthesis. Overlooked by genomic discovery efforts, Physiocrines are naturally occurring proteins that modulate extracellular signaling pathways in a variety of physiological processes. These endogenous human proteins act through a variety of receptor classes via mechanisms distinct from current pharmaceuticals and have potential applications in a number of therapeutic areas. aTyr is focused on using Physiocrines to generate effective physiologic responses in immune system disorders, including inflammation and disordered immunity.
About aTyr Pharma
aTyr Pharma develops biologic therapeutics based on Physiocrines for disorders in the areas of inflammation and immunity. aTyr has established a dominant intellectual property estate surrounding Physiocrine-based compositions and potential therapeutic applications. aTyr’s key programs are in preclinical development. The privately held biotech was founded by The Scripps Research Institute Professor Paul Schimmel, a leading aminoacyl tRNA synthetase scientist, and is backed by top life sciences investors Alta Partners, Cardinal Partners, Domain Associates and Polaris Ventures.