BOSTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--NightstaRx Ltd (“Nightstar”), a biopharmaceutical company specializing in developing gene therapies for inherited retinal dystrophies, today announced the appointment of Scott M. Whitcup, M.D. to its board of directors. Dr. Whitcup, an expert in developing new treatments for ophthalmological and dermatological diseases, will serve as an independent director to Nightstar.
"We are honored to have Scott join our board of directors," said David Fellows, chief executive officer of Nightstar. "Scott is a seasoned ophthalmology industry leader with a proven track record of building and growing life sciences companies. During his career, he has played a key role in bringing 20 major products to market, including a number of medicines for various retinal disorders. His judgment and operational expertise will be incredibly valuable as we advance our pipeline of gene therapy candidates through clinical development and, ultimately, commercialization."
"I am pleased to join the Nightstar board of directors and look forward to working with a team that is pioneering a novel approach to the development of gene therapies for inherited retinal diseases," said Dr. Whitcup. "I've had the privilege of working with outstanding research scientists and development teams in the public and private sectors, and I'm impressed with how the Nightstar team has rapidly positioned their pipeline at the cutting edge of precision medicine in ophthalmology."
Dr. Whitcup is the founder and chief executive officer of Akrivista and Whitecap Biosciences, two companies focused on developing new therapies in ophthalmology and dermatology. Previously, Dr. Whitcup was the executive vice president, research and development and chief scientific officer at Allergan where he led a research and development organization focused on multiple therapeutic areas, including ophthalmology. While with Allergan, he was involved in the commercial launch of more than a dozen products, including key franchises for dry-eye disease, glaucoma and macular edema. Before Allergan, Dr. Whitcup was the clinical director at The National Eye Institute at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), where he led the intramural clinical research program and conducted several key clinical studies for the treatment of complex ophthalmic disorders. Dr. Whitcup currently serves on the board of directors of Semnur Pharmaceuticals and Menlo Therapeutics. Dr. Whitcup previously served on the board of directors of Avanir Pharmaceuticals and Questcor Pharmaceuticals before they were acquired.
Dr. Whitcup has a B.A. in neurobiology and behavior from Cornell University and an M.D from Cornell University Medical College. He completed his residency in internal medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles Medical Center, his residency in ophthalmology at Harvard Medical School-Massachusetts Eye & Ear Infirmary, and a fellowship in uveitis and ocular immunology at the National Eye Institute. Dr. Whitcup has 17 issued and 20 pending U.S. patents. He is a diplomate of both the American Board of Internal Medicine and the American Board of Ophthalmology, a licensed M.D. in Calif., and is on the clinical faculty of the Department of Ophthalmology at the Jules Stein Eye Institute, David Geffen School of Medicine.
Nightstar is a leading ophthalmology company focused on the development of gene therapies for inherited retinal dystrophies. Nightstar’s lead program, AAV-REP1, is a retinal gene therapy for choroideremia, a rare, inherited cause of progressive blindness that affects around one in 50,000 people. The results from a successful Phase 1/2 trial of AAV-REP1 were published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2016, and the program is advancing toward a pivotal Phase 3 clinical trial in Europe, the U.S. and Canada. Nightstar’s second program, AAV-RPGR, is being evaluated in the first Phase 1/2 gene therapy clinical trial to treat patients with X-Linked retinitis pigmentosa. In addition to these two programs, Nightstar is evaluating several other ocular gene therapy product candidates for entry into clinical trials. The company was founded in 2014 by leading ophthalmology researchers at the University of Oxford. Nightstar’s lead investors are Syncona Ltd, a publicly listed life sciences investment company originally founded as an evergreen venture capital subsidiary of the Wellcome trust, and NEA, a global venture capital firm focused on helping entrepreneurs build transformational businesses across multiple stages, sectors, and geographies. For more information about Nightstar or its clinical trials, please visit www.nightstarx.com.