CAMBRIDGE, Mass.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--ImmusanT, Inc., a clinical stage company that is leveraging its Epitope-Specific Immuno-Therapy (ESIT) platform to engineer and deliver first-in-class peptide-based immune therapies to patients living with autoimmune diseases, today announced that Robert J. Perez has been named to the company’s Board of Directors. Mr. Perez is the first independent member of the ImmusanT Board, which includes representatives from investors ARCH Venture Partners and Vatera Holdings LLC.
A longtime executive and advisor in the biopharmaceutical industry, Mr. Perez served as the Chief Executive Officer of Cubist Pharmaceuticals, Inc. at the time the company was acquired by Merck in 2015. Prior to his tenure as CEO, Mr. Perez held multiple roles at Cubist, including President, Chief Operating Officer and Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing, where he oversaw the launch of Cubicin® (daptomycin for injection). He has also held roles of increasing commercial responsibility in the industry, including Vice President of the $800 million US CNS business unit at Biogen, Inc., and was one of the architects of the commercial model that launched the company’s first commercial product, AVONEX®.
Mr. Perez is currently the Founder and Managing Partner of Vineyard Sound Advisors, LLC, as well as the Founder and Chairman of Life Science Cares, a nonprofit organization focused on fighting poverty in the greater Boston area. He also serves on the Boards of Directors of several public and private companies.
“On behalf of my fellow Board members, I welcome Rob Perez to the Board of Directors of ImmusanT,” said Kevin Ferro, Chairman of the Board of ImmusanT and Co-founder of Vatera Healthcare Partners. “Rob’s deep experience and knowledge complement the expertise of our Board and will be invaluable as ImmusanT continues to grow and evolve.”
“Rob joins ImmusanT at an exciting time for the company, as we prepare to initiate our phase 2 trial of Nexvax2® for the treatment of celiac disease, continue to develop the diagnostic, and apply our ESIT platform to the development of therapies for the treatment of other autoimmune diseases including type 1 diabetes,” said Leslie Williams, Chief Executive Officer of ImmusanT. “Rob’s extensive business experience and market development expertise will be a great asset to us as we advance our programs and expand our platform to address the needs of patients living with autoimmune diseases.”
“Nexvax2® has the potential to change the lives of celiac patients who currently have no FDA-approved therapies available to treat their condition,” said Mr. Perez. “ImmusanT is solidly positioned as a leader in the development of antigen-specific immunotherapies, and I look forward to contributing to the growth and expansion of this innovative company in the years to come.”
To learn more about Mr. Perez and the ImmusanT Board of Directors, please visit www.ImmusanT.com/board.
About Celiac Disease
Celiac disease is an acquired, T cell-mediated autoimmune gastrointestinal disease triggered by the ingestion of gluten from wheat, rye and barley. About 90% of individuals affected by celiac disease carry the human leukocyte antigen-DQ2.5 (HLA-DQ2.5) immune recognition gene, which facilitates the immune response to peptide fragments of gluten. A gluten-free diet is the only current management for this disease. The global prevalence of celiac disease is approximately 1%. General awareness of celiac disease is increasing as serological testing becomes more widespread in medical practice, but presently over 80% of cases go unrecognized in the United States. When a person with celiac disease consumes gluten, the individual’s immune system responds by triggering T cells to fight the offending proteins, damaging the small intestine and inhibiting the absorption of important nutrients into the body. Undiagnosed, celiac disease can contribute to poor educational performance and failure to thrive in children. Untreated disease in adults is associated with osteoporosis and increased risk of fractures, anemia, reduced fertility, problems during pregnancy and birth, short stature, dental enamel hypoplasia, dermatitis, recurrent stomatitis and cancer. With no available drug therapy, the only option is a strict and lifelong elimination of gluten from the diet. Compliance is challenging and the majority of people live in fear of gluten contamination and continue to have residual damage to their small intestine in spite of adherence to a gluten-free diet.
Nexvax2® is the most advanced therapeutic approach for celiac disease in clinical development today that targets the fundamental cause of the disease; the loss of immune tolerance to gluten. Nexvax2® is a therapeutic vaccine that reprograms the T-cells responsible for the symptoms of celiac disease to stop triggering a pro-inflammatory response. Nexvax2® intends to protect patients with celiac disease against inadvertent exposure to gluten.
About ImmusanT, Inc.
ImmusanT is a privately held biotechnology company focused on protecting patients with celiac disease against the effects of gluten. By harnessing new discoveries in immunology, ImmusanT aims to improve diagnosis and medical management of celiac disease by protecting against the effects of gluten exposure while patients maintain a gluten-free diet. The company is developing Nexvax2®, a therapeutic vaccine for celiac disease, and diagnostic and monitoring tools to improve celiac disease management. ImmusanT’s targeted immunotherapy discovery platform can be applied to a variety of autoimmune diseases. To learn more about ImmusanT, visit www.ImmusanT.com, or follow ImmusanT on Twitter.