CAMBRIDGE, Mass.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Imara Inc. today announced additions to its clinical development team with the appointments of Joe Datt, M.D., as Senior Vice President, Clinical Development, and Siddharth Parulkar as Head, Global Clinical Operations. In their roles, Dr. Datt and Mr. Parulkar will help lead the strategy and advancement of the company’s program for IMR-687, a small molecule inhibitor of phosphodiesterase 9 (PDE9) for the treatment of sickle cell disease (SCD).
Imara’s Acting Chief Medical Officer, Shi Yin Foo, M.D., Ph.D., will continue to serve as member of the safety review committee for the company’s Phase 2a study in adult patients with SCD. Dr. Foo will also become a member and help establish Imara’s clinical advisory board and will remain a strategic advisor to the company’s clinical team. IMR-687 is currently being evaluated in a Phase 2a clinical trial with sites open in the United Kingdom and the United States.
“We have rapidly progressed IMR-687 into Phase 2 clinical trials. As we advance the program, we have expanded our clinical team to accelerate development and demonstrate the potential of IMR-687 to improve the lives of patients living with sickle cell disease,” said James McArthur, Ph.D., Founder, President and Chief Executive Officer of Imara. “Attracting top talent like Joe and Siddharth is a testament to the promise of IMR-687 and we are fortunate to have them on board to keep building on the great foundation Shi Yin has established. With this expanded team, we are in a strong position to advance IMR-687 and we will continue to strategically build our team to develop new therapies for patients with hemoglobinopathies.”
Dr. Joe Datt, a board-certified pediatrician and neonatologist, brings 20 years of industry experience to Imara, most recently working in orphan drug development and rare diseases. He joined Imara from Orchard Therapeutics Limited in London where he was Global Head of Medical Affairs and Clinical Development, Immunology Franchise Lead. Prior to Orchard Therapeutics, he served as Global Senior Medical Affairs Director for BioMarin Europe Limited, where he was a core team leader for the company’s pipeline. Previously, he was Senior Medical Advisor, Neuroscience at Novartis Pharmaceuticals Limited. Dr. Datt earned his Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) from the University of East Anglia. He is a review board committee member for the National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE) and is an educational supervisor and appraiser for the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Medicine, part of the Royal College of Physicians UK.
With more than a decade of drug development experience across multiple therapeutic areas, Mr. Siddharth Parulkar joins Imara from FujiFilm Pharmaceuticals, where he held the role of Global Program Manager. There he was responsible for the strategy, management and execution of early stage clinical development programs. Previously, he was Senior Clinical Project Manager at Leap Therapeutics, where he managed an early-stage clinical program for the treatment of cancer. Prior to Leap, he was Clinical Trial Manager at Tesaro, Inc. supporting multiple early- and late-stage clinical studies in oncology and immuno-oncology. Mr. Parulkar also held a number of clinical development and research positions at UCB Biosciences, GlaxoSmithKline Pharmaceuticals and Quintiles. Mr. Parulkar earned his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Pharmacy from Rajiv Gandhi University of Health Sciences in India.
About Sickle Cell Disease
Sickle cell disease is a rare, genetically inherited condition that alters hemoglobin, the protein in red blood cells that transports oxygen throughout the body. The altered hemoglobin distorts red blood cells into a sickle, or crescent, shape. Painful episodes can occur when sickled red blood cells, which are stiff and inflexible, get stuck in small blood vessels. These episodes deprive tissues and organs of oxygen-rich blood and can lead to vaso-occlusive crisis (VOC), acute chest syndrome (ACS), and permanent damage to organs including the liver, spleen, kidney and brain.
Imara Inc., is dedicated to developing novel therapeutics for patients with sickle cell disease and other hemoglobinopathies. Imara is currently developing IMR-687, a highly selective, potent small molecule inhibitor of PDE9, to treat patients with sickle cell disease. IMR-687 was specifically designed to treat patients with sickle cell disease by both reducing red blood cell sickling and blockage of blood vessels that are underlying causes of the pathology of sickle cell disease. The company was launched out of orphan drug accelerator Cydan Development with funding from life science investors NEA, Pfizer Venture Investments, Lundbeckfond Ventures, Bay City Capital and Alexandria Venture Investments.