PARIS--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Step Pharma, a biotech company developing novel drugs for autoimmune diseases, today announced the appointment of Andrew Parker, Ph.D., as Chief Executive Officer and member of the Supervisory Board. Dr. Parker joins Step Pharma with more than 20 years’ experience in various research and development roles at international pharmaceutical, biotech and start-up companies. He replaces founding CEO Geoffroy de Ribains.
“Andy has a proven track record in developing novel drugs both within large pharma as well as biotech. This expertise will enable Step Pharma to advance to the next phase in its corporate development as we move towards clinical evaluation of our first CTPS1 inhibitor,” said Hans Schambye, Chairman of the Step Pharma Supervisory Board. “We welcome Andy to the team and want to thank Geoffroy for his great contributions, drive and commitment to the company. He has played a key role in building Step Pharma since inception and in establishing its leading position in the field of CTPS1 inhibition. We wish him all the best in his future endeavors.”
Most recently, Dr. Parker was Executive Vice President and Chief Science Officer of Zealand Pharma, a developer of peptide-based medicines to treat rare diseases in the gastrointestinal and metabolic areas. During his tenure at Zealand Dr. Parker contributed to the company’s successful US IPO and established a significant preclinical collaboration with Alexion Pharmaceuticals. Prior to Zealand, he was general partner and scientific director of Eclosion2 & Cie SCPC, a life sciences investment company based in Switzerland. Earlier in his career, Dr. Parker served in various research director roles at AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson and Opsona Therapeutics.
Dr. Parker earned his Ph.D. from the National Institute for Medical Research in London, UK. He conducted postdoctoral research at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Baltimore, U.S., and also earned an MBA from the University of Warwick Business School, UK.
“Step Pharma’s approach to treating autoimmune diseases is novel and very promising with validation of the target provided by human genetic studies. The company has made significant progress in optimising selective CTPS1 inhibitors and exploring the role of CTPS1 in autoimmune diseases. My role will be to design and implement a plan to translate the phenominal scientific progress made to date into a clinical pipeline. I look forward to delivering on this challenge,” noted Dr. Parker.
Cytidine nucleotide triphosphate (CTP) is a precursor required for several key processes involved in cell division. It originates from two sources: a salvage pathway and a de novo synthesis pathway that depends on several enzymes, including CTPS1.
Importantly, patients deficient in CTPS1 only exhibit certain immunodeficiencies without other clinical problems, strongly suggesting a predominant and key role of CTPS1 in selected immune cell populations.
About Step Pharma
Step Pharma is focused on the development of a novel class of oral nucleotide synthesis inhibitors targeting CTPS1 for the improved treatment of a range of autoimmune diseases. The company has identified several series of CTPS1 inhibitors, with the most advanced series currently in preclinical candidate selection phase.
Step Pharma was founded in June 2014 by Kurma Partners, the Imagine Institute, and Sygnature Discovery based on the scientific discoveries of Dr Sylvain Latour’s laboratory and Prof. Alain Fischer (UMR1163 Inserm unit). Step Pharma is based in Paris, France and supported by a strong investor base led by Kurma Partners and including BPI France (Fonds Biothérapies Innovantes et Maladies Rares), Inserm Transfert Initiative, Idinvest, Sygnature Discovery and the Imagine Institute. More information on the company can be found at www.step-ph.com.