Former Head of R&D at Orexigen Therapeutics and Therapeutic Area Head for Nephrology at Amgen appointed as CMO
CMO appointment and launch of US subsidiary are significant steps in establishing a US presence
Palma de Mallorca, Spain – Laboratoris Sanifit S.L., a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on treatments for calcification disorders, today announces the appointment of Dr Preston S. Klassen, MD, MHS as its Chief Medical Officer and the launch of its US Subsidiary Sanifit Inc., based in San Diego, USA.
Dr Klassen brings nearly 14 years of industry experience to Sanifit and five years prior to this in Nephrology as a faculty member at Duke. He brings with him experience of taking a drug all the way through to approval at the FDA. In addition to his CMO role within the company, Dr Klassen will serve as President of the US subsidiary and his primary responsibilities will include leading the clinical development of SNF472 and enhancing the Company’s growing presence in the US. Dr Klassen is the first of the new hires planned by Sanifit as the Company establishes its US office based in San Diego.
Commenting on the appointment, Joan Perelló, CEO of Sanifit said,
“We are extremely fortunate to have someone of Preston’s experience join our leadership team. His first class operational and clinical development expertise in nephrology and cardiometabolic drug development, coupled with his leadership experience, will be invaluable in taking our lead product through to regulatory approval.
“Furthermore, we are very pleased to announce the opening of our US subsidiary, Sanifit Inc. The appointment of Preston and the opening of our new office in San Diego provide a robust platform for Sanifit’s growth strategy as we expand into the US.”
Dr Klassen added,
“I am excited to join the highly experienced team at Sanifit, and to assume responsibility for leading the development of its primary asset, SNF472, in the treatment of cardiovascular diseases linked to calcification, including patients with End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) undergoing haemodialysis, for which there are currently no approved drugs, and the orphan drug program for calciphylaxis.”
Dr Klassen was most recently Executive Vice President, Head of Global Development at Orexigen Therapeutics. Previously, Dr Klassen held several positions of increasing responsibility at Amgen, Inc., including Therapeutic Area Head for Nephrology.
Prior to joining Amgen, Dr Klassen was a faculty member in the Division of Nephrology at Duke University Medical Center from 1997 to 2002. Dr Klassen received his M.D. from the University Of Nebraska College Of Medicine and completed his residency in Internal Medicine, fellowship in Nephrology, and M.H.S. degree at Duke University.
The announcement follows the recent appointment of Keith R. Leonard, Former President & CEO of Kythera Biopharmaceuticals, to Sanifit’s Board of Directors.
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SNF472 is an intravenous formulation with a novel mechanism of action for haemodialysis patients with cardiovascular diseases linked to calcification. SNF472 is being developed for two indications: reduction of cardiovascular events in dialysis patients and for the treatment of calciphylaxis. SNF472 has orphan drug status for the treatment of calciphylaxis from both the EMA and FDA. SNF472 selectively blocks the pathological cardiovascular calcification progression and poses an innovative solution for these unmet medical needs. The intravenous route is promising for dialysis patients as it assures 100% compliance.
Sanifit is a biopharmaceutical company focused on the development of SNF472. The company was founded in 2007 as a spin-off of the University of the Balearic Islands. SNF472 is an experimental drug for the treatment of cardiovascular diseases linked to calcification in the End Stage Renal Disease population undergoing haemodialysis. Sanifit has completed phase 1a studies with healthy volunteers in 2014. It is currently concluding a phase Ib/IIa study in haemodialysis patients. After a recent series C funding round of $41.3M (€36.6M), Sanifit will start a phase IIb study in ESRD and extend the orphan program in calciphylaxis into phase II/III clinical trials. For more information please visit www.sanifit.com.