SAN DIEGO, Feb. 8, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Ambit Biosciences today announced the appointment of Athena Countouriotis, M.D., as chief medical officer. Dr. Countouriotis will lead the continued clinical development of quizartinib (AC220), currently being evaluated in a Phase 2 clinical trial in acute myeloid leukemia (AML), and Ambit's additional clinical-stage programs AC430, an oral JAK2 inhibitor, and AC480, a pan-HER inhibitor.
"We are pleased that Athena has joined the Ambit team, bringing with her considerable experience in advancing oncology programs, including those in hematology," said Michael Martino, president and chief executive officer of Ambit. "Her expertise of working with clinicians and regulators in the development and approval of targeted therapeutics for difficult-to-treat cancers positions Athena to effectively lead the Ambit clinical team."
Dr. Countouriotis joins Ambit from Pfizer Inc., where she most recently served as global clinical leader within the oncology business unit. In this role, she led late-stage clinical development for bosutinib and gemtuzumab ozogamicin. She led the preparation of regulatory submissions for approval of bosutinib in the U.S. and Europe, as well as discussions with regulatory agencies about development within leukemia worldwide. In addition, she previously was a clinical leader for sunitinib, participating in preparations for a successful U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advisory committee meeting and providing clinical expertise on business development opportunities in hematology.
Prior to joining Pfizer, Dr. Countouriotis served as a clinical team director at Bristol-Myers Squibb. In this role, she supported preparations for a positive FDA advisory committee meeting and regulatory approvals in the U.S. and Europe of dasatinib for the treatment of chronic myelogenous leukemia. She began her career at Cell Therapeutics, Inc. with a focus on AML and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.
"I am excited about joining the Ambit team and the opportunity to bring quizartinib through clinical development and to patients suffering from AML," said Dr. Countouriotis. "Ambit has a promising pipeline of drug candidates within multiple therapeutic areas, and I look forward to advancing each of them in their development paths."
Dr. Countouriotis received a doctorate from Tufts University and a bachelor's degree from the University of California, Los Angeles. She received her initial training in pediatrics at the University of California, Los Angeles, and additional training at the pediatric hematology/oncology program at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.
Quizartinib, formerly known as AC220, is being developed in collaboration between Ambit Biosciences and Astellas Pharma Inc. and is a novel, potent, highly selective, orally bioavailable FMS-like tyrosine kinase-3 (FLT3) inhibitor. Quizartinib is currently under evaluation in a Phase 2 clinical trial as monotherapy treatment for adult and elderly patients with relapsed/refractory AML that have an internal tandem duplication (ITD) mutation in the FLT3 gene.
About Ambit Biosciences
Ambit Biosciences is a privately held biopharmaceutical company engaged in the development of a robust pipeline of small molecule kinase inhibitors for the treatment of cancer, inflammatory disease and other indications. Ambit's lead compound, quizartinib (AC220), is a novel, potent, highly selective, orally bioavailable FMS-like tyrosine kinase-3 (FLT3) inhibitor, and is currently under clinical investigation in patients with relapsed or refractory AML. Ambit is developing quizartinib in collaboration with Astellas Pharma Inc. as part of a worldwide agreement to jointly develop and commercialize FLT3 kinase inhibitors in oncology and non-oncology indications. In addition to quizartinib, Ambit's clinical pipeline includes AC430, an oral JAK2 inhibitor, and AC480, a pan-HER inhibitor. Ambit's preclinical portfolio includes, CEP-32496, a BRAF inhibitor licensed to Cephalon, and a proprietary CSF1R inhibitor program. For more information, visit www.ambitbio.com.
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Ian Stone or David Schull (Media)
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SOURCE Ambit Biosciences