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Cequent Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Names F. Stephen Laroux, Ph.D., Director, Immunology and Inflammatory Diseases


6/2/2009 11:42:33 AM

CAMBRIDGE, Mass., June 2 /PRNewswire/ -- Cequent Pharmaceuticals, a pioneer in the development of novel products to deliver RNAi-based treatments to prevent and treat human disease, announced that it has promoted F. Stephen Laroux, Ph.D., to the new position of director, immunology and inflammatory diseases, effective immediately. Dr. Laroux joined the company as a scientist in 2007. Today, he leads the team of Cequent researchers developing drug candidates using Cequent's proprietary tkRNAi delivery platform against a series of targets thought to be important in gastro-intestinal diseases, such as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Dr. Laroux's current study portfolio includes the target associated with Cequent's partnership with Novartis, as well as Cequent's in-house IBD program.

"While we are furthest along with our drug candidate CEQ508, an orally administered tkRNAi therapeutic targeting the primary oncogene (beta-catenin, CTNNB1) in FAP (familial adenomatous polyposis) -- our IBD program is actually the company's largest, and Stephen has been critical to our rapid progress over the past 18 months," said Cequent President and CEO, Peter Parker. "We started with fourteen potential therapeutic targets for IBD, including several in our partnership with Novartis. We have finished in vivo testing on candidate treatments against our first four targets, and all have exhibited significant efficacy. This is a testament to the promise of our tkRNAi technology -- but also to Stephen's skills and tenacity in both study design and execution. Thanks to his leadership and hard work we are now positioned to file two IND (investigational new drug) applications with the FDA for IBD therapeutics next year."

Dr. Laroux completed a post-doctoral fellowship at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC), Harvard Medical School where he conducted research focused on innate immune responses to bacteria as well as the role of the immune system in chronic disease. Prior to his tenure at BIDMC, Dr. Laroux conducted research into the immunology of diseases such as IBD, rheumatoid arthritis, ischemia-reperfusion, and myocardial infarction, co-authoring more than 40 publications in peer-reviewed journals. Dr. Laroux received a Ph.D. in molecular and cellular physiology (Chancellor's Award) and a master's degree in human physiology, both from Louisiana State University.

About Cequent Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (www.cequentpharma.com)

An early-stage biopharmaceutical company, Cequent is pioneering the development of novel therapeutics to prevent and treat a wide range of human disorders -- from inflammatory disease to cancer -- based on the company's proprietary technology, TransKingdom RNA interference (tkRNAi). Cequent's first products, now in pre-clinical development, are drug candidates targeting colon-cancer prevention and inflammatory bowel disease. The company designed its powerful tkRNAi technology to deactivate specific disease-causing genes safely and effectively, using non-pathogenic bacteria as an engine to produce and deliver RNAi directly into cells. It is based on ground-breaking scientific research originating at the Institut Pasteur (Paris, France) and at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center/Harvard Medical School. A privately held company based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Cequent was established in 2006.

CONTACT: Caroline Grossman of Cequent Pharmaceuticals, Inc.,
+1-781-771-5579, caroline.grossman@gmail.com

Web site: http://www.cequentpharma.com/



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