BOSTON, May 13 /PRNewswire/ -- Follica Inc., a privately held developer of novel therapies for androgenetic alopecia and other hair follicle and skin disorders, today announced that William D. Ju, M.D. has been appointed as president and chief executive officer. Dr. Ju succeeds Daphne Zohar, managing partner of PureTech Ventures, who was the Founding CEO of Follica. Dr. Ju will join existing Board members including Ms. Zohar, Mr. G. Kirk Raab, former CEO, Genentech, president and COO, Abbott and current chairman, Follica, Protalex, and Transcept, Dr. Kevin Bitterman, principal at Polaris Venture Partners, and Mr. Chris Ehrlich, general partner at InterWest Partners.
"We are thrilled to welcome Bill Ju as the CEO of Follica. He brings the ideal blend of dermatology and drug development experience, creativity and leadership skills to Follica in this next exciting phase of development," stated Ms. Zohar.
Dr. Ju is a board-certified dermatologist who has 17 years of biopharmaceutical experience in a wide variety of therapeutic areas, including dermatology. Prior to joining Follica, he was chief operating officer at PTC Therapeutics, a privately-held biopharmaceutical company. In that position, Dr. Ju played an important role in successfully leading and building the company from a discovery organization into a late-phase clinical and early-stage commercialization company. Since 2003 while he was there, Dr. Ju helped PTC triple in size, complete a $50 million Series E round, and enter into a partnership with Genzyme, the terms of which included a $100 million upfront payment, up to $337 million in milestones, and royalties on sales. Prior to PTC, he was vice president in research and development at Pharmacia Corporation and held executive positions at Merck Research Laboratories in a broad spectrum of product development functions. Dr. Ju served as project leader for SUTENT®, introduced CANCIDAS® into humans, and was part of the registration team for CRIXIVAN®. Dr. Ju began his pharmaceutical career at Hoffmann-La Roche where he was a clinical leader for the development of dermatology compounds. Before entering industry, he was a senior staff fellow in basic research in the Laboratory of Cellular Oncology and was affiliated with the Dermatology Branch at the National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health. Dr. Ju earned an A.B. at Princeton University and a M.D. at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine.
"I am honored and delighted to be joining Follica, whose breakthrough research opens up remarkable opportunities for the treatment of skin and hair disorders," commented Dr. Ju. "I am looking forward to applying my dermatologic, product development, and organizational experience gained in both large and small pharmaceutical company settings to translate Follica's powerful science in skin regeneration into treatments, such as restoring hair growth in people," he added.
Follica Inc. (www.follicabio.com), a privately held therapeutics company, was co-founded by PureTech Ventures and a group of world renowned experts in hair follicle biology and medicine. In addition to hair loss, Follica has intellectual property and development programs in various skin and follicle related indications.
About InterWest Partners
InterWest Partners (www.interwest.com), founded in 1979, is a leading diversified venture capital firm focused on building long-term relationships with entrepreneurs and portfolio companies. Currently investing its tenth fund, IW X, a $650 million fund, InterWest has raised more than $2.8 billion of capital since inception. InterWest has 14 investing partners in Menlo Park, CA and Dallas, TX, who bring together deep domain knowledge in life sciences and information technology. The firm's investments in life sciences include: ArthroCare, Aspreva Pharmaceuticals Corporation (acquired by Galenica group, SWX: GALN), Cor Therapeutics (acquired by Millennium Pharmaceuticals), Corixa (acquired by GlaxoSmithKline, GSK), Coulter Pharmaceutical (acquired by Corixa Pharmaceuticals), Cubist Pharmaceuticals, Epicor Medical (acquired by St. Jude Medical, STJ), Inspire Pharmaceuticals (ISPH), IntraLase, Myogen, Spinal Dynamics (acquired by Medtronic, MDT), TheraSense (acquired by Abbott Labs, ABT) and Ventritex (acquired by St. Jude Medical, STJ).
About Polaris Venture Partners:
A national venture capital firm with over $3 billion under management, Polaris (www.polarisventures.com) invests in seed, early stage and growth equity businesses in the life science, technology, digital media, enertech and consumer sectors. Through a philosophy of lead investing and active, long-term partnering with entrepreneurs and management teams, Polaris has helped a number of companies achieve outstanding success. Among them are: Accordant Health Services, Acusphere, Advanced Inhalation Research (acquired by Alkermes), Alnylam Pharmaceuticals, Aspect Medical Systems, Cubist Pharmaceuticals, deCODE genetics, GlycoFi (acquired by Merck), Momenta Pharmaceuticals and TransForm Pharmaceuticals (acquired by J&J).
About PureTech Ventures
PureTech Ventures (www.puretechventures.com) is a Boston-based venture creation firm specializing in translating breakthrough research from top tier academic institutions into therapies that will impact human health. PureTech's senior partners include entrepreneurs and leaders from the top echelon of pharma, biotech and academia including Dr. Ronald Cape (founder, Cetus), Dr. Robert Langer (renowned MIT professor), Dr. Frank Douglas (former chief scientific officer, Aventis), Dr. Bennett Shapiro (former EVP worldwide basic and External research, Merck), Dr. John Zabriskie (former CEO Pharmacia & Upjohn), and Daphne Zohar (PureTech founder and managing partner).