EXTON, Pa., Oct. 2 /PRNewswire/ -- Othera Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a specialty pharmaceuticals company focused on novel, patient-administered products for ophthalmology, oncology, and inflammatory disease, has announced the appointment of Frederick R. Rickles, MD, FACP, as Chief Scientific Officer effective immediately. In this position, Dr. Rickles will lead the development, integration and execution of Othera's research and clinical development programs.
"We are delighted to welcome Dr. Rickles to the Othera team," said David Joseph, Chairman and CEO of Othera Pharmaceuticals, Inc. "His broad expertise in oncology, hematology (thrombosis), and pharmacology will serve Othera well as we pursue our goal of becoming a leading specialty pharmaceutical company. Othera's business strategy requires an important focus on product diversification and target selection, and, thus, we will benefit from his extensive background and expertise."
Commenting on his new position, Rickles said, "This is an outstanding opportunity to join a specialty pharmaceutical company at a very important strategic stage of the organization. I believe that Othera's novel molecules and extensive intellectual property gives us the flexibility to build our future portfolio and create a broad growth platform, and I am delighted to have a key role in that effort."
Rickles, a 37-year veteran of the Medical Community, presently serves as a Fellow in the Center for Science and Technology, Healthcare Division of Noblis, a non-profit organization that works in the public interest. Among other important healthcare projects, Noblis helped the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) implement Medicare Part D. Dr. Rickles has been working on a number of healthcare policy issues for Noblis, including pharmacovigilance, with a consortium of public and private stakeholders. Additionally, he has served as Associate VP/Health Research at The George Washington University (GWU) and was the CEO and Executive Director of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB), a coalition of 21 leading life science research organizations. He also served as a scientific advisor for multiple leading pharmaceutical and private sector companies and such as Pfizer and Caremark, respectively.
Rickles is a graduate of the University of Illinois College of Medicine and trained in internal medicine and hematology at the University of Rochester/Strong Memorial Hospital. He will continue to serve as a Professor of Medicine in the Division of Hematology-Oncology, Department of Medicine at GWU. He will also maintain his position as a teaching attending physician at the GWU Hospital in Washington, DC. Rickles will also continue to serve as member of multiple editorial boards, medical association committees, and scientific advisory boards.
About Othera Pharmaceuticals
Founded in 2002, Othera Pharmaceuticals, Inc. is a specialty pharmaceutical company focused on developing novel, patient-administered products for ophthalmology, oncology, and inflammatory diseases.
Othera's most advanced product is currently in Phase 2 clinical trials for the treatment of major age-related macular degeneration (AMD). OT-551 is a novel small molecule that inhibits oxidative stress and disease-induced inflammatory responses that contribute to loss of vision in AMD patients. "OT-551 is topically dosed in an eye drop and has the unique ability to penetrate cell membranes and reach both the front and the back of the eye," said David S. Joseph, chairman and CEO of Othera Pharmaceuticals. "We are very encouraged by preclinical research results demonstrating that OT-551 may be the first drug treatment for both the dry and wet form of age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Two Phase 2 trials of OT-551 in AMD patients are currently underway with initial results expected in 2008."
In addition to its lead compound, OT-551, Othera is also developing OT-730 as a novel improved beta-blocker for treatment of glaucoma. OT-730 is designed to have excellent beta-blocking activity in the eye, yet easily break down into inert components upon entry into the bloodstream. Today's marketed beta-blockers as a class are the most widely-prescribed drugs by volume for glaucoma, but suffer from the potential danger of systemic side effects. Initial preclinical studies support the concept that OT-730 could overcome the systemic side effect problem. An IND filing is planned for 2008.
Othera's product pipeline also includes orally-acting, small molecule analogues of OT-551. OT-304 has been identified as the lead candidate in this series and has demonstrated activity in preclinical models of cell-mediated thrombosis in cancer and inflammatory diseases. Completion of preclinical development supporting the use of OT-304 in the treatment and/or prevention of thrombosis in cancer and inflammatory diseases is expected later this year. The appointment of Dr. Rickles as CSO will enhance Othera's existing development capabilities and expertise as he is one of the most recognized experts in cancer and thrombosis in the world.
For information please visit Othera's website at http://www.othera.com.
CONTACT: Mike Beyer of Sam Brown, Inc., +1-773-463-4211, for Othera
Web site: http://www.othera.com/