NEW HAVEN, Conn., Aug. 25 /PRNewswire/ -- RHEI Pharmaceuticals, Inc. today announced the appointment of Dr. Geert Cauwenbergh as Chief Executive Officer. Dr. Cauwenbergh succeeds Joos Horsten, who recently passed away. Dr Cauwenbergh has been assisting RHEI Pharmaceuticals since August 1, 2008 in providing the necessary leadership to continue the Company's development.
"I am honored to follow in the footsteps of Joos Horsten, a serial entrepreneur who was a key figure in the development of the Western pharmaceutical industry in China," noted Dr. Cauwenbergh. "As a result of Joos' leadership and foresight, RHEI Pharmaceuticals is uniquely positioned to accelerate the availability of already approved western medicines in the Chinese market and I am fortunate to be working with the world-class team that Joos had assembled in order to pursue its growth strategy."
The Company also announced today that it has received approval from the Chinese Health Authorities to launch its final clinical study for Asacard(R), a controlled release formulation of aspirin. With this approval in place, RHEI Pharmaceuticals has a low-risk pipeline of novel western medicines lined up for the Chinese market, with multiple product launches expected over the next few years.
Commenting on this news, Dr. Cauwenbergh stated, "With one potential launch this year, followed by three in 2009 (including Asacard(R)) and an additional product launch planned each year thereafter until 2012, RHEI Pharmaceuticals is expected to achieve very rapid growth. It is our goal to become the partner of choice for western companies that want to tap into the fast growing Chinese Health Care market, as well as for those Chinese companies that are interested in distributing western drugs, domestically."
Prior to joining RHEI Pharmaceuticals, in February 2008, Dr. Cauwenbergh founded Phases123 LLC, a company focused on identifying high potential health care technology platforms and emerging health care companies. In 2001, Dr. Cauwenbergh founded Barrier Therapeutics, Inc., a company developing novel patented therapeutic agents for treatment of skin diseases. Under his leadership, Barrier Therapeutics went public and raised a total of $250 million in capital, evolving from an R&D organization into a commercial company with expected revenues of $46 to $50 million in 2008, prior to its recent acquisition by Stiefel Laboratories.
Before Barrier Therapeutics, Dr. Cauwenbergh served in numerous positions with Johnson & Johnson (in both the U.S. and Europe), most recently as Vice President of Technology of the Johnson & Johnson (J&J) Consumer and Personal Care Products Companies, and before that, as Vice President of Research & Development of the J&J Consumer Companies Worldwide. Dr. Cauwenbergh was also previously with the R&D organization of the Janssen Research Foundation in Belgium.
Dr. Cauwenbergh currently serves as a Board member of DARA Biosciences, Upstream Biosciences as well as Ablynx NV, and is a member of the Board of Trustees, and Vice Chairman of Bio New Jersey. Since 2004, Dr. Cauwenbergh has served as Official Trade Advisor for Health Care in North America to the Belgian Government. From 2004 to 2006, he served as a member on the Board of Trustees of the New Jersey Center of Life Sciences and from 2003 to 2005, Dr. Cauwenbergh was a member of the Board of Intercept Inc.
Dr. Cauwenbergh has authored over 100 publications and co-authored several books. He received his Ph.D. in Medical Sciences from the Catholic University of Leuven, Faculty of Medicine, where he also completed his Masters and undergraduate work. In 2004 Dr. Cauwenbergh was inducted in the New Jersey High Tech Hall of Fame.
Asacard(R), which RHEI Pharmaceuticals has licensed from Flamel Technologies , is a controlled release formulation of aspirin for prophylactic cardiovascular indications. Using Flamel's Micropump(R) technology platform, Asacard(R) is designed to provide effective and safe therapy for cardiovascular treatment. Its safety and efficacy for this indication comes from controlling the release of aspirin while providing cardiovascular benefits similar to conventional aspirin formulations. Asacard(R) is differentiated from conventional aspirin in that it reduces gastrointestinal side effects. Further, it is the only aspirin formulation that significantly controls the rate of release of aspirin in the systemic circulation system, thus avoiding Cox 1 inhibition, the major cause of gastrointestinal problems. Additionally, its microparticle coating protects the stomach and intestinal lining from direct contact with the aspirin. Asacard(R) is currently approved for marketing in 11 countries including France and the United Kingdom.
According to the World Health Organization, cardiovascular disease is one of the leading causes of mortality in Southeast Asia. In China alone, more than a quarter (27.4%) of all deaths are due to cardiovascular disease and there are currently more than 120 million adults with hypertension in China.
About RHEI Pharmaceuticals
RHEI Pharmaceuticals is a venture backed specialty pharmaceutical company with operations in Belgium, the U.S. and in China that acquires, licenses, develops and commercializes in China proprietary drug therapies based upon the unmet needs of the emerging China pharmaceuticals market. The Company leverages its proprietary and extensive network of experienced clinical development and regulatory professionals in China to expedite approvals for pharmaceuticals new to the China market. RHEI's growing sales and marketing capabilities then provide broad patient access in China to these new and critically necessary therapeutics. RHEI applies its unique offering to branded pharmaceuticals, through its Ethical Division, and to consumer healthcare and OTC/natural supplement products through its Pharmacy Division.
CONTACT: Dr. Geert Cauwenbergh, Chief Executive Officer of RHEI
Pharmaceuticals, Inc., +1-609-897-1219; or Eric Goldman (media),
+1-917-322-2563, or Rhonda Chiger (investors), +1-917-322-2569, both of Rx
Communications Group, for RHEI Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
Web site: http://www.rheipharma.com/