LONDON and NEW YORK, July 2, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Morria Biopharmaceuticals Plc, a biopharmaceutical company focused on developing novel first-in-class, synthetic, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, announced today that it has appointed Alan Harris, M.D., Ph.D., as its Chief Medical Officer.
"We are thrilled to welcome Dr. Harris as our Chief Medical Officer," said Dr. David Sidransky, a member of the company's Board of Directors and former Vice Chairman of ImClone Systems, now a wholly-owned subsidiary of Eli Lilly and Company. "Alan brings decades of pharmaceutical drug development and clinical experience in the respiratory allergy area from some of the world's leading pharmaceutical companies. This is an important milestone for Morria as we move into our advanced stages of clinical development in the allergy/respiratory and dermatology programs."
Dr. Harris added: "I am excited to be joining Morria as Chief Medical Officer and believe that my specific experience in the anti-inflammatory field will prove invaluable as Morria advances its clinical pipeline products and pre-clinical pipeline products through development."
Dr. Harris started his career in the pharmaceutical industry in 1984 when he joined Sandoz (Novartis) in Switzerland as international clinical project leader and headed the clinical development of a major therapeutic peptide breakthrough therapy, octreotide (Sandostatin®), the first long-acting somatostatin analog approved worldwide for the treatment of hormone-producing gastrointestinal endocrine tumors and growth hormone-producing tumors whose sales rose to $1.6B in 2011.
Between 1995 and 2003, Dr. Harris worked at Schering-Plough and became a VP of Global Healthcare Research. As one of his key responsibilities, Dr. Harris led the Medical Affairs clinical development program of the anti-allergy medicine Claritin, which became the leading non-sedating antihistamine worldwide. Claritin sales grew from $400 million in 1995 to $3.2 billion in 2001. Dr. Harris also led the Medical Affairs clinical development program of other allergy franchise products Nasonex, Elocon, and Asmanex (which all contain mometasonefuroate - a synthetic corticosteroid with anti-inflammatory activity). Nasonex sales rose to $1.2B in 2011. His research on the effect of antihistamines on allergic inflammation and congestion associated with rhinitis and asthma has influenced the redefinition of these associated conditions and their treatment.
In 2004, Dr. Harris joined Pfizer as Therapeutic Head of Endocrine Care in the Worldwide Medical Department. While at Pfizer, he oversaw the Medical Affairs clinical development program of the human recombinant growth hormone (GH) Genotropin for the treatment of pediatric short stature conditions and adult GH deficiency and of the GH antagonist Pegvisomant for the treatment of GH-producing pituitary tumors. Since 2006, Dr. Harris has served as Chief Medical Officer and VP of Drug Development at a number of companies.
Dr. Harris is currently an Adjunct Professor of Pharmacology at NYU Langone Medical School and Visiting Professor of Medicine in the Department of Endocrinology at Liege University Medical School in Belgium. He was previously an Associate Professor of Medicine at Cedars Sinai Medical Center, UCLA School of Medicine.
Dr. Harris is a fellow of the American College of Physicians, the Royal College of Physicians (U.K.) and the Royal Society of Medicine. He has served on the editorial boards of several international peer reviewed medical journals and has authored more than 120 peer reviewed scientific papers. Dr. Harris received his medical degree from the Louis Pasteur Faculty of Medicine, University of Strasbourg, France, and his Ph.D. in Endocrinology from Erasmus University, Rotterdam, The Netherlands.
ABOUT MORRIA BIOPHARMACEUTICALS Plc
Morria Biopharmaceuticals Plc is a biopharmaceutical company focused on the development of novel, first-in-class, non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory pharmaceuticals termed multi-functional anti-inflammatory drugs. This class of drugs targets the soluble phospholipase A2 (sPLA2) enzyme family, a sought-after anti-inflammatory drug target. Morria is determined to become a pivotal player in the anti-inflammatory drug market by developing and commercializing novel drugs for allergy, respiratory, dermatology, ophthalmological, pulmonary, and gastro-intestinal inflammatory diseases. Morria's lead two drugs (MRX4 in allergic rhinitis and MRX6 in dermatitis) have each completed Phase IIa trials. For more information, please visit: www.morria.com
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