BOSTON, Nov. 30, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Rhythm announced today that Lex Van der Ploeg, PhD, has joined the company as Chief Scientific Officer. Dr. Van der Ploeg brings to Rhythm more than 25 years of drug development expertise in obesity, metabolic diseases, and other therapeutic areas.
"Lex has considerable experience with the biology and genetics of the metabolic pathways we are targeting with our ghrelin and melanocortin 4 receptor clinical programs," said Keith Gottesdiener, MD, CEO of Rhythm. "He led obesity metabolic research at Merck that put 10 product candidates into clinical development, leveraging research that included the discovery of the ghrelin receptor and pioneering R&D discoveries related to MC4R and other metabolic pathways. We are very happy to have him with us."
Dr. Van der Ploeg's experience includes 17 years at Merck Research Laboratories (MRL), where his positions included Vice President, Basic Research and Site Head at MRL Boston, Site Head at MRL San Diego, and Head, Obesity Research. In these R&D leadership roles, Dr. Van der Ploeg directed drug development programs in metabolism, oncology, and neurodegenerative diseases. After Merck, he focused on personalized medicine as Head, R&D at Abraxis Health, which was ultimately acquired by Celgene. Dr. Van der Ploeg received an MS in Biochemistry and Enzymology from the University of Amsterdam and a PhD in Biochemistry/Enzymology/Genetics from the University of Amsterdam/Netherlands Cancer Institute.
"Rhythm's metabolic peptide programs are built on a strong preclinical foundation, targeting mechanisms that have considerable potential to make important drugs," said Dr. Van der Ploeg. "I am very pleased to join this excellent team to help develop this exciting portfolio of drug candidates for obesity, diabetes, and GI metabolic disorders."
About Rhythm Pharmaceuticals (www.rhythmtx.com)
Rhythm is a biotechnology company developing peptide therapeutics that address unmet needs in metabolic diseases. Rhythm is developing the ghrelin peptide agonist, RM-131, for the treatment of diabetic gastroparesis and the MC4R peptide agonist, RM-493, for obesity and diabetes. Rhythm investors include MPM Capital, New Enterprise Associates, and Third Rock Ventures. The company is based in Boston, Massachusetts.