MENLO PARK, Calif., Feb. 25, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Virobay, Inc., a privately held biotechnology firm with a broad portfolio of cathepsin protease inhibitors for the treatment of neuropathic pain, autoimmune diseases, liver diseases and dermatological diseases, today announced that Thomas J. Dietz, Ph.D., has joined the board of Virobay as an independent director effective February 13, 2014.
Dr. Dietz has more than 20 years of successful life-sciences industry experience. Prior to his current role as Chairman and CEO of Waypoint Holdings, a financial holdings and services company, Dr. Dietz was co-CEO and then CEO and a Director of Pacific Growth Equities, LLC, a San Francisco-based investment bank and institutional brokerage firm from 2004 to 2009, when the firm was acquired by Wedbush Securities. Dr. Dietz served as head of the investment banking division at Wedbush until November 2010. Prior to becoming CEO at Pacific Growth, Dr. Dietz served as the firm's Director of Equities Research and was an award-winning biotechnology and biopharmaceutical analyst. Dr. Dietz joined Pacific Growth in 1993. Previously, he was a member of the research faculty in the Department of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco and the VA Medical Center. Dr. Dietz currently serves as Chairman of Galleon Pharmaceuticals, Inc. and Director of Glialogix and Transcept Pharmaceuticals, Inc. as well as on the board of trustees of the West Bay Region of the Sutter Health system that includes California Pacific Medical Center, San Francisco. Dr. Dietz holds a Ph.D. in molecular biology and biochemistry from Washington University, St. Louis, and was a National Science Foundation Post-Doctoral Fellow.
"The addition of Tom Dietz further enhances the Board's pharmaceutical industry expertise," stated Robert Booth, President and Chief Executive Officer. "Tom's extensive experience and knowledge will enable him to provide important advice as Virobay moves through the next stage of its corporate evolution."
"Virobay has a novel drug discovery and development platform based on cathepsin inhibitors. This is coupled with an experienced management team and a promising pipeline of molecules in clinical development," stated Dr. Dietz. "I look forward to working with the Virobay board and team to capitalize upon these assets and to create shareholder value."
Virobay is a leader in the design, synthesis and development of small molecule inhibitors of cysteine proteases, a diverse class of enzyme proteases that are key mediators in a variety of diseases, including neuropathic pain, autoimmunity, liver diseases, and dermatological diseases. Virobay was founded upon a rich industry legacy of intensive research and development focused on the cathepsin family of cysteine proteases. Today, Virobay possesses a trove of maturing assets, including an advancing clinical pipeline and well-characterized libraries of highly potent and selective inhibitors with drug-like pharmacokinetics consistent with the potential for oral once-daily dosing in humans.
Virobay's unique expertise in the structure-based design of this class of inhibitors includes extensive understanding of the properties of the cysteine protease active site, detailed knowledge of the cell biology of this enzyme family and a collection of pharmacodynamic biomarkers, as well as a deep understanding of the medicinal chemistry required to achieve superior levels of potency, pharmacokinetics, safety and specificity. Virobay's clinical pipeline currently includes product candidates in neuropathic pain, dermatology, autoimmune disease, and liver fibrosis. For more information please visit our website: www.virobayinc.com.
Robert Booth, PhD
President and Chief Executive Officer
SOURCE Virobay, Inc.