Avastin And Lucentis Pioneer Joins Tiziana Life Sciences
5/19/2014 11:07:32 AM
London, 19 May 2014 – Tiziana Life Sciences (AIM: TILS) ("Tiziana"), the UK biotechnology company, today announced the appointment of Dr Napoleone Ferrara as Chairman of the company’s new Scientific Advisory Board and as a consultant to the company.
Dr Ferrara is Senior Deputy Director for Basic Sciences at University of California’s Moores Cancer Center in San Diego; and Distinguished Professor of Pathology at the University of California’s School of Medicine, also in San Diego.
Dr Ferrara is credited with developing a new class of drugs to treat cancer. In the 1980s at the University of California, San Francisco, the scientist began studying the process of angiogenesis, the formation of new blood vessels. Dr Ferrara’s research led to the development of the anti-VEGF monoclonal antibody bevacizumab (Avastin®) which was initially approved for the treatment of colorectal cancers. This drug is now used for a broad range of cancers in combination with standard chemotherapeutic drugs. In 2013, worldwide sales of Avastin were $7.0 billion which placed it in the top ten of highest selling global pharmaceutical products.
His studies on the role of VEGF in intraocular neovascularization also led to the clinical development of ranibizumab (Lucentis®) for the treatment of wet age-related macular degeneration, a leading cause of blindness in the elderly. For this VEGF discovery Dr Ferrara won the 2010 Lasker Award, which is often a presage nomination for the Nobel Prize. It is among the most respected science prizes in the world, awarded to scientists, physicians, and public servants who have made major advances in the understanding, diagnosis, treatment, cure, and prevention of human disease. Lucentis has since become one of the world’s bestselling drugs.
Tiziana, whose shares began trading on the Alternative Investment Market in April following a reverse merger with Alexander David Investments Plc, is developing novel therapeutics for cancer, with a focus on late-stage metastasis. The first of the company’s programmes seeks to develop a drug for metastatic breast cancer, which affects up to 12,000 people annually in the UK.
Tiziana is founded on research at the European Cancer Stem Cell Research Institute in Cardiff, Wales. Scientists there have identified the BCL3 gene as a drug target to halt the spread of metastatic breast cancer to other parts of the body, potentially preventing the disease from becoming life-threatening. A study in mice showed that suppressing the BCL3 gene inhibited the development of metastatic tumors. Human trials may begin in 2016.
Dr Ferrara said: “I am delighted to be joining Tiziana at this stage in the company’s development and I look forward to advising the company’s scientists as they work towards human trials for this promising therapeutic gene technology.”
Gabriele Cerrone, Chairman of Tiziana, said: “We are honored to welcome Dr Ferrara to Tiziana, a scientist whose achievements have done so much to advance the treatment of cancer. Avastin and Lucentis have helped save many lives, and Avastin is without a doubt one of the most important cancer drugs ever brought to the market”.
Tiziana raised £2m by way of a placing of shares to fund the development of cancer drug therapies. The shares, placed at 12p, closed at 27p at the close of its opening day trading.
Tiziana Life Sciences PLC
+44 (0)20 7493 2853
Cairn Financial Advisers LLP
Liam Murray / Avi Robinson
+44 (0)20 7148 7900
Beaufort Securities Limited
+44 (0)20 7382 8300
+44 (0)20 7395 0444
FTI Consulting Limited
+44 (0)20 7831 3113
About Tiziana Life Sciences
Tiziana Life Sciences is a leading UK biotechnology company whose mission is to discover and develop novel molecules that impact human disease in the area of oncology, with a particular focus on metastatic cancers.
For more information go to http://www.tizianalifesciences.com
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