Bay Area's Allakos Taps Former ZS Pharma CEO As New Leader
Allakos Announces Additions to Senior Leadership Team
Board of Directors appoints Robert Alexander as CEO and Adam Tomasi as COO & CFO
Allakos plans to initiate a broad, multi-indication clinical program with AK002 in 2017
SAN CARLOS, Calif., Aug. 15, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Allakos Inc., a private, clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on the development of therapeutic antibodies for the treatment of allergic, inflammatory and proliferative diseases, today announced the appointments of two industry veterans to the leadership team. Dr. Robert Alexander, former Chief Executive Officer of ZS Pharma, has been appointed as Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Allakos and Dr. Adam Tomasi, former Chief Scientific Officer and Head of Corporate Development at ZS Pharma, has been appointed as Chief Operating Officer (COO) and Chief Financial Officer (CFO) of Allakos.
“We are extremely pleased with the addition of Robert and Adam to the Allakos leadership team; they are executives who have successfully advanced drug candidates into and through clinical development, built successful organizations, and delivered value to investors,” said Dan Janney, a Managing Director at Alta Partners and Chairman of the Allakos Board. “Having Robert and Adam in key leadership positions will help the company bring its novel antibody therapeutics to patients and realize the company’s potential. On behalf of the Board of Directors, I want to thank Dr. Christopher Bebbington, who co-founded Allakos, for his leadership in progressing AK002 from target discovery to clinical development. Chris will continue at Allakos and will focus on the development of the company’s therapeutic antibody pipeline.”
Dr. Alexander added, “By selectively targeting eosinophils and mast cells, AK002 has the potential to treat a number of serious allergic and inflammatory diseases. Many of these diseases have no approved treatments or continue to have significant unmet need. AK002 has demonstrated safety and activity in Phase 1 clinical trials and I’m looking forward to advancing its development.”
About Dr. Alexander
Dr. Alexander has contributed to the leadership and success of several biotechnology companies. Most recently, he was CEO of ZS Pharma where he led the initial public offering and sale of ZS Pharma to AstraZeneca. Prior to ZS Pharma, Dr. Alexander was a Director at Alta Partners, a venture capital firm specializing in investing in development stage therapeutic companies. During his time at Alta Partners, he led investments in SARcode Biosciences and Lumena Pharmaceuticals (both acquired by Shire), ZS Pharma (acquired by AstraZeneca) and Allakos. Prior to Alta Partners, Dr. Alexander was a Principal in MPM Capital’s BioEquities Fund and worked in the Business Development group at Genentech. He holds a Ph.D. in immunology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a Bachelor’s degree in zoology from Miami University of Ohio.
About Dr. Tomasi
Prior to joining Allakos, Dr. Tomasi was Chief Scientific Officer and Head of Corporate Development at ZS Pharma where he led scientific, business development, and investor relations functions through the Company’s initial public offering and sale to AstraZeneca. Before joining ZS Pharma, Dr. Tomasi was a Principal at Alta Partners where he contributed to investments in ZS Pharma (acquired by AstraZeneca), Lumena Pharmaceuticals (acquired by Shire), Excaliard (acquired by Pfizer), ChemGenex (acquired by Cephalon), and Allakos. Dr. Tomasi served as a drug discovery scientist with Gilead Sciences and Cytokinetics. He holds an M.B.A. from the Harvard-MIT Biomedical Enterprise Program, a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from the University of California, Berkeley and a Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of California, Irvine.
Allakos is a privately held clinical-stage company developing antibodies that target immunomodulatory receptors present on the surface of immune effector cells involved in allergic, inflammatory, and proliferative diseases. The Company’s lead antibody, AK002, targets Siglec-8, an inhibitory receptor expressed on the surface of mast cells and eosinophils. AK002 has completed two Phase 1 human studies, one in healthy volunteers and one in patients with indolent systemic mastocytosis. In these studies, AK002 was well tolerated and demonstrated pharmacological activity on objective measures as well as patient reported symptoms.
For more information, please visit the Company's website at http://www.allakos.com/