Circassia Limited Appoints Dr. Francesco Granata as Chairman
Published: Sep 25, 2013
OXFORD, UK – 25 September 2013 – Circassia Ltd, a specialty biopharmaceutical company focused on developing world-class immunotherapies, today announced the appointment of Dr Francesco Granata as Non-Executive Chairman. Dr Granata is Executive in Residence at Warburg Pincus, following a career of over 30 years in the international pharmaceutical industry. Most recently, Dr Granata was Executive Vice President at Biogen Idec with responsibility for the company’s global commercial and medical affairs operations, and a Board Member of the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA).
“I am excited to join Circassia at this important time in the company’s development,” said Dr Francesco Granata, Circassia’s Chairman. “With its lead allergy treatment progressing through phase III, Circassia is undergoing a rapid transformation as it prepares for the launch of this potentially revolutionary product. I look forward to assisting the company with preparations for commercialisation, and contributing to Circassia’s strategic development as it transitions from an R&D organisation into a fully integrated pharmaceutical business.”
Commenting on today’s announcement, Steve Harris, Circassia’s Chief Executive and Co-Founder said, “I am delighted Francesco has chosen to join Circassia as Chairman. His extensive international commercial and R&D experience will prove invaluable as we continue the company’s rapid development into a leading allergy business. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank Sir Richard Sykes for his leadership and counsel as Circassia’s Chairman over the last six years, during which period the company has progressed significantly from early start-up into late-stage development.”
Dr Francesco Granata has extensive senior-level experience of the global pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries gained in a number of R&D, commercial and general management roles. Until recently he was Executive Vice President at Biogen Idec, before which he was the Group Vice President and President responsible for Canada and major European markets at Schering-Plough. Prior to this, he was Regional President for Northern Europe at Pfizer, following a period as the company’s President of the Middle East and Africa region. Previously, he was Managing Director of Pharmacia and Upjohn in Italy, having previously held a number of medical and commercial roles of increasing seniority in several pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies in Italy and Switzerland. Prior to his industry career, Dr Granata practised as a Medical Doctor specialising in Cardiology.
About Circassia’s ToleroMune® technology
Circassia is developing a range of allergy treatments based on its novel, proprietary ToleroMune® technology. This uses rationally-designed molecules identified from common allergens (Synthetic Peptide Immuno-Regulatory Epitopes; SPIREs) to generate regulatory T cells to control allergic responses and induce immune tolerance. Circassia has successfully completed a number of phase II studies with its house dust mite, ragweed and grass allergy therapies, and its cat allergy treatment entered phase III testing in October 2012.
Clinical results show that short, simple courses of SPIRE allergy treatments can greatly reduce patients’ allergic responses and improve symptoms over long periods, while proving extremely well tolerated. As a result, SPIRE treatments offer major potential clinical benefits compared with existing therapies, and have significant market opportunities. More than 150 million people suffer from allergic rhinitis in the US and Europe, and the current treatment market is valued at approximately $12 billion per year.
Circassia was founded by a team of highly experienced biotechnology scientists and entrepreneurs. The company is based in the UK on the Oxford Science Park, and its joint venture with McMaster University (Adiga Life Sciences Inc) is located in Hamilton, Canada. Circassia’s ToleroMune® technology was developed originally by scientists at Imperial College, London. Having successfully completed five fundraising rounds, Circassia has raised approximately £105 million ($178 million) and is backed by a syndicate of world-class institutional investors, including Imperial Innovations and Invesco Perpetual.
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