DUBLIN, IRELAND – October 26, 2018 – ATXA Therapeutics (“ATXA”), a pharmaceutical company focused on the discovery and development of new therapeutic drugs in heart and lung disease area, has today announced the appointment of Ivan Coulter, PhD, M.B.A., as Chief Executive Officer (CEO).
Previously, Ivan was the founder and CEO of Sigmoid Pharma (Sigmoid) Limited (now Sublimity Therapeutics). Under Coulter’s leadership Sigmoid developed an innovative oral drug delivery technology, SmPill®, and progressed the clinical development of a SmPill®-enabled product through Phase II studies in moderate-severe ulcerative colitis. During his time as CEO, Sigmoid brought in over €100M of partnership and financing into the company, including Series B financing in May 2018 and a European licensing deal with Dr. Falk in 2017. Under his leadership, Sigmoid obtained multiple awards and grants. Coulter received a PhD and a B.Sc. (Honours) degree in Pharmacology from University College Dublin, and an MBA from Cornell University, USA.
Commenting on his appointment, Ivan Coulter said “I’m excited to be taking on this new unique and timely challenge with ATXA. The company’s lead drug candidate NTP42 has the potential to be a game-changer in the future treatment of the orphan disease pulmonary arterial hypertension. Furthermore, NTP42 as well as other ATXA pipeline molecules have significant clinical potential to address unmet needs in a range of other blockbuster disease indications”.
Speaking about the appointment Prof. Therese Kinsella, ATXA founder and Chief Scientific Officer said, “I am delighted to welcome Dr. Coulter as CEO of ATXA at this pivotal stage of the company’s development. His experience in technology and product innovation, building high performance teams as well as raising capital on a global scale and developing strategic relationships with key stakeholders will prove valuable to ATXA as we advance NTP42 towards initial clinical studies in PAH and beyond.”
As CEO Dr. Coulter, along with the company founder and Chief Scientific Officer Therese Kinsella, will lead the company forward as it progresses its candidate drug NTP42 toward clinical development for treatment of Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension (PAH).
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The ATXA Team: Left-Right; Dr Eamon Mulvaney, Dr Helen Reid, Prof. Therese Kinsella, Dr Lucia Bialesova, Dr Ivan Coulter and Ms Audrey Murray
About ATXA Therapeutics
ATXA is pioneering the development of a pipeline of novel molecules which act to modulate the thromboxane receptor (TP) pathway. The TP pathway has been identified as an important and, to date, underutilised target for the development of novel treatments for a range of substantial and underserved human diseases. The lead drug, NTP42, is being developed to treat Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension (PAH), an Orphan Disease for which there is no cure or disease modifying therapy. ATXA has secured Orphan Drug designations from both the EMA in Europe and the FDA in the US. In addition, the company has recently secured €2.5m in funding under the highly competitive European Union SME Instrument program, having been ranked in the top 1% of applicants. The EC grant funding will support ATXA to advance NTP42 towards first-in-man clinical trials. The current global market for PAH therapeutics is ~$5Bn and is expected to exceed $7Bn by 2028. In addition to the opportunity in PAH, NTP42 as well as other ATXA pipeline candidate drug have significant clinical potential to address unmet needs in a range of other blockbuster disease indications. ATXA is designated as a High Potential Start-Up by Enterprise Ireland (EI), from which it has received investment as well as grant support. ATXA is headquartered within the Conway Institute at University College Dublin (UCD), Ireland. To learn more, please visit www.atxatherapeutics.com.
Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension (PAH) is one form of a broader condition known as pulmonary hypertension, which means high blood pressure in the lungs. In PAH, increased pressure in the vessels is caused by obstruction in the small arteries in the lung, for a variety of reasons. In many cases of pulmonary arterial hypertension, the cause is unknown; others causes can be drug-related, HIV infection; connective tissue/autoimmune disorders (such as scleroderma) and others. Currently, there is no cure with treatments improving quality of life but providing limited extension to the untreated mean survival of 2.8 years from diagnosis.
Horizon 2020 SME Instrument is part of the European Innovation Council pilot (EIC pilot). This was launched on 27th October 2017 as part of the Horizon 2020 Work programme 2018-2020 to provide a 'one stop shop' for funding of innovators/innovations in the EU. Horizon 2020 funds high-potential innovation developed by SMEs through the SME instrument. The SME instrument offers Europe's brightest and boldest entrepreneurs the chance to step forward and request funding for breakthrough ideas with the potential to create entirely new markets or revolutionise existing ones.
Orphan Drugs are intended to treat diseases which are so rare that sponsors are reluctant to develop them under usual marketing conditions; the small size of the market they represent would not allow sponsors to recover the capital invested on the research and development of the product. The Global Orphan Drug market is estimated at $145.89 billion in 2016 and is expected to reach $265.63 billion by 2022 growing at a CAGR of 10.5% from 2016 to 2022. Rising focus of big pharmaceutical companies on orphan drug improvement, increasing occurrence of rare diseases, government incentives for orphan medicine are some factors favouring the market growth. Incentives to companies developing novel therapies to treat orphan diseases include grants, research design support, FDA fee waivers, tax incentives, orphan drug market exclusivity, and public diffusion of orphan innovation.
Enterprise Ireland (EI) is the Irish government organisation responsible for the development and growth of Irish enterprises in world markets. EI works in partnership with Irish enterprises to help them start, grow, innovate and win export sales in global markets. As such, EI supports sustainable economic growth, regional development and secure employment in Ireland.