BASEL, Switzerland--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Alentis Therapeutics, the Swiss biotech developing breakthrough treatments for fibrotic diseases, announced today the appointments of Luca Santarelli, M.D. as independent Non-Executive Director, and Rafaèle Tordjman, M.D. PhD as Chairperson of its Board of Directors, with immediate effect.
Dr. Roberto Iacone, Chief Executive Officer of Alentis Therapeutics, commented: “Luca is a highly experienced entrepreneur in the life sciences sector and his successful track record in driving drug programs from discovery to commercialization will be invaluable as we work to provide much needed safe and effective treatments to patients suffering from fibrotic diseases and hepatobiliary cancers. We are also pleased to have Rafaèle’s expertise leading the Alentis Board given her position at Jeito Capital, one of our key investors, as we continue to progress towards the initiation of our first clinical trials. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank our outgoing Chairman, Neil Goldsmith, for his significant contribution to Alentis’ growth during his time on the Board and wish him all the best for the future.”
Dr. Luca Santarelli is a physician scientist and an entrepreneurial pharmaceutical executive with more than 20 years’ experience in academic and industrial R&D and business development. Luca is the founder and CEO of VectivBio AG, a clinical-stage rare disease company that raised $146.6 million in a NASDAQ IPO in April this year. Prior to this, he served as CEO and co-founder of Therachon AG, which was acquired by Pfizer, Inc. in 2019 for $810 million. Luca previously worked at Roche for 11 years, where he advanced over 20 molecules into the clinic and progressed several more to registration studies, including Ocrevus in Multiple Sclerosis, Evrysdi in Spinal Muscular Atrophy, Faricimab in neovascular age-related macular degeneration and diabetic macular edema, and Gantenerumab in Alzheimer’s disease
Dr. Luca Santarelli commented: “Alentis has a unique approach to tackling life-threatening fibrotic diseases and related deadly cancers which is based on the fundamental pathophysiology of these conditions, and I am excited to bring my pharmaceutical and operational experience to the Alentis Board to help drive forward the development of these potentially innovative new treatments for patients.” Dr. Rafaèle Tordjman, MD, PhD is a highly experienced investor with more than 25 years’ experience in the life sciences. She is the founder and CEO of Jeito Capital, an independent investment company dedicated to biotech and biopharma that was a key investor in Alentis’ $67 million Series B financing in June 2021. Previously, Rafaèle worked at Sofinnova Partners where she invested in and served on the boards of a number of life science companies, including Ascendis [ASND], DBV Technologies [DBV], Lysogene [LYS], MedDay, Enyo Pharma, Nucana Biomed [NCNA], Flexion Therapeutics [FLXN], Obseva [OBSV] and Preglem, before the company was sold to Gedeon Richter. Her investments have generated five approved products and c.20 drugs in late-stage clinical development. She was recently appointed by the French government to promote the country’s biotech ecosystem internationally, under the high patronage of President Emmanuel Macron.
Dr. Rafaèle Tordjman, incoming Chair of Alentis and Founder & CEO of Jeito Capital, commented:
“Alentis is at a crucial stage in its development, and I am honored to lead the Board during this exciting time for the Company. Part of Jeito’s expertise lies in supporting leadership teams from discovery through to commercialization and I look forward to continuing my work with Robert and the Board as we work to accelerate the development of potentially life-saving treatments for patients in these areas of high unmet medical need.”
About Alentis Therapeutics
Alentis Therapeutics is a Swiss-based biotech that focuses on developing breakthrough treatments for fibrotic diseases. The company was founded in 2019 based on ground-breaking research in the laboratory of Prof. Thomas Baumert MD at the University of Strasbourg and the French National Institute of Health (Inserm).
The Company’s lead candidates are monoclonal antibodies that are highly selective for Claudin-1, a novel, previously unexploited target with a unique mechanism of action that plays a key role in the pathology of liver fibrosis and fibrosis-driven hepatobiliary cancers. It also has early discovery programs exploring the potential of Claudin-1 inhibition in the treatment of fibrosis of other tissues including the kidney and lung.
These represent very large and expanding markets with high unmet need. Furthermore, the company uses a patient-derived drug and target discovery platform to develop medicines for advanced fibrosis.
Unlike current therapies in fibrosis, which mostly address the disease indirectly, Alentis’ pioneering approach has the potential to directly modify and reverse the course of disease progression.
Alentis is headquartered in Basel’s pharma-biotech hub in Switzerland with a subsidiary for R&D in Strasbourg, France.
For more information, visit https://alentis.ch/