Ruga Corporation Expands Management Team to Advance Its Adapative Response Therapeutics for Cancer Patients
PALO ALTO, Calif., May 7, 2012 /PRNewswire/ — Ruga Corporation, a privately held oncology company focused on the discovery and development of personalized therapeutics targeting tumor-selective adaptative responses, announced today the appointments of Patrick O’Connor, Ph.D., as Vice President, Head of Oncology, R&D, and James Freddo, M.D., as Chief Medical Officer, Head of Clinical Development.
“Dr. O’Connor and Dr. Freddo, who previously worked together at Pfizer, bring nearly 50 years pharmaceutical industry experience to Ruga. Among many of their accomplishments they have spearheaded the development and FDA approval of Sutent®, as well as the discovery and early development for axitinib and crizotinib, oncology drugs which have been recently approved,” said Ray Tabibiazar, M.D., President and CEO of Ruga Corporation. “Our team is excited about the addition of Drs. O’Connor and Freddo to the company.”
Ruga is advancing a number of innovative pre-clinical programs in the areas of tumor metabolism and tumor microenvironment. “Drs. O’Connor and Freddo’s experience will help Ruga rapidly advance our innovative pipeline of targeted therapeutics toward the clinic in 2013,” added Dr. Tabibiazar.
Dr. O’Connor, a respected leader in the field of oncology drug discovery and development, has helped bring more than 20 cancer agents into development. Dr. O’Connor spent a decade at the Agouron/Pfizer-La Jolla site in California eventually becoming Head of Global Oncology Research at Pfizer, Inc. During his tenure, Dr. O’Connor’s cancer group discovered and brought into development the now approved anti-cancer drugs, Xalkori® (crizotinib) and Inlyta® (axitinib), and several more potential drugs are in earlier stage clinical trials. Dr. O’Connor joins Ruga from Selexagen Therapeutics, Inc., a privately held, cancer therapeutics company he co-founded.
“After studying the underlying science behind Ruga’s programs, I believe this impressive pipeline has the potential to paradigm-shift the way we think about and treat cancer – a personalized patient approach focused on blocking tumor adaptive responses,” said Dr. O’Connor. “I’m excited to join the Ruga team at this important point in time as the company prepares for several significant milestones that will culminate in a new class of agents being evaluated in clinical trials.”
Dr. O’Connor also served as Head of Oncology Research at Agouron Pharmaceuticals, Inc., which was acquired by Warner-Lambert, Inc. before Pfizer’s acquisition in 2000. Prior to joining the pharmaceutical industry, Dr. O’Connor spent 10 years at the National Cancer Institute (NCI) investigating the underlying mechanisms of chemosensitivity, and he contributed to research endeavors at Ardea Biosciences and Halozyme Therapeutics. He is currently a Senior Editor of the peer-reviewed journal Cancer Research and also a member of the scientific advisory boards of several biotechnology companies.
Before joining Ruga, Dr. Freddo worked for Anadys Pharmaceuticals, Inc. where he most recently served as Senior Vice President, Drug Development and Chief Medical Officer, prior to Roche’s acquisition in 2011. Prior to Anadys, Dr. Freddo was Vice President, Clinical Site Head and Development Site Head for Pfizer Global Research and Development. While at Pfizer, Dr. Freddo led the team responsible for registration of Sutent® (sunitinib) which ultimately secured FDA-approval for the treatment of renal cell carcinoma and gastrointestinal stromal tumors. He also designed the early clinical development strategy for Inlyta® (axitinib), which received FDA approval in January 2012 for the treatment of renal cell carcinoma, and he spearheaded many other early stage cancer compounds in development at Pfizer. Dr. Freddo trained and practiced as an oncologist in academic and private practice settings prior to joining the industry.
Dr. Freddo remarked, “I have spent the better part of my career working to discover, develop and ultimately bring novel therapeutics to patients. I’m delighted to have this opportunity to join the fantastic team at Ruga as it advances into clinical development these novel and exciting cancer drugs. The utilization of tumor molecular profiling in our clinical trials will enable us to truly design therapeutic regimens for individual patients.”
About Ruga Corporation
Ruga Corporation is a drug discovery and development company focused on innovative medicines for the treatment of cancer. The company’s approach is directed against novel tumor-specific adaptive responses which encompass endoplasmic reticulum stress, tumor microenvironment adaptation and tumor metabolism targets. Ruga’s programs benefit from strong gene-disease linkage which is expected to accelerate personalized drug development by allowing selection of responder patient populations, enabling more focused clinical trials. For more information, please visit Ruga’s website at www.rugacorp.com.
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SOURCE Ruga Corporation