Cortria Appoints Gene Cefali, PharmD, PhD As SVP Clinical Pharmacology & Formulation Development
Cortria Corporation today announced the appointment of Gene Cefali, Pharm.D, Ph.D., as Senior Vice President of Clinical Pharmacology and Formulation Development. Dr. Cefali was previously Vice President of Lead Optimization at Kos Pharmaceuticals (acquired by Abbott Laboratories), where he played a major role in the development of Niaspan(R), a novel formulation of niacin and widely prescribed anti-dyslipidemic medicine, as well as three Niaspan(R) line-extension products. Dr. Cefali is a globally recognized expert in the field of niacin metabolism and pharmacokinetics.
Dr. Cefali will join the Cortria development team focused on advancing TRIA-662 as a new drug candidate for the treatment of dyslipidemia. TRIA-662 contains a previously unexplored metabolite of niacin and has demonstrated potent lipid modifying properties without causing skin flushing in pilot proof-of-concept trials. Skin flushing is a well-known niacin side effect which severely limits compliance with currently available niacin drugs.
“Cortria has fundamentally advanced our understanding regarding the use of certain niacin metabolites as therapeutic agents for the treatment of dyslipidemia,” commented Dr. Cefali. “I am very excited to join Cortria at this important juncture in the development of TRIA-662.”
“As an inventor of the commercially successful Niaspan(R) formulation and the author of multiple seminal publications in the niacin field, Gene brings a special depth of knowledge and expertise to the TRIA-662 development program,” said Daniel Grau, Cortria CEO and Vice-Chairman. “We welcome Gene to the Cortria team and look forward to his contributions in advancing TRIA-662.”
Dr. Cefali is an inventor on six patents and author of five publications related to niacin formulations and metabolism. From 1994 to 2007, he held positions of increasing responsibility at Kos Pharmaceuticals culminating with Vice President of Lead Optimization. Prior to Kos, Dr. Cefali held senior scientific positions at Whitby Research and Schering Plough. Dr. Cefali received a Pharm.D. and Ph.D. from the Virginia Commonwealth University and Medical College of Virginia and his B.S. in Pharmacy from St. John’s University.
Cortria is expanding its capabilities by building a management and advisory team with extensive experience in developing and marketing important cardiovascular medicines. Additional team information is available at www.cortria.com.
TRIA-662 is currently in Phase 2 clinical development for the treatment of dyslipidemia, an atherogenic disorder characterized by abnormal fat levels in the bloodstream. In preliminary human studies, TRIA-662 demonstrated the potential to provide the desirable benefits of niacin therapy without flushing. Niacin was the first lipid-modifying agent proven in outcomes trials to extend life, yet the side-effects of niacin, principally skin flushing, cause many patients to discontinue therapy and dramatically limit the drug’s potential. Previous efforts to create a flush-free niacin therapeutic – using extended release formulations, dose titration and, more recently, fixed dose combination technologies – have not been successful. As a result, TRIA-662 represents an important opportunity as a new first-line therapy in the multi-billion dollar cardiovascular risk reduction market.
Cortria is a clinical-stage pharmaceutical company focused on developing safe and well-tolerated medicines to fight cardiovascular disease. Cortria is based in Boston, MA and backed by Domain Associates and MVM Life Science Partners.
Niaspan(R) is a registered trademark of Abbott Laboratories
(c) 2008 Cortria Corporation. All rights reserved.