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Adheron Therapeutics Names New Senior Leadership

SAN FRANCISCO, Sept. 11, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Adheron Therapeutics, a biotechnology company that is focused on leveraging pioneering technology that disrupts cell adhesion to treat a variety of diseases, has announced the appointments of Robert Baltera as executive chairman of the board and Hari Kumar as chief executive officer, effective immediately.

Baltera and Kumar served most recently as senior officers of Amira Pharmaceuticals, which was acquired by Bristol Myers Squibb for $325M upfront and $150M in milestones. At Adheron Therapeutics - previously known as Synovex Corporation – Baltera and Kumar's focus will be developing the company's novel Cadherin-11 technology for various therapeutic indications.

"I am very excited about my new role at Adheron Therapeutics. I am deeply impressed by the innovative technology that we are developing and I look forward to advancing it to the next level," said Kumar.

The company's therapeutic program is based on pioneering work completed in the laboratory of Michael Brenner, MD, at Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School. Prof. Brenner discovered that the protein Cadherin-11 (Cad-11) acts as an "adhesive" between cells, and that changes in Cad-11 interactions can induce cells to produce proteins that influence the cellular environment positively or adversely. Further research by Dr. Brenner confirmed that Cad-11 acts as a key mediator of joint destruction in rheumatoid arthritis, and is also an important contributor to pulmonary and skin fibrosis pathology. 

Baltera added: "Cadherin-11 is a very promising technology, which I am confident will be applied in various areas of high unmet medical need. I am pleased to lead Adheron and I am confident we will see exciting results."

Based on Dr. Brenner's research, Adheron Therapeutics has developed an antibody that inhibits Cad-11. The company, which Dr. Brenner and Dr. David Lee established in 2006 as Synovex Corporation, plans to evaluate the benefits of this antibody in multiple therapeutic areas including cancer, rheumatoid arthritis and fibrosis, and advance it through clinical proof of concept. Adheron has just completed a Phase I single ascending-dose study for its lead asset, the Cad-11 inhibitor SDP051. 

Adheron Therapeutics is funded by Health Care Ventures, MedImmune Ventures, Partners Innovation Fund, Amgen Ventures, and SROne.

About CAD 11
Cadherin-11 (Cad-11) is a surface protein expressed on fibroblasts in the skin and lungs, and fibroblast-like synoviocytes (FLS) in the joints. Cad-11 acts as an "adhesive" between cells, and changes in Cad-11 interactions can induce the cells to produce proteins that influence the cellular environment positively or adversely. Research completed in the laboratory of Michael Brenner, MD, at Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School has implicated Cad-11 in the disease processes leading to rheumatoid arthritis. Work initiated in Dr. Brenner's laboratory by Dr. Sandeep Agarwal, now at Baylor College of Medicine, has also demonstrated that Cad-11 plays a role in diverse fibrotic diseases.

About Adheron Therapeutics
Adheron Therapeutics is a biotechnology company focused on leveraging pioneering technology that disrupts cell adhesion to treat a variety of diseases. Founded by Dr. Brenner and Dr. Lee of Harvard Medical School, the company is led by industry veterans Bob Baltera (executive chairman) and Hari Kumar, PhD (CEO), and funded by a group of venture investors comprising Health Care Ventures, MedImmune Ventures, Partners Investment Fund, Amgen Ventures, and SROne.

Jacqueline Wallach
650 283 6617

Michele Parisi
925 429 1850

SOURCE Adheron Therapeutics
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