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Alba Therapeutics Corporation Announces the Next Clinical Trial of Its Lead Compound, Larazotide Acetate and Promotions

BALTIMORE, March 17 /PRNewswire/ -- Alba Therapeutics Corporation announced today it will initiate further clinical studies for patients diagnosed with celiac disease with their lead compound, larazotide acetate. "Our most recent Phase IIb study, the largest trial with an investigational medication conducted in patients with celiac disease, was a randomized, double-blind, placebo controlled, dose ranging, multicenter study to determine the safety, tolerance and efficacy of larazotide acetate in 184 adults with controlled celiac disease during a gluten challenge. The data are promising and will be publicly presented at upcoming scientific meetings this spring," said Bruce Peacock, CEO of Alba Therapeutics. "Recently, Alba restructured to concentrate its efforts on advancing the clinical program for larazotide acetate, and we are now moving forward with initiating our next clinical trial in patients with celiac disease."

Additionally, Alba announced that Francisco Leon, MD, PhD has been promoted to Vice President and Chief Medical Officer. "I am very pleased to have Dr. Leon assume the responsibilities of CMO. His passion for developing a treatment for celiac disease is an inspiration to all Alba employees." Alba also announced that Dr. Linda Arterburn has been promoted to Vice President of Development. "Our team consists of a fine, talented group of people who are dedicated to help us meet the unmet medical needs of patients with celiac disease and other autoimmune and inflammatory diseases," said Bruce Peacock.

Francisco Leon, MD, PhD, formerly Vice President, Clinical Operations and Medical Affairs, has been promoted to Vice President and Chief Medical Officer. Dr. Leon is an immunologist with broad training in basic and clinical Immunology and a vocation for clinical development in the field of Mucosal Immunology. Prior to joining Alba in September 2007, Dr. Leon was a Director of Clinical Development, Inflammatory and Respiratory Diseases at MedImmune where he worked on asthma and mucosal vaccination. He was a Director of Clinical Discovery, Oncology/ Immunology at Bristol-Myers Squibb where he worked on Crohn's disease, rheumatoid arthritis, and transplantation. Dr. Leon received his MD and PhD from Autonomy University, Madrid (Spain), and his PhD work was focused on the pathogenesis and diagnosis of Celiac disease. He completed a residency in Clinical Immunology at Ramon y Cajal Hospital, Madrid where he was elected Resident of the Year in Spain in 2001 (Sanities Prize). Dr. Leon was a postdoctoral fellow in the Laboratory of Clinical Investigation (Mucosal Immunity Section) and in the Laboratory of Molecular Immunology (Mucosal Biology Section) of the National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health. He has authored or co-authored 60 original peer-reviewed articles, reviews, book chapters and patents.

Linda Arterburn, PhD, formerly Vice President, Preclinical Development and Program Management, has been promoted to Vice President of Development at Alba. Prior to joining Alba in March 2007, Dr. Arterburn was Executive Director of Discovery Research at Martek Biosciences. In this capacity, she initiated an inflammation research program and was lead inventor on two patents involving novel anti-inflammatory lipids. She previously led Clinical Research and Scientific Affairs at Martek where she played a key role in the regulatory authorizations for the addition of Martek's fatty acid products, DHA and ARA, to infant formula in the United States and Canada. Dr. Arterburn also spent seven years at W.R. Grace & Co., where she led an in vitro toxicology research program, and then served as Manager of Technology and Planning. Dr. Arterburn received her PhD in Pharmacology and the Molecular Sciences from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, and her Bachelor's Degree in Biochemistry from the University of Wisconsin.

About Alba

Alba Therapeutics Corporation ("Alba") is a privately held, clinical-stage biopharmaceutical Company focused on the discovery, development and commercialization of pharmaceutical products to treat autoimmune and inflammatory diseases and is based in Baltimore, Maryland. Genetics, environment, aberrant immune response, and barrier dysfunction are all required for autoimmunity. Alba's technology platform is based on modifying disease state epithelial permeability using compounds which impact the regulation of tight junctions in cell barriers throughout the body with potential applications in celiac disease, Crohn's disease, asthma/COPD and acute lung injury. For further information, please send an e-mail to

    Contact: Wendy Perrow, MBA
    Phone: 410-878-9850
    Web site:

SOURCE Alba Therapeutics Corporation
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