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Translational Science Expert, Dr. Melissa Ashlock, Joins aTyr Pharma to Advance Physiocrine-based Therapeutics
Date:5/18/2011

SAN DIEGO, May 18, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- aTyr Pharma, an innovative protein therapeutics company, announced today that Melissa Ashlock, M.D., has joined as vice president, external scientific alliances and human genetics. Dr. Ashlock's experience in translating novel biology into drug discovery opportunities and collaborations will support the aTyr team in the development of innovative therapeutic approaches for Physiocrine-based medicines. Physiocrines are naturally occurring human proteins that possess novel in vivo biological activity as extracellular signaling molecules in known pathways relevant to developing protein therapeutics for a range of diseases.

Dr. John Mendlein, executive chairman of aTyr Pharma, said, "Dr. Ashlock's ability to advance new therapeutic applications from novel mechanisms will provide important insights as aTyr develops life-changing medicines for patients with grave conditions. Our opportunity at aTyr is to uncover the role of Physiocrines in modulating human physiology and intervening in disease, and we are excited to have Dr. Ashlock help us lead this effort."

"Through her previous leadership efforts in diseases like cystic fibrosis, Dr. Ashlock has demonstrated her ability to develop pivotal alliances and advance drug discovery processes to create potential high-value therapeutic candidates," said Dr. Jeff Watkins, CEO of aTyr Pharma. "The development of Physiocrine-based protein therapeutics is distinct from current protein therapeutic programs, and Dr. Ashlock's experience will be of great help as we create much-needed new medicines for breakthroughs in patient care."

Dr. Ashlock added, "Physiocrine protein pathways represent important new therapeutic intervention points for drug discovery. Genomics efforts have missed aminoacyl tRNA synthetases as a source of extracellular signaling molecules and the relevance of these proteins in therapeutics development has
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