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aTyr Pharma Expands Executive Leadership Team to Support Development of New Therapeutics Based on Physiocrine Biology

SAN DIEGO, Aug. 14, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- aTyr Pharma, an innovative disease therapeutics enterprise, announced today the expansion of the company's executive leadership team. Ms. Kelly Blackburn joins aTyr as vice president, Clinical Affairs. 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. aTyr is advancing a therapeutic program to treat rare autoimmune diseases and a rare disease pipeline in immunology.


"At this key point in aTyr's evolution, the expansion of our executive leadership will help advance our first therapeutic program into the clinic in rare diseases," said John Mendlein, Ph.D., CEO and executive chairman of aTyr Pharma. "Ms. Blackburn has more than 20 years of experience in managing and leading clinical programs, including the development of innovative molecules for rare diseases.  We look forward to Kelly's leadership as we work to rapidly translate our leading research in new Physiocrine biology into therapeutics for patients with grave immune diseases."

Ms. Blackburn was formerly the vice president, Clinical Development Operations at Vertex Pharmaceuticals where she was responsible for the operational plans and strategy for the full product portfolio including two transformational programs, KalydecoTM and Incivek®. Prior to Vertex, she was director, Clinical and Safety Operations at Millenium Pharmaceuticals, where she was operationally responsible for the lead product, VELCADE®.  Previous to that, she held several clinical operations roles of increasing responsibility at Vertex, Genetics Institute and Bayer Corporate. Ms. Blackburn received her B.S. in biochemistry from University of New Hampshire, MHA from Quinnipiac College and M.Ed. from Cambridge College.

About Physiocrines

Physiocrines act as extracellular signaling molecules to orchestrate cellular homeostasis in response to stress. Physiocrines are naturally occurring proteins derived from tRNA synthetases that play fundamental roles in the function of human physiology and the resolution of inflammation. As potent endogenous modulators of inflammation, Physiocrines offer the opportunity for modulating biological pathways through new naturally occurring mechanisms, many of which have multiple therapeutic advantages, including improved selectivity, efficacy and reduced side effect profiles compared to many existing anti-inflammatory therapeutics.

About aTyr Pharma

aTyr Pharma has developed an extensive pipeline of future therapeutic products based on Physiocrine biology. aTyr has established a dominant intellectual property estate to protect the core therapeutics as well as associated diagnostics. aTyr's key programs are currently focused on rare immunomodulation disorders in the areas of inflammation and immunity. These diseases are serious potentially life threatening autoimmune conditions, for which there are currently no effective, safe, long term treatments. The privately held biotech was founded by The Scripps Research Institute Professor Paul Schimmel, a leading aminoacyl tRNA synthetase scientist, and is backed by top life sciences investors Alta Partners, Cardinal Partners, Domain Associates and Polaris Ventures. For more information, please visit

SOURCE aTyr Pharma
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