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aTyr Pharma Expands Leadership Team to Advance New Breakthrough Medicines Based on Physiocrine Biology

SAN DIEGO, Aug. 30, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- aTyr Pharma, an innovative protein therapeutics company, announced today the addition to aTyr's leadership team of Dr. Jeffrey Greve, as vice president, research, and Dr. Andrew Cubitt as vice president, intellectual property. Drs. Greve and Cubitt will support aTyr in the development of new breakthrough medicines based on Physiocrine biology. 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, "The expansion of our leadership team comes at a key point in aTyr's growth as we are unlocking the untapped pathways of Physiocrines into new therapeutic intervention points for drug discovery. With more than 20 years of experience in leading protein therapeutic drug discovery, Dr. Greve will be essential in aTyr's mission to translate our discoveries and expertise in Physiocrine biology into vital, new therapeutics for patients with unmet medical needs."  

Dr. Mendlein continued, "aTyr's proprietary discovery approach and expertise has enabled the exploration of this completely new class of human proteins and pathways. Dr. Cubitt has an impressive background in developing intellectual property portfolios to create essential protection and substantial value around emerging opportunities. With his strategic expertise, we have established and will continue to shape our unique and comprehensive intellectual property portfolio across the Physiocrine family so that we can protect innovation and deliver best- and first-in-class medicines to enhance lives."

Dr. Greve most recently served as executive director, stem cell sciences at Exelixis since 2005, where he established a new group focused on discovery of small molecules and protein therapeutics that act on stem cells. Previous to that, he worked at Bayer Biotechnology for 13 years, where he was responsible for therapeutic protein discovery, establishing protein engineering and therapeutic antibody technology platforms and leading a group that discovered six novel proteins which advanced into clinical development for multiple disease indications. Dr. Greve did his postdoctoral training in the lab of Dr. Paul Wassarman at Harvard Medical School and at the Roche Institute of Molecular Biology.  He received his Ph.D. in molecular biology at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and his B.A. in biology at The Johns Hopkins University.  

Dr. Cubitt cofounded Anaptys Biosciences, an antibody company, in 2005 and then served as executive director of corporate development until 2009. Previous to Anaptys, he served as director of intellectual property at Ambit Biosciences, associate director intellectual property X-Ceptor Therapeutics and senior manager, technology and intellectual property at Aurora Biosciences. Dr. Cubitt was a founding scientist at Aurora, where he was responsible for improving green fluorescent protein technology and providing the technical support for the development of Aurora's intellectual property and licensing strategy for fluorescent proteins. Previous to Aurora, Dr. Cubitt worked in the laboratory of Nobel laureate Dr. Roger Tsien and created the first yellow fluorescent protein through rational protein design and random mutagenesis. Dr. Cubitt did his postdoctoral training at Cornell University Medical College in New York. He received his Ph.D. in biochemistry from the University of Sheffield and his B.S. in medical biochemistry from the University of Birmingham.

About Physiocrines

Physiocrines are derived from aminoacyl tRNA synthetases, which have been known for decades to function intracellularly in protein synthesis. Overlooked by genomic discovery efforts, Physiocrines are naturally occurring proteins that modulate extracellular signaling pathways in a variety of physiological processes. These endogenous human proteins act through a variety of receptor classes via mechanisms distinct from current pharmaceuticals and have potential applications in a number of therapeutic areas, ranging from hematology and immunology to metabolism disorders.

About aTyr Pharma

aTyr Pharma develops biologic therapeutics based on Physiocrines and is currently focusing on developing products for hematologic, immune and metabolic indications. aTyr has established a dominant intellectual property estate surrounding Physiocrine-based compositions and potential therapeutic applications. The company's lead program is in preclinical development. The privately held biotech was founded by 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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