Pharma Focus Europe

Ochre Bio Announces Formation of Scientific Strategy Board with Liver Disease Experts

Friday, October 21, 2022

Ochre Bio, a company specializing in RNA therapeutics for chronic liver and cardiometabolic diseases, has announced the establishment of its scientific strategy board (SSB). The SSB will provide support in advancing the company's platforms and pipeline of therapeutics for liver diseases. Comprising experts in liver disease research and development, clinical development, and pharmaceutical partnering, the SSB brings a wealth of knowledge from academia and industry to enhance Ochre's management team and shape strategic planning for the progression of its pipeline towards clinical trials. Ochre recently concluded a successful Series A financing round, raising $30 million.

The members of Ochre's SSB include distinguished professionals:

  • Sangeeta Bhatia: Wilson Professor of Engineering at MIT
  • Chinwe Ukomadu: SVP & Head of GI Therapeutic Area Unit at Takeda
  • Chas Bountra: Pro Vice Chancellor for Innovation & Professor of Translational Medicine at Oxford University
  • Scott Friedman: Professor and Chief of the Division of Liver Diseases at Mount Sinai
  • Troy Dale: Head of Strategic Partnerships Unit at Novartis; Former CMO (Greater China) at Sanofi
  • Joel Dudley: Partner at Innovation Endeavors; former Chief Scientific Officer at Tempus Labs
  • Michael Hodges: RNA Therapeutics Consultant; former CMO and Head of Development at Santaris Pharmaceuticals
  • Leanne Hodson: Professor of Metabolic Physiology at Oxford University
  • Eduardo Martins: Chief Medical Officer at Sagimet; former VP of Clinical Development at Allergan/Abbvie
  • Alex K. Shalek: Core Member of IMES, Associate Professor of Chemistry and Extramural Member of the Koch Institute at MIT; Institute Member at the Broad Institute; Member at the Ragon Institute

Quin Wills, Ph.D., Chief Scientific Officer & Co-Founder of Ochre Bio, expressed appreciation for the diverse expertise of the advisors, stating, "True to Ochre's philosophy of highly transdisciplinary expertise from technology through to biology, we are honored to have a strong group of advisors who will challenge us to do the best possible science and help us advance our therapies to patients."

Chas Bountra, Pro Vice Chancellor for Innovation & Professor of Translational Medicine at Oxford University, commented on Ochre's potential to benefit patients with liver diseases, emphasizing the company's unique strategy of validating targets in human livers. He remarked, "The company is developing a novel strategy that has potential to positively impact all patients with liver diseases. The opportunity to validate targets in actual human livers is something no other company is doing. The potential to benefit a large proportion of future liver transplant recipients, and the idea that you can test and develop drugs quickly, is remarkable."

Alex K Shalek, Ph.D., faculty member at MIT, the Broad Institute, and Ragon Institute, praised Ochre's meticulous approach in target discovery and development. He emphasized the company's ability to de-risk clinical trials and rapidly test drug efficacy in human tissues, stating, "The scientific, meticulous approach Ochre takes in the discovery and development of their targets is amazing. Ochre is basically de-risking clinical trials, so more of the trials in liver disease will hopefully be successful. The idea that you could make drugs and test their efficacy really quickly in human tissues is quite frankly insane."

Liver disease ranks among the top ten causes of death worldwide, with liver transplantation being the last resort in the absence of effective therapies. However, the supply of healthy donor organs is insufficient to meet the demand, and the quality of available donor livers is declining due to the obesity epidemic, disproportionately affecting minority populations. Ochre aims to enhance the viability of marginal donor livers, thereby uncover

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