DTx Pharma2020-01-09T07:39:00-08:00

Enabling Precision Medicine

Unlocking Oligonucleotide Therapeutics

About Us

At DTx we’re inspired to improve the lives of patients suffering from rare and chronic diseases worldwide by introducing next-generation, safe and effective medicines based on fatty acid motifs that deliver RNA medicines to tissues and organ systems beyond the liver.

Technology

Historically, this class of medications, which includes siRNA and antisense oligonucleotides has been hampered by challenges with drug delivery. The problem is twofold: inefficient cellular uptake and rapid clearance from the circulation by the kidney and liver.

DTx solves these two fundamental challenges by leveraging decades of knowledge of fatty-acid receptor pharmacology and fatty-acid-based drug delivery technology. The team has developed technology that promotes efficient non-toxic cellular uptake and enhanced systemic bioavailability. We combine the latest in RNA technology with our own proprietary IP to create RNA therapeutics that can efficiently reach targets beyond the liver.

Our approach is analogous to the GalNAc-based conjugation approaches utilized by IONIS, Alnylam, Dicerna and others to enable delivery of RNA medicines to hepatocytes except we enable cellular uptake in many distinct cell types including muscle, heart, immune cells and lung. In addition to universal delivery motifs, DTx is now building a library of cellular uptake motifs that are selective to specific cell types (tropism), potentially expanding the reach of its technology to more specifically target a limited subset of cells.

DTx’s approach is different from lipid nanoparticles (LNPs)—we are tethering RNA medicines directly to naturally occurring fatty acids rather than hiding our drug in a large and highly charged lipid shell. The LNP approach is associated with cytotoxicity and poor biodistribution. The DTx approach has significant advantages related to toxicity, distribution (PK) and manufacturing (PK).


This builds on well-established approaches to improve the half-life and distribution of peptide drugs by conjugation of fatty acids. Albumin serves as an ‘armored Uber’—protecting the RNA drug from circulating nucleases and providing a ‘ride’ via the circulatory system to tissues like muscle, heart and lung. It also limits rapid excretion by the kidney and metabolism by the liver.

It’s worth noting that a fatty-acid based conjugation approach has been successfully deployed to enhance biodistribution of peptide therapeutics—several of which have gone on to become multi-billion dollar drugs including  liraglutide, semaglutide, insulin detemir and insulin degludec.

Advantages

DTx believes its approach to delivering RNA medicines solves some of the issues that limited previous-generation platforms, including poor pharmacokinetics and insufficient cellular uptake.

Systemic distribution

DTx motifs drive cargo to muscle, heart and lung and, away from the kidney and liver.

Half-life promotion

DTx technology markedly enhances the residence time of RNA medicines in the circulation, markedly enhancing exposure to tissues beyond the liver.

Cellular
Uptake

DTx motifs enhance cellular uptake via receptor-mediated mechanism at doses equivalent to GalNac efficacy for hepatocytes.

Deep-tissue access

By penetrating tissue layers that virus-based vectors cannot, DTx motifs can be enabling or complementary to other modalities.

Cellular
Tropism

DTx is currently exploring a library of motifs that selectively target specific cell types.

Pipeline

DTx is advancing several internal candidates in addition to partnering on several external programs.

Retinitis Pigmentosa
Retinitis pigmentosa (RP) is a group of rare, genetic disorders that involve a breakdown and loss of cells in the retina, the light sensitive tissue that lines the back of the eye. Common symptoms include difficulty seeing at night and a loss of side (peripheral) vision. DTx is developing an asset that can address specific genetic subtype of RP called P23H and a separate asset designed to address RP irrespective of the genetic mutation driving disease pathophysiology.

Duchenne muscular dystrophy
DMD is a degenerative disease affecting one in 2,000 boys, whereby a genetic mutation prevents the body from producing dystrophin, a protein that muscles need to work properly. Without dystrophin, muscle cells become damaged and weaken. Duchenne is an irreversible, progressive disease with no cure.

It is known that even if a small amount of functional protein can be made, the disease is significantly ameliorated. Current scientific efforts are focused on creating drugs that allow for production of a truncated, but functional dystrophin protein. The FDA has approved one such drug but its efficacy remains uncertain. Among several reasons, only low levels of the drug reach affected muscle. DTx technology appears well suited to solve this problem in Duchenne, as well as other conditions where exon skipping can be used to produce a functional protein.

Central Nervous System
Undruggable targets in the CNS cause many of the most serious, debilitating, and life-changing human maladies, including Alzheimer’s, frontotemporal dementia and Huntington’s disease. DTx Pharma is supported by federal grants to assess the applicability of its technology for this important application, and is seeking additional partnerships and non-dilutive funding to further accelerate its efforts.

Management

Arthur T. Suckow PhD

Co-founder, CEO and CSO

Arthur T. Suckow PhD

Dr. Suckow received his BS from the University of Delaware and his PhD from University of California, San Diego.  He has worked for Johnson & Johnson, AstraZeneca and Regulus Therapeutics. Dr. Suckow’s extensive experience in fatty acid pharmacology includes advancing small molecules targeting fatty acids and fatty-acid conjugated peptides into early clinical development.  Dr. Suckow has received numerous awards including a Beckman Fellowship, NSF graduate research fellowship, a BIOCOM catalyst award and many others.

John Grundy

Co-founder

John Grundy

Dr. Grundy received his PhD from University of Alberta and has more than 20 years of experience working in the pharmaceutical industry including at Ionis Pharmaceuticals, Eli Lilly & Company, GlaxoWellcome and Elan Pharmaceuticals. He was VP of DMPK & Clinical Pharmacology at Ionis and over his career, has worked on 6 approved therapeutics, including the oligonucleotide therapeutics Kynamro® and Spinraza®, the biologics Tysabri® and Prialt®, and the small molecules Zonegran® and Contrave®. He has proven that he can successfully manage assets from early clinical development through to POC in man. Dr. Grundy is currently VP of Nonclinical Development and Clinical Pharmacology at Arena Pharmaceuticals.

Adam Pavlicek

Co-founder

Adam Pavlicek

Dr. Pavlicek received his PhD from the Jacques Monod Institute and has over 10 years of experience in the pharmaceutical industry at companies such as Pfizer and Regulus Therapeutics. He contributed to biomarker and patient selection strategies for several late stage projects at Pfizer including palbociclib (IBRANCE®) and crizotinib(Xalcori). Most recently, he served as Senior Director of Discovery Technologies and Orphan Diseases at Regulus, where he established and oversaw the CNS and ocular therapeutic areas.  Dr. Pavlicek is Principal and founder of Monoceros, a drug development consultancy focused on bioinformatic analysis.

Jeff Friedman

COO

Jeff Friedman

Dr. Friedman is an experienced life sciences investor with over 40 previous investments in the sector. He is a Pediatric Hematologist/Oncologist, receiving his MD/PhD from Stanford and clinical training at Boston Children’s Hospital/DFCI. Prior to his current role, he led the life sciences section of Tech Coast Angels, San Diego, the largest Angel Investment group in the US.  As a philanthropist, Dr. Friedman serves on the board of CurePSP and runs the PSP Genetics Consortium, a collaborative sequencing effort between CurePSP, NIH, the Tau Consortium and 13 academic investigators around the world.  Earlier in his career, Dr. Friedman led a research lab for nearly a decade at the Scripps Research Institute in San Diego.

Charles Allerson

VP Chemistry

Charles Allerson

Dr. Charles “Chuck” Allerson joined DTx Pharma as VP of Chemistry and Drug Development in August of 2019. His extensive experience in oligonucleotide chemistry and therapeutics will help accelerate development of the DTx delivery platform and help leverage this technology for the development of new therapies. Prior to joining DTx Pharma, Dr. Allerson served as VP of Chemistry at Stoke Therapeutics, where he supported early stage discovery as well as the development of Stoke’s lead compound, STK-001, for the treatment of Dravet Syndrome.

Board of Directors

Andrew Adams

CSO, RNA Therapeutics, Eli Lilly & Co.

Andrew Adams

Andrew is Eli Lilly’s Chief Scientific Officer for RNA Therapeutics. His eight year tenure at Eli Lilly & Co. includes positions of increasing responsibility in metabolism, diabetes and external innovation. Prior to joining Eli Lilly, Andrew was a Research Fellow at Harvard Medical School. Andrew received his Bsc (honors) and his PhD in Zoology and Neuroscience at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland.

 

Jeff Friedman

COO, DTx Pharma; Managing Partner Friedman Bioventure Fund

Jeff Friedman

Dr. Friedman is an experienced life sciences investor with over 40 previous investments in the sector. He is a Pediatric Hematologist/Oncologist, receiving his MD/PhD from Stanford and clinical training at Boston Children’s Hospital/DFCI. Prior to his current role, he led the life sciences section of Tech Coast Angels, San Diego, the largest Angel Investment group in the US. As a philanthropist, Dr. Friedman serves on the board of CurePSP and runs the PSP Genetics Consortium, a collaborative sequencing effort between CurePSP, NIH, the Tau Consortium and 13 academic investigators around the world. Earlier in his career, Dr. Friedman led a research lab for nearly a decade at the Scripps Research Institute in San Diego.

 

Arthur Suckow

CEO, DTx Pharma

Arthur Suckow

Dr. Suckow received his PhD from University of California, San Diego and has worked for Johnson & Johnson, AstraZeneca, where he co-founded and managed the biologics laboratory of over 30 scientists, and Regulus Therapeutics. Dr. Suckow’s extensive experience in lipid pharmacology includes advancing lipidated peptides into clinical development and taking small molecules targeting lipid receptors into clinical development.

 

Tim Scott

CEO, TEGA Therapeutics

Tim Scott

Mr. Scott is co-founder and CEO of TEGA Therapeutics. He previously was President of Pharmatek Labs, a CDMO sold to Catalent in 2016. Mr. Scott also serves on the Board of Avelas Bioiosciences, BIOCOM and CONNECT, a non-profit helping to create innovation in San Diego. At UC San Diego, he serves on the Dean’s Advisory Council for the Division of Biological Sciences.  Mr. Scott also serves on the board of the San Diego Blood Bank, and as a trustee for the La Jolla Playhouse. Mr. Scott earned his B.A. in Biochemistry, and his J.D. from UCSD and is a member of the California Bar.

 

John Grundy

Co-founder, DTx Pharma

John Grundy

Dr. Grundy received his PhD from University of Alberta and has more than 20 years of experience working in the pharmaceutical industry including at Ionis Pharmaceuticals, Eli Lilly & Company, GlaxoWellcome and Elan Pharmaceuticals. He was VP of DMPK & Clinical Pharmacology at Ionis and over his career, has worked on 6 approved therapeutics, including the oligonucleotide therapeutics Kynamro® and Spinraza®, the biologics Tysabri® and Prialt®, and the small molecules Zonegran® and Contrave®. He has proven that he can successfully manage assets from early clinical development through to POC in man. Dr. Grundy is currently VP of Nonclinical Development and Clinical Pharmacology at Arena Pharmaceuticals.

 

Board Observers

Richard Shen

Board Observer

Richard Shen

Richard is an active member of Tech Coast Angels in San Diego and is involved with several startups. Previously, Richard held several executive level positions in his 15-year career at Illumina. Richard holds several key patents in the fields of nucleic acid analysis and sequencing, including the development of a process to sequence the human genome for $1,000. Richard is an alumnus of UCLA (B.S.) and LSU Medical Center (Ph.D.), with postdoctoral fellowships at University of Michigan Medical Center and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratories.

 

Yinghong Gao

Board Observer

Yinghong Gao

Yinghong is an Associate Business Partner at Viva BioInnovator and the Executive Director of Business Development for Viva’s CRO division. She has over a decade of drug discovery experience working at Arena, Neurocrine and Cytel, and had made undeletable contribution to the discovery of ORILISSA®. She also has broad CRO experience ranging from early drug discovery to pre-clinical and clinical development. She was an integral team member of target selection, licensing & scientific network of MerckMillipore, responsible for lead evaluation and new product introduction. She holds a MSc. Degree from Chinese Academy of Sciences in physical chemistry and a MSc. Degree from Tulane University in organic chemistry.

 

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DTx is rapidly growing and is currently recruiting scientists across chemistry, biology and in-vivo disciplines. Please see link for a list of current open positions.

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