DTx Pharma, Inc. (DTx), a privately-held biotechnology company creating novel RNA-based therapeutics to treat the genetic drivers of disease, announced today the appointment of Bryan Laffitte, Ph.D., as Vice President, Biology. In his newly created role, Dr. Laffitte will be responsible for leading the company’s research and development team and exploring new target opportunities for DTx’s fatty acid delivery platform.
“We are excited to welcome Bryan to DTx – he is a highly decorated scientist with a proven track record in preclinical and translational biology across a wide range of therapeutic areas,” said Arthur T. Suckow, Co-Founder and CEO of DTx Pharma. “His experience leading scientific teams in both large pharma and biotechnology companies will be critical as we advance our fatty acid conjugate technology platform to solve the drug delivery challenges associated with RNA-based therapies.”
Dr. Laffitte brings almost twenty years of pharmaceutical and biotechnology industry experience to DTx, with significant expertise leading research teams across many scientific disciplines and advancing programs from pre-clinical development through IND filings. Dr. Laffitte joins DTx from Inception Therapeutics, Inc., where we served as Vice President, Biology and was responsible for the managing research activities for Inception and several of its subsidiary companies including Tempest Therapeutics, Lycia Therapeutics, Osprey Therapeutics and Metis Therapeutics. Prior to Inception, Dr. Laffitte served in roles of increasing responsibility over a thirteen-year period – most recently as Director, Regenerative Medicine – at the Genomics Institute of the Novartis Research Foundation (GNF), Novartis Institutes of Biomedical Research (NIBR). During his time at GNF/NIBR, Dr. Laffitte lead several functions including the strategic direction of the Regenerative Medicine Group, the pre-clinical pharmaceutical development for several programs in a wide range of indications, and the Type 1 Diabetes collaboration with the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF), which Dr. Laffitte was responsible for securing the largest research grant ever (~$25M) from the JDRF. He initiated and led the Novartis FXR Agonist project leading to the development of tropifexor (LJN452) which has demonstrated Proof of Concept in Phase 2 clinical trials in two indications including Non-Alcoholic Steatohepatitis. He was a member of the Novartis FXR Agonist global project team and acted as co-lead of the strategic initiative on targeted drug delivery. In 2016, he was named the VIVA (Vision, Innovation, Value and Achievement) Award winner and was named the Novartis Leading Scientist for the year.
Before GNF/NIBR, Dr. Laffitte served as Investigator, High Throughput Biology at GSK Research and Development. Dr. Laffitte received his Ph.D. in biological chemistry from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and was a postdoctoral fellow at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at UCLA. Dr. Laffitte has presented his research at several leading medical conferences and is the author on 30 peer-reviewed publications.
“I am thrilled to join DTx as such an important time in the company’s maturation,” said Dr. Laffitte. “The company’s fatty acid delivery technology platform is very exciting and I believe we have the ability to target undruggable tissue and cell types to create a new and powerful class of RNA-based medicines. I look forward to helping the team translate the promise of DTx’s science toward new medicines for patients suffering from genetic diseases.”
About DTx Pharma
DTx Pharma, Inc. is a privately-held biotechnology company creating novel RNA-based therapeutics to treat the genetic drivers of disease. The company’s proprietary delivery technology platform utilizes fatty acids as targeting ligands to enable the delivery of oligonucleotide therapies to tissues and cell types throughout the body. In preclinical studies, DTx has demonstrated cellular uptake and broad activity of oligonucleotides in the retina, muscle, heart, neurons, T cells and many other specialized cell types. Based upon the novelty, IP position and data demonstrating the effectiveness of its proprietary fatty acid motifs, DTx has previously received investment, nondilutive funding and other forms of support from Eli Lilly, Eye CRO and the CMT Research Foundation (CMTRF) for its ocular and muscle programs and has received multiple grant awards from the NIH (NCATS, NIA), and the TPEP program of Alzheimer’s Association and Rainwater Charitable Trust to advance its efforts to treat CNS diseases. To learn more about DTx Pharma, please visit www.dtxpharma.com and follow DTx on Twitter @DTxPharma.