DEVELOPMENT OF DNA METHYLTRANSFERASE INHIBITORS AS ANTI*
EpiGenX Pharmaceuticals Inc.
5385 Hollister Avenue
Santa Barbara, CA 93111
EpiGenesis Pharmaceuticals Inc., is located at Santa Barbara, CA and is a privately held biopharmaceutical company developing inhaled respiratory medicines for the treatment of asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
Epigenesis is focused on inhaled delivery to leverage the enhanced safety profile of topical therapy over systemic therapy. The Company’s lead compound, EPI-12323, is a once daily, small molecule, inhaled non-glucocorticoid steroid that targets the inflammatory and airway obstruction cascade in the irritated lung.
The Company is committed to developing a series of inhaled respiratory medicines through Phase II studies using small molecule discovery methods.
Epigenesis is continuing its product development efforts by observing a broader asthma population in a Phase II clinical study using its new proprietary inhaled dry powder formulation.
Development of Inhibitors of the DNA Methylation Process
Mikovits, Judy Anne
Epigenx Pharmaceuticals, Santa Barbara, CA, United States
"There is now considerable evidence that DNA methylation, by silencing tumor suppressor and mis-match repair genes, has a major role in the causation and progression of cancer and is also involved in abnormal DNA methylation events following HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) infection. In"
Posted on: 05/09/2001
Dr. Yuan-Tseh Lee Joins Fellow Scientists on Biotechnology Company Advisory Board
SANTA BARBARA, Calif.--(BW HealthWire)--May 7, 2001--EpiGenX Pharmaceuticals Inc., announced today that Dr. Yuan-Tseh Lee has joined a distinguished advisory board which has been assembled to guide the Company in the development of epigenetic-based diagnostics and therapies for cancer and infectious disease. The Scientific Advisory Board, composed of leading scientists in the biotechnology and academic community, will be instrumental in accelerating the development and commercialization of the company's technologies.
Dr. Yuan-Tseh Lee joins an elite group including Michael T. Bowers, Ph.D., Professor of Chemistry and Thomas C. Bruice, Ph.D., Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry from University of California, Santa Barbara; Joseph F. Costello, Ph.D., on the faculty of University of California, San Francisco, Department of Neurological Surgery; Melvin Louis DePamphilis, Ph.D., Section Chief for the Eukaryotic DNA Replication and Gene Expression unit of the Molecular Growth Laboratory at the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development; as well as Jeffrey L. Ebersole, Ph.D., Professor of Oral Health Research and Director, Center for Oral Health Research, from University of Kentucky, College of Dentistry and Arthur D. Riggs, Ph.D., Associate Director of the Beckman Research Institute of the City of Hope National Medical Center.
EpiGenX's Scientific Advisory Board now features expertise covering cancer biology, infectious disease, bioorganic chemistry and mass spectrometry technologies. Epigenetic strategies entail developing the advanced understanding of gene regulation, and its manipulation in order to fight disease, particularly cancer and infections.
"We are extremely honored to have Dr. Lee join our advisory board," commented Larry Bymaster, President and Chief Executive Officer, EpiGenX. "He has unparalleled expertise in molecular beam technology and we are pleased that he has agreed to provide counsel to our team of scientists."
"Dr. Lee is universally recognized as a world leader in design and use of customized state-of-the-art instrumentation for chemical analysis," noted Alec Wodke, Director of Epigenomics, EpiGenX. "We look forward to his guidance in defining the technology directions for our High Throughput Epigenetic applications."
EpiGenX Scientific Advisory Board is now composed of:
Michael T. Bowers, Ph.D., a Professor of Chemistry at UCSB, and one of the world's leading scientists in the field of mass spectrometry has served for over 10 years as, Editor, International Journal of Mass Spectrometry and Ion Processes and serves as Associate Editor Journal of the American Chemical Society. Dr. Bowers his Ph.D. in 1966 from the University of Illinois. His Awards include: Nobel Laureate Signature Award of the American Chemical Society (1988); American Chemical Society Award for Outstanding Achievement in Mass Spectrometry (1996); Guggenheim Fellowship (1994); and UCSB Faculty Research Lecturer (1994). He is a Fellow of the American Physical Society and of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
Thomas C. Bruice, Ph.D., a Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry at UCSB, was listed among the world's 50 most cited chemists for the period from 1984 to 1991. He has been elected a Member of the National Academy of Sciences (1974), a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a Fellow of the AAAS (1989) as well as the Royal Society of Chemistry. His awards include: NIH Career Development (1979); Lifetime Investigator and MERIT Awards; Guggenheim Fellow (1979); UCSB Faculty Research Award (1970); American Chemical Society Arthur C. Cope Scholar Award (1987), Richard C. Tolman Medal (1979), Repligan Medal in Biochemistry (1987), Alfred Bader Medal in Bioorganic and Bioinorganic Chemistry (1988), and the James Flack Norris Award (1996) in physical organic chemistry.
Joseph F. Costello, Ph.D., serves on the faculty at University of California, San Francisco, Department of Neurological Surgery, and is a leading expert in the field of methylation, including identifying non-random and tumor-specific methylation patterns in human malignancies. His awards include the James S. McDonnell Foundation 21st Century Scientist Award. Dr Costello is a member of the Brain Tumor Research Center at UCSF and has had his work featured in editorials published in Nature Genetics, Science, The Scientist and Wired Magazine. He serves as an ad hoc reviewer for Nature Genetics, Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, Cancer Research, and Genes Chromosomes & Cancer.
Melvin Louis DePamphilis, Ph.D., is the Section Chief for the Eukaryotic DNA Replication and Gene Expression unit of the Molecular Growth Laboratory at the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, Bethesda, MD. He previously served as a Laboratory Head and Full Member of the Roche Institute of Molecular Biology, an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at Columbia University, and a Professor in the Department of Biological Chemistry at Harvard Medical School. Dr. DePamphilis is one of the country's leading experts in the initiation of DNA replication in mammalian chromosomes; gene expression at the beginning of mammalian development. He currently serves on the editorial board of the following journals: Molecular Reproduction and Development, Molecular Biology Reports, Gene Therapy & Molecular Biology, Cell Structure and Function and Molecular and Cellular Biology.
Jeffrey L. Ebersole, Ph.D., is Professor of Oral Health Research and Director, Center for Oral Health Research, at University of Kentucky, College of Dentistry. Earlier in his career, he was Professor of Periodontics and Microbiology at The University of Texas Health Center and, in the mid-1980's, Associate Clinical Professor of Oral Biology and Pathophysiology at the Harvard School of Dental Medicine. Dr. Ebersole's research area is B cell biology and antibodies in secretory immunity and periodontal immunobiology. He has had NIH funding for over 25 years. His primary research emphasis is in the development, specificity and functional abilities of antibodies in the oral cavity.
Yuan-Tseh Lee, Ph.D., a Nobel laureate in chemistry in 1986, is the current President of Academia Sinica, the highest research institute in Taiwan. In 1986, Lee shared the Nobel Prize in Chemistry with Dudley R. Herschbach and John C. Polanyi for helping to apply the technology and theory of physics to chemistry. In his research, Lee extended Herschbach's "crossed molecular beam technique" to analyze larger and more complex molecules. Dr. Lee received his doctorate from the University of California at Berkeley in 1965. His world-leading laboratory now contains seven very sophisticated molecular beam apparati, which were specially designed to pursue problems, associated with reaction dynamics, photochemical processes, and molecular spectroscopy. His awards include: Alfred P. Sloan Fellow (1969 - 1971); Fellow, American Academy of Arts and Science (1975); Fellow, American Physical Society, (1976); John Simon Guggenheim Fellow (1976 - 1977); Member, National Academy of Sciences (1979); Member, Academia Sinica, Taiwan, China (1980); Ernest O. Lawrence Award, U.S. Department of Energy (1981); Peter Debye Award of Physical Chemistry, American Chemical Society (1986) and the National Medal of Science in 1986.
Arthur D. Riggs, Ph.D., a noted molecular biologist, serves as the Chair, Division of Biology, and Associate Director of the Beckman Research Institute of the City of Hope National Medical Center, which has been designated a Comprehensive Cancer Center by NCI. Dr. Riggs' was one of the scientific founders of Genentech. He is a pioneer in developing an understanding of how methylation acts as an epigenetic control. Currently he is studying X chromosome inactivation and the biological roles of DNA methylation. Dr. Riggs' scientific achievements span three decades at City of Hope.
EpiGenX has accepted invitations to make presentations at two industry conferences this month. The company will be presenting at the Innovative Drug Development Conference in New York on May 8th and the C21 Biotech Convergence Conference in Monterey Bay, California on May 23rd.
EpiGenX Pharmaceuticals is pioneering the development of epigenetic-based diagnostics and therapies tailored to the needs of individual patients. Epigenetic strategies entail developing the advanced understanding of gene regulation, and its manipulation in order to fight disease, particularly cancer and infections. The company's technology platforms all involve DNA methylation. EpiGenX has three commercialization pathways. Its drug discovery tools, EpiHiTS(TM) Technology include a suite of high-throughput assays for the rapid discovery of new epigenetic-based drugs. The company is developing novel and safe therapeutics to fight cancer and infectious diseases through epigenetic mechanisms. EpiGenX is also developing a suite of high-throughput diagnostic and epigenomics technologies to generate information on the activity and inactivity of genes in relation to various diseases. EpiGenX Pharmaceuticals, Inc., is located in Santa Barbara, CA. For more information, call 805-964-4486 or log on to http://www.epigenx.com
This news release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 (the "Act"). In particular, when used in the preceding discussion, the words "plan," "confident that," "believe," "expect," "intend to" and similar conditional expressions are intended to identify forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Act and are subject to the safe harbor created by the Act. Such statements are subject to certain risks and uncertainties, and actual results could differ materially from those expressed in any forward-looking statements. Such risks and uncertainties include, but are not limited to, market conditions, competitive factors, the ability to successfully complete additional financings and other risks.
EpiGenX Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Mark Wilkinson, [phone number], email@example.com
or Larry O. Bymaster, [phone number], firstname.lastname@example.org
or Ken Richards, [phone number], email@example.com
2003 - VP makes a move to Nastech Pharma
Nastech names Paul Johnson senior VP, R&D
Nastech Pharmaceuticals of the USA has recruited Paul Johnson as senior vice president, R&D, and chief scientific officer. Prior to this, Mr Johnson held a similar post with EpiGenX Pharmaceuticals.
Note .. this "Nastech" may have turned into a company that has roots too "Moderna"
Nastech Pharmaceutical Company to Cut 50 Jobs
Feb 13, 2008 10:56am
Nastech Pharmaceutical Company to Cut 50 Jobs
BOTHELL, Wash., Feb. 12 -- Nastech Pharmaceutical Company Inc. (Nasdaq: NSTK - News) announced today that its Board of Directors has approved a plan to further reduce operating expenses and align the company's workforce with its strategic, business and clinical development requirements.
"The workforce reduction of approximately 50 employees will enable us to drive our key clinical development and RNAi programs forward in a more efficient manner for the benefit of our shareholders," stated Steven C. Quay, M.D., Ph.D., Chairman and CEO of Nastech. "The savings by this action are estimated to be not less than $11 million during the 2008 fiscal year."
Nastech is a clinical stage biopharmaceutical company focusing on the development and commercialization of innovative therapeutic products based on its proprietary molecular biology-based drug delivery technologies and, through its wholly-owned subsidiary, MDRNA, Inc., based on its proprietary ribonucleic acid interference technology. Nastech and its collaboration partners are developing products for multiple therapeutic areas including osteoporosis, obesity, diabetes, autism, respiratory diseases and inflammatory conditions. Additional information about Nastech is available at http://www.nastech.com.
Marina Biotech, Inc. (Formerly Known as MDRNA, Inc.) Announces Closure of Cambridge Site and Consolidation of R&D Operations in Bothell, WA
Published: Feb 14, 2012
BOTHELL, WA--(Marketwire - February 14, 2012) - Marina Biotech, Inc. (OTCQX: MRNA), a leading nucleic acid-based drug discovery and development company, today announced the closure of its Cambridge site and the consolidation of all research and development efforts at its headquarters in Bothell, WA. In addition, the Company announced dosing of the first patient in Cohort 2 in the Dose Escalation Phase of the START-FAP (Safety and Tolerability of An RNAi Therapeutic in Familial Adenomatous Polyposis) clinical trial with CEQ508.
"After considerable review, we have decided to close our Cambridge site and transfer those research and development efforts to our headquarters in Bothell, WA," said J. Michael French, President & CEO of Marina Biotech. "This move will not affect the START-FAP trial as noted by our announcement today of Cohort 2 dosing. Further, we expect to continue to develop the tkRNAi platform in our labs in Bothell. The closing of the Cambridge site is consistent with our continued efforts to reduce our cash utilization. The individuals affected by this decision were all part of the former Cequent team who then, and certainly over the past several years, were instrumental to the development of CEQ508 and the successful execution of the START-FAP trial. I want to thank them for their efforts and wish them all well in their future endeavors."
EXECUTIVE MANAGEMENT TEAM
Larry O. Bymaster, Chairman, President & CEO. Prior to joining EpiGenX, Larry Bymaster was President and CEO of Techniclone Corporation, a publicly traded pharmaceutical company focused on cancer therapeutics. From 1990 to 1997, Mr. Bymaster served as Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of Xytronyx, Inc./Pacific Pharmaceuticals Inc., a publicly traded (AMEX) research-based cancer therapeutic and diagnostic pharmaceutical products company. Prior to joining Xytronyx, Larry served as executive vice president of the Cytotec Inc., a privately held biotechnology company that developed and commercialized products for diagnosing autoimmune diseases. Previous to Cytotech, he held management positions with Baxter International Corporation and American Hospital Corporation. His areas of expertise include pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, corporate mergers and global marketing.
Ken Richards, M.B.A., Chief Financial Officer. Ken Richards has 20 years experience in corporate and investment banking, including serving as Managing Director with CIBC World Markets in Los Angeles and Toronto, and CFO of a public company. During his career, he has completed many large debt, high yield and equity financings, both in North America and internationally. Ken also serves as a Director of the Venture Coast Biotechnology Institute, a non-profit biotechnology industry organization.
Paul H. Johnson, Ph. D., Vice President, Research & Development and Chief Scientific Officer. Dr. Johnson has over 25 years of experience in research and development, contract research and academic science, leading innovative programs in protein and small molecule drug discovery for cancer, cardiovascular and inflammatory diseases. Prior to joining EpiGenX, Dr. Johnson was Principal Scientist, Cancer Research Department, at Berlex Biosciences, the US Research and Development Center for Schering AG, in Richmond, CA. and Head of the Cell and Molecular Biology Department. Prior to Berlex, Dr. Johnson worked for SRI International (Menlo Park, CA) where he was Director of the Cell and Molecular Biology Laboratory. Dr. Johnson received his Ph.D. in Biochemistry from Roswell Park Cancer Institute, State University of New York.
Neda Mashhoon, Ph.D., Director of Drug Discovery. Dr. Mashhoon has over 12 years experience in designing, performing and optimizing enzyme kinetic assays. She has numerous landmark publications describing the kinetic and chemical mechanisms of the bacterial DNA methyltransferase. She has gained additional expertise in protein engineering and structure determination using X-ray crystallography during her postdoctoral career. Dr. Mashhoon served as research faculty at Ohio State University Medical School where she developed high throughput screening protocols and screened a small molecule library in search of Alzheimer’s Disease drug candidates before joining EpiGenX.
Judy A. Mikovits, Ph.D., Director of Cancer Biology. Dr. Mikovits has over 17 years experience studying hematopoietic cell growth, regulation and tumor biology and has spent more than 8 years studying the role of aberrant methylation in retroviral pathogenesis at the National Cancer Institute (NCI) - Frederick Cancer Research and Development Center, Frederick MD. Before joining EpiGenX she held the position of Senior Scientist & Head, Laboratory of Antiviral Drug Mechanisms at the Screening Technologies, Branch of the NCI with the focus of using high throughput screening technologies (HTS) for the development of antiviral agents directed against molecular targets of HIV-1 and other viruses involved in the pathogenesis of AIDS associated malignancies.
Chatper 1 :
She regaled the patrons with stories about her more than twenty years working at the National
Cancer Institute in Maryland. Or, if they were in the mood for romance, she told them about
meeting David at a conference in Ventura in 1999, getting married at the age of forty-two,
commuting for a few months between the NCI on the East Coast and David’s home in Ventura,
and finally deciding that if she wanted a real marriage she needed to be in the same time zone
as her husband.
It was his gentle magnetism that brought her there, to a place where an accomplished scientist
might be found tending bar at an egalitarian yacht club.
To be nearer to David, she got a job as director of cancer research with a biotech start-up in
Santa Barbara called EpiGenX Pharmaceuticals, which was developing drugs to regulate tumor
suppressor genes, leading to more effective outcomes for cancer treatment. The drugs they
were developing decreased DNA methylation (increased DNA methylation caused silencing of
gene expression), which normally becomes disrupted as cancer spread through the body, thus
causing further downstream damage. The intellectual property for the company was licensed
out of the University of California at Santa Barbara (UCSB) and Judy was intimately involved in
the construction of the lab EpiGenX built, as well as securing two SBIR grants from the NIH.
The company had floundered in the wake of the sluggish economic climate after 9/11. In the
spring of 2005, it was in the process of being bought out by a larger company. EpiGenX had
generated a fair amount of its own intellectual property, but with no funding to pay employees,
Mikovits was the only actual lab employee left. She would still go into the lab every day and run
experiments, but the company had also put her in charge of handling due diligence for the
upcoming sale, which took a few hours every day. Mikovits knew that when the sale went
through she would in all likelihood need to look for a new job.
The sale wouldn’t take place for several months, so on one Friday evening in late 2005, Judy
found herself working behind the bar when then vice-commodore of PBYC, Joe Vetrano, walked
in with his new girlfriend, Karen, an accountant. It would prove to be a moment of serendipity,
with Judy’s candor working in her favor. The three of them a human herpes virus HHV-6. Judy
was intrigued as Karen conveyed the substantial level of impairment and suffering of her boss’s
child. Karen’s boss, Kristin Loomis, had started an organization to go after the virus, called the
HHV-6 Foundation. After Karen had talked for several minutes and Judy excitedly asked a few
questions, Joe initiated, off-handedly, “Judy, maybe you could help them.”
“Yes, Joe, why not—I’ll check it out,” she replied with a grin, taking away their finished drinks.
* * *
Ken Richards joined EpiGenX in September of 2000, as chief financial officer, and recalled
recruiting Mikovits from the NCI in May of 2001. 34 Ken was originally from Canada, having
worked for seventeen years for a Canadian corporate investment bank before transferring with
them to Los Angeles in 1997. He was surprised as a savvy money-man to find that the University
of California at Santa Barbara (UCSB) had a phenomenal science and engineering program, but
no systematic way to bring their research discoveries to market. Richards and two other
ambitious partners founded the Santa Barbara chapter of Tech Coast Angels, the largest angel
funding network in the United States.
It was at a meeting for Tech Coast Angels that Ken was introduced to EpiGenX, and through that
company he would meet Mikovits. He later gushed about her: “Judy was a very well-spoken,
knowledgeable, and dedicated scientist who wanted to do everything possible to find effective
treatments for cancer,” said Richards. On the question of why Mikovits seemed to have both
strong supporters and critics, Richards said, “I tell everybody, Judy is very controversial. Many
people do not like her and many people admire her. I am in the later category. She speaks her
mind. When she develops a view, she is dedicated to that view and will defend it fiercely. She’s
combative in a positive sense, and that tends to irritate some people.”
Richards believed that many of Mikovits’s detractors had fallen victim to an unconscious form
of sexism in which an assertive woman was “viewed as a bitch” while a man making a similarly
impassioned defense of his position would be “admired and respected for his firm stance.” 35 It
seemed like the kind of post-feminist statement that perhaps only a man could make and be
fully heard, especially regarding a disease like ME/CFS that was incorectly thought to only affect
women and had been derogatorily referred to as “Yuppie flu” in its early years, with mocking
press implying that women contracting the disease were overly driven.
Even though Mikovits would eventually leave EpiGenX, her tie with Richards would remain solid
and he would remain a steadfast supporter. In 2011, Richards was putting together a private
equity firm to invest in early stage technology and biotechnology companies. “[We] needed
somebody with a strong science background, the first person I thought of was Judy Mikovits.”
When a few higher-ups asked questions about bringing on this controversial figure, Richards
had several cards to play on Judy’s behalf. In addition to a recommendation from the respected
Frank Ruscetti, Nobel Prize winner Luc Montagnier was very supportive of Judy and wrote
highly of her work and her integrity when he penned a recommendation to the Yorkbridge