RGENIX Announces Company Name Change to Inspirna and Expands Board of Directors with Appointment of Pharma Veteran Dieter Weinand
NEW YORK–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Inspirna, Inc., a clinical stage biopharmaceutical company developing first-in-class small molecule and biologic cancer therapeutics, announced today its corporate name change from Rgenix to Inspirna and announced the appointment of Dieter Weinand to its Board of Directors, where he will serve as Chairman.
“Given the recent progress made advancing our novel oral small molecule programs RGX-202 and RGX-104 through the clinic, and in anticipation of executing on upcoming milestones, we knew this was an opportune time to align our company name with the science on which our pipeline is based,” said Masoud Tavazoie, M.D., Ph.D., and Chief Executive Officer of Inspirna. “Our new name and logo combine our desire to inspire the development of new cancer medicines with our proprietary RNA-based target discovery platform, and we believe this name now more closely aligns with our mission to develop novel therapeutics that can uniquely benefit patients with difficult to treat cancers.”
The Company currently has two clinical trials ongoing, including a Phase 1b study of RGX-202, a novel oral small molecule in development for colorectal cancer (CRC), and a Phase 1b/2 study of RGX-104, a novel oral small molecule in development for several lung cancer indications, including small cell lung cancer (SCLC) and non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Additionally, RGX-019, a novel biologic drug candidate, is in preclinical testing in select solid and liquid tumors. Inspirna plans to provide an update on its programs at its upcoming virtual R&D Day.
Inspirna also announced the appointment of Dieter Weinand to its Board of Directors. Mr. Weinand, formerly CEO of Bayer Pharma AG, brings over 30 years of experience across the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries.
“We are thrilled to welcome Dieter to Inspirna,” said Dr. Tavazoie. “A seasoned executive in the pharma and biotech industries, his insight will be invaluable as we work to advance our drug candidates through the clinic. He has guided companies across various therapeutic areas, including oncology, from the clinical phase through launch and commercialization, and we look forward to benefitting from his expertise.”
“I am delighted to be joining the Inspirna Board of Directors as Chairman at this time of tremendous progress for the Company,” said Mr. Weinand. “I am impressed with the clinical and preclinical work the Company has completed thus far and was drawn to the RNA technology on which the pipeline is founded, which I believe has the potential to provide new treatment options for patients with cancer.”
Prior to his most recent role as CEO of Bayer Pharma AG, Mr. Weinand held senior leadership positions at Pfizer, Bristol-Myers Squibb, and Sanofi, with responsibilities ranging from management and strategy to operations and commercialization. He has led the launch and marketing of numerous products, including those in primary care, specialty care, and oncology. Mr. Weinand sits on several boards as Chairman, including Replimune, ForeBio, Mnemo and ZielBioPharma. Additionally, he is a director of FieldTrip Health. Mr. Weinand earned his M.S. in pharmacology and toxicology from Long Island University and his B.A. in biology from Concordia College.
Virtual R&D Day on Tuesday, October 26th
Inspirna will host a virtual R&D Day on Tuesday, October 26th, 2021 at 3:00 PM ET. The private event will be open to analysts and investors. Details will be provided to invitees separately. Those interested in attending the event should contact email@example.com.
Inspirna, Inc., is a privately-held clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on the discovery and development of novel cancer drugs that target key pathways in cancer progression. The company is pursuing several first-in-class drug candidates to treat cancers of high unmet need. Inspirna identifies novel cancer targets using its RNA-based target discovery platform, RNA-DRIVErTM, which was originally developed by Inspirna’s scientific co-founders at The Rockefeller University and exclusively licensed to Inspirna. The Company brings together distinguished scientific founders, a seasoned board of directors, and a leadership team comprised of experienced drug developers. The Company is funded by leading biotechnology investors, including Novo Holdings A/S, Sofinnova Partners, Lepu Holdings Limited, Sixty Degree Capital, K2 HealthVentures, Oceanpine Capital, WuXi PharmaTech Healthcare Fund I, LP, Alexandria Venture Investments, LLC, Exor Seeds, and the Partnership Fund for New York City. For more information, please visit www.inspirna.com.
RGX-202 (also known as RGX-202-01, a pharmaceutically optimized form in clinical development) is an orally-administered small molecule that targets the CKB/SLC6A8 pathway. This pathway becomes activated in the tumors of select patients with gastrointestinal cancers where it enables the generation of the energy molecule ATP in response to tumor hypoxia (low oxygen). RGX-202 is currently being tested in a Phase 1b clinical trial in combination with standard-of-care FOLFIRI and bevacizumab for the second line treatment of patients with advanced CRC whose tumors have activated expression of CKB. Inspirna expects to present data from this clinical study in 1H 2022.
RGX-104 is an orally-administered small molecule agonist of the Liver X Receptor (LXR) which activates expression of the APOE tumor suppressor protein. APOE expression becomes dysregulated (silenced) in the tumors of select patients with solid cancers. APOE dysregulation results in increased tumor angiogenesis (tumor blood vessel growth) as well as a shifting of the tumor myeloid cell population from immune-stimulatory to immune-suppressive, which are both counteracted by RGX-104. RGX-104 is currently being tested in a Phase 1b/2 clinical trial in combination with standard-of-care regimens in several lung cancer indications that are enriched for APOE dysregulation, including SCLC and NSCLC. Inspirna expects to present data from this clinical study in 2H 2022.