Antisense Pioneer and Idera Founder Dr. Sudhir Agrawal Set to Retire
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. and EXTON, Pa., April 18, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Idera Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ:IDRA), a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company developing toll-like receptor and RNA therapeutics for patients with cancer and rare diseases, today announced that Sudhir Agrawal, D. Phil, the company’s President of Research and member of the company’s Board of Directors, plans to retire on May 31, 2017. However, Dr. Agrawal will continue to contribute to the company as a scientific advisor.
“It has been an honor to be part of the nucleic acid therapeutics field, beginning with our pioneering work in antisense, developing novel therapeutics with our deep understanding of nucleic acid chemistry,” stated Dr. Agrawal. “I am proud of the tremendous progress that has occurred in the field over the past three decades and I am optimistic that our third generation antisense (3GA) platform may allow Idera to realize the full therapeutic potential of antisense. I look forward to keenly watching the accomplishments of my colleagues at Idera under Vin’s leadership over the upcoming months and years as they continue to advance candidates from our TLR-based and 3GA programs forward through clinical trials to commercialization. I am extremely appreciative of the opportunity to have worked with so many talented people who have inspired and challenged me throughout my career, and I am pleased to continue to support the team as a scientific advisor.”
“I was humbled in 2014, when Sudhir invited me to join him and help guide Idera to its next level of growth,” stated Vincent Milano, Idera’s Chief Executive Officer. “Today I am honored to carry forward Sudhir’s remarkable legacy as he steps into the next phase of his life. There are not enough words to fully capture Sudhir’s contributions to science; however, his mark will forever remain on all we accomplish in the days ahead. Our entire team looks forward to continuing to develop his discoveries and making a positive impact on patients.”
Jonathan Yingling, Ph.D., Idera’s Senior Vice President and Head of Early Development will assume interim leadership of the company’s research organization.
Dr. Agrawal joined Idera as a founding scientist and has since served in various leadership roles, including Chairman, Chief Executive Officer, President, Chief Scientific Officer, and member of the Board of Directors. During his tenure, he has led the scientific development of Idera’s nucleic acid therapeutic platform, including antisense technology and toll-like receptor (TLR) targeted compounds.
Under Dr. Agrawal’s leadership, Idera has created a pipeline of drug candidates, which includes TLR modulators IMO-2125, IMO-8400, and IMO-9200. IMO-2125, a TLR9 agonist, is currently in Phase 2 development as an intratumoral agent for the treatment of PD-1 refractory metastatic melanoma. IMO-8400, a TLR7/8/9 antagonist, is currently in Phase 2 development for the treatment of dermatomyositis. IMO-9200, a TLR7/8/9 antagonist, is licensed to Vivelix for the oral treatment of GI inflammation. In addition, the company is developing the third generation antisense (3GA) technology, which is the culmination of three decades of pioneering work by Dr. Agrawal in the antisense field, and insights gained from the first and second generation antisense designs. A 3GA candidate has been selected for clinical development for an undisclosed target.
Dr. Agrawal has published more than 300 research papers and reviews, and has made presentations at hundreds of scientific conferences. He is a named inventor on over 400 patents and patent applications throughout the world. He has edited three books, one on oligonucleotides and analogues, one on oligonucleotide conjugates, and one on antisense therapeutics. In addition to his work at Idera, Dr. Agrawal also serves as a member of the editorials of Trends in Molecular Medicine, Investigational Drug Journal and Current Cancer Drug Targets.
Dr. Agrawal received his D.Phil. in chemistry and conducted post-doctoral research at the MRC’s Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Cambridge, U.K. and in the laboratory of the late Paul Zamecnik, “Father of Antisense” at the Worcester Foundation (now UMass Medical School).
About Idera Pharmaceuticals
Idera Pharmaceuticals is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company developing novel nucleic acid-based therapies for the treatment of certain cancers and rare diseases. Idera’s proprietary technology involves designing synthetic oligonucleotide-based drug candidates to modulate the activity of specific TLRs. In addition to its TLR programs, Idera has used its proprietary knowledge to create a third generation antisense technology platform which inhibits the production of disease-associated proteins by targeting RNA. To learn more about Idera, visit www.iderapharma.com.
Forward Looking Statements
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