Former Boehringer Ingelheim Vice President will lead commercialization and operations efforts
BOSTON, Massachusetts, September 2, 2016:Gelesis, a biotechnology company focused on developing first-in-class products to safely induce weight loss and improve glycemic control, today announced the appointment of David Pass, Pharm.D., as Chief Operating Officer. Dr. Pass will lead operations, including commercial planning, business development and all commercialization efforts. His initial focus will be on Gelesis100, Gelesis’ lead product candidate.
Dr. Pass joins Gelesis with more than 20 years of commercial expertise across multiple therapeutic areas with a focus on diabetes and metabolics. Dr. Pass gained a broad range of commercial experience from his time with Johnson & Johnson, and Bristol-Myers Squibb. Most recently, Dr. Pass served as Vice President of Marketing at Boehringer Ingelheim (BI) for Diabetes, where he built a billion-dollar franchise. In this role, Dr. Pass also led the BI alliance with Eli Lilly & Company to develop and commercialize a portfolio of diabetes compounds in mid- and late-stage development.
“We are excited to have David onboard as we prepare for the potential launch of our first product, Gelesis100,” said Yishai Zohar, Chief Executive Officer of Gelesis. “David brings invaluable commercial, strategic and business development experience across a broad range of therapeutic areas and has a proven track record of building successful franchises.”
William Aschenbach, Ph.D., MBA, also joins Gelesis as the Vice President of Medical Affairs. Dr. Aschenbach brings with him 13 years of diverse research and development and medical affairs experience from his tenure as Scientific Director of U.S. Medical Affairs for EMD Serono. He also previously served as the Director of Global Medical Research at Biogen Idec, where he led global external research and medical communications efforts for the company’s central nervous system franchise.
Gelesis100 is an orally administered capsule containing small hydrogel particles designed to employ multiple mechanisms of action along the gastrointestinal (GI) tract to induce weight loss and improve glycemic control. The hydrogel particles are synthesized through Gelesis’ multi-step, proprietary process using starting materials which are considered Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS) by the FDA and commonly used in the food industry.
Gelesis100 capsules are taken with water prior to a meal, after which the hydrogel particles are released from the capsules in the stomach and rapidly absorb water, hydrating to approximately 100 times their original size. The hydrogel particles mix homogeneously with food and travel through the GI tract, potentially inducing satiety and improving glycemic control. Once in the large intestine, the particles release most of the water, which is reabsorbed by the body. The microscopic degraded particles are then safely eliminated by the body in the same manner as food.
Gelesis is focused on the development of novel therapies to induce weight loss and improve glycemic control in people who are overweight or have obesity, including those with prediabetes and type 2 diabetes. Gelesis100, one of the company’s product candidates and a first-in-class therapeutic, is currently being evaluated in a six-month pivotal study. Gelesis is also developing Gelesis200, created from the same proprietary technology platform as Gelesis100, as a product optimized to induce weight loss and improve glycemic control in patients with type 2 diabetes.
The Gelesis executive and advisory teams comprise leading experts in obesity and its related comorbidities, clinical research and development and advanced biomaterials, including Caroline Apovian, M.D., Professor of Medicine and Pediatrics at Boston University School of Medicine; Louis J. Aronne, M.D., FACP, Director of the Comprehensive Weight Control Program at Weill Cornell Medicine, who also holds equity in Gelesis; Arne Astrup, M.D., Head of Department of Nutrition, Exercise and Sports at University of Copenhagen; Ken Fujioka, M.D., Director of the Nutrition and Metabolic Research Center and the Center for Weight Management at the Scripps Clinic; Allan Geliebter, Ph.D., Senior Attending Psychologist, St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital; James Hill, Ph.D., Professor of Medicine and Pediatrics, University of Colorado; Lee M. Kaplan, M.D., Ph.D., Director of the Obesity, Metabolism and Nutrition Institute at Massachusetts General Hospital; Bennett Shapiro, M.D., Co-founder and Non-Executive Director at PureTech and former Executive Vice President of Research for Merck; and Angelo Tremblay, Ph.D., professor, Department of Kinesiology at Laval University.
Gelesis investors include Cormorant Asset Management, PureTech Health PLC (LSE: PRTC), Invesco Asset Management, the Pritzker/Vlock Family Office, and other prominent biotech and finance investors.
This press release contains statements that are or may be forward-looking statements, including statements that relate to the company’s future prospects, developments and strategies. The forward-looking statements are based on current expectations and are subject to known and unknown risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results, performance and achievements to differ materially from current expectations, including, but not limited to, those risks and uncertainties described in the risk factors included in the regulatory filings for PureTech Health plc. These forward-looking statements are based on assumptions regarding the present and future business strategies of the company and the environment in which it will operate in the future. Each forward-looking statement speaks only as at the date of this press release. Except as required by law and regulatory requirements, neither the company nor any other party intends to update or revise these forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.
PureTech, +1 617 651 3156
Allison Mead, Communications and Investor Relations