Healthcare Industry News:  MedImmune 

Biopharmaceuticals Personnel

 News Release - May 14, 2009

Altair Therapeutics Appoints Dr. Joel Martin President and CEO

Industry Veteran to Lead Biopharmaceutical Company Developing Novel Therapeutics for Respiratory Diseases

SAN DIEGO--(HSMN NewsFeed)--Altair Therapeutics, Inc., a privately-held, biopharmaceutical company developing novel therapeutics for respiratory diseases, announced today the appointment of Joel Martin, Ph.D. as President and CEO. A veteran life sciences investor and entrepreneur, Dr. Martin was a member of the early scientific team at Isis Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ: ISIS ). Isis pioneered antisense technology and discovered AIR645, which Isis licensed to Altair Therapeutics. Dr. Martin replaces Paul Brennan, who will continue working with the Company in a business development capacity.

“I am delighted to lead the talented team here at Altair as we focus our efforts on discovering and developing oligonucleotide-based therapeutics, including our lead product AIR645, a first-in-class inhaled once-weekly therapy for treatment of asthma and other respiratory disorders,” said Dr. Martin. “Asthma continues to be a major area of unmet medical need and AIR645 has the potential to provide substantial benefit to the patient community.”

Most recently, Dr. Martin served as partner at Forward Ventures, where he directed investments in Cellective Therapeutics, Inc. (acquired by MedImmune, Inc.), Hypnion, Inc. (acquired by Eli Lilly & Co.), Predix Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (acquired by Epix Pharmaceuticals, Inc.), and Novostent, Inc., among others. Previously, Dr. Martin was founder and CEO of both Argonaut Technologies, Inc. and Quantum Dot Corp.

“Joel has spent his entire career working to advance scientific innovation and entrepreneurship. His experience and leadership will be invaluable as Altair advances AIR645 and takes the Company to the next level,” said Pratik Shah, Ph.D., Chairman and Director, Altair Therapeutics, Inc. and partner at Thomas, McNerney & Partners.

About AIR645

AIR645 is a dual inhibitor of IL-4 and IL-13, pro-inflammatory cytokines which are implicated in the pathogenesis of asthma, allergic rhinitis and other inflammatory disorders. AIR645 is a 2'-O-methoxyethyl second-generation antisense drug targeting the mRNA that encodes the alpha subunit of the human IL-4 receptor (IL-4Rα). IL-4Rα is the signaling chain that is shared by the IL-4 and IL-13 receptors and is required for cellular responses to IL-4 and IL-13. AIR645 has the potential for less frequent administration with improved local and systemic safety. AIR645 was discovered by Isis Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ:ISIS ) and licensed to Altair Therapeutics.

About Altair Therapeutics

Based in San Diego, Altair Therapeutics, Inc. is a privately-held biopharmaceutical company developing novel therapeutics to treat human respiratory diseases. Altair Therapeutics’ lead product is AIR645, the first in a new class of inhaled drugs that incorporate proprietary, second-generation antisense chemistry.

Source: Altair Therapeutics

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