Healthcare Industry News: Sanofi-aventis
News Release - July 15, 2011
ZIOPHARM Oncology Appoints Hagop Youssoufian, M.Sc., M.D., as Executive Vice President and Chief Medical OfficerNEW YORK--(Healthcare Sales & Marketing Network)-- ZIOPHARM Oncology, Inc. (Nasdaq:ZIOP ), a drug development company employing small molecule and synthetic biology approaches to cancer therapy, today announced that it has appointed Hagop Youssoufian, M.Sc., M.D., Executive Vice President and Chief Medical Officer. In this position, Dr. Youssoufian will be responsible for the Company’s clinical product strategies, reporting to Jonathan Lewis, M.D., Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer of ZIOPHARM.
“Dr. Youssoufian brings to ZIOPHARM nearly three decades of academic clinical investigation and successful industry drug development experience and highly regarded leadership within oncology,” stated Dr. Lewis. “His expertise spans pharmaceuticals, biologics, genetics and other areas important to ZIOPHARM’s multifaceted small molecule and synthetic biology development strategy. He is an ideal match for the Company and adds depth to our growing medical and scientific teams.”
“ZIOPHARM has built a diverse and exceptionally promising pipeline of product candidates targeting the unmet needs of patients with cancer,” said Dr. Youssoufian. “I look forward to contributing to both the Company’s novel, advanced-stage small molecule program, as well as its synthetic biology platform, a rapidly emerging technology of unmatched potential.”
Dr. Youssoufian graduated from Boston College (B.S., Magna Cum Laude) and the University of Massachusetts Medical School (M.Sc., M.D.). After training in Internal Medicine at Cleveland Clinic and Johns Hopkins, he completed fellowships in Clinical Genetics at Johns Hopkins and in Hematology-Oncology at Massachusetts General Hospital, and was a Visiting Scientist at Whitehead Institute, MIT. He then served on the faculties of Harvard Medical School as Assistant Professor of Medicine and at Baylor College of Medicine as Associate Professor and Division Chief of Medical Genetics. Subsequently, he was appointed Medical Director at Bristol-Myers Squibb, where he organized translational research and biomarker activities across various therapeutic areas, launched the first formal Experimental Medicine Program, and served as clinical leader of a platform of signal transduction inhibitors, including Sprycel® for chronic myeloid leukemia. He then became Distinguished Clinical Scientist at Sanofi-aventis, where he served as clinical leader of a joint venture with ImmunoGen and in the global development and approval of Taxotere® for the adjuvant treatment of breast cancer. Dr. Youssoufian joined ImClone Systems (a wholly owned subsidiary of Eli Lilly and Company) in April 2005, most recently becoming Chief Medical Officer and Senior Vice President of Global Clinical Sciences, where he supported or led all aspects of the clinical development of Erbitux® and ImClone Systems’ pipeline. This effort culminated in the approval of Erbitux® for new indications in colorectal cancer and head-and-neck cancer, and an expansion of the pipeline across many indications.
Dr. Youssoufian has published over 85 manuscripts and book chapters on human genetics, recombinant DNA technology, drug discovery and clinical research in oncology. He has been the recipient of numerous grants from the National Institutes of Health and private foundations, with honors that include the Hearst Endowment (Assistant Professor at Harvard Medical School), Leukemia Society Translational Research Award, Burroughs Wellcome Clinical Scientist Award, and election to the American Society for Clinical Investigation.
About ZIOPHARM Oncology, Inc.:
ZIOPHARM Oncology is a biopharmaceutical company engaged in the development and commercialization of a diverse portfolio of cancer therapeutics. The Company is currently focused on several clinical programs.
Palifosfamide (Zymafos™ or ZIO-201) is a novel DNA cross-linker in class with bendamustine, ifosfamide, and cyclophosphamide. ZIOPHARM is currently enrolling patients in a randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled Phase III trial with palifosfamide administered intravenously for the treatment of metastatic soft tissue sarcoma in the front-line setting. The company is also currently conducting a Phase I intravenous study of palifosfamide in combination with standard of care addressing small cell lung cancer and an oral form of the drug for treatment of solid tumors is currently in the advanced preclinical stage of development.
Darinaparsin (Zinapar™ or ZIO-101) is a novel mitochondrial-targeted agent (organic arsenic) being developed intravenously for the treatment of relapsed peripheral T-cell lymphoma likely with a two-stage potentially pivotal study expected to begin in late 2011. An oral form is in a Phase I trial in solid tumors.
Indibulin (Zybulin™ or ZIO-301) is a novel, oral tubulin binding agent that is expected to have several potential benefits including oral dosing, application in multi-drug resistant tumors, no neuropathy and a quite tolerable toxicity profile. It is currently being studied in Phase I/II in metastatic breast cancer.
ZIOPHARM is also pursuing the development of novel DNA-based therapeutics in the field of cancer pursuant to an exclusive channel partnership with Intrexon Corporation. The partnership includes two existing clinical-stage product candidates, both of which are in Phase I study.
ZIOPHARM's operations are located in Boston, MA and Germantown, MD with an executive office in New York City. Further information about ZIOPHARM may be found at www.ziopharm.com.
Forward-Looking Safe Harbor Statement:
This press release contains forward-looking statements for ZIOPHARM Oncology, Inc. that involve risks and uncertainties that could cause ZIOPHARM Oncology's actual results to differ materially from the anticipated results and expectations expressed in these forward-looking statements. These statements are based on current expectations, forecasts and assumptions that are subject to risks and uncertainties, which could cause actual outcomes and results to differ materially from these statements. Among other things, there can be no assurance that any of ZIOPHARM Oncology's development efforts relating to its product candidates will be successful, or such product candidates will be successfully commercialized. Other risks that affect forward-looking information contained in this press release include the possibility of being unable to obtain regulatory approval of ZIOPHARM Oncology's product candidates, the risk that the results of clinical trials may not support ZIOPHARM Oncology's claims, the risk that pre-clinical or clinical trials will proceed on schedules that are consistent with ZIOPHARM Oncology's current expectations or at all, risks related to ZIOPHARM Oncology's ability to protect its intellectual property and its reliance on third parties to develop its product candidates, risks related to the sufficiency of existing capital reserves to fund continued operations for a particular amount of time and uncertainties regarding ZIOPHARM Oncology's ability to obtain additional financing to support its operations thereafter, as well as other risks regarding ZIOPHARM Oncology's that are discussed under the heading "Risk Factors" in ZIOPHARM Oncology's filings with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission. Forward-looking statements can be identified by the use of words such as "may," "will," "intend," " should," "could," "can," "would," "expect," "believe," "estimate," " predict," "potential," "plan," "is designed to," "target" and similar expressions. ZIOPHARM Oncology assumes no obligation to update these forward-looking statements, except as required by law.
Source: ZIOPHARM Oncology
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