Healthcare Industry News:  Merck 

Biopharmaceuticals Personnel

 News Release - April 28, 2016

Pliant Therapeutics Expands Leadership Team

Appoints Three Seasoned Executives to Advance Therapies to Prevent or Reverse Fibrotic Diseases

REDWOOD CITY, Calif.--(Healthcare Sales & Marketing Network)--Pliant Therapeutics, Inc., a company focused on discovering, developing and commercializing breakthrough treatments for fibrotic diseases, today announced three leadership team appointments. Hans Hull, J.D., has joined the company as chief business officer, Patrick Andre, Ph.D., has been named vice president of biology and Randall Halcomb, Ph.D., has joined as vice president of medicinal chemistry.

“We have made tremendous progress since the launch of Pliant only two months ago, and with these key appointments we have continued to assemble a distinguished team to help propel our pipeline of innovative fibrosis therapies,” said Bernard Coulie, M.D., Ph.D., CEO of Pliant Therapeutics. “Hans, Patrick and Randy bring not only highly relevant experience, but most importantly a united passion to help Pliant achieve our mission of transforming the lives of patients who suffer from debilitating fibrotic diseases. We look forward to the contributions from our new colleagues in advancing this goal in the years to come.”

Chief business officer Hans Hull, J.D., is an accomplished biotechnology executive who brings to Pliant more than 15 years of experience in corporate development, legal and operational roles. Mr. Hull was previously interim CEO of Avalanche Biotechnologies, a public gene therapy company, after serving as senior vice president of business operations for the company. During his tenure at Avalanche, he closed multiple transactions including an eight-product, $640 million collaboration with Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, and helped raise more than $300 million in private and public equity financing. Prior to Avalanche, Mr. Hull was CEO of Orthobond, a medical device startup, following an earlier career as an intellectual property attorney at Heller Ehrman LLP and life science consultant at ZS Associates. Mr. Hull holds an A.B. in chemistry from Princeton University and a J.D. from the University of California, Berkeley.

Vice president of biology Patrick Andre, Ph.D., is a pioneer in integrin biology and drug discovery who brings 15 years of experience in target identification, validation and drug development. Prior to Pliant, Dr. Andre served as principal scientist at Merck Sharp & Dohme Corp., a subsidiary of Merck, where he worked in the Cardio Metabolic Department. There, he led programs from target identification through lead identification and optimization, and served as therapeutic area representative for a marketed drug. Prior to Merck, Dr. Andre held positions of increasing responsibility at Portola Pharmaceuticals for nine years, most recently as senior director, where he developed novel assays and performed mechanistic studies for antiplatelet, anticoagulant and anti-inflammatory agents. Dr. Andre has published more than 40 articles in top-tier peer-reviewed journals and holds more than 15 patents. He holds a Ph.D. in molecular biology from Paris VII University and completed his postdoctoral research at Harvard Medical School.

Vice president of medicinal chemistry Randall Halcomb, Ph.D., brings more than 20 years of experience in biopharma and academic life sciences. Prior to joining Pliant, Dr. Halcomb served as vice president of chemistry at Igenica Biotherapeutics, where he led the development of a technology platform for homogeneous antibody drug conjugates and applications to internal discovery programs. Prior to Igenica, he held multiple research positions at Gilead Sciences, most recently as director, medicinal chemistry. In that role, he led programs that delivered multiple clinical candidates and oversaw scientific projects spanning multiple phases of discovery, including high throughput screening, lead optimization and early development. He contributed to therapeutics areas that included virology, immunology and oncology. Prior to Gilead, Dr. Halcomb was associate professor of chemistry and biochemistry at the University of Colorado, Boulder. Dr. Halcomb holds a B.S. in chemistry from the University of Alabama and a Ph.D. in organic chemistry from Yale University. He completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the Scripps Research Institute.

About Pliant Therapeutics

Pliant Therapeutics is an early-stage biotechnology company harnessing the therapeutic capabilities of integrin biology and TGF-ß signaling to develop breakthrough treatments for fibrotic diseases. By leveraging its powerful product engine, Pliant’s mission is to prevent or even reverse fibrosis, restoring organ function. The company also aims to build a patient registry for certain areas of fibrotic disease to both increase understanding of natural disease progression and fuel biomarker discovery for efficient clinical trial design. Founded by a group of seasoned experts in fibrosis biology and medicinal chemistry, Pliant Therapeutics was launched in 2016 by Third Rock Ventures and is headquartered in Redwood City, California. For more information, please visit www.pliantrx.com.


Source: Pliant Therapeutics

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