Martin Simonetti Joins Curtana Board of Directors
AUSTIN, TX – September 1, 2015 – Curtana Pharmaceuticals, a privately-held, preclinical stage biopharmaceutical company developing a novel therapy for glioblastoma (GBM), today announced that Martin Simonetti has been elected to Curtana’s board of directors. Simonetti has served on Curtana’s business advisory board since March 2014.
Simonetti is a C-level biotechnology executive with expertise in managing growth organizations ranging from private pre-commercial to world class Fortune 500. He has successfully led financing rounds in both private and public capital markets and executed multiple, large pharma collaborations.
“Martin has been a highly supportive, valued advisor to Curtana providing strategic guidance and advantageous introductions,” stated Gregory Stein, M.D., M.B.A., Chief Executive Officer, Curtana Pharmaceuticals. “We look forward to his participation on the board as we prepare to enter the clinic in late 2016 and explore additional growth and funding opportunities for the company.”
“Curtana is advancing rapidly and I am honored to be a part of the development of this novel therapy for glioblastoma,” said Simonetti. “Cancer touches so many lives and to date, there have been few successes with brain cancer therapies. I look forward to applying my years of experience and working with Gregory to guide the strategic direction of the company.”
Curtana is targeting the transcription factor OLIG2, which is critical in tumorigenesis and regulates the survival and expansion of GBM. Typically, OLIG2 is not active in normal brain tissue and is not found in normal tissues outside the central nervous system. However, it is highly expressed in all diffuse gliomas and nearly 100% of glioma cancer stem cells (CSCs) that are positive for the CD133 stem cell marker. The relevance for therapy derives from the finding that over-expression of OLIG2 drives turmorigenesis and promotes resistance to chemotherapy and radiation therapy.
GBM is the most common and most aggressive of the malignant primary brain tumors in adults and is one of a group of tumors referred to as gliomas. Incidence in the U.S. is approximately 10,000 cases per year. The conventional therapeutic approach for GBM often includes surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy, which targets the tumor bulk, but has limited effect on the cancer stem cells. A significant unmet clinical need remains in the GBM market as the median survival is less than 15 months and five-year survival rate is less than 10%.
About Curtana Pharmaceuticals
Curtana Pharmaceuticals, founded in 2013, is a privately held, preclinical-stage biopharmaceutical company headquartered in Austin, Texas. In August 2014, the company was awarded a $7.6 million grant from the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas. Curtana focuses on the development of novel first-in-class, small molecule therapeutics targeting cancer stem cells in the central nervous system for the treatment of glioblastoma and other cancers. Curtana’s OLIG2 inhibitors will be the only adjuvant treatment for nearly all gliomas, including high-grade glioblastomas, which specifically targets the cancer stem cells and is a potent radiosensitizer. For more information, visit www.curtanapharma.com.
Gregory Stein, M.D., M.B.A
Chief Executive Officer