ESSA Pharma Inc. announced today that it has appointed Dr. David Parkinson to its board of directors. Dr. Parkinson's appointment as an independent director is effective immediately.
"We are delighted to have David join our board," stated Richard Glickman, Chairman of the ESSA board of directors. "With his extensive background in dealing with clinical and regulatory matters as well as his experience in the pharmaceutical industry, David will bring an invaluable perspective to our strategic decisions."
David R. Parkinson is a Venture Partner at New Enterprise Associates ("NEA"). From 2007 until 2012, Dr. Parkinson served as President and CEO of Nodality, a South San Francisco-based biotechnology company focused on the biological characterization of signaling pathways in patients with malignancy to enable more effective therapeutics development and clinical decision-making. Until October 2007, Dr. Parkinson was Senior Vice President, Oncology Research and Development, at Biogen Idec. At Biogen Idec he oversaw all oncology discovery research efforts and the development of the oncology pipeline. Previously he had served as Vice President, Oncology Development, at Amgen and Vice President, Global Clinical Oncology Development, at Novartis. During his tenures at Amgen and Novartis, Dr. Parkinson was responsible for clinical development activities leading to a series of successful global drug registrations for important cancer therapeutics, including Gleevec, Femara, Zometa, Kepivance, and Vectibix.
Prior to joining industry, Dr. Parkinson worked at the National Cancer Institute from 1990 to 1997, serving as Chief of the Investigational Drug Branch, then as Acting Associate Director of the Cancer Therapy Evaluation Program. Dr. Parkinson is a past Chairman of the Food & Drug Administration ("FDA") Biologics Advisory Committee and is a recipient of the FDA's Cody Medal. He has served on the National Cancer Policy Forum of the Institute of Medicine and is a past co-chair of the Cancer Steering Committee of the NIH Foundation Biomarkers Consortium. He has also served as a member of the FDA's Science Board, as an elected Director on the Board of Directors of the American Association of Cancer Research, and as a Director on the Board of the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research. He currently serves as a Board Director for the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation and as the Chairperson of the American Association of Cancer Research ("AACR") Finance and Audit Committee. Dr. Parkinson was formerly a Director of Facet Biotech, Inc., a public biopharma company which was acquired by Abbott Pharmaceuticals as well as a Board Director of Ambit Biosciences, a public biopharma company recently acquired by Daiichi Sankyo. He currently serves as Director on the Boards of Threshold Pharmaceuticals and Cerulean Pharma Inc., public biopharma companies focused on the discovery and development of anti-cancer drugs.
Dr. Parkinson received his medical degree from the University of Toronto. He completed a Hematology Fellowship at Royal Victoria Hospital at McGill University in Montreal and was a Research Fellow at the New England Medical Center at Tufts University in Boston. He has held academic positions both at Tufts and at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, and has authored over 100 peer-reviewed publications.
About ESSA Pharma Inc.
ESSA Pharma Inc. is a development-stage pharmaceutical company focused on a proprietary small molecule compound named EPI-506 as a treatment for advanced prostate cancer. EPI-506 was designed to block a novel target on the androgen receptor, the N-terminal domain. Inhibition of the N- terminal domain of the androgen receptor has the potential to block tumor growth after current hormone-therapy drugs have failed. That potential has been demonstrated in well-accepted in vitro and in vivo models that showed that EPI-506 inhibited proliferation and tumor growth, respectively. The target patient population for EPI-506 - metastatic castration resistant prostate cancer patients who have failed current hormone therapies - represents the greatest unmet medical need in this therapeutic area. Prostate cancer patients eventually fail current hormone therapies. In its upcoming Phase 1/2 clinical trial, ESSA intends to demonstrate the effectiveness of EPI-506 in treating prostate cancer patients who have failed abiraterone or enzalutamide, the current standard-of-care drugs in prostate cancer treatment.
About Prostate Cancer
Prostate cancer is the second-most commonly diagnosed cancer among men and the fifth most common cause of male cancer death worldwide (Globocan, 2012). Adenocarcinoma of the prostate is dependent on androgen for tumour progression and depleting or blocking androgen action has been a mainstay of hormonal treatment for over six decades. Although tumours are often initially sensitive to medical or surgical therapies that decrease levels of testosterone (for example, ADT), disease progression despite castrate levels of testosterone generally represents a transition to the lethal variant of the disease (mCRPC) and most patients ultimately succumb to the illness. The treatment of mCRPC patients has evolved rapidly over the past five years; despite these advances, additional treatment options are needed to improve clinical outcomes in patients, particularly those who fail existing treatments including abiraterone or enzalutamide, or those that have contraindications to receive those drugs. Over time, patients with mCRPC generally experience continued disease progression, worsening pain, leading to substantial morbidity and limited survival rates. In both in vitro and in vivo studies, ESSA's novel approach to blocking the androgen pathway has been shown to be effective in blocking tumour growth when current therapies are no longer effective.