SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO, Calif., Feb. 9, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Portola Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq:PTLA) today announced the appointment of Laura Brege and Dennis Fenton, Ph.D., to its board of directors. Ms. Brege serves as president and chief executive officer of Nodality, Inc., a life sciences company focused on innovative personalized medicine. Dr. Fenton is the owner and chief executive officer of Fenton and Associates, a biotechnology consulting firm.
"Laura and Dennis have directly relevant experience to help Portola execute on the regulatory approvals and launches of our steady stream of well-differentiated, groundbreaking products in thrombosis, hematologic cancers and other diseases in 2016, 2017 and beyond," said Bill Lis, chief executive officer of Portola. "They each have a strong track record of Board leadership and operational success in manufacturing, strategic partnerships and global commercialization. This expertise will be invaluable as we enter this next exciting phase of our evolution to become a leading independent biopharmaceutical company with multiple marketed products on a global scale."
Ms. Brege, prior to joining Nodality, held several senior-level positions at Onyx Pharmaceuticals, Inc., including executive vice president and chief operating officer. While at Onyx, she led multiple functions, including commercialization, strategic planning, corporate development, and medical, scientific and government affairs. Before joining Onyx, Ms. Brege was a general partner at Red Rock Capital Management, a venture capital firm specializing in early-stage financing for technology companies. Prior to Red Rock, she was the senior vice president and chief financial officer at COR Therapeutics. Earlier in her career, Ms. Brege served as vice president and chief financial officer at Flextronics and vice president and treasurer of The Cooper Companies. In addition to Portola, Ms. Brege currently sits on the boards of directors of Acadia Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Aratana Therapeutics, Inc., Pacira Pharmaceuticals, Inc., and Dynavax Technologies Corporation. Ms. Brege earned a B.A. from Ohio University (Honors Tutorial College) and an M.B.A. from the University of Chicago.
Dr. Fenton, prior to founding Fenton and Associates, served as executive vice president of operations at Amgen, where he was responsible for worldwide operations, manufacturing, process development and quality. Dr. Fenton joined Amgen in 1982 and held numerous executive leadership roles in operations and sales and marketing. In addition to Portola, he serves on the boards of directors of Kythera Biopharmaceuticals, Inc., Hospira, Inc., Dendreon Corporation, Nora Therapeutics and XenoPort, Inc. He also serves on the board of trustees of the Keck Graduate Institute. Dr. Fenton was previously a director of the Genzyme Corporation, Genelux Corporation and Amira Pharmaceuticals. He received a B.S. in Biology from Manhattan College and a Ph.D. in Microbiology from Rutgers University.
Portola Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
Portola Pharmaceuticals is a biopharmaceutical company developing product candidates that could significantly advance the fields of thrombosis and other hematologic diseases. The Company is advancing its three wholly-owned programs using novel biomarker and genetic approaches that may increase the likelihood of clinical, regulatory and commercial success of its potentially life-saving therapies. Portola's partnered program is focused on developing selective Syk inhibitors for inflammatory conditions.
Portola's wholly-owned, oral, once-daily Factor Xa inhibitor betrixaban is being evaluated in the only biomarker-based Phase 3 study for hospital-to-home prophylaxis of venous thromboembolism (VTE) in acute medically ill patients. Betrixaban's distinct properties may have the potential to allow the agent to demonstrate efficacy without the significant increase in the rate of major bleeding that was seen in this patient population with other Factor Xa inhibitors. If approved, betrixaban could be the first anticoagulant for both hospital and post-discharge VTE prophylaxis and the standard of care in this large market of more than 20 million patients in the G7 countries alone.
Andexanet alfa, a recombinant modified human Factor Xa molecule, has the potential to be a first-in-class antidote to reverse the effects of Factor Xa inhibitors in patients who suffer a major bleeding episode or who require emergency surgery. Andexanet alfa has been designated as a breakthrough therapy by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Portola has entered into Phase 3 clinical collaboration agreements with all of the manufacturers of direct Factor Xa inhibitors – Bristol-Myers Squibb and Pfizer (Eliquis [apixaban]), Bayer HealthCare and Janssen Pharmaceuticals (XARELTO® [rivaroxaban]), and Daiichi Sankyo (edoxaban) – while retaining all commercial rights to andexanet alfa. The Company is currently evaluating andexanet alfa in the Phase 3 ANNEXA™ (Andexanet Alfa a Novel Antidote to the Anticoagulant Effects of fXA Inhibitors) registration studies and in a Phase 4 study to support FDA approval under an Accelerated Approval pathway.
Portola's product candidate in the area of hematologic cancer, cerdulatinib, is an orally available molecule that uniquely inhibits two validated tumor proliferation pathways – spleen tyrosine kinase (Syk) and janus kinase (JAK). It is currently being evaluated in a Phase 1/2a proof-of-concept study in patients with B cell leukemias or lymphomas with a focus on genetically-defined subtypes, as well as in patients who have failed therapy due to relapse or acquired mutations.
Statements contained in this press release regarding matters that are not historical facts are "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Because such statements are subject to risks and uncertainties, actual results may differ materially from those expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. Such statements include, but are not limited to, statements regarding: the likelihood of clinical, regulatory and commercial success of Portola's product candidates and the projected indications for our project candidates. Risks that contribute to the uncertain nature of the forward-looking statements include: the accuracy of Portola's estimates regarding its ability to complete its clinical trials; the success of Portola's clinical trials and the demonstrated efficacy of Portola's product candidates thereunder; the accuracy of Portola's estimates regarding its expenses and capital requirements; regulatory developments in the United States and foreign countries; Portola's ability to obtain and maintain intellectual property protection for its product candidates; and the loss of key scientific or management personnel. These and other risks and uncertainties are described more fully in Portola's most recent filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including its Annual Report on Form 10-K and most recent Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for the third quarter of 2014, which was filed on November 4, 2014. All forward-looking statements contained in this press release speak only as of the date on which they were made. Portola undertakes no obligation to update such statements to reflect events that occur or circumstances that exist after the date on which they were made.