BRANFORD, Conn., June 16, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- BioXcel Corporation, a global leader in providing cloud-based Pharma big data solutions for discovering novel products, today announced the appointments of Frank Yocca, Ph.D. as Senior Vice President, CNS R&D, and Luca Rastelli, Ph.D. as Vice President, Oncology R&D, as the company expands through the creation of a robust internal clinical product portfolio of orphan drugs and assets that qualify for a 505 (b) (2) regulatory pathway.
"We are thrilled to welcome Frank and Luca to the BioXcel executive team," said BioXcel's Chief Executive Officer and Chairman, Vimal Mehta, Ph.D. "They bring more than 50 years of cumulative drug discovery and development experience and a wealth of expertise in CNS disorders and oncology/ immuno-oncology, respectively. Having been involved in the development and commercialization of multiple products, we believe that they will be instrumental in the advancement of our emerging pipeline of CNS and oncology assets. We look forward to working with both Frank and Luca to advance our therapeutic candidates, and further expand our portfolio and strategic partnership by leveraging the power of our Big Data Innovation Lab and PharmGPS™ platform for the discovery of potential new drugs in areas of high unmet need. This is truly an exciting time for our Company and these additions to our executive team represent a critical step in the evolution of BioXcel."
Dr. Yocca will lead the development of BioXcel's portfolio of CNS-related product candidates, including BXCL 501 and 502.The Company plans to initiate mid-stage clinical trials for both of these candidates. He joins the Company from AstraZeneca, where he spent ten years in a variety of senior strategic, discovery and development positions focused on psychiatry, CNS and pain. Previously, he spent 21 years as Executive Director, Neuroscience at Bristol-Myers Squibb, where he played a role in the discovery and development of commercialized products including Abilify®, BuSpar ®, Heltioz®, and Serzone®. He holds an M.S. and Ph.D. in Neuropsychopharmacology from St. John's University.
Dr. Rastelli will lead the development of BioXcel's lead orphan disease product candidate, BXCL 101 and spearhead the company's strategic initiatives in oncology and immuno-oncology. He has more than 20 years of drug discovery, development, and business development experience ranging from startups to large pharmaceutical companies. Most recently, he was head of Translational Strategy and Business Development, Oncology at Boston Scientifics. Luca has held multiple preclinical and clinical project leadership positions at CuraGen, Sopherion and EMD Serono (Merck Serono). He discovered the target and led the initial development of CR011, an antibody drug conjugate agent undergoing a registrational trial in triple negative metastatic breast cancer. He was also part of the initial development of the novel immuno-oncology antibody Avelumab, a PDL-1 inhibitor. He received the American Brain Tumor Association's 25th Anniversary Translational grant for his work on Medulloblastoma tumors at the Department of Neuro-Oncology, MD Anderson Cancer Center. He is a named inventor on more than 10 issued patents, and holds a Ph.D. in Molecular Biology from the University of Geneva.
BioXcel is a global leader in providing cloud-based Pharma big data solutions for the discovery of novel products and the performance benchmarking of pipeline innovation and marketed products in all major therapeutic areas. Our first in class Big Data Innovation Lab is focused on the development of transformative patient treatments for strategic portfolio growth and leverages; PharmGPS™ - a live analytics platform; an Integrated Center of Xcellence housing multidisciplinary scientific, commercial and medical teams; and an executive team that offers deep domain expertise. Committed to innovation, product excellence and partner success, BioXcel's global collaborations span the biopharmaceutical ecosystem. We are headquartered in Branford, CT, USA with operations in Asia.