BOSTON, Mass. – December 12, 2011 -- Acetylon Pharmaceuticals today announced the appointment of Catherine A. Wheeler, MD, as Vice President, Clinical Development. She joins Acetylon following a distinguished career in oncology pharmaceuticals development, including senior clinical development roles with Roche and AstraZeneca. Dr. Wheeler will have responsibility for all clinical development functions of the Company, including current and future clinical trials of Acetylon’s HDAC6 selective drug candidate, ACY-1215, in multiple myeloma as well as other potential hematologic and solid tumor disease indications. She will also lead the clinical development of future drug candidates in inflammatory and neurodegenerative diseases.
“Dr. Wheeler has joined the Acetylon management team at an exciting time for our company as our lead drug candidate, ACY-1215, progresses in a Phase 1-2a clinical trial in adults with relapsed and relapsed/refractory multiple myeloma,” commented Walter Ogier, President and Chief Executive Officer of Acetylon Pharmaceuticals. “Dr. Wheeler brings tremendous experience and expertise to this important new position for Acetylon, having led the translation of a number of oncology drug candidates from preclinical development through successful clinical trials programs for major pharmaceutical companies.”
Dr. Wheeler joins Acetylon from Hoffmann-La Roche Inc. where she was most recently Site Head, Translational Medicine, Oncology and served earlier as Head, Signal Transduction I and Ad Interim Head, Roche Oncology Clinical Development in Nutley, New Jersey. Prior to Roche, Dr. Wheeler worked for AstraZeneca in Waltham, Massachusetts where she served as Vice President, Strategic Planning and Business Development, Oncology and Infection and previously as Global Product Director for the Emerging Product Team. She held multiple positions at PAREXEL International Corporation including Executive Director, Oncology Therapeutic Area Group and Medical Director. She was Clinical Director of the Bone Marrow Transplant Program at the Beth Israel Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts and was an Attending Physician and a Fellow at Beth Israel and the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. Dr. Wheeler is a graduate of Bennington College and received her MD degree from the Abraham Lincoln School of Medicine at the University of Illinois.
Acetylon’s lead HDAC6 inhibitor program is focused on enhancing drug potency and reducing or eliminating side effects common to HDAC inhibition through highly selective targeting of the HDAC6 enzyme. Inhibition of HDAC6 versus other isoforms uniquely preserves normal gene expression in cells, thereby minimizing patient toxicity. At the same time, HDAC6 inhibition severely disrupts diseased cells’ ability to produce normal proteins, through disruption of the HSP-90 protein chaperone system and to dispose of damaged misfolded proteins through modification of microtubules and disruption of the aggresome protein disposal pathway. Metabolically active cancer and autoimmune cells produce large amounts of misfolded proteins and inhibition of HDAC6 further increases the generation and accumulation of protein “trash”, triggering self-destruction of diseased cells via programmed cell death and leading to regression of disease.
Acetylon Pharmaceuticals, Inc. is applying its unique capabilities to discover and develop next-generation, highly selective small molecule drugs to realize the therapeutic potential of HDAC inhibition to treat cancer, autoimmune and other diseases, while reducing the side effects common to this class of drugs. The Company is located in Boston and is based on technology initially developed at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and at Harvard University. www.acetylon.com
Walter C. Ogier
President and Chief Executive Officer
MacDougall Biomedical Communications