March 22, 2016 08:00 AM Eastern Daylight Time
CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA–(BUSINESS WIRE)— PBM Capital Group (www.pbmcap.com) and Xalud Therapeutics (www.xaludthera.com) announce the appointment of John Forsayeth, Ph.D., as Xalud’s Chief Scientific Officer. John joins Xalud from UCSF where he served as Professor in the Neurotherapy Center within the Department of Neurological Surgery and is now Emeritus. Previously, Dr. Forsayeth was Director of Neurobiology at Avigen, and held senior research positions at Neurex and Elan Pharmaceuticals. He has been a principal investigator or co-investigator on multiple NIH-supported gene therapy grants, and is a co-author of over 100 peer-reviewed papers and book chapters. John will add to the experienced Xalud team with a focus on advancing Xalud’s key gene-therapy programs in neuropathic pain and osteoarthritis as well as development of its platform technology targeting a receptor designed to increase potency and reduce side-effects of opioids.
Xalud’s lead product, XT-150, uses gene therapy to treat pain in a manner that is fundamentally different from other drugs, such as opioids currently on the market for the treatment of chronic pain. Rather than attempting to directly block neuronal pain signaling, XT-150 treats the inflammation that is responsible for the persistent, amplified pain signaling that typifies chronic pain states.
By treating inflammation rather than blocking neuronal signaling, XT-150 provides long-term pain relief for many weeks and avoids traditional side effects such as sedation and dizziness that are associated with all leading prescription pain drugs. In addition, by resetting the excited state of glia cells, XT-150 could act synergistically with opioids and prevent the development of tolerance in patients taking opioids and enable the same degree of pain relief to be obtained with lower dosages. These properties of XT-150 are expected to significantly reduce the potential for addiction that is an inherent risk with opioids and other drugs currently used for the treatment of chronic pain.
“Neuropathic pain afflicts over 6 million Americans and has devastating personal, economic, and social impacts. 40% to 60% of patients with neuropathic pain receive inadequate or no relief from existing therapies, with those most severely affected being the least likely to be helped. We hope that the successful development of our products will provide safe, efficacious, non-opioid treatment options for patients,” said John Forsayeth. “I am excited to join the Xalud team and advance these key potential products for the patients in need.”
According to federal data, health care providers write more than 250 million prescriptions a year for painkillers, enough for every American adult to have a bottle of pills. In 2013, an estimated 1.9 million people abused or were dependent on prescription opiates. President Obama, the National Governors Association and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have all recently proposed solutions to this crisis.
“We are excited to bring John, one of the founders of Xalud, onto the management team as he has tremendous experience in gene delivery and neuromodulation. With plans to advance multiple products towards the clinic this year, his experience in the field will be invaluable to Xalud” said Stephen Collins, M.D., Ph.D, Chairman of Xalud.
About PBM Capital Group
PBM Capital Group, LLC. is a private investment firm primarily focused on healthcare-related investments. Led by Paul Manning, a successful entrepreneur, PBM Capital partners with exceptional scientists, engineers and entrepreneurs who have developed game-changing technology that can improve and save the lives of millions of people. PBM has several investments in gene therapy companies, including AveXis (www.avexis.com), which recently had an IPO (NASDAQ: AVXS). Visit www.pbmcap.com for more information.
Jayson Rieger, SVP