Cary, NC — APIE Therapeutics, a preclinical biopharma company pioneering microvasculature endothelium drug development by targeting the apelin receptor (APJ), announced the appointments of Debra K. Bowes, MBEE and Seth Hetherington, M.D. to the positions of chief business officer and chief medical officer, respectively. Both are seasoned executives with extensive experience earned over several decades at large pharmaceutical companies as well as small biotechnology firms.
“Debra and Seth join APIE at a critical time in our growth as we make plans to advance our first program into the clinic and assess our pipeline for future growth opportunities,” explained Esther M. Alegría, Ph.D., founder and CEO of APIE Therapeutics, “We’ll look to Seth’s expertise as we complete our IND-enabling work for APT-101 and prepare to commence a clinical trial in patients with systemic sclerosis (SSc), including those who have progressed to interstitial lung disease (SSc-ILD). Likewise, Debra’s keen business acumen will be invaluable as we evaluate opportunities to leverage our technology and prioritize our pipeline to maximize our potential for success and long-term growth. Needless to say, their appointments add important capabilities to the APIE leadership team and put us on strong footing to meet our goals in 2022.”
Ms. Bowes comes to APIE following 30-years in the life sciences, during which time she has successfully completed more than 100 biotech/pharma licensing deals. She was most recently the founder and CEO of Chevy Chase BioPartners (CCBP), a consulting and advisory firm specializing in commercial strategic planning, licensing and funding for biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies. Ms. Bowes served Maxcyte Cell Therapy as a CBO, where she built their drug development team, filed the company’s first investigational new drug (IND) application, initiated their first clinical trial and negotiated three licensing agreements. She served in senior business development positions at MedImmune, Amylin Pharmaceuticals and Pfizer, where she managed licensing and new product planning for oncology. Earlier, as worldwide market manager for Centocor (a Johnson & Johnson company), Ms. Bowes was responsible for expanding licenses in Europe and Asia.
In addition to her professional responsibilities, Ms. Bowes is a national board member of Women in Bio and previously acted as the organization’s national president. She earned a Master of Biotechnology Enterprise and Entrepreneurship (MBEE) from Johns Hopkins University and a Bachelor of Science in cell biology from the University of Cincinnati. In addition, she holds a Medical Technologist (M.T.) certification from the American Society of Clinical Pathologists.
In addition to his role as chief medical officer (CMO), Dr. Hetherington will remain a member of the APIE board of directors. Near term, he will be responsible for managing the clinical and regulatory preparations for APT-101 and building a clinical advisory committee. Dr. Hetherington has 20 years of experience as CMO at biotech companies; most recently at ReViral Ltd., a company focused on development of novel antiviral therapeutics. Prior to joining ReViral, Dr. Hetherington was the CMO at Genocea Biosciences, Cambridge, MA, where he led the clinical development of therapeutic vaccines. Dr. Hetherington served as senior vice president of clinical and regulatory affairs at Icagen, Inc., RTP, NC. Prior to Icagen, Dr. Hetherington served as vice president, clinical development and CMO at Inhibitex Inc., in Alpharetta, GA. He held various positions of increasing responsibility in in HIV clinical development at GlaxoSmithKline from 1995 to 2002. Dr. Hetherington is an adjunct clinical faculty member at the UNC School of Medicine and previously held appointments at academic medical centers, including the University of Tennessee, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Memphis, TN, and Albany Medical College, Albany, NY.
Dr. Hetherington earned his B.S. at Yale University and his M.D. at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. He completed his residency training in pediatrics at the University of North Carolina and completed a fellowship in pediatric infectious diseases at the University of Minnesota. Dr. Hetherington has published extensively in medical and scientific literature, and is board certified in both pediatrics and pediatric infectious diseases. He has served as the industry representative to the Vaccines and Related Blood Products Advisory Committee of the FDA, the National Vaccine Advisory Committee of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and several ad hoc review committees of the NIH.
About APIE Therapeutics
APIE Therapeutics is a preclinical stage biopharmaceutical company pioneering the development of a portfolio of small-molecule therapeutic drugs that target the apelinergic signaling pathway to repair and regenerate, post injury, the vasculature niche, which is associated precursor of many chronic and fibrotic disease’s pathophysiology. APIE Therapeutics licensed a portfolio of over 800 compounds from RTI International, a well-known nonprofit research institute and inventors of commercial drugs such as Taxol®, Camptothecin®, EllaOne® and Esmya®.
The company’s lead candidate, APT-101, is at IND-enabling stage. The company is on track to file an IND application with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to commence a clinical program for the treatment of patients with systemic sclerosis (SSc), including those who have progressed to interstitial lung disease (SSc-ILD). Systemic sclerosis, sometimes referred to as systemic scleroderma, is a progressive systemic disease of unknown cause characterized by fibrotic scaring in major organ systems including the skin and kidneys. Patients often progress to develop interstitial lung disease (ILD), which is the leading cause of early death for patients with SSc. Currently, systemic sclerosis patients diagnosed with ILD face an estimated five-year life expectancy from diagnosis. The two approved drugs offer limited benefit with safety/tolerability issues, thus representing a critical medical unmet need.