InCarda Therapeutics Appoints Daniel G. Welch as Executive Chairman of Board of Directors
Former Chairman and CEO of InterMune Brings Extensive Development and Commercialization Experience to Support Continued Advancement of InRhythm™ for Treatment of Atrial Fibrillation
SAN FRANCISCO, CA – April 3, 2019 – InCarda Therapeutics, Inc. (“InCarda”), a privately-held biopharmaceutical company developing first-of-their-kind inhaled therapies for cardiovascular diseases, today announced the appointment of Daniel G. Welch as executive chairman of the company’s board of directors, effective March 7, 2019. Mr. Welch possesses more than 30 years of experience in both multinational pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies.
During his career, Mr. Welch has led multiple biopharmaceutical companies that achieved significant value creation during his tenure. He was chairman of AveXis when the company was acquired by Novartis for $8.7 billion in 2018, served as president, chief executive officer and chairman of InterMune when the company was sold to Roche for $8.3 billion in 2014 and served as chairman and chief executive officer of Triangle Pharmaceuticals when it was acquired by Gilead in 2003 for $464 million. Additionally, he has played leadership roles in the development and commercialization of several blockbuster pharmaceutical brands, including Plavix®, Tysabri®, Eloxatin®, Avapro®, emtricitabine and Esbriet®. Mr. Welch currently serves as chairman of Ultragenyx Pharmaceuticals, executive chairman of Levo Therapeutics, and as a director of Intercept Pharmaceuticals and Seattle Genetics. He holds a B.S. from the University of Miami and an M.B.A. from the University of North Carolina.
“Adding an industry executive with the broad experience and successful track record of Dan to our board further strengthens our leadership team, while providing key validation for our novel therapeutic approach and clinical-stage InRhythm™ development program,” said Grace Colón, Ph.D., president and chief executive officer of InCarda. “We look forward to Dan’s insight and expertise complementing that of the existing board members as we work to successfully advance InRhythm through late-stage clinical trials. His commercial and operational experience will undoubtedly prove valuable as we move closer to a potential approval of the product.”
“I am pleased to have the opportunity to join InCarda as executive chairman and work with the company’s accomplished and talented life science board members. I was drawn to InCarda based on the company’s unique approach to leveraging inhaled drug delivery for the development of novel cardiovascular disease treatments. This represents an elegant solution for delivering therapeutic agents to cardiac tissue efficiently and rapidly to address acute cardiovascular diseases and conditions such as atrial fibrillation,” stated Mr. Welch. “I believe InCarda has the opportunity to deliver innovative therapy to patients suffering with serious cardiovascular disease for whom there are currently no effective treatments.”
About Atrial Fibrillation (AF)
Atrial fibrillation (AF) is the most common sustained cardiac arrhythmia (abnormal heart rhythm) and is characterized by rapid and irregular heartbeats often resulting in palpitations and other symptoms that are often debilitating. A chronic, progressive condition, AF is estimated to affect up to six million people in the U.S., with that number expected to double by 20501. This expected increase is partially due to the correlation between AF prevalence and an aging population, with approximately 9% of those aged 65 and older affected by the condition1. AF is associated with significant morbidity and a substantial reduction in quality of life, with the condition potentially resulting in exercise intolerance, congestive heart failure, tachycardia-induced cardiomyopathy and stroke. The annual cost of AF to the U.S. healthcare system is estimated at more than $26 billion1.
Paroxysmal AF (PAF) is a type of AF in which episodes occur intermittently and resolve spontaneously in fewer than seven days. Approximately 25% of PAF patients progress to the permanent form of AF within five years2. The underlying cause of PAF is unknown and most patients present with a normal heart structure. Common symptoms of PAF can include racing heartbeat, chest pain or pressure, a fluttering feeling in the chest, weakness, fatigue, dizziness, sweating and lightheadedness. Current treatments for PAF rely upon either chronic administration of oral antiarrhythmic drugs or acute hospital-based procedures such as intravenous drug administration, electrical cardioversion and catheter ablation. There are currently no approved treatments that can be patient self-administered whenever an episode of PAF occurs.
InRhythm (flecainide for inhalation) is a novel inhaled therapeutic candidate designed to rapidly deliver flecainide, a well-established antiarrhythmic agent, to the heart via the lungs, restoring normal sinus rhythm (NSR) and relieving the patient’s symptoms following the onset of an episode of atrial fibrillation (AF). InRhythm is intended to address the unmet need for a non-invasive, rapid-acting treatment that can be self-administered by patients whenever they experience intermittent episodes of AF. Phase 1 clinical results in healthy volunteers demonstrated that InRhythm rapidly and safely delivered flecainide resulting in ECG changes consistent with the potential to restore NSR in patients with PAF. InCarda is currently conducting a Phase 2 trial of InRhythm in patients with recent-onset PAF. For more information about this study, please visit: https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT03539302.
About InCarda Therapeutics
InCarda Therapeutics, Inc. is a privately-held, clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company developing first-of-their-kind inhaled therapies for acute cardiovascular diseases and conditions. The company is leveraging the ability of inhaled therapy to deliver medicine in the “first pass” to cardiac tissue, presenting a small, but effective dose of drug directly to affected regions of the heart. This permits rapid-onset, lower off-target tissue exposure of the drug, lower continued/prolonged exposure to cardiac tissue and, more importantly, can be patient self-administered in any setting. InCarda employs a de-risked approach by using approved drugs with a long history of efficacy and safety as candidates for the new dosing paradigm via inhalation. The company’s lead development product, InRhythm, is in Phase 2 development to treat paroxysmal atrial fibrillation (PAF), a prevalent atrial arrhythmia. For more information, please visit www.incardatherapeutics.com.
1 J Am Coll Cardiol. 2014 Dec 2;64(21):2305-7
2 Am Heart J. 2005 Mar;149(3):489-96
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