Morphic Therapeutic Expands Leadership with Key Appointments in Clinical and Corporate Development
Dr. Brihad Abhyankar named Vice President of Clinical Development, deeply experienced GI drug development leader
Aaron Pelta promoted to Senior Vice President, Business and Corporate Development; leading portfolio, commercial, and partnering strategy
WALTHAM, Mass., April 06, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Morphic Therapeutic (Nasdaq: MORF), a biopharmaceutical company developing a new generation of oral integrin therapies for the treatment of serious chronic diseases, today announced two key leadership appointments. Dr. Brihad Abhyankar has joined Morphic as Vice President of Clinical Development and Aaron Pelta was promoted to Senior Vice President, Business and Corporate Development.
“Brihad’s clinical leadership and expertise, including outstanding experience in the inflammation and immunology field, will be vital to Morphic as we significantly expand MORF-057’s global clinical activity,” commented Praveen Tipirneni, MD, President and Chief Executive Officer of Morphic Therapeutic. “His experience, particularly with the successful development of vedolizumab, is directly relevant and an ideal fit for Morphic. On behalf of the Morphic team, I welcome Brihad to the Morphic team and look forward to his contributions as he leads Morphic’s clinical activity in inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), including the EMERALD-1 and EMERALD-2 Phase 2 trials of MORF-057 in ulcerative colitis (UC).”
“A4B7 integrin inhibition was a transformational addition to the gastroenterologist’s toolkit for the treatment of IBD. Therefore, I am thrilled to join a team advancing the potential first small molecule oral option that could fully deliver the proven power of this therapeutic mechanism,” said Dr. Abhyankar.
Marc Schegerin, MD, COO and CFO of Morphic Therapeutic, stated, “Aaron’s broad experience and strategic perspectives will be critical as we expand our clinical pipeline. Aaron will continue to oversee our partnering efforts, commercial planning and integrate seamlessly with our R&D teams to drive Morphic’s early portfolio into the clinic. This well-deserved promotion is a recognition of excellence in those areas and more. I congratulate Aaron on his accomplishments and anticipate more to come as we continue to expand Morphic’s pipeline with integrin targeted drug candidates generated with our MInT platform.”
Dr. Brihad Abhyankar, MS, FRCS, FFPM has over 20 years of experience in the biopharmaceutical industry working in clinical development and medical affairs. Most recently, he served as executive medical director and program team leader at Theravance Biopharma, where he supervised a cross-functional team as leader of their flagship molecule development program and supported operations within the gut selective JAK inhibitor program.
Prior to his work at Theravance Biopharma, Dr. Abhyankar served as the head of clinical development at Akari Therapeutics, developing treatments for a range of rare and orphan autoimmune and inflammatory diseases. He previously served as the executive medical director of clinical science at Takeda where he directed strategy for global clinical development and played a key role in the development, approval and the life cycle management of ENTYVIO® or vedolizumab. Dr. Abhyankar has previously served in Shire Pharmaceuticals, Schering Plough Pharmaceuticals and Solvay pharmaceuticals in various roles of increasing responsibility in medical affairs and clinical development. Prior to working in the biopharmaceutical industry, he trained and worked as a surgeon for 10 years and has senior resident level experience in urology, surgical oncology and general surgery in the UK National Health Service and in Mumbai, India. He is a fellow of the Royal College of the Surgeons of Glasgow & and a Fellow of the Faculty of the Pharmaceutical medicine of the Royal College of Physicians. Dr. Abhyankar holds an MBA from Henley Management College, a Master of Surgery in General Surgery from the University of Bombay and a Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery from the University of Bombay.
Aaron Pelta has 20 years of leadership experience in biopharmaceutical industry business development, strategy, and commercialization. He has served as Morphic’s Vice President of Business and Corporate Development since 2019. Prior to joining Morphic, he served as Vice President of Business Development and Commercial Strategy at Arsanis, Head of Gastroenterology and Enterology Business Development at Shire, and Vice President, Business Development and Transactions at AMAG. Prior to that, Mr. Pelta held positions of increasing seniority in business development and marketing at Cubist Pharmaceuticals. He has also served in commercial analytics and engineering roles at companies including Biogen, Praxair and Gamera. Mr. Pelta holds an MBA from the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth, and a BS from Tufts University.
About Morphic Therapeutic
Morphic Therapeutic is a biopharmaceutical company developing a new generation of oral integrin therapies for the treatment of serious chronic diseases, including autoimmune, cardiovascular, and metabolic diseases, fibrosis and cancer. In collaboration with AbbVie, Janssen, and Schrödinger, Morphic is advancing its pipeline and discovery activities using its proprietary MInT technology platform which leverages the Company’s unique understanding of integrin structure and biology. For more information, visit www.morphictx.com.
ENTYVIO is a trademark of Millennium Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements
This press release contains “forward-looking” statements within the meaning of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, and of the “safe harbor” provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, including, but not limited to: the MInT Platform’s ability to discover drug candidates, Morphic’s plans to develop and commercialize oral small-molecule integrin therapeutics and any proposed timing thereof, the initiation, execution and completion of the future MORF-057 phase 2 clinical trial, any expectations about safety, efficacy, timing and ability to commence or complete clinical studies and/or trials and to obtain regulatory approvals for MORF-057 and other candidates in development, the timing of further data presentation and the ability of MORF-057 to treat inflammatory bowel disease, including ulcerative colitis, or related indications. Statements including words such as “believe,” “plan,” “continue,” “expect,” “will be,” “develop,” “signal,” “potential,” “anticipate” or “ongoing” and statements in the future tense are forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements involve risks and uncertainties, as well as assumptions, which, if they do not fully materialize or prove incorrect, could cause our results to differ materially from those expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements are subject to risks and uncertainties that may cause Morphic’s actual activities or results to differ significantly from those expressed in any forward-looking statement, including risks and uncertainties in this press release and other risks set forth in our filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including Morphic’s or a partner’s ability to complete a current or future clinical trial of any of our current or future product candidates, develop or obtain regulatory approval for or commercialize any product candidate, Morphic’s ability to protect intellectual property, the potential impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the sufficiency of our cash, cash equivalents and investments to fund our operations. These forward-looking statements speak only as of the date hereof and Morphic specifically disclaims any obligation to update these forward-looking statements or reasons why actual results might differ, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, except as required by law.