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NEW HAVEN, Conn., January 5, 2017 – Arvinas LLC, a private biotechnology company creating a new class of drugs based on protein degradation, today announced that it has appointed Dr. John Houston as President of Research and Development and Chief Scientific Officer to lead discovery research, translational research and early clinical development. Dr. Houston was most recently Senior Vice President, Head of Specialty Discovery and R&D Site Evolution, Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS).
“John has deep experience in leading the successful discovery and development of ground-breaking technologies, including immunotherapy. He has particularly relevant experience to guide our initial programs in cancer indications with our PROTAC platform, as he was a key contributor to the development and approval of ipilimumab (Yervoy) and nivolumab (Opdivo),” said Manuel Litchman, M.D., President and Chief Executive Officer of Arvinas. “John has led R&D teams in the internal review and approval of over 200 preclinical candidates for progression to clinical studies, several of which advanced through the approval process. His experience will be invaluable as we push the development of our initial PROTACs into the clinic and as we identify additional candidates for development in other therapeutic areas.”
Dr. Houston has over 28 years of experience in the pharmaceutical industry and spent the last 18 years at BMS serving in multiple positions of increasing responsibility. Notably, he served on the executive team that drove decision-making on drugs such as daclatasvir (Daklinza), dapagliflozin (Forxiga), apixaban (Eliquis), ipilimumab (Yervoy) and nivolumab (Opdivo). While at BMS, his positions included: head of immuno-oncology, immuno-science, fibrosis, cardiovascular, virology, neuroscience and genetically defined diseases; head of translational research teams in oncology, immuno-oncology and immunology; head of technology groups such as biologics, genomics, bioinformatics, lead discovery and optimization; chair of the BMS target portfolio committee; site head and chair of the BMS Wallingford, Connecticut, site; and chair of the R&D site evolution steering committee. Dr. Houston holds a B.Sc. in medical microbiology from the University of Glasgow, Glasgow, UK, and a Ph.D. in Cell Wall Metabolism from Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh, UK.
“The ability to study radically new approaches to combatting disease is rare in the pharmaceutical industry,” noted Dr. Houston. “By degrading disease-causing proteins as opposed to simply blocking them, Arvinas’ small molecule protein degradation technology represents a truly novel approach that can be applied across a wide range of therapeutic areas and that may degrade targets that are currently undruggable with traditional inhibitors.”
Arvinas is a pharmaceutical company focused on developing new small molecules ‒ known as PROTACs (PROteolysis TArgeting Chimeras) ‒ aimed at degrading disease-causing cellular proteins. Based on groundbreaking research conducted at Yale University by Founder and Chief Scientific Advisor, Dr. Craig Crews, the company is translating innovative protein degradation approaches into novel drugs for the treatment of cancer and other diseases. The company’s new PROTAC-based drug paradigm induces protein degradation, rather than protein inhibition, and offers the advantage of potentially targeting “undruggable” as well as “druggable” elements of the proteome. This greatly expands the ability to create drugs for many new, previously unapproachable targets. For more information, visit www.arvinas.com.
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