Surrozen Appoints Dr. Trudy Vanhove as Chief Medical Officer

SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO, Calif., April 11, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Surrozen Inc., a company discovering and developing novel antibodies for regenerative medicine with a focus on specific control of the Wnt signaling pathway, today announced the appointment of Trudy Vanhove, MD, PhD, MBA, as Chief Medical Officer. An experienced biopharmaceutical executive, Dr. Vanhove brings to Surrozen more than 20 years of clinical drug development and medical affairs experience across small and large biopharmaceutical companies.

“We are excited to welcome Trudy to the Surrozen team as we expand our capabilities to enable development of our bi-specific antibodies. She brings extensive experience across all phases of clinical development including a deep understanding of biologics drug development,” said Craig Parker, CEO of Surrozen. “As we transition Surrozen into later-stage preclinical development, Trudy will play a critical role in guiding and implementing our preclinical and clinical plans across a pipeline of selective Wnt pathway targeted antibodies.”

“Surrozen is establishing itself at the forefront of regenerative medicine through selective modulation of the Wnt pathway,” said Dr. Vanhove. “Its two bi-specific antibody technologies can selectively stimulate disease-specific tissue regeneration and offer a unique approach to treating diseases characterized by severe tissue damage. I look forward to joining the Surrozen team as we work towards advancing development candidates.”

Dr. Vanhove previously served as Vice President of medical affairs and, subsequently, R&D search and evaluation at Jazz Pharmaceuticals since 2012. Prior to Jazz Pharmaceuticals, she was Vice President, medical affairs at Depomed, Vice President clinical development at NeurogesX and a Medical Director and project team leader at XOMA. She began her career as a Medical Director at Abbott Laboratories in 1996. Dr. Vanhove earned an MD and a PhD in pharmacology from the Catholic University in Leuven, Belgium. She completed a fellowship in clinical pharmacology at Stanford University and received an MBA from St. Mary’s College in California. Dr. Vanhove has authored, or co-authored, dozens of peer-reviewed articles, and is an inventor on numerous patents.

About Surrozen
Surrozen Inc. is a biopharmaceutical company focused on harnessing the Wnt pathway for applications in regenerative medicine. Founded on breakthrough science from Stanford University and backed by The Column Group, Surrozen is implementing Wnt and R-spondin mimetic approaches with the potential to unlock stem cell control of regeneration in a wide array of human tissues. The Company is building a broad pipeline of selective Wnt pathway targeted antibodies that drive tissue regeneration, with the goal of addressing a variety of critical unmet medical needs. For more information, please visit surrozen.com.

Surrozen Raises $50 Million in Series B Financing to Advance Regenerative Antibody Platforms and Liver Disease Candidates

— Anna Berkenblit, MD, appointed to Surrozen Board of Directors —

SAN FRANCISCO, March 14, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Surrozen Inc., a company discovering and developing novel antibodies for regenerative medicine with a focus on specific control of the Wnt signaling pathway, today announced the successful completion of a $50 million Series B financing. The financing included, but was not limited to, new investors Horizons Ventures, Hartford HealthCare Endowment, and NS Investment. The Column Group, and other existing investors, participated as well.

Proceeds from the financing will be used to advance the Company’s antibody discovery and development programs in liver disease, and to expand the Company’s therapeutic platform into additional disease areas where Wnt modulation has therapeutic potential. Surrozen has developed two proprietary antibody platforms that can function as Wnt or R-spondin mimetics, respectively, in stimulating cell and organ-specific tissue regeneration.

“Since its founding in 2016, Surrozen has made significant advances in understanding the cell-specific effects of modulating Wnt signaling with bi-specific molecules,” said Craig Parker, CEO of Surrozen. “With that understanding, we have developed two novel antibody-based technologies that have recently been validated in multiple disease models. The proceeds of the Series B financing will allow us to advance optimized drug candidates into development for advanced liver disease and one other disease area. Surrozen will also explore applications of the technology in multiple other disease areas.”

Added Tim Kutzkey, PhD, Board Chairman and Managing Partner at The Column Group, “In launching Surrozen, we merged deep expertise and breakthrough discoveries by our Scientific Founders in the fields of Wnt biology, receptor-ligand structural biology, and protein engineering, driven by a mission to discover and develop novel, proprietary regenerative medicines with broad clinical utility. The Column Group is excited by the company’s progress and continues to enthusiastically support Surrozen’s growth and vision as it advances innovative programs into development.”

Surrozen has also expanded its Board of Directors with the appointment of Anna Berkenblit, MD, as a Director. Dr. Berkenblit is currently Senior Vice President and Chief Medical Officer at Immunogen and has extensive experience in clinical development. Dr. Berkenblit was previously Senior Vice President, Clinical Development, at H3 Biomedicine, and Vice President, Head of Clinical Research, at AVEO Oncology. Prior to AVEO, Dr. Berkenblit held positions of increasing responsibility at Wyeth and then Pfizer, becoming Vice President, Neratinib Asset Team Leader in the Pfizer Oncology Business Unit. Dr. Berkenblit earned her medical doctorate from Harvard Medical School, and a master of science degree in the Clinical Investigator Training Program of Harvard/MIT Health Sciences & Technology. She completed her internship and residency at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, then went on to a hematology/oncology fellowship at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.

About Surrozen
Surrozen Inc. is a biopharmaceutical company focused on harnessing the Wnt pathway for applications in regenerative medicine. Founded on breakthrough science from Stanford University and backed by The Column Group, Surrozen is implementing Wnt and R-spondin mimetic approaches with the potential to unlock stem cell control of regeneration in a wide array of human tissues. The Company is building a broad pipeline of selective Wnt pathway targeted antibodies that drive tissue regeneration, with the goal of addressing a variety of critical unmet medical needs. For more information, please visit surrozen.com.

Source: Surrozen, Inc.

Media:
Denise Powell
Red House Consulting
denise@redhousecomms.com
510-703-9491

Investors/Partners:
Reza Afkhami
VP, Corporate Development and Strategy
Surrozen, Inc.
reza@surrozen.com
650-475-2802

Surrozen Strengthens Leadership Team with Addition of New CEO and Scientific Co-founder

SAN FRANCISCOApril 4, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — Surrozen, a preclinical-stage company advancing drug candidates that promote the repair and regeneration of human tissues, today announced two appointments to expand its leadership team.  Craig Parker, a biotech industry veteran recently of Jazz Pharmaceuticals, has been appointed CEO, and Hans Clevers, M.D., Ph.D., professor of molecular genetics at the Hubrecht Institute, has been appointed scientific co-founder of Surrozen.

The broad therapeutic potential of the Wnt pathway is largely untapped. Surrozen’s technology platforms render this pathway accessible to drug discovery in an unprecedented manner, paving the way for a new class of regenerative medicines,” said Mr. Parker.  “I couldn’t be more confident in Surrozen’s first-rate team and science, or more honored to lead the organization at this exciting time.”

Mr. Parker will replace Dr. Tim Kutzkey, a managing partner at The Column Group, who will assume the role of chairman of the board. Dr. Clevers joins Christopher Garcia, Ph.D., Roeland Nusse, Ph.D., Calvin Kuo, M.D., Ph.D., and Claudia Janda, Ph.D., as a company scientific founder, and will remain on Surrozen’s Scientific Advisory Board.

The challenge of producing Wnt has been a great source of frustration in the field, impeding the advancement of organoid technology and a deeper dissection of Wnt signaling,” said Dr. Clevers. “Surrozen’s ability to generate potent and selective Wnt pathway agonists with drug-like properties is a real breakthrough.  I’m thrilled to join an esteemed group of co-founders as Surrozen continues its rapid pace of discovery and further innovates with its technology platforms.

Surrozen was launched in 2016 with a focus on harnessing the Wnt pathway for applications in regenerative medicine. Founded on breakthrough science from Dr. Garcia’s laboratory at Stanford University and backed by The Column Group, Surrozen has implemented a broad platform of “surrogate” Wnts with the potential to unlock stem cell control in a wide array of human tissues. Under the scientific leadership of Chief Scientific Officer, Wen-Chen Yeh, M.D., Ph.D., and Vice President of Biology, Yang Li, Ph.D., the company is building a broad pipeline of engineered Wnt pathway agonists. These agonists drive tissue regeneration in situ, with the goal of addressing a variety of critical unmet medical needs with first-in class molecules.

About Craig Parker, M.B.A.
Mr. Parker brings more than 25 years of science and business experience across leadership positions in both public and privately-held biopharmaceutical companies, as well as within financial organizations. Most recently, he was Senior Vice President of Corporate Development at Jazz Pharmaceuticals. He previously served as Executive Vice President of Corporate Development and Scientific Affairs at Geron Corporation, as well as Senior Vice President of Strategy and Corporate Development at Human Genome Sciences until the company’s acquisition by GlaxoSmithKline. He began his career in various positions at financial institutions on Wall Street, where he was one of the top-ranked biotechnology research analysts. Mr. Parker serves as a member of the Scientific Advisory Board of Life Sciences Institute, University of Michigan, and chairs the institute’s Leadership Council. He also currently serves on the Board of Directors of vTv Therapeutics Inc. Mr. Parker earned a bachelor’s degree in biological sciences from the University of Chicago, an M.B.A. from the University of Michigan and attended the Georgetown University School of Medicine.

About Hans Clevers, M.D., Ph.D.
Dr. Clevers is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and has received numerous honors and awards, including the Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences and Knighthood in the Order of the Nederlands’ Lion. He was formerly president of the International Society for Stem Cell Research (2017-2018) and president of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Sciences (2012-2015). He serves on multiple Scientific Advisory Boards, and was a founder of several companies, including U-BiSys which later became Crucell.  Dr. Clevers’ laboratory first identified the existence of adult stem cells in the gut, which divide to regenerate the intestinal lining. His lab further elucidated the central molecular pathways which govern regeneration in the gut and other adult tissues, identifying key proteins that enact growth signals stimulated by the Wnt proteins. Currently, Dr. Clevers studies the role of Wnt-pathway proteins and organoids in regenerative and personalized medicine. He serves as a Professor in Molecular Genetics at the University Medical Center Utrecht and as the Director of Research of the Princess Maxima Center for Pediatric Oncology. Dr. Clevers earned his master’s of science in biology, M.D., and Ph.D. at the University of Utrecht.

Surrozen Launches Into Regenerative Medicine With $33 Million in Series A Financing Led by The Column Group

— Founded on key discoveries from Stanford University that enable selective Wnt pathway activation, Surrozen advances novel regenerative medicines with broad applications for human health —

SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO, Calif.Feb. 15, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — Surrozen Inc., a newly formed biopharmaceutical company focused on discovering and developing drugs that promote the repair and regeneration of human tissues, has closed a $33 million Series A financing led by The Column Group, a science-driven venture capital firm based in San Francisco. The funds will be used to implement a broad-based drug discovery platform aimed at unlocking the therapeutic potential of Wnt signaling, which plays a central role in organism development, stem-cell maintenance and tissue regeneration.

“Wnt proteins profoundly impact the formation of tissues and their repair after injury, representing an enormous opportunity for innovative drugs that can address organ degeneration and refractory healing conditions,” said Tim Kutzkey, Ph.D., acting CEO of Surrozen and managing partner of The Column Group. “Owing to their poor solubility, Wnt proteins themselves have never been successfully advanced as therapeutics. However, technology developed in the lab of Dr. Chris Garcia, co-founder of Surrozen, has overcome this previously insurmountable hurdle, enabling the generation of active Wnt ‘surrogates’ with attractive, drug-like properties.”

Surrozen’s founders include world leaders in the scientific research community and bring complementary expertise in Wnt biology, protein engineering, and stem cells. They are:

  • K. Christopher Garcia, Ph.D. 
    Dr. Garcia is a Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) investigator, professor of Molecular and Cellular Physiology and Structural Biology at the Stanford University School of Medicine, and member of the National Academy of Sciences. He is the principal inventor of Surrozen’s surrogate Wnt technology.
  • Roeland Nusse, Ph.D. 
    Dr. Nusse is an HHMI Investigator, Virginia and Daniel K. Ludwig Professor of Cancer Research and a professor of Developmental Biology at Stanford University School of Medicine. He also chairs Stanford’s Department of Developmental Biology, is director of the Stanford Cancer Stem Cell Research Program, member of the National Academy of Sciences and recipient of the 2017 Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences. Dr. Nusse co-founded the Wnt field with the discovery of the first Wnt gene (Int1) with Harold Varmus in 1982.
  • Calvin Kuo, M.D., Ph.D. 
    Dr. Kuo is the Maureen Lyles D’Ambrogio Professor of Medicine and a professor of Chemical and Systems Biology, leader of the Cancer Biology Program at the Stanford Cancer Center, and vice chair for Basic and Translational Research in the Department of Medicine.
  • Claudia Janda, Ph.D. 
    Dr. Janda is a senior scientist at Surrozen and former research scientist and postdoctoral associate in the Garcia Lab at Stanford University. She is co-inventor of Surrozen’s foundational technology.

“Wnt pathway activation has been a biochemical puzzle for decades. Our technology opens the door to address fundamental biological and therapeutic questions in tissue repair for the first time,” Dr. Garcia said. “I am confident that our team’s deep expertise in many complementary areas will drive these important scientific advances into useful drugs.”

Surrozen’s board of directors includes: Tim Kutzkey, Ph.D., acting chief executive officer of Surrozen and managing partner of The Column Group; David Goeddel, Ph.D., managing partner of The Column Group; Harold Varmus, M.D., co-recipient of the 1989 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine and Lewis Thomas University Professor of Medicine at Weill Cornell Medicine; and Wen-Chen Yeh, M.D., Ph.D., chief scientific officer of Surrozen. In addition to the company’s academic founders, Surrozen’s scientific advisory board includes Dr. Varmus; Hans Clevers, Ph.D., professor of Molecular Genetics at the Hubrecht Institute in Ubrecht, the Netherlands; and Bart Williams, Ph.D., professor for the Program in Skeletal Disease and Tumor Microenvironment at the Van Andel Research Institute.

“There is perhaps no field within human biology that has more exciting and untapped potential than Wnt signaling,” said Chief Scientific Officer Wen-Chen Yeh, M.D., Ph.D., formerly the scientific executive director at Amgen. “Surrozen’s foundational technology has the potential to generate a broad pipeline of Wnt pathway agonists that elicit tissue regeneration for a diverse array of conditions with great medical need. Our vision includes gaining a comprehensive understanding of tissue-specific mechanisms guiding the repair process, including the timing of the response and other signals that may be involved.”

About Surrozen 
Surrozen Inc. is a biopharmaceutical company focused on harnessing the Wnt pathway for applications in regenerative medicine. Founded on breakthrough science from Stanford University and backed by The Column Group, Surrozen is implementing a surrogate Wnt platform with the potential to unlock stem cell control in a wide array of human tissues. The company seeks to build a broad pipeline of selective Wnt pathway agonists that drive tissue regeneration in situ, with the goal of addressing a variety of critical unmet medical needs. For more information, please visit surrozen.com.