CAMBRIDGE, Mass., Oct. 13, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — Disc Medicine, a company dedicated to the discovery and development of novel therapeutic candidates for serious and debilitating hematologic diseases, today announced the appointment of Tomas Ganz, MD, PhD and Elizabeta Nemeth, PhD to its scientific advisory board, adding valuable expertise in hepcidin biology.
“We are thrilled to welcome Dr. Ganz and Dr. Nemeth to our Scientific Advisory Board, particularly at such an exciting time in a field that they helped pioneer,” said John Quisel, JD, PhD, Chief Executive Officer at Disc Medicine. “Together they were instrumental in characterizing the fundamental role of hepcidin in iron homeostasis, and I’m delighted to be working with them as we advance our hepcidin-targeted programs into the clinic.”
Dr. Ganz is a Distinguished Professor of Medicine and Pathology at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, where he studies the role of small peptide regulators in human physiology and disease and is credited for the discovery of the iron-regulatory hormone hepcidin. Dr. Ganz received his PhD in Applied Physics from Caltech and his MD from UCLA, joining UCLA as a faculty member in 1983 after having completed training in Internal Medicine and Pulmonary Medicine. In 2005 he received the Marcel Simon Prize of the International Bioiron Society for the discovery of hepcidin and in 2014 was honored by the E. Donnall Thomas Award from the American Society of Hematology for his research in iron homeostasis, including the discovery of the iron-regulatory hormone hepcidin and investigation of its roles in iron metabolism.
“It has been immensely gratifying to see the hepcidin story unfold as our understanding of hepcidin’s role across different diseases has grown,” said Tomas Ganz, MD PhD. “Disc has taken a compelling approach to targeting hepcidin with two programs guided by human genetic findings. I’m delighted to be a part of this vision, particularly as they look to enter the clinic with their first program next year.”
Dr. Nemeth is a Professor of Medicine at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, and Director of the UCLA Center for Iron Disorders. Dr. Nemeth received her PhD in Cell, Molecular and Neurosciences at the University of Hawaii and completed a postdoctoral fellowship studying the pathobiology of hepcidin at UCLA. During her tenure she has made major contributions to the understanding of iron homeostasis and its dysregulation in disease, such as characterizing the regulation of hepcidin production by inflammation and iron and elucidating the mechanism of action of hepcidin in regulating dietary iron absorption and release from stores. Dr. Nemeth also described the role of hepcidin in various iron disorders including hereditary hemochromatosis, iron-loading anemias and iron-restricted anemias. Dr. Nemeth was a standing member of the Molecular and Cellular Hematology Study Section of the National Institutes of Health, is President-Elect of the International BioIron Society, and an associate editor of the American Journal of Hematology. Dr. Ganz and Nemeth co-founded three biotechnology companies focused on hepcidin-targeted diagnostics and therapeutics.
“Iron dysregulation is at the center of many debilitating or fatal blood disorders and yet there has long been a need for innovation in this field,” said Elizabeta Nemeth, PhD. “I’m particularly excited by the pipeline that Disc has built, which embodies key advances in our understanding of how hepcidin and iron are controlled.”
Disc Medicine is developing two separate therapeutic programs focused on modulating hepcidin expression to treat conditions related to iron dysregulation. The lead program, DISC-0974, a first-in-class monoclonal antibody against hemojuvelin (HJV) has been shown to reduce hepcidin expression in preclinical studies and is expected to enter clinical studies next year. Disc is also developing a first-in-class orally administered matriptase-2 inhibitor designed to increases endogenous expression of hepcidin. The program is currently in preclinical studies.
About Disc Medicine
Disc Medicine is a hematology company harnessing new insights in hepcidin biology to address ineffective red blood cell production (erythropoiesis) in hematologic diseases. Focused on the hepcidin pathway, the master regulator of iron metabolism, Disc is developing a portfolio of first-in-class therapeutic candidates to transform the treatment of hematologic diseases. For more information, visit www.discmedicine.com.
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SOURCE Disc Medicine