Los Angeles, September 5, 2023 — Trethera Corporation, a clinical stage biopharmaceutical company committed to developing novel drugs targeting nucleotide metabolism for the treatment of cancer and autoimmune diseases, announced today the appointment of Michael Levy, MD, PhD, to its Scientific Advisory Board. Dr. Levy will have a particular focus on evaluating the clinical development of Trethera’s lead asset, TRE-515, in demyelinating autoimmune diseases. A demyelinating disease is any condition that causes damage to the protective covering (myelin sheath) that surrounds nerve fibers in the brain, spinal cord, and peripheral nervous system. When the myelin sheath is damaged, nerve impulses slow or even stop, causing neurological problems.
Dr. Levy is currently an Associate Professor of Neurology at Harvard Medical School and Research Director for the Division of Neuroimmunology at Massachusetts General Hospital, where he leads a team focused on rare autoimmune diseases of the central nervous system. His efforts focus on seeking to understand the causes and to develop treatments for rare autoimmune demyelinating diseases, including optic neuritis, a condition in which inflammation of the optic nerve affects vision, and acute disseminated encephalomyelitis (ADEM), a neural inflammation that primarily impacts children. Dr. Levy will advise Trethera regarding the potential of its first-in-class compound, TRE-515, to treat optic neuritis and ADEM as well as other more common neurologic diseases such as multiple sclerosis (MS).
“We are honored to have Dr. Levy join our advisory board,” said Dr. Ken Schultz, Chairman and CEO of Trethera. “He is a leading authority on rare neurologic autoimmune diseases and has expertise in both early and late-stage clinical trials. His knowledge is especially well suited and valuable given that TRE-515 has achieved FDA Orphan Drug Designations for both optic neuritis and ADEM.”
“I am delighted to support Trethera as it advances TRE-515 as a treatment option for patients with optic neuritis and ADEM,” said Dr. Levy. “Supporting these efforts is especially compelling given the high unmet need. Both conditions are frequently treated with high-dose corticosteroids, which can be associated with significant side effects and incomplete symptom resolution. With no approved therapies, and a real mortality risk in a vulnerable pediatric patient population, treating ADEM remains complex on multiple levels.”
Dr. Levy received his Doctor of Medicine and Philosophy (MD, PhD) from Baylor College of Medicine, completing his neurology residency training at Johns Hopkins Hospital. He also holds a Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree from the University of Pennsylvania. He is a fellow of the American Academy of Neurology.
Trethera is a clinical stage privately held biopharmaceutical company dedicated to pioneering the development of novel treatments for autoimmune diseases and cancers. Founded by prominent UCLA scientists, Trethera is led by experienced management and board members. Trethera’s innovative approach to targeting nucleotide metabolism led to the development of TRE-515, an orally administered capsule twice designated by the FDA as an Orphan Drug. TRE-515 is a first-in-class clinical stage drug that inhibits deoxycytidine kinase (dCK), the rate-limiting enzyme in the nucleoside salvage pathway, one of two biosynthetic pathways that generate DNA precursors. It is believed that some forms of cancer may be preferentially dependent on the salvage pathway to support tumor growth, and certain autoimmune diseases, such as multiple sclerosis, might also respond to TRE-515 treatment. Trethera is developing TRE-515 for use as a monotherapy or in combination, to precisely target a metabolic vulnerability of cancer or autoimmune diseases that will transform outcomes for patients.
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TRE-515 is an orally delivered, once daily, therapeutic engineered to inhibit dCK, the key enzyme in the nucleoside salvage pathway. A common characteristic of tumor cells in solid malignancies and pathological immune cells in autoimmune diseases is the requirement for elevated nucleotide levels to support abnormal and accelerated cell division. In contrast, dCK activity is not required in most healthy adult human cells. Mediated by the rate limiting enzyme, dCK, the nucleoside salvage pathway may play a pivotal role in enabling the rapid cell proliferation of cancer cells and aberrant activated lymphocytes, suggesting dCK as a potential therapeutic target with expected enhanced safety.
Note on Forward-Looking Statements
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