London, UK, 7 May 2019 – Engitix Ltd, a company pioneering the development of both tissue-specific and disease-specific human extracellular matrix (ECM) for accelerating and improving the drug discovery process, today announces the appointment of Gino Van Heeke, PhD, as Chief Scientific Officer (CSO), effective 7th May.
Dr Van Heeke has over 20 years of experience and success in both biologics and small molecule drug discovery and development. He joins Engitix from Ablynx, where he spent five years as Senior Director, Discovery and Early Development. During his tenure, he was responsible for a portfolio of more than 30 proprietary and partnered drug discovery projects. Before this, he held a series of senior positions at Novartis, latterly as Executive Director in the Respiratory Diseases Therapeutic Area.
Dr Giuseppe Mazza, Co-Founder and CEO of Engitix Ltd, said: “We are extremely pleased to welcome Dr Van Heeke as our Chief Scientific Officer at such an exciting time at Engitix. He is a results-driven scientist with extensive translational research expertise covering all aspects from target discovery and validation through to pre-clinical development and clinical proof-of-concept of drug candidates. His expertise will no doubt prove invaluable and, together with our unique human ECM drug discovery platform in fibrosis and solid tumours, will drive the successful translation of Engitix’s new drug targets into pre-clinical and clinical development.”
Commenting on his appointment as CSO, Dr Van Heeke, said: “I’m delighted to join Engitix and its team of talented scientists, at an exciting stage of the company’s development and look forward to helping Engitix deliver on its ambition to develop new therapeutic options for patients with advanced chronic liver diseases and solid tumours.”
Background on Dr Van Heeke
Dr Van Heeke began his career as a Research Scientist at Restoragen, a US start-up focused on recombinant peptides. From there, and after three years as an academic at the Interdisciplinary Center for Biotechnology Research at the University of Florida, he joined Ciba Pharmaceuticals where he led a research group focused on the production of biopharmaceuticals and protein tools for drug discovery. He subsequently moved to Novartis, UK, helping to develop Novartis’ respiratory franchise over a 19 year period during which he held positions of increasing seniority. Throughout his career, Dr Van Heeke has initiated, led and managed portfolios of programmes in immunology and oncology that have resulted in the transition of multiple candidate drugs from research into clinical development and the delivery of successful clinical ‘Proof of Concept’ studies.
He holds a B.Eng. in Biochemical Engineering and a PhD in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.
About Engitix Ltd
Engitix was established in 2016 to develop and commercialise research at the UCL Institute for Liver and Digestive Health, Division of Medicine. The Company was founded by Professor Massimo Pinzani and Dr Giuseppe Mazza and owns the first platform in the world based on tissue-specific and disease-specific human extracellular matrix scaffolds. Engitix is based at the Royal Free Hospital in London, UK.
For more information, please visit www.engitix.com, or contact:
T: +44 7450 263182
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