HAYA Therapeutics Announces Scientific Advisory Board

August 10, 2021
  • Leaders in the fields of RNA and cardiovascular disease join HAYA to advance its pipeline of therapeutics targeting long non-coding RNAs

LAUSANNE, Switzerland -- HAYA Therapeutics, SA, a company developing precision medicines that target tissue and cell-specific long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs), today announced the formation and members of its Scientific Advisory Board (SAB). The group of world-renowned leaders and pioneers are recognized for their work in lncRNA biochemistry, cardiovascular disease, antisense technology and fibrotic diseases, and will work closely with HAYA to support the company’s mission to bring novel anti-fibrotic therapies to the clinic.

“Our newly formed SAB is comprised of key opinion leaders who are experts in the fields of RNA-based technology and therapeutics, heart failure and clinical drug development. Along with our recent CHF 18 million seed financing, the members will enable us to potentially bring safer and more effective treatment options to patients with fibrotic diseases and other chronic illnesses,” said Robert Williamson, HAYA’s Executive Chair to the Board of Directors.

“I am delighted to have such passionate and pioneering thought leaders in their respective fields supporting HAYA as we take our preclinical assets towards the clinic,” said Samir Ounzain, PhD, HAYA’s co-founder and Chief Executive Officer.

The SAB will support the company as it advances its lead therapeutic candidate targeting Wisper, a cardiac fibroblast-enriched lncRNA, for the treatment of non-obstructive hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. The group will also collaborate with HAYA to advance the company’s proprietary DiscoverHAYA™ drug discovery engine which enables HAYA to generate a pipeline of lncRNA targeting anti-fibrotics for many tissues, including lung, kidney, liver and the tumor microenvironment.

Members of the SAB include:

Sudhir Agrawal, D.Phil, FRSC: Dr. Agrawal is founder and President of ARNAY Sciences LLC. He also serves as a member of the business advisory board of Harvard Medical School’s Initiative for RNA Medicine and serves on the SAB of several biotechnology companies. He is a co-founder of Idera Pharmaceuticals and has held various leadership roles within the company, including Chairman, CEO, and President of Research until 2017. Over the last three decades, his research has been focused on the discovery and development of antisense and RNA-based therapeutics. He has published over 300 research papers and is listed as a co-inventor on more than 400 patents worldwide. He has edited four books on oligonucleotides and antisense technology, including a recent book on ‘Advances in Nucleic Acid Therapeutics’ published by The Royal Society of Chemistry.

John Rinn, PhD: Dr. Rinn obtained his PhD in Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry from Yale University. His thesis research in Michael Snyder’s lab was one of the first to discover thousands of lncRNAs encoded in the human genome. Dr. Rinn continued to work on lncRNA regulation as a Damon Runyon Postdoctoral Fellow with Howard Chang at Stanford. He started his independent research program at Harvard University in the Department of Stem Cell and Regenerative Biology and the Broad Institute. After receiving tenure, Dr. Rinn moved his research program to focus more on RNA biochemistry at the University of Colorado Boulder BioFrontier’s Institute. Collectively, the Rinn lab’s research has been recognized by several national and international awards, including NIH Directors Innovator Award and Howard Hughes Medical Institute Faculty scholars program. Dr. Rinn was recently considered one of the top 1% influential scientists of the decade by the Web of Science in Genetics and Molecular biology.

Christopher Miller, BSc (Hons), MBChB (Hons), PhD, FRCP: Dr. Miller is a cardiologist and cardiovascular researcher in the UK. He leads a heart failure with preserved ejection fraction clinical service and is the director of a cardiovascular magnetic resonance research center. Dr Miller conducts experimental medicine trials evaluating the efficacy and mechanism of new and repurposed therapies designed to target key cardiovascular disease processes. He develops quantitative imaging biomarkers of cardiovascular injury and adaptation and applies these biomarkers to deeply phenotype cardiovascular health and disease. He also employs the imaging biomarkers in the experimental medicine trials for predictive enrichment, and to measure the effect of therapies, and as such, he uses imaging to connect human cardiovascular biology with drug mechanisms of action in order to increase the likelihood of Phase III success.

Erik Schelbert, MD, MS: Dr. Schelbert is Associate Professor of Medicine in the Division of Cardiology at the University of Pittsburgh and Director of Cardiovascular Magnetic Resonance. He has focused on measuring myocardial fibrosis for two decades ever since commencing training in cardiology. He has pioneered the deployment of routine, noninvasive myocardial fibrosis measurements in humans and its strong association with incident patient outcomes. Dr. Schelbert's work builds upon several investigations from other pioneers and demonstrates that myocardial fibrosis represents a distinct domain of vulnerability for patients, separate from conventional measures. Dr. Schelbert has published his research in world-leading, peer-reviewed journals including The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) and Circulation of the American Heart Association.

About HAYA Therapeutics

HAYA Therapeutics is a precision therapeutics company that discovers and develops innovative tissue- and cell-selective genomic medicines for fibrotic diseases and other serious health conditions associated with aging, including cancer. The company’s discovery engine focuses on long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) within the “dark matter” of the human genome -- key tissue and cell-specific drivers of fibrosis and other disease processes -- to identify novel targets and drug candidates with the potential for greater efficacy and safety than existing treatments. HAYA’s lead therapeutic candidate is an antisense molecule targeting Wisper, a cardiac-enriched master driver of fibrosis, which has shown in preclinical testing the ability to halt and potentially reverse the fibrotic processes underlying heart failure. The company is also developing a pipeline of lncRNA-targeting candidates for the tissue-specific treatment of fibrotic diseases in other tissues, including lungs, kidney, liver, and the micro-environment of solid tumor cancers. Headquartered at the life sciences park Biopôle in Lausanne, Switzerland, HAYA is led by a world-class team of experts in lncRNA biology and fibrotic disease, and is supported by a strong investor consortium. For more information on the company, please visit our website at www.hayatx.com. Follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn.


Michelle Linn
Bioscribe, Inc.

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