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Emerald Health Pharmaceuticals Adds Leading Rheumatologist to Distinguished Systemic Sclerosis Clinical Advisory Board

·5 min read

SAN DIEGO, CA, Dec. 09, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Emerald Health Pharmaceuticals Inc. (EHP or the Company), a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company developing a new class of medicines to treat neurodegenerative, autoimmune and other diseases with unmet medical needs, has appointed Daniel E. Furst, MD, MACR, to its Systemic Sclerosis (SSc) Clinical Advisory Board. Dr. Furst is an international leader in the research and treatment of scleroderma (systemic sclerosis is a severe form of scleroderma). He was one of the first to complete placebo-controlled trials in systemic sclerosis and has been a leader in developing multiple clinical trial designs for systemic sclerosis.

“Dr. Furst’s extensive expertise in the research and treatment of systemic sclerosis and clinical trial design will be invaluable as we assess Phase 2a clinical trial results of our EHP-101 drug candidate, starting with preliminary data in 2022, and plan the next phase of our SSc clinical program,” said Jim DeMesa, MD, MBA, President and CEO. “We are honored to have Dr. Furst join the globally-recognized scleroderma thought leaders on our SSc clinical advisory board as we strive for better treatments for people with this challenging disease.”

Daniel Furst, MD, MACR is Adjunct Professor at the University of Washington, Seattle, Washington, and Research Professor at the University of Florence, Florence, Italy, and was the first Carl M. Pearson Professor of Medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles. He has part-time practices at the Pacific Arthritis Care Center in Santa Monica, California, and Seattle Rheumatology Associates in Seattle, Washington. He received his MD from Johns Hopkins University. Dr. Furst has a lifetime interest in the clinical pharmacology of antirheumatic drugs and biologics and clinical trial design as well as definition of measures of response. Dr. Furst has been deeply involved in the pathophysiology and treatment of systemic sclerosis and has been involved in, led or mentored development of the FDA guidance for disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs), recommendations for biologics by the American College of Rheumatology (ACR), the definition of the Clinical Response Index for Systemic Sclerosis, the American College of Rheumatology Response Criteria, the definition of Rheumatology Common Toxicity Criteria, and Flare Criteria for Rheumatoid Arthritis. Dr. Furst has published more than 950 articles including more than 580 peer-reviewed research articles and written for or edited 17 books.

In addition to Dr. Furst, EHP’s Systemic Sclerosis Clinical Advisory Board includes John Varga, MD, Patricia Carreira, MD, and Janet Pope, MD, who are all internationally-respected rheumatologists who have shown leadership in advancing research and clinical development related to scleroderma. Their bios are available at https://emeraldpharma.com/clinical-advisors/.

About Systemic Sclerosis and EHP-101

Systemic sclerosis (SSc), a severe form of scleroderma, is a rare and chronic autoimmune disease, causing fibrosis of the skin and internal organs, including small blood vessel damage in the skin and multiple other organs in the body such as lung, heart, kidneys, musculoskeletal system and the gastrointestinal tract. The tissues of involved organs become hard and fibrous, causing them to function less efficiently. While the symptoms of SSc vary for each person, it can be life-threatening, depending on which parts of the body are affected and the extent of the disease. SSc is subclassified into diffuse cutaneous SSc (dcSSc) or limited cutaneous SSc (lcSSc) based on the extent of skin involvement. Patients with dcSSc have more areas involved, and measurements of the effects of treatment have been validated by international clinical trial experts for this subset of SSc patients. The disease is more common in adults, with approximately 80,000-100,000 people affected in the US. Currently, there are no approved treatments specific to SSc. Current therapies for this disease mainly include drugs that suppress the immune system, are limited in efficacy and may present toxicities. New treatments will be critical to help reduce the symptoms of SSc and prevent further damage to the body.

EHP-101 is an oral formulation of VCE-004.8, which provides dual peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma (PPARγ) and cannabinoid receptor type 2 (CB2) agonist activity. Both receptors are therapeutic targets for SSc. VCE-004.8 also activates the subunit B55a of the protein phosphatase PP2A that is implicated in the hypoxia inducible factor (HIF) pathway, expanding the rationale for its development as a novel SSc drug. EHP has received Orphan Drug Designation for EHP-101 in SSc in both the US and EU and Fast Track Designation for systemic sclerosis in the US.

About Emerald Health Pharmaceuticals Inc.

Emerald Health Pharmaceuticals is developing novel product candidates for the treatment of CNS, autoimmune, and other diseases. The company has two families of patented new chemical entities that it has created through rational drug design to affect validated receptors and pathways in the body which are pertinent to targeted diseases. Its first drug product candidate, EHP-101, has entered Phase 2 clinical development for the treatment of systemic sclerosis, a severe form of scleroderma, and multiple sclerosis. Its second product candidate, EHP-102, is in preclinical development and is focused on treating Parkinson’s disease and Huntington’s disease. In addition to EHP-101 receiving Orphan Drug Designation for SSc, EHP-102 has also received Orphan Drug Designation in the US and EU for Huntington’s disease. For more information, visit http://www.emeraldpharma.com or contact info@emeraldpharma.com.

Forward Looking Statements

To the extent statements contained in this news release are not descriptions of historical facts regarding Emerald Health Pharmaceuticals Inc. they should be considered "forward-looking statements," as described in the private securities litigation reform act of 1995, that reflect management's current beliefs and expectations. You can identify forward-looking statements by words such as "anticipate," "believe," "could," "estimate," "expect," "forecast," "goal," "hope," "hypothesis," "intend," "may," "plan," "potential," "predict," "project," "should," "strategy," "will," "would," or the negative of those terms, and similar expressions that convey uncertainty of future events or outcomes. Forward-looking statements contained in this news release include, but are not limited to, statements regarding: (i) the success and timing of our product development activities and clinical trials; (ii) our ability to develop our product candidates; (iii) our plans to research, discover, evaluate and develop additional potential product, technology and business candidates and opportunities; (iv) the anticipated timing of clinical data availability; (v) our ability to meet our milestones; and (vi) our expectations regarding our ability to obtain and maintain intellectual property protection. Forward-looking statements are subject to known and unknown factors, risks and uncertainties that may cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. Undue reliance should not be placed on forward-looking statements. We undertake no obligation to update any forward-looking statements. Emerald Health Pharmaceuticals' investigational drug products have not been approved or cleared by the FDA.