SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO, Calif., Feb. 19, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Principia Biopharma Inc. (PRNB), a late-stage biopharmaceutical company dedicated to bringing transformative oral therapies to patients with significant unmet medical needs in immunology and oncology, today announced the appointment of industry veteran John W. Smither, Chief Financial Officer of Sienna Biopharmaceuticals, Inc., to its Board of Directors and as chairperson of its Audit Committee. Mr. Smither currently serves as a board member and chair of the Audit Committee for both Achaogen, Inc. and eFFECTOR Therapeutics, Inc.
“John’s expertise and counsel come at an exciting time for Principia as we pursue late-stage clinical development of our lead product candidate, PRN1008, in patients with pemphigus,” said Martin Babler, Principia’s Chief Executive Officer. “John’s seasoned judgment and success helping public biotechnology companies grow, as well as building and integrating critical financial functions, will be invaluable to us as we enter our next phase.”
Mr. Smither brings several years of experience as a member of biopharmaceutical boards of directors. He also brings approximately 20 years of industry and financial experience. Mr. Smither has been CFO, or interim CFO, at four different biopharmaceutical companies, including his current role as CFO at Sienna Biopharmaceuticals, Inc. Previously, Mr. Smither was CFO of Kythera Biopharmaceuticals, Inc. from 2007 until it was acquired by Allergan plc in 2015 for $2.1 billion. Mr. Smither was also CFO at Unity Biotechnology, Inc. and interim CFO at Kite Pharma, Inc. From 1998 to 2007, Mr. Smither held various finance positions at Amgen Inc. including: corporate accounting, commercial business analysis, Amgen Europe finance, research finance, and internal audit. Prior to joining Amgen Inc., Mr. Smither served as Audit Partner at Ernst & Young LLP, a public accounting firm.
Mr. Smither has a B.S. in accounting from California State University, Los Angeles. He is also a Certified Public Accountant (inactive), received a certification from the University of Pennsylvania, and participated in Amgen’s executive leadership and management development programs.
About Principia Biopharma
Principia is a late-stage biopharmaceutical company dedicated to bringing transformative oral therapies to patients with significant unmet medical needs in immunology and oncology. Principia’s proprietary Tailored Covalency® platform enables Principia to design and develop reversible and irreversible covalent, small molecule inhibitors with potencies and selectivities that have the potential to rival those of injectable biologics yet maintain the convenience of a pill. PRN1008, a reversible covalent BTK inhibitor, is being evaluated in a Phase 3 clinical trial in patients with pemphigus, an orphan autoimmune disease, and in a Phase 2 clinical trial in patients with immune thrombocytopenic purpura, a rare hematological disease. PRN2246, a covalent BTK inhibitor which crosses the blood-brain barrier, has completed a Phase 1 clinical trial in healthy volunteers, and has been partnered with Sanofi for development in multiple sclerosis and, potentially, for other diseases of the central nervous system. PRN1371, a covalent inhibitor of Fibroblast Growth Factor Receptor (FGFR) is being evaluated in a Phase 1 trial in patients with solid tumors. For more information, please visit www.principiabio.com.
This press release contains forward-looking statements. All statements other than statements of historical fact contained herein are forward-looking statements reflecting the current beliefs and expectations of management made pursuant to the safe harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, including, but not limited to, Principia’s expectations regarding the Principia pipeline of product candidates and the late-stage development of PRN1008 for patients with pemphigus. Such forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties, and other important factors that may cause Principia’s actual results, performance, or achievements to be materially different from any future results, performance, or achievements expressed or implied by the forward-looking statements. Such risks and uncertainties include, among others, the risks and uncertainties of the clinical development process and of clinical trial recruitment; risks and uncertainties about the efficacy, safety and tolerability of our product candidates; risks that early research or clinical results may be materially different from future clinical results; risks and uncertainties regarding Principia’s reliance on third-party organizations, such as contract research organizations, contract manufacturing organizations, and partners such as Sanofi Genzyme; risks of third party claims alleging infringement of patents and proprietary rights or seeking to invalidate Principia’s patents or proprietary rights; and the risk that Principia’s proprietary rights may be insufficient to protect its technologies and product candidates. For a further description of the risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ from those expressed in these forward-looking statements, as well as risks relating to the Principia’s business in general, see the risk factors set forth in Principia’s reports filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including its Quarterly report on from 10-Q for the period ending September 30, 2018. Any forward-looking statements contained in this press release speak only as of the date hereof, and Principia specifically disclaims any obligation to update any forward-looking statement, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.
Christopher Chai, CFO