April 21, 2020
Arkuda Therapeutics Expands Management Team with Industry Veterans
Serena Hung Appointed Head of Clinical Development, Raymond Hurst Named Vice President of Pharmacology
Watertown, MA – April 21, 2020 – Arkuda Therapeutics, a company leveraging new insights into progranulin (PGRN) and lysosomal biology to develop medicines to change the trajectory of neurodegenerative disease, today announced the appointment of Serena Hung, MD, as Head of Clinical Development and Raymond Hurst, PhD, as Vice President of Pharmacology. Together, they will work to advance the company’s small molecule compounds toward clinical development to treat progranulin-related frontotemporal dementia (FTD-GRN).
“I am delighted to welcome Serena and Raymond to the Arkuda team,” said Gerhard Koenig, PhD, Co-Founder, President and CEO of Arkuda Therapeutics. “Their combined 35+ years of experience in drug discovery and clinical development, with a focus on central nervous system diseases, will prove invaluable as we advance new meaningful therapies to treat FTD-GRN and other devastating neurodegenerative diseases into the clinic.”
Dr. Hung joins Arkuda from WAVE Life Sciences, where she was the clinical development lead for all CNS programs. She is a board-certified neurologist with clinical research experience spanning both industry and academia. She previously led clinical development in movement disorders for Biogen and held an academic appointment as Associate Professor of Neurology at the Medical College of Wisconsin. Dr. Hung earned her MD from Wake Forest University School of Medicine.
“Working in CNS diseases is challenging. Arkuda’s approach is compelling to me because it is driven by a cutting-edge understanding of biology with a real opportunity to not only slow disease progression in symptomatic FTD-GRN patients, but to potentially delay or prevent the onset of disease in pre-symptomatic patients,” said Dr. Hung, Head of Clinical Development, Arkuda Therapeutics.
Dr. Hurst joins Arkuda from Concert Pharmaceuticals, where he served as Director of Biology and Pharmacology. With more than 20 years of experience in CNS drug discovery, Dr. Hurst’s work has centered on establishing pharmacological relationships that bridge molecular targets to systems and behavioral effects to biomarkers that translate into meaningful clinical endpoints. Dr. Hurst has held positions at Pharmacia, Pfizer, Amgen, Forum Pharmaceuticals, and Quartet Medicine working to advance multiple compounds to clinical testing and into commercialization. He received his PhD in cell biology and anatomy from the Oregon Health & Science University and completed postdoctoral training at UCLA in the Department of Anesthesiology and in the Neuropsychiatric Institute.
“I am thrilled to join Arkuda and have the opportunity to work alongside a team that are not only experts in CNS drug development and lysosomal biology, but are also deeply passionate about improving the lives of those affected by neurodegenerative diseases – patients, their loved ones and care providers,” said Dr. Hurst, Vice President of Pharmacology, Arkuda Therapeutics.
Arkuda is currently developing novel compounds designed to increase levels of both PGRN and granulins in FTD-GRN patients. Lowered concentrations of extracellular progranulin and intracellular granulins and the resultant lysosomal dysfunction have been linked to the development and progression of a range of neurodegenerative diseases including FTD-GRN, Parkinson’s disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and Alzheimer’s disease. By increasing levels of progranulin and granulins, Arkuda hopes to restore lysosomal health, normalize immunomodulation and prevent progressive neuronal death.
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About Arkuda Therapeutics
Arkuda Therapeutics is a biotechnology company leveraging new insights into progranulin and lysosomal biology to develop medicines to change the trajectory of neurodegenerative disease. Arkuda’s lead compounds aim to correct progranulin deficiency and lysosomal dysfunction in GRN-related frontotemporal dementia (FTD-GRN), a genetically-defined subtype of frontotemporal dementia caused by an autosomal dominant mutation in the GRN gene. Arkuda launched in November 2019 with $44 million from leading life science investors including Atlas Venture, Pfizer Ventures, funds managed by Tekla Capital Management LLC, and Mission BioCapital. To learn more visit www.arkudatx.com.