About Us


We are a clinical stage biopharmaceutical company that has uncovered unique insights into the biology of mitochondrial biogenesis and function, leading to an advanced understanding of its clinical effect in disease. These findings have led to the discovery of a novel, previously undescribed pharmacological approach to the treatment of diseases characterized by deficits in these pathways. We have identified and established an IP-protected platform of small molecules that constitute a new class of therapeutics with the potential to stimulate mitochondrial biogenesis and function. We are currently developing our lead clinical candidate, which has been shown to trigger mitochondrial biogenesis in early human studies, as a potential treatment across a number of therapeutic areas, starting with rare diseases.

Our ScienceOur History

 

Seasoned team of industry veterans with more than 120 patents combined

Lead candidate has been shown to trigger mitochondrial biogenesis in early human studies, starting with rare diseases

Our History


The company was founded in 2008 in San Diego, Calif., by Pam Taub, M.D., FACC; Alan Maisel, M.D.; Francisco Villarreal, M.D., Ph.D.; and Jonathan Taub, who also served as the first chief executive officer (CEO). It was founded based on initial observations that (-)-epicatechin protected against animal models of cardiac ischemia and heart failure, with a mechanism of action that appeared to be mediated via trophic effects on mitochondria function and density. Subsequent insights from the efforts of Guillermo Ceballos, M.D., recognized as another founding scientist, also helped guide the company to focus on muscle diseases.

In 2009, the company became Cardero Therapeutics, Inc. with George Schreiner, M.D., Ph.D., joining as CEO, and Sundeep Dugar, Ph.D., serving as consulting head of medicinal chemistry. Dr. Dugar joined the company fulltime as chief technology officer (CTO) in 2012.

As Cardero Therapeutics, the company focused its clinical development on muscle disease and conducted seven clinical trials demonstrating positive therapeutic responses. The continued efforts of Drs. Schreiner and Dugar led to the identification and manufacturing of (+)-epicatechin, an epimer of (-)-epicatechin, and the association of its mechanism of action to epindralol, a novel human mitochondrial hormone. Cardero Therapeutics was awarded critical patents on its new chemical entities (NCEs), their use in disorders of muscle and mitochondria, and methods of manufacture.

In mid-2019, Russell J. Cox joined as president and CEO and launched the company as Epirium Bio. He raised the $85M round of funding for Series A and hired the executive team. Epirium Bio has now discovered a unique and novel MOA and is focused developing important therapies for patients with unmet medical needs.

In 2020, Epirium Bio announced commencement of its Phase 1 clinical trial in Becker muscular dystrophy of EPM-01, a novel, oral, synthetic compound that has demonstrated proof-of-concept in multiple preclinical and clinical studies of mitochondrial dysfunction.

To ensure scientific continuity, Dr. Schreiner currently serves as chief scientific officer and Dr. Dugar as CTO. Drs. Villarreal and Ceballos continue to work closely with Epirium Bio as contributing scientists.

Recent News


October 13, 2020

Epirium Bio Appoints Alexander Casdin, Reneo Capital Management Founder, as Chief Financial Officer; Sandy Mahatme, Former Sarepta Therapeutics Chief Financial Officer and Chief Business Officer, Joins Board of Directors

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August 12, 2020

Epirium Bio Announces Commencement of Phase 1 Clinical Trial of EPM-01 in Becker Muscular Dystrophy

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April 14, 2020

Epirium Bio Receives FDA Orphan-Drug Designation for EB 002 ((+)-Epicatechin) for the Treatment of Duchenne and Becker Muscular Dystrophy

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February 25, 2020

Epirium Bio Appoints Longitude Capital Senior Investment Professional Cristina Ghenoiu, Ph.D., as Senior Vice President of Research and Development Operations & New Product Planning

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February 4, 2020

Epirium Bio Appoints former BioMarin Program Lead Ransi Somaratne, M.D., as Chief Medical Officer

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December 18, 2019

Epirium Raises $85 Million in Series A Financing to Advance Unique Scientific Platform Focused on Restoration of Tissue Bioenergetics and Function

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Leadership


Russell J. Cox

Russell J. Cox

President and Chief Executive Officer

Prior to his role as President and Chief Executive Officer of Epirium Bio, Russell J. Cox served as Chief Executive Officer at Vital Therapies, Inc. He previously served as the Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of Jazz Pharmaceuticals plc, with responsibility for global commercial activities, R&D, manufacturing/technical operations, new product planning and global molecule leadership. Prior to Jazz, Mr. Cox served as Senior Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer of Ipsen Group, a pharmaceutical company headquartered in Paris, France, focused in oncology, neuroscience and rare diseases. He was also Vice President of Marketing at Tercica, Inc. prior to its acquisition by Ipsen Group, and served as Vice President, Marketing with Scios Inc., which was acquired by Johnson & Johnson in 2003. Mr. Cox began his career at Genentech, Inc. where he was a Product Team Leader responsible for the growth hormone franchise and led numerous product launches as a Group Product Manager. Mr. Cox has served on the Board of Directors of Aeglea BioTherapeutics, Inc. since 2015. Mr. Cox received a B.S. degree in biomedical science from Texas A&M University.

George Schreiner, M.D., Ph.D.

George Schreiner, M.D., Ph.D.

Chief Scientific Officer

Dr. Schreiner was the founding Chief Executive Officer/President of Epirium Bio and currently serves as the Chief Scientific Officer. His career has been grounded in basic and clinical biomedical science, drug development and corporate strategic development. After serving on the faculty at Harvard Medical School and the University of Washington School of Medicine, he was a founding scientist and vice president of CV Therapeutics. He also held senior management positions at Scios, Johnson & Johnson and Raven Biotechnologies. Dr. Schreiner has been awarded 21 patents and is the author of more than 140 scientific publications. He received an M.D. and Ph.D. from Harvard University.

Sundeep Dugar, Ph.D.

Sundeep Dugar, Ph.D.

Chief Technology Officer

Dr. Dugar is the founder and currently the Chief Technology Officer of Epirium Bio. He has more than 30 years of experience in drug discovery and development in a range of therapeutic areas, including oncology, inflammation, central nervous system, cardiovascular and metabolic disorders. In 2008, he founded Sphaera Pharma Pte. Ltd, an integrated drug discovery and development organization led by pharma and biotech professionals with global experience. He also held the position of Vice President at Johnson & Johnson/Scios Inc., where he helped build the small molecule drug discovery program. He served in positions of increasing responsibility at Bristol-Myers Squibb and Schering-Plough, and is a co-inventor of Zetia® (ezetimibe) and Vytorin® (ezetimibe/simvastatin). He is the recipient of the 2005 National Inventor of the Year Award, the American Chemical Society’s 2004 Heroes of Chemistry Award.

He is currently a Senior Research Fellow in the College of Letters and Sciences at the University of California, Davis, and was as a Trustee on the UC Davis Foundation Board. . He is a co-author of more than 70 publications and presentations, and a co-inventor of over 100 issued and applied patents. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of California, Davis, and completed post-doctoral fellowships at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) and Cornell University.

Andrew Henry

Andrew Henry

Head of Clinical Operations and Project Management

Andrew Henry has served as our Head of Clinical Operations and Project Management since July 2019 and is responsible for the global implementation of our clinical program. Mr. Henry has over 30 years of experience managing clinical trials in life science companies with roles at Schering-Plough Oncology, Novartis Oncology, MedImmune and most recently at Vital Therapies as the Vice President and then Sr Vice President of Clinical Operations from 2013 through 2018. Between January 2009 and February 2013, Mr. Henry served as Senior Director of Clinical Trial Management and Senior Director of Global Clinical Operational Strategy of MedImmune, a biopharmaceutical company that was previously AstraZeneca’s biologics division. At MedImmune Mr. Henry oversaw operations of all clinical studies being performed by the company across all therapeutic areas. From November 1997 to August 2008, Mr. Henry held roles from Senior Clinical Research Scientist to Head Clinical Resources and Development Director at Novartis Oncology, an ethical pharmaceutical company, where he oversaw major clinical programs and the Global Department of Clinical Research Scientists/Clinical Trial Heads. Mr. Henry earned a B.S. in biology and biopsychology from William Paterson University.

Robert Ashley, M.A.

Robert Ashley, M.A.

Head of Regulatory

Robert A. Ashley, M.A. has over 40 years’ experience in the pharmaceutical industry. Currently he is Head of Regulatory for Epirium Bio, a private, San Diego-based clinical stage biotechnology company involved in the development of compounds to promote mitochondrial biogenesis. Prior to that, he was Executive Vice President and Chief Scientific Officer of Vital Therapies, Inc., a publicly traded company developing a bioartificial liver for the treatment of alcoholic hepatitis. He served as CEO of AmpliMed Corporation, a privately-held cancer drug development company and as Senior Vice President at CollaGenex Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a publicly-held pharmaceutical company where he led the clinical and regulatory development of Periostat, a systemic therapy for the treatment of adult periodontitis. Earlier in his career he held positions of increasing responsibility at Bristol-Myers Squibb and Amersham International. He earned a Master’s Degree in Biochemistry from Oxford University.

Alexander Casdin

Alexander Casdin

Chief Financial Officer



Alexander Casdin is the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) of Epirium Bio. He has broad financial and operational expertise, with more than 20 years of experience as a healthcare executive and investor. Prior to joining Epirium, Mr. Casdin was founder, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and portfolio manager of Reneo Capital Management LP, a successful healthcare investment fund. He previously served as CFO of Sophiris Bio, Inc. and Vice President of Finance for Amylin Pharmaceuticals.

Mr. Casdin was a founder and senior advisor at Casdin Advisors, LLC; CEO and portfolio manager at Cooper Hill Partners, LLC, a healthcare investment fund; and portfolio manager of Pequot Capital Management’s healthcare fund. Earlier, he worked at the Dreyfus Corporation as a senior managing analyst covering pharmaceuticals, biotechnology and medical devices.

Mr. Casdin has been on the board of directors for multiple life science companies including Erasca, Inc., Dusa Pharmaceuticals, Inc., and Ignyta, Inc. Mr. Casdin received an M.B.A from Columbia Business School and a B.A. in political science from Brown University.

Paul Berns

Chairman of the Board

Mr. Berns is a board member for Unity Biotechnology.  He previously served as President and Chief Executive Officer at Anacor Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a biopharmaceutical company, from 2014 until its acquisition by Pfizer, Inc. in 2016.  Mr. Berns served as President and Chief Executive Officer of Allos Therapeutics, Inc., a biotechnology company, from 2006 to 2012 and was President and Chief Executive Officer of Bone Care International, Inc., a specialty pharmaceutical company, from 2002 to 2005.

Prior to that, Mr. Berns was Vice President and General Manager of the immunology, oncology and pain therapeutics business unit of Abbott Laboratories.  He also served as Vice President, Marketing of BASF Pharmaceuticals/Knoll.  Earlier in his career, Mr. Berns held various positions, including senior management roles, at Bristol-Myers Squibb Company. Mr. Berns received his B.S. in Economics from the University of Wisconsin.

Patrick Enright

Member

Mr. Enright is a Managing Director and Founder of Longitude Capital. Prior to Longitude Capital, Mr. Enright was a Managing Director of Pequot Ventures where he co-led the life sciences investment practice. Prior to Pequot, he was a Managing Member of the Delta Opportunity Fund at Diaz & Altschul Capital Management. Mr. Enright began his investment career at PaineWebber Development Corporation. Mr. Enright also has significant life sciences operations experience, including senior executive positions at Valentis (VLTS), Boehringer Mannheim (acquired by Roche) and Sandoz (now known as Novartis). Mr. Enright currently serves on the boards of Aimmune (AIMT), Aptinyx (APTX), CardioDx, CuraSen Therapeutics, Jazz Pharmaceuticals (JAZZ), Orbus Therapeutics and SutroVax. Selected prior board memberships include Codexis (CDXS), Corcept Therapeutics (CORT), Esperion Therapeutics (ESPR), Horizon Pharmaceuticals (HZNP), InfaCare Pharmaceutical, MAP Pharmaceuticals (MAPP, acquired by Allergan), Prestwick Pharmaceuticals (acquired by Lundbeck), Sequenom (SQNM, acquired by LabCorp) and Threshold Pharmaceuticals (THLD). Mr. Enright holds an M.B.A. from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania and a B.S. in Biological Sciences from Stanford University.

Jeff Bird

Member

Jeffrey Bird, M.D., Ph.D., is the founder of Bluebird Ventures, an early stage life sciences venture capital firm. Formerly he was a managing director at Sutter Hill Ventures, where he focused on healthcare, including biotechnology and genomic technologies. Dr. Bird has been a board member of several public and many private biotechnology companies over an almost 20 year investing career. He has also held various leadership roles at multiple biotech companies throughout his career, including CEO and of Verinata Health, Inc, lead Director of Forty Seven Inc, Director of Corporate Development at Gilead Sciences Inc, and independent Director of Portola Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Bird has done a Ph.D. in Cancer Biology from Stanford University in 1988 and an MD in 1992 from Stanford Medical School, Stanford University and a B.S in Biological Sciences from Stanford University in 1982.

Sundeep Dugar, Ph.D.

Member

Dr. Dugar is the founder and currently the Chief Technology Officer of Epirium Bio. He has more than 30 years of experience in drug discovery and development in a range of therapeutic areas, including oncology, inflammation, central nervous system, cardiovascular and metabolic disorders. In 2008, he founded Sphaera Pharma Pte. Ltd, an integrated drug discovery and development organization led by pharma and biotech professionals with global experience. He also held the position of Vice President at Johnson & Johnson/Scios Inc., where he helped build the small molecule drug discovery program. He served in positions of increasing responsibility at Bristol-Myers Squibb and Schering-Plough, and is a co-inventor of Zetia® (ezetimibe) and Vytorin® (ezetimibe/simvastatin). He is the recipient of the 2005 National Inventor of the Year Award, the American Chemical Society’s 2004 Heroes of Chemistry Award.

He is currently a Senior Research Fellow in the College of Letters and Sciences at the University of California, Davis, and was as a Trustee on the UC Davis Foundation Board. . He is a co-author of more than 70 publications and presentations, and a co-inventor of over 100 issued and applied patents. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of California, Davis, and completed post-doctoral fellowships at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) and Cornell University.

Russell J. Cox

Member

Prior to his role as President and Chief Executive Officer of Epirium Bio, Russell J. Cox served as Chief Executive Officer at Vital Therapies, Inc. He previously served as the Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of Jazz Pharmaceuticals plc, with responsibility for global commercial activities, R&D, manufacturing/technical operations, new product planning and global molecule leadership. Prior to Jazz, Mr. Cox served as Senior Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer of Ipsen Group, a pharmaceutical company headquartered in Paris, France, focused in oncology, neuroscience and rare diseases. He was also Vice President of Marketing at Tercica, Inc. prior to its acquisition by Ipsen Group, and served as Vice President, Marketing with Scios Inc., which was acquired by Johnson & Johnson in 2003. Mr. Cox began his career at Genentech, Inc. where he was a Product Team Leader responsible for the growth hormone franchise and led numerous product launches as a Group Product Manager. Mr. Cox has served on the Board of Directors of Aeglea BioTherapeutics, Inc. since 2015. Mr. Cox received a B.S. degree in biomedical science from Texas A&M University.

Carolyn Ng

Member

Carolyn Ng is Managing Director at Vertex Ventures HC. At Vertex HC, Carolyn leads venture investments across biotechnology, medical devices and health technology fields. Carolyn currently serves on the Board of Directors for Epirium Bio, Obsidian Therapeutics, Twentyeight-Seven Therapeutics, Boundless Bio, and Nuvaira. She was formerly on the board of Bicycle Therapeutics (NASDAQ: BCYC), and also represented Vertex HC as a Board Observer for Visterra before it was acquired by Otsuka Pharmaceutical for USD430M. She has previously closely supported Vertex’s investment into Twelve (acquired by Medtronic for USD458M). Working across the US, Europe and Asia, she plays an active role in expanding the geographical reach of Vertex HC and its portfolio companies for cross-border collaborations, business development and syndication.

She started her healthcare training in the oncology pharmacy department of the National University Cancer Institute of Singapore, where first-hand clinical experience inspired her to pursue scientific research in oncology. As an oncology scientist, she is deeply passionate about innovation that impacts patients’ lives. Prior to joining Vertex, Carolyn was also a Pharma Strategy Consultant at Deallus Consulting, a specialized London-headquartered life sciences consulting firm where she led global strategic projects for clientele comprised of the top 20 global pharmaceutical companies.

Carolyn holds a PhD in Cancer Molecular Biology from the NUS Graduate School for Integrative Sciences and Technology (NGS), where she was a recipient of the prestigious NGS PhD Scholarship. As an inventor and patent holder of a novel small molecule nuclear receptor activator indicated for the treatment of neuroblastoma, her research work was awarded the AAPS-NUS Prize (American Association of Pharmaceutical Society-National University of Singapore). She also holds a BS degree in Pharmacy with First Class Honours from the National University of Singapore, where she received the PSS Prize for Pharmaceutics awarded to the top graduating student in the class.

Outside of Vertex, Carolyn is a retired competitive squash player, a high intensity interval training enthusiast, and an aspiring but untalented oil painter.

Sandy Mahatme

Member

Sandy Mahatme is President, Chief Operating Officer and Chief Financial Officer (CFO) of a stealth company backed by ARCH Venture Partners. He previously served as Executive Vice President, CFO and Chief Business Officer of Sarepta Therapeutics, Inc.

Prior to those roles, Mr. Mahatme worked at Celgene Corporation, where he served in various positions including Senior Vice President of Corporate Development, Senior Vice President of Finance, Corporate Treasurer and Head of Tax. While at Celgene, he built the treasury and tax functions before establishing the Corporate Development Department, which was focused on strategic, targeted initiatives including commercial development in emerging markets, acquisitions, licensing and global manufacturing expansion. Mr. Mahatme served in senior roles in business development and corporate finance at Pfizer, Inc. after starting his career at Ernst & Young LLP.

In addition to Epirium, he holds board positions with Idorsia Pharmaceuticals Ltd., Flexion Therapeutics, Inc., and Aeglea Biotherapeutics. Mr. Mahatme earned Master of Laws degrees from Cornell Law School and the New York University School of Law and is a member of the New York State Bar Association.

Investors


ARCH follows the science to found companies based on revolutionary technologies that can impact people’s lives and take a long-term view when building companies.

Longitude Capital specializes in making venture growth investments in biotechnology and medical technology companies that seek to improve clinical outcomes, enhance quality of life and/or reduce system costs.

Bluebird Ventures is an early stage life sciences venture capital firm. Founder Jeffrey Bird MD PhD has been a venture investor for nearly 20 years and was previously an executive at Gilead Sciences. He serves on the boards of Forty Seven, Inc. and Portola Pharmaceuticals as well as several private companies.

Adams Street Partners is a premier provider of global private markets investment management services. With over four decades of experience, ten offices in seven countries, and partnership investments spanning more than 30 nations.

Vertex Ventures HC invests in various sectors of the healthcare industry, including biopharmaceuticals, medical devices and digital health.

Seed and Series A VC with $37M under management, investing in breakthrough longevity companies. Longevity Fund companies have collected >$500M in follow-on funding, resulting in the 2018 IPO of the first company dedicated to reversing the diseases of aging.

Patient Resources


Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy (PPMD) is the largest nonprofit organization in the United States focused on finding a cure for Duchenne muscular dystrophy. It takes a comprehensive approach in the fight against the disease, including funding research, raising awareness, promoting advocacy, connecting the community, and broadening treatment options.

The Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) is a nonprofit health agency committed to transforming the lives of people living with muscular dystrophy, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and related neuromuscular diseases. MDA has committed more than $1 billion to accelerate the discovery of therapies and cures and is the largest source of funding for neuromuscular disease research outside of the federal government.

Epirium is conducting a phase 1 clinical trial of EPM-01 in Becker muscular dystrophy. The open-label, dose-escalation study is evaluating the safety, preliminary clinical efficacy and potential biomarkers of three doses of EPM-01. The trial is currently enrolling male participants, ages 16 to 59, who are ambulatory and have confirmed mutations of the dystrophin gene. Learn more here.

For additional information, please contact [email protected]