Synergy Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (OTCQB:
), a developer of new drugs to treat gastrointestinal (GI) disorders and diseases, announced today the appointment of Laura Barrow, Pharm. D. as Vice President, Clinical Operations. In this newly created position, Dr. Barrow will report to President and Chief Executive Officer Gary S. Jacob, Ph.D. and will be responsible for guiding Synergy's clinical programs, including the Phase II/III study for plecanatide, the Company's lead drug candidate.
“Laura is a tremendous asset to our management team, and I am very pleased to welcome her to Synergy,” said Dr. Jacob. “Laura has extensive experience in clinical operations and project management in the pharmaceutical industry, across a variety of therapeutic areas including the gastrointestinal (GI) space. In addition, she has considerable knowledge about regulatory compliance, and working with CROs to improve overall business practices.”
Dr. Barrow has more than 25 years of experience in the pharmaceutical industry, having spent seven years in clinical research at Hoffmann–La Roche; 17 years in project management and organizational effectiveness at Bristol-Myers Squibb and was most recently Worldwide Head of Clinical and Regulatory Standard Operating Procedures at Pfizer. She has managed and led project teams that launched successful products in infectious disease and was executive director and coordinator for the exploratory development operating committee at Bristol-Myers for more than 10 years.
“Synergy has an innovative and exciting technology platform that offers great potential for the treatment of GI disorders and diseases,” said Dr. Barrow. “I believe my experience and track record in clinical development will be helpful, particularly with respect to Synergy’s lead drug candidate, plecanatide, which is scheduled to enter a Phase II/III trial later this year to treat chronic constipation.”
Plecanatide is a member of a new class of non-systemic drugs for treatment of CC, constipation-predominant-irritable bowel syndrome (IBS-C) and other functional GI disorders. Plecanatide is a synthetic analog of uroguanylin, a natriuretic hormone that regulates ion and fluid transport in the GI tract. Orally-administered plecanatide binds to and activates guanylate cyclase C (GC-C) expressed on epithelial cells lining the GI mucosa, resulting in activation of the cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR), and leading to augmented flow of chloride and water into the lumen of the gut, facilitating bowel movement. In animal models, oral administration of plecanatide promotes intestinal secretion as well as ameliorating gastrointestinal inflammation.