Aileron is the clinical-stage leader in the field of stapled peptide therapeutics for cancers and other diseases.
Our lead product candidate, ALRN-6924, which is being evaluated in multiple clinical trials, reactivates p53-mediated tumor suppression by targeting both of the primary p53 suppressor proteins MDMX and MDM2. The p53 protein, often referred to as the “guardian of the genome,” is known for its central role in preventing cancer initiation and progression, and its inactivation is essential for the formation of virtually all cancers. We believe that ALRN-6924 is the first and only product candidate in clinical development that can inhibit both MDMX and MDM2, which we believe, based on published data and our preliminary clinical results, are equally important in restoring p53 function as the body’s first line of defense against cancer.
Based on preclinical data and preliminary evidence of safety and anti-tumor activity in our ongoing clinical trials, we believe there may be a significant opportunity to develop ALRN-6924 as a monotherapy or combination therapy for a wide variety of solid and liquid tumors.
Our goal is to develop first-in-class molecules, like ALRN-6924, using our stapled peptide platform which enables us to chemically stabilize and improve the performance and activity of a broad range of alpha-helical peptides. We believe that stapled peptides can potentially activate and inhibit key cellular functions that are otherwise difficult to target with existing drug technologies, including small molecules and monoclonal antibodies.
We believe our proprietary stapled peptide therapeutics have the potential to become a major class of drugs for oncology and other therapeutic areas, and may significantly improve treatment paradigms and clinical outcomes for patients.
Dr. John P. Longenecker brings 30 years of executive management experience to Aileron. John’s leadership experience extends from operations and R&D to commercial launch, venture funding, secondary public offerings and corporate partnering. He is the Founder and President of JPL Biotech, a biopharma/pharmaceutical consulting firm, and serves on the Board of Directors of Pacira Pharmaceuticals, Inc. He was CEO and Director of HemaQuest Pharmaceuticals, a private biotech, and Favrille, Inc., a publicly listed biotech. Previously, Dr. Longenecker was President and Chief Operating Officer of DepoTech, and oversaw its acquisition by SkyePharma (predecessor to Pacira), where he served as President of U.S. Operations. Dr. Longenecker received a B.S. from Purdue University and a Ph.D. in Biochemistry from The Australian National University. He did his post-doctoral fellowship at Stanford University.
Manuel Aivado has served as our SVP, CMO & CSO since September 2014. From March 2012 until September 2014, Dr. Aivado served as vice president of clinical development and pharmacovigilance at Taiho Oncology, Inc., a pharmaceutical company. From October 2006 until March 2012, Dr. Aivado served as senior medical director in the clinical development group at GlaxoSmithKline, Inc., a global pharmaceutical company. In addition, Dr. Aivado was an instructor in medicine at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center/Harvard Medical School. Prior to his industry experience, Dr. Aivado practiced clinical medicine in Germany for ten years, during which time he was awarded the Dr. Mildred Scheel cancer research scholarship award in 2002. Dr. Aivado is a German board-certified physician for internal medicine, hematology and medical oncology, and he received an M.D. and Ph.D. from the Medical School of the University of Dusseldorf, in Germany.
Allen Annis has served as our Senior Director of Biophysical and Analytical Technologies since November of 2007. He was previously Director of Technology Development at the Schering-Plough Research Institute in Cambridge, MA, and prior to that he was Vice President of New Technologies at NeoGenesis Pharmaceuticals, which was acquired by Schering in 2005. While at NeoGenesis, Dr. Annis co-developed its core drug discovery platform, the affinity selection-mass spectrometry-based Automated Ligand Identification System (ALIS). Dr. Annis authored several patents and publications that describe the ALIS technology, and invented many novel techniques that use ALIS to study protein-drug interactions. Dr. Annis received his B.S. in chemistry from the Georgia Institute of Technology and received his Ph.D. in chemistry from Harvard University.
Don Dougherty joined Aileron as our SVP, CFO in June 2017, bringing more than 30 years of financial leadership experience. He founded Compound Capital Growth Investments (CCGrowth), LLC, a Boston investment firm focused on biopharmaceutical and other technology sectors, and has served as its president since 1999. Prior to that, Mr. Dougherty held senior positions at several investment firms, including Essex Investment Management (1994 to 1999), where he was a principal, portfolio manager and lead biotechnology analyst, and Putnam Investments (1986 to 1994), where he was a senior vice president and analyst in the Specialty Growth Group, which managed the Voyager, OTC Emerging Growth, and Health Sciences funds. He began his investment career at Endowment Management Research in 1983. Mr. Dougherty received a B.A. from Williams College, an M.B.A. from New York University, and his CPA and CFA early in his career.
Kira Nelson has served as our VP, Finance and Operations since April 2015. From February 2013 to April 2015, Ms. Nelson served as our Director of Accounting and Finance. From March 2002 to February 2013, Ms. Nelson was a finance and accounting consultant to companies in various industries, including biotechnology, providing accounting and finance services. From 1998 to March 2002, Ms. Nelson held various positions at Omtool, Ltd., a developer of software solutions, ultimately serving as chief financial officer, secretary and treasurer. From 1997 to 1998, Ms. Nelson served as a senior financial analyst at Discreet Logic. Ms. Nelson began her career at Arthur Andersen LLP, where she became a certified public accountant. Ms. Nelson received a B.A. from the College of the Holy Cross.
Jeff Bailey joined Aileron’s Board of Directors as Chairman in March 2018, bringing more than 30 years of experience in the healthcare industry across multiple functional areas including R&D, business development, finance and commercial operations. He currently serves as Chief Executive Officer and Director of IlluminOss Medical, Inc., Director of Madison Vaccines, Inc. and most recently served as Chairman and CEO of Neurovance, a biotech firm acquired by Otsuka Pharmaceutical in 2017. Throughout his career, Mr. Bailey played key leadership roles at major pharmaceutical companies as well as in the creation of valuable, development stage healthcare companies. Prior to Neurovance, he was President and CEO and led the initial public offering of Lantheus Medical Imaging (Nasdaq: LNTH), served as Chief Operating Officer of Fougera Pharmaceuticals (acquired by Novartis) and Chief Commercial Officer for King Pharmaceuticals (acquired by Pfizer). Mr. Bailey’s earlier executive positions included operating unit President at Novartis Pharmaceuticals and a 22-year career with Johnson & Johnson (including Janssen Pharmaceuticals). Mr. Bailey earned a business degree from Rutgers University.
Reinhard Ambros has served as a member of our board of directors since June 2013. Since August 2005, Dr. Ambros has served as global head of Novartis Venture Funds, a venture fund that invests in life sciences companies. He previously served as head of group strategic planning for Novartis Corporation, a multinational pharmaceutical company, from 2001 until 2005, and as global head of business development and licensing for cardiovascular and metabolic diseases at Novartis Pharma AG. Dr. Ambros received an M.S. from the University of Regensburg, Germany, and a Ph.D. in medicinal chemistry and pharmacology from the University of Regensburg, Germany.
Scott Kapnick has served as a member of our board of directors since April 2011 and as Chairman of our board of directors since November 2013. Mr. Kapnick has served as chief executive officer of HPS Investment Partners, LLC, a global investment platform with a focus on non-investment grade credit, since 2007 when he founded the firm. From July 2013 to March 2016, Mr. Kapnick also served as chief executive officer of Highbridge Capital Management, LLC, a global alternative investment management organization. Before joining Highbridge, Mr. Kapnick spent twenty-one years at Goldman Sachs, a global investment banking, securities and investment management firm, including serving as a management committee member, partner and co-head of global investment banking at Goldman Sachs from 2001 to 2006 and as co-chief executive officer of Goldman Sachs International from 2005 to 2006. Mr. Kapnick is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. Mr. Kapnick received a B.A. from Williams College and holds a combined J.D./M.B.A. from the University of Chicago.
John McArthur has served as a member of our board of directors since April 2011. Since 1995, Dr. McArthur has served as the George F. Baker professor of business administration emeritus and dean emeritus at Harvard Business School. From 1980 until 1995, he served as dean of the faculty at Harvard Business School. Prior to that, Dr. McArthur was a member of the faculty at Harvard Business School since 1962. Since 1999, Dr. McArthur has served as a member of the board of directors of Koç Holding, A.S., a multinational industrial conglomerate. From 1995 to 2005, Dr. McArthur served as senior advisor to the president of The World Bank. Dr. McArthur formerly served as chair of Brigham and Women’s Hospital. He received a B.C. from the University of British Columbia and an M.B.A. and Ph.D. from Harvard Business School.
Jodie Morrison has served as a member of our board of directors since June 2017. Since May 2017, Ms. Morrison has provided independent consulting services to venture capital, biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies. Previously, Ms. Morrison served as the president and chief executive officer of Tokai Pharmaceuticals, Inc, now Novus Therapeutics, Inc., or Novus, a biopharmaceutical company, from March 2013 until May 2017. From December 2006 until March 2013, Ms. Morrison held other senior positions with Novus, including chief operating officer, head of clinical affairs and program operations and vice president of clinical affairs and program operations. Prior to joining Novus, Ms. Morrison served as director of clinical operations and medical affairs at Dyax Corporation, or Dyax. Prior to joining Dyax, Ms. Morrison held clinical management positions at both Curis, Inc. and at Diacrin, Inc. Ms. Morrison has served as a member of the board of directors of Keryx Biopharmaceuticals, Inc., a commercial stage biopharmaceutical company, since June 2016 and Novus since March 2013. Ms. Morrison received a B.A. in neuroscience from Mount Holyoke College, her clinical research certification from the Boston University School of Medicine and her business training through the Greater Boston Executive Program at the MIT Sloan School of Management.
Armen Shanafelt has served as a member of our board of directors since November 2013. Since April 2009, he has served as a partner at Lilly Ventures, one of the venture capital arms of Eli Lilly and Company, a global pharmaceutical company. Prior to joining Lilly Ventures, Dr. Shanafelt served as the chief scientific officer of the biotechnology division at Eli Lilly and Company. Prior to joining Eli Lilly, he was a research fellow and director of research at Roche Diagnostics Corporation, a global diagnostics company, and held several leadership positions in the biotechnology division at Bayer Corporation, a multinational chemical and healthcare corporation. Dr. Shanafelt currently serves on the boards of directors of two publicly traded biopharmaceutical companies, Aeglea BioTherapeutics, Inc. and Protagonist Therapeutics, Inc. Dr. Shanafelt received a B.S. from Pacific Lutheran University and a Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley.
Caleb Winder has served as a member of our board of directors since December 2014. He has served as a managing director of Excel Venture Management, or Excel, a venture capital firm that focuses on life science technologies, since March 2014, served as a director of Excel from November 2010 to February 2014, and served as vice president of Excel from January 2007 to October 2010. Prior to this, Mr. Winder was a principal at Biotechonomy, a life sciences research and investment firm, where he financed and managed several entrepreneurial ventures. Mr. Winder received a B.A. from Colby College and an M.B.A. from Babson College.
Michael B. Kastan, M.D., Ph.D., is the William and Jane Shingleton Professor of Pharmacology and Cancer Biology and Professor of Pediatrics at Duke University and serves as the Executive Director of the Duke Cancer Institute. A Morehead Scholar graduate of the University of North Carolina, he earned M.D. and Ph.D. degrees from the Washington University School of Medicine and did his clinical training in Pediatrics and Pediatric Hematology-Oncology at Johns Hopkins. He was a Professor of Oncology, Pediatrics, and Molecular Biology at Johns Hopkins prior to becoming Chair of the Hematology-Oncology Department and later Cancer Center Director at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, before moving to Duke in 2011. He is a Pediatric Oncologist and a cancer biologist; his laboratory research concentrates on DNA damage and repair, tumor suppressor genes, and causes of cancer related to genetic predisposition and environmental exposures. His discoveries have made a major impact on our understanding of both how cancers develop and how they respond to chemotherapy and radiation therapy and his publications reporting the roles of p53 and ATM in DNA damage signaling are among the most highly cited publications in the biomedical literature of the past two decades. He has received numerous honors for his highly cited work, including election to the National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Medicine, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and receiving the AACR-G.H.A. Clowes Memorial Award for outstanding contributions to basic cancer research. He has served as Chairman of the Board of Scientific Counselors of the National Cancer Institute (NCI), on the Boards of Directors of the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) and the American Association of Cancer Institutes (AACI), as Editor-in-Chief of the journal Molecular Cancer Research, and as Editor of the textbook Clinical Oncology. He also serves on the scientific advisory boards of both Stand-Up-to-Cancer (SU2C) and the V Foundation.
Loren D. Walensky, M.D., Ph.D., is a chemical biologist and pediatric oncologist, whose innovative work in creating stapled peptides for use in cancer and other disease applications contributed to the founding of Aileron Therapeutics. His ongoing work employs this groundbreaking peptide-stapling strategy to produce diverse anticancer peptides to deactivate disease-causing apoptotic and transcriptional pathways in a variety of human tumors, and he also remains deeply committed to pediatric oncology care. Dr. Walensky joined the Dana-Farber and Harvard Medical School faculty as Instructor of Pediatrics in 2003, founded his independent research laboratory as Assistant Professor in 2006, and was promoted to Associate Professor in 2011 and Full Professor in 2016. Dr. Walensky is the recipient of numerous awards including an NIH Director’s Transformative Research RO1 Award, a Burroughs Wellcome Career Award in the Biomedical Sciences, the E. Mead Johnson Award for Pediatric Research, and an NCI Outstanding Investigator R35 Award. He is a member of the American Society for Clinical Investigation, the Society for Pediatric Research, and the American Pediatric Society. Dr. Walensky received his M.D and Ph.D. degrees from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.
Brian Druker, M.D., is the Director of the Knight Cancer Institute, Associate Dean for Oncology of the OHSU School of Medicine, JELD-WEN Chair of Leukemia Research and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator. His research is focused on translating the knowledge of the molecular pathogenesis of cancer into specific therapies and investigating the optimal use of these molecularly targeted agents. He performed preclinical studies that led to the development of imatinib (Gleevec) for chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) and then spearheaded the highly successful clinical trials of imatinib, which led to FDA approval of the drug in record time. This work changed the life expectancy of patients with CML from an average of 3 to 5 years to a 95% five-year survival, and has resulted in a paradigm-shift in cancer treatment from non-specific chemotherapy to highly targeted therapeutic agents. He is a member of the National Academy of Medicine, the National Academy of Sciences and, among numerous awards, is the recipient of the 2009 Lasker-DeBakey Clinical Medical Research Award.
Elliot Ehrich, M.D., has spent a large part of his career at Alkermes, a global biopharmaceutical company developing innovative medicines for central nervous system diseases, where he has led the functions of discovery, delivery science, research and development, project management and medical affairs. He previously held the roles of SVP and then EVP of Research & Development and Chief Medical Officer. Prior to joining Alkermes in 2000, Dr. Ehrich spent seven years at Merck & Co. overseeing the successful clinical development and registration of novel pharmaceuticals. He has been an Assistant Clinical Professor of Medicine in Rheumatology at the Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School for over 23 years, and early in his career completed a predoctoral fellowship at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Heidelberg, Germany. Dr. Ehrich is a Fellow of the American College of Rheumatology and has had numerous publications in peer-reviewed journals. He received his M.D. from Columbia University and residency and fellowship training at Stanford University.
Robert H. Grubbs, Ph.D., a chemist and Nobel laureate, has been a Professor of Chemistry at Caltech since 1978. He and two associates won the Nobel Prize in 2005 for “the development of the metathesis method in organic synthesis." The Grubbs group developed a family of ruthenium catalysts for this now widely used chemical reaction, which is the basis for developing small cyclic molecules or peptides for use in drug discovery. An early application from the Caltech group was the development of cyclic and helical stapled peptides. Scientists continued to build on this work, which ultimately led to the creation of active pharmaceuticals. Before moving to the California Institute of Technology, Dr. Grubbs was at Michigan State University in East Lansing, Michigan from 1969 to 1978, where he achieved the rank of Associate Professor. Dr. Grubbs has been a founder or scientific advisor to numerous technology and pharmaceutical companies. He has received numerous professional fellowships and awards. He is an elected member of the National Academy of Sciences and a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Dr. Grubbs received his Ph.D. in Chemistry from Columbia University.
Alan List, M.D., is the President and CEO of Moffitt Cancer Center and Senior Member in the Department of Malignant Hematology and the Experimental Therapeutic Program, and a Professor of Internal Medicine and Oncology at the University of South Florida Morsani College of Medicine. Dr. List is internationally recognized for his groundbreaking contributions to the development of novel therapeutics for myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) and acute myeloid leukemia (AML), including Revlimid® (lenalidomide), for MDS and multiple myeloma. Dr. List has received several awards, and serves as a member of the Myelodysplastic Syndrome Foundation Board of Directors and is the President-Elect (2017-18) for the Society of Hematologic Oncology.
David G. Nathan, M.D., is a distinguished physician-researcher and pioneer in the field of pediatric hematology who has made numerous contributions to academic medicine. His research led to the creation of the first successful treatment for iron overload in thalassemia patients, the first prenatal diagnosis test for thalassemia and sickle cell disease, and the drug hydroxyurea—now a mainstay for managing the disease. Under his leadership, the Division of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology at Children’s Hospital Boston (CHB) and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute (DFCI) developed as the country’s premier pediatric hematology program. Prior to DFCI, he served as Chief of Hematology at CHB and the Chief of Hematology and Oncology at CHB and DFCI. Dr. Nathan served as Physician-In-Chief at BCH for 10 years before becoming DFCI’s President in 1995. He is one of only three physicians to receive both the Howland and Kober medals, and other awards include the inaugural Boston Children’s Hospital Lifetime Impact Award, the American Society of Hematology Henry M. Stratton Medal and its top recognition, the Wallace Coulter Award, as well as the National Medal of Science. Dr. Nathan is a member of the American Academy of Medicine, American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Philosophical Society. He received his M.D. from Harvard Medical School.
Carol Prives, Ph.D., is the DaCosta Professor of Biological Sciences at Columbia University. She was educated in Canada, receiving her BSc and Ph.D. from McGill University. Her postdoctoral training took place at Albert Einstein College of Medicine and the Weizmann Institute, after which she became a faculty member at the Weizmann Institute. She then joined the Biological Sciences Department at Columbia University where she was named the DaCosta Professor of Biology in 1995. Dr. Prives served as Chair of that department between 2000 and 2004. Since the late 1980’s her work has focused on the p53 tumor suppressor protein, the product of the most frequently mutated gene in human cancers. She and her group have elucidated aspects of the structure and function of the p53 protein especially as it relates to its roles as a transcriptional activator. In parallel, her group has examined how cancer related mutant forms of p53 regulate tumorigenesis. Work from her laboratory has also illuminated the functions of the key p53 negative regulators, MDM2 and MDMX.
Dr. Prives has served as Chair of both the Experimental Virology and the Cell and Molecular Pathology Study Sections of the NIH and was a member of the NCI Intramural Scientific Advisory Board. She was also a member of the Advisory Boards of the Dana-Farber Cancer Center, the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and the Massachusetts General Cancer Center as well as the American Association for Cancer Research and is currently a member of the Scientific Council of the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas. She also serves on the editorial boards of Cell, Genes & Development, Cancer Discovery and the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Dr. Prives has received several honors including being named an American Cancer Society Research Professor, election to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the National Academy of Medicine, the National Academy of Sciences and the AACR Academy. She has presented numerous named lectures and has received awards including the NCI Rosalind E. Franklin Award for Women in Science, the Paul Janssen Prize in Advanced Biotechnology and Medicine, the AACR-Women in Cancer Research Charlotte Friend Memorial Lectureship Award and the Ernst W. Bertner Award from MD Anderson. Dr. Prives has also received an honorary doctorate from McGill University, her alma mater.