Concord, Mass. — Comanche Biopharma, a preclinical biopharmaceutical company developing a novel siRNA therapy for the treatment of preeclampsia, today announced that maternal health, vaccine and drug development expert Allison August, M.D., has been appointed as the company’s Chief Medical Officer. Dr. August, an obstetrician-gynecologist, brings more than 25 years of clinical experience to her position at Comanche Biopharma, including leading multidisciplinary teams to advance early to late-stage clinical programs in the biotechnology industry.
“We are very pleased to have Allison join Comanche. She brings extensive expertise in designing and executing clinical trials, including multiple maternal immunization vaccine studies in pregnant women, and has served as the clinical lead for the Phase 3 pivotal efficacy trial for the COVID-19 mRNA vaccine,” said Scott Johnson, CEO and co-founder of Comanche Biopharma.
Dr. August joins Comanche Biopharma from Moderna, where she was Vice President of Clinical Development, Infectious Diseases and spent over five years in various roles with increasing responsibility for the development of mRNA-based vaccines and the first mRNA-encoded monoclonal antibody. During her tenure at Moderna, she was the clinical lead responsible for the development of several vaccines including RSV, hMPV-PIV, Zika and Chikungunya and led the Medical Affairs team for CMV and other latent virus vaccines. Prior to Moderna, Dr. August headed the global clinical team for the RSV maternal immunization vaccine effort at Novavax. Prior to Novavax, Dr. August worked in translational medicine, early and exploratory clinical development, and Phase 1 through Phase 3 vaccine trials, including maternal immunization, for Novartis Vaccines and Diagnostics.
Before moving to the biopharma industry, Dr. August was an academic and private practice obstetrician-gynecologist. Her academic career included faculty positions at the Brown University Medical School and adjunctive faculty at Harvard Medical School affiliated hospitals. Dr. August holds a B.A. in the History of Religion from Bryn Mawr College and an M.D. from the University of Chicago, Pritzker School of Medicine. She was Board Certified in Obstetrics and Gynecology after completing her residency training at Brown University.
“Comanche Biopharma is harnessing the powerful Nobel-prize winning siRNA platform to modulate the causal etiology of preeclampsia and help address the escalating global maternal mortality and morbidity crisis”, said Dr. August. “I look forward to partnering with this talented team to build our clinical development organization and advance this new therapeutic option for patients with preeclampsia.”
Preeclampsia is a disease that has plagued pregnant women since the earliest recorded history. Today, it affects 10 million women a year globally, causing high blood pressure, organ failure and even the death of the mother or infant.
Comanche Biopharma is currently developing a novel siRNA therapy for the treatment of preeclampsia aimed at lowering the risks of pregnancy and prematurity worldwide by safely sustaining natural pregnancy. Successful recent studies in non-human primates with this siRNA will now be followed up by the first-ever human trials of the therapeutic planned for 2023, pending regulatory review.
“We are at a unique moment when an effective treatment for preeclampsia may finally be within medical reach,” said Johnson. “Allison’s patient-focused experience as an obstetrician-gynecologist and drug developer will be invaluable in leading our clinical program in pregnant patients over the next several years.”
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About Comanche Biopharma
Comanche Biopharma is a maternal and fetal medicine biopharmaceutical company working to lower the risks of pregnancy and premature births worldwide. We are currently developing the world’s first treatment for preeclampsia, which affects more than 10 million women every year.
Comanche’s mission is to eradicate preeclampsia globally.
Comanche Biopharma’s founders have had successful careers discovering new medicines, building and selling companies, and taking on some of the hardest challenges in medicine. Ours is a new company with leaders who already have an established reputation for excellence, including scientific advisors like Nobel Laureate Craig Mello who discovered RNA interference and Ananth Karumanchi who first identified the protein at the core of our work. His accomplishments are at the core of the first diagnostic test currently used in the standard of care for the management of patients with preeclampsia in the European Union and United Kingdom.
We are harnessing the power of these two recent scientific breakthroughs to finally bring an effective treatment for preeclampsia to the global marketplace. Together, our team is taking on one of the hardest challenges of maternal and fetal health, including breaking the embargo on offering pregnant women the choice to participate in clinical research.
We are committed to the ethical representation of all people of color and economic status globally in our clinical development programs. We prioritize ensuring access to our solutions by those who need them most.
Comanche Biopharma’s Fight to Eradicate Preeclampsia
Comanche Biopharma is preparing to enter a Phase 1 clinical trial to test humanity’s first therapeutic specifically designed for pregnant women to treat preeclampsia.
Today, when a pregnant woman develops preeclampsia, she is faced with two stark choices: either a premature delivery that threatens the infant, or prolonged in-patient management hoping to forestall early delivery. This challenge is especially demanding in low resource settings where advanced technologies, such as neonatal intensive care, are less available.
Comanche Biopharma is forging a new and innovative path that will end this tradeoff between the health of the mother and that of her child. If our novel siRNA therapy is as successful in humans as it is in animals, we will enable women to sustain their natural pregnancies after being diagnosed with preeclampsia, giving their infants critical, often lifesaving, time to grow and mature ahead of delivery.
If the therapy is effective, we will be able to offer new hope to the 10 million pregnant women and their infants who suffer from preeclampsia around the world each year. We are working towards a world where parents who have suffered through preeclampsia no longer have to worry that their children will too.