Two key appointments for Qld-based biotech

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Queensland-based biotechnology company Servatus has announced two appointments it says will strengthen its development and commercialisation skills.

Hugh Alsop has been appointed as a non-executive director while Dr Jessica Allegretti, who is an internationally recognised gastroenterologist and microbiome expert based at Harvard University, is the principal investigator for upcoming clinical trials in ulcerative colitis, a chronic Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD).

The company said Mr Alsop brings over 22 years of experience as a biotechnology executive. He is currently the CEO of Kinoxis Therapeutics, which is a private Australian biotech company.

“Hugh has a strong track record in growing companies the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries and Servatus plans to leverage his experience as we move forward with two major clinical studies in 2020, and complete construction and commissioning of our joint venture facility on the Sunshine Coast,” said Servatus CEO and executive director Dr Wayne Finlayson.

Dr Allegretti currently serves as director of clinical trials at Brigham and Women’s Hospital Crohn’s and Colitis Centre. Dr Allegretti is also the director of the Fecal Microbiota Transplant Program and an attending Gastroenterologist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (a Harvard Medical School teaching hospital). 

Servatus said it will work with Dr Allegretti on the design of its upcoming clinical trial in ulcerative colitis, using the successful preclinical results with Charles River Laboratory as the platform for the next phase of research into developing treatments for IBD.

“Dr Allegretti’s impressive experience in patient care and clinical research lends considerable perspective to the design of our clinical trial,” said Dr Finlayson. “She has already made significant contributions to the gastroenterology field and her leadership in our clinical program will set the pace as we accelerate our biotherapeutic-based drug development programs.”

“The preclinical results that Servatus have achieved are very promising in developing an alternative microbiome-based therapy for IBD patients, and I’m eager to begin work alongside its scientists for this next set of clinical trials,” added Dr Allegretti.

“Servatus has already accomplished a tremendous amount of work in establishing the foundations for its research,” said Mr Alsop. “I’m excited to be a part of the team as we explore the developmental opportunities alongside Dr Allegretti.”