Codexis, a protein engineering company, has announced the appointment of Dr Hicham Alaoui, to the newly created position of VP, Biotherapeutics Research and Development.
The appointment brings Dr Alaoui’s unique drug discovery skills and talents to Codexis at a pivotal time as the company expands its biotherapeutics business and works to follow recent success in bringing its first drug candidate, CDX-6114 for potential treatment of phenylketonuria (PKU), into early clinical trials.
Alaoui will report to Codexis President and CEO John Nicols and will be responsible for directing the Codexis’ biotherapeutics discovery pipeline within R&D, and for the acceleration of drug candidates toward the clinic.
“Hicham’s broad and extensive drug discovery talents are a crucial and welcome addition to Codexis’ great R&D tradition,” said Nicols.
“Hicham will amplify our ability to drive candidates from our drug discovery pipeline and toward clinical trials given his unique drug discovery, pharmacology, and product characterization skills refined over decades against a wide ranging set of therapeutic modalities and disease areas.”
“Timing for my arrival at Codexis is tremendous,” said Dr Alaoui. “The CodeEvolver protein engineering platform has already successfully brought a drug candidate for PKU into clinical trials, following its demonstration of a unique mode of gastro-intestinal action in preclinical pharmacology models. I plan to help demonstrate that this is only the beginning for successfully applying CodeEvolver technology as a drug discovery engine, and to accelerate the pace of lead candidates advancing from Codexis’ biotherapeutics discovery pipeline.”
Dr Alaoui has more than 20 years of experience in a variety of drug discovery and development organizations. Most recently Dr Alaoui served as Senior VP Discovery Biology and co-head of Research at Symic Bio, where he was responsible for expanding that company’s pipeline and strategically extending into new therapeutic areas.
Prior to Symic Bio, Dr Alaoui worked for five years at Genentech, ultimately leading a large in vitro pharmacology group dedicated to lead discovery and optimisation for both biotherapeutic and small molecule programmes.
Prior to Genentech, he acted as key contributor for driving multiple protein therapeutic candidates into clinical trials, as well as the establishment of novel in vitro and in vivo pharmacology assays through his various R&D leadership positions at Stryker Biotech, VisEn Medical, Neogenesis Pharmaceuticals, and Shire BioChem.
Dr Alaoui earned a PhD in Microbiology and Immunology at McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada, as well as an MSc in Biochemistry from Pierre & Marie Curie Université, Paris, France. Dr Alaoui has authored numerous peer-reviewed publications, in addition to being named as an inventor on multiple patent applications.