Tiziana strengthens unique research focus by appointing Dr Kunwar Shailubhai CEO


Kunwar Shailubhai

Kunwar Shailubhai

Tiziana Life Sciences, a biotechnology company developing targeted drugs for cancer and autoimmune diseases, recently appointed Dr Kunwar Shailubhai (Shailu) as CEO and Chief Scientific Officer with immediate effect.

Shailu takes the reins of the company at a significant time for Tiziana, which is the only company in the world developing an orally administered fully human anti-CD3 mAb (foralumab) as a drug candidate to manage nonalcoholic steatohepatitis fatty liver disease (NASH), a liver disease that affects millions of people worldwide, for which there is currently no treatment.

The timing of his appointment is noteworthy as Tiziana prepares to proceed with Phase II of its trials to develop foralumab as a treatment for NASH.

Shailu has extensive experience within the sector, drawing on 30 years of experience in research and development of drug candidates for treatment of gastrointestinal disorders, inflammatory diseases and cancers.

His appointment follows many years working at Synergy Pharmaceuticals, which he co-founded and served as Chief Scientific Officer since 2008.

His pioneering research programme culminated in the development of the drug Trulance (plecanatide), which received FDA approval in January 2017 for the treatment of adults with chronic idiopathic constipation.

Prior to joining Tiziana Life Sciences and Synergy Life Sciences, he worked at Callisto Pharmaceuticals, Monsanto Company and as a senior staff fellow at the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Founded in 2013 and based in London, Tiziana is focused on oncology, inflammatory and immunology diseases. The company is also conducting phase II clinical trials with milciclib, a small molecule inhibitor of cyclin dependent kinases (CDK) for hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC).

Gabriele Cerrone, Executive Chairman at Tiziana Life Sciences, said: “Having Shailu as our CEO demonstrates our commitment to put our research first and his expertise at some of the top pharmaceutical companies globally means Tiziana Life Sciences can go from strength to strength. In particular, his experience shows he knows what it takes to shepherd research from inception to FDA approval and I know his passion for this area of work will pay off.”

Tiziana Life Sciences has recently been growing its core Scientific Advisory Board, bringing on board some of the world’s leading scientists researching oral treatment with anti-CD3 (Foralumab) and liver diseases. Dr Howard Weiner, Professor of Neurology at Harvard Medical School and Dr Kevan Herold, Professor of Immunobiology at the Yale School of Medicine and Director of the Yale Diabetes Center, both have been serving pivotal roles driving Tiziana’s research and development (R&D) pipeline.

Earlier this year, Dr Arun Sanyal, Professor of Medicine, Physiology and Molecular Pathology, at the Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) and former President of the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases (AASLD) was appointed the Advisory Board, bringing extensive experience within the area of research.

Dr Kunwar Shailubhai, CEO at Tiziana, said: “This is a crucial time to be taking on this new role with Tiziana Life Sciences in what is one of the most vital yet underdeveloped research areas. NASH affects more than three million people in the UK alone and there is no cure, and now we have the team and the approach necessary to make important steps to manage this disease.”

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