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New Mexico Start-Up Commercializing UNM Technology Hires Pharma Veteran

Cylenta Pharmaceuticals, a New Mexico start-up spun out by the New Mexico Angels from technology developed by UNM Research Assistant Professor Dr. Jeff Hill, announced the hiring of Michael Gibbs as its new CEO.  Mr. Gibbs is a pharma veteran, having held a number of positions at AstraZeneca and Sanofi.  Cylenta was form in 2015 by the Angels’ Start-Up Factory and has been incubating in the Angels’ lab-to-business (L2B) accelerator.  Dr. Hill’s technology is an anti-inflammatory treatment using a peptide that slow the progression of multiple sclerosis and other neurological diseases.  Cylenta has optioned the technology from STC.UNM.

L2B launched in January of this year.  Its mission is to help scientists from the state’s research universities and national laboratories transfer their innovations into the marketplace.  The L2B program includes intensive, individual classes for inventors with the most-promising technologies, plus open workshops for all researchers and scientists who want to learn more about the program.  The curriculum focuses on how startups are created, identifies viable products and potential markets, and connects researchers with the people and resources they need to commercialize their technologies.  See the Cylenta September 29, 2016 press release, reprinted below.

Cylenta Pharmaceuticals Names CEO

Industry Expert Michael Gibbs Takes Leadership Role at Neurology Focused New Mexico Biotech Company

Albuquerque, NM – September 29,2016 Cylenta Pharmaceuticals LLC., a New Mexico company developing novel peptide based approaches for the potential treatment of Multiple Sclerosis (MS) and other neurodegenerative conditions, has announced the hiring of Michael Gibbs, as the company’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO).

Cylenta Pharmaceuticals LLC was created by the New Mexico Start Up Factory in 2015. The new startup has optioned a novel brain penetrant peptide-based technology which targets chemokine receptors in the Central Nervous System from the University of New Mexico’s technology transfer department – STC.UNM. The peptide comes from research performed in the laboratory of Dr. Jeff Hill, and has shown promising efficacy in pre-clinical MS and stroke models. As a Research Professor at the University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center, Dr. Hill has shown that the peptide based approach can cross the blood brain barrier and thus shows efficacy in well-established animal models of MS.

Mr. Gibbs is well versed in the pharmaceutical industry and has held a number of positions at AstraZeneca and Sanofi, including Vice President Head of Neuroscience Emerging Brands. Mr. Gibbs lead a global cross-functional commercialization and development project team of pharmaceutical professionals that accomplished the successful worldwide launch of the opioid induced constipation drug Movantik, overseeing strategies for communications, supply, pricing and market access. Gibbs also led US Breast & Prostate Cancer commercial operations at AstraZeneca.

Mr. Gibbs stated, “I am excited to become Cylenta’s first CEO and to bring forward effective therapeutics for patients and their families affected by MS and other debilitating neurodegenerative conditions. The peptide based technology developed in Dr Hill’s laboratory has a novel and potentially beneficial pharmacological profile and I look forward to establishing the strategy and infrastructure to progress it’s development.”

As a part of Cylenta, Mr. Gibbs will be continuing the growth of the company and progression of the research. He will be responsible for outlining the high level path forward for the peptide based program as CEO. He will also be defining corporate strategy, direction, and actively seeking strategic partnerships in the MS field.

The move is a win for New Mexico says New Mexico Start-Up Factory Executive Director, Dorian Rader, “We are very excited to have Mr. Gibbs lead one of our companies. It’s a testament to our researchers and entrepreneurs to be able to recruit the country’s highest talent to New Mexico companies.” She goes on to say, “MS is a heartbreaking disease with significant unmet need, Cylenta is working to change that, and under the leadership or Mr. Gibbs, can accelerate the development of this novel technology.”

STC CEO Lisa Kuuttila added, “This is great news for Cylenta and the University of New Mexico. Dr. Hill’s novel technology has been shown in animal models to reduce the neurological damage of Multiple Sclerosis. We want to see this technology brought to market to help those suffering from this debilitating disease and are very pleased that Michael Gibbs will be leading the company.”

About New Mexico Start Up Factory
New Mexico Start-Up Factory is bringing laboratory technologies to market, creating investable companies. The model works to bring principal investigators and experienced management together to commercialize innovations, while being backed by angel investors. Learn more at http://www.nmsuf.com.

As the technology transfer and economic development arm of the University of New Mexico, STC.UNM (STC) protects and commercializes technologies developed at UNM by filing patents and copyrights and transferring these technologies to the marketplace. Visit http://www.stc.unm.edu.