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Rhythm Pharmaceuticals Appoints Murray W. Stewart, M.D., as Chief Medical Officer
BOSTON, Oct. 15, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Rhythm Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ:RYTM), a biopharmaceutical company focused on the development and commercialization of therapeutics for the treatment of rare genetic disorders of obesity, today announced the appointment of Murray W. Stewart, D.M., F.R.C.P., as Chief Medical Officer of Rhythm.
“We are pleased to welcome Dr. Stewart to the executive team at Rhythm,” said Keith Gottesdiener, M.D., Chief Executive Officer of Rhythm. “He is uniquely qualified for this role given his deep industry experience – at both large biopharma and smaller biotech companies – as well as his specific expertise working in metabolic diseases, including roles in research, clinical development and regulatory strategy. Dr. Stewart will be a great asset as we advance the development of setmelanotide and RM-853, and we look forward to his contributions as we execute on our mission of developing therapies for people living with rare genetic disorders of obesity.”
Dr. Stewart joins Rhythm from Novelion, where he served as Head of R&D and oversaw global medical affairs for Juxtapid® and Myalept®, two marketed products for rare metabolic diseases. Previously, he served as Chief Medical Officer at GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), with global responsibility for patient well-being across the vaccine, pharmaceutical and consumer business units. Over the course of his 18 year career at GSK, Dr. Stewart held multiple roles across R&D, including Chief Medical Officer for the pharmaceutical business, Clinical Head of the Biopharma Unit and Therapy Area Head for metabolic and cardiovascular diseases. Prior to GSK, he worked as a consultant physician and honorary senior lecturer at the Diabetes Center in Newcastle upon Tyne in the United Kingdom. He holds an M.D. and Bachelor of Medicine from Southampton Medical School and is a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians.
“Based on initial clinical data, which has demonstrated compelling efficacy in people with rare genetic deficiencies in the melanocortin-4 receptor (MC4R) pathway, I believe setmelanotide has the potential to serve as a replacement therapy for patients with a variety of different upstream defects in this pathway,” said Dr. Stewart. “I’m pleased to join Rhythm at such an exciting time of growth, and look forward to advancing the company’s ongoing clinical trials, while also initiating a combined Phase 3 trial in Bardet-Biedl and Alström Syndromes this year.”
Setmelanotide is a potent, first-in-class, melanocortin-4 receptor (MC4R) agonist in development for the treatment of rare genetic disorders of obesity. Setmelanotide activates MC4R, part of the key biological pathway that independently regulates energy expenditure and appetite. Variants in genes within the MC4R pathway are associated with unrelenting hunger and severe, early-onset obesity. Rhythm is currently developing setmelanotide as a replacement therapy for patients with monogenic defects upstream of MC4R, for whom there are no effective or approved therapies. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has granted Breakthrough Therapy designation to setmelanotide for the treatment of obesity associated with genetic defects upstream of the MC4 receptor in the leptin-melanocortin pathway, which includes POMC deficiency obesity, LEPR deficiency obesity, Bardet-Biedl Syndrome and Alström Syndrome.
Rhythm is a biopharmaceutical company focused on the development and commercialization of therapies for the treatment of rare genetic disorders of obesity. Rhythm is currently evaluating the efficacy and safety of setmelanotide, the Company’s first-in-class melanocortin-4 receptor (MC4R) agonist, in Phase 3 studies in patients with pro-opiomelanocortin (POMC) deficiency obesity (which includes deficiencies in both the POMC and PCSK1 genes) and leptin receptor (LEPR) deficiency obesity. Rhythm also supports The Genetic Obesity Project (www.GeneticObesity.com), which is dedicated to improving the understanding of severe obesity that results from specific genetic disorders. The company is based in Boston, MA.
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