PhaseRx Appoints Michael Houston, Ph.D., Vice President, Therapeutics Development
PhaseRx, Inc., an RNA therapeutics company, today announced the appointment of Michael Houston, Ph.D., as its Vice President, Therapeutics Development.
Dr. Houston brings more than two decades of experience in the manufacturing and development of peptide and oligonucleotide-based therapeutics to PhaseRx. He has directed numerous programs ranging from research to GMP manufacture of clinical trials materials, including nanoparticle-based delivery vehicles for siRNAs. In this new position, Dr. Houston will lead PhaseRx’s therapeutics program, which focuses on the advancement of its SMARTT Polymer Technology® mRNA nanoparticles.
“Mike is a great addition to the PhaseRx team as we focus on the advancement of our SMARTT Polymer Technology RNA programs into clinical development,” said Robert Overell, Ph.D., President and Chief Executive Officer at PhaseRx. “Mike’s experience in the synthesis, manufacture and production of RNA therapeutics including nanoparticle-based formulations, will accelerate our efforts to apply SMARTT technology to address the significant unmet treatment need in orphan liver diseases.”
Dr. Houston joins PhaseRx from Marina Biotech where he served as Vice President, Chemistry and Formulations and focused on the development of siRNAS and single stranded oligonucleotides. He has also served at Ascent Therapeutics as Vice President, Preclinical Chemistry and CMC; at MDRNA, Inc. as Vice President, Chemistry & Formulations; and at Nastech Pharmaceuticals as Senior Director, Chemistry and Formulations. Dr. Houston received a Ph.D. in bio-organic chemistry and a B.Sc. with honours in chemistry from the University of Waterloo, Ontario, Canada.
PhaseRx’s SMARTT Polymer Technology (SMARTT) mediates endosome escape and mRNA delivery into cytoplasm, overcoming the key stumbling block to the delivery of mRNA drugs into cells. SMARTT has been developed into an industrialized system that is well-tolerated in small and large animal models, does not induce innate immunity and provides robust, scalable manufacture. PhaseRx is evaluating several disease targets for SMARTT and will be selecting its lead program in 2014.