SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO, Calif., October 30, 2020 -- Surrozen Inc., a biotechnology company pioneering a new class of targeted regenerative antibodies, today announced the appointment of Charles Williams as chief financial officer. An experienced biopharmaceutical executive, Mr. Williams brings to Surrozen 20 years of biopharmaceutical industry experience across various leadership positions in strategy, operations, finance and corporate development.
“We are excited to welcome Chuck to the Surrozen team and fortunate to add someone with his experience and accomplishments to our leadership” said Craig Parker, Surrozen’s chief executive officer. “Chuck will play a critical role in strategy, operational management, finance, and corporate development as we continue to broaden the application of our Wnt modulating platform technologies to additional disease areas and advance first-in-class development candidates.” “Since its founding, Surrozen has rapidly established itself as the leader in applying breakthroughs in Wnt biology to selective tissue regeneration in multiple disease areas” commented Mr. Williams.“I look forward to joining the Surrozen team as we work towards expanding the organization’s scientific and development capabilities and advancing the pipeline.”
Mr. Williams most recently headed corporate development at Jazz Pharmaceuticals plc. Previously, he held various corporate development and finance roles at MAP Pharmaceuticals (acquired by Allergan) and CV Therapeutics(acquired by Gilead). He started his career in biopharmaceutical consulting and investment banking. Mr. Williams earned a B.A. in economics from Cornell University.
Wnt signaling plays key roles in the control of development, homeostasis,and regeneration of many essential organs and tissues, including liver,intestine, lung, kidney, central nervous system, cochlea, bone, and others.Modulation of Wnt signaling pathways has potential for treatment of degenerative diseases and tissue injuries. There are 19 Wnt ligands (Wnts) in mammals, and they signal through Frizzled receptors 1-10 and co-receptors LRP5 or 6, two families of receptors. Endogenous Wnts bind to multiple Frizzled receptors and are heavily modified post-translationally, making them difficult to manufacture consistently. R-spondin stabilizes Frizzled receptors, enhancing the body’s response to endogenous Wnts.
Since its founding in 2016, Surrozen has developed two proprietary platforms to selectively modulate the Wnt pathway for the potential treatment of injury and disease. Surrozen Wnt-mimetics, also referred to as SWAP(Surrozen Wnt signal activating proteins), are bi-specific full-length human (IgG) antibodies that directly activate the canonical Wnt signaling pathway in target tissue. Surrozen R-spondin-mimetics, also referred to as SWEETS (Surrozen Wnt signal enhancers engineered for tissue specificity), are antibody-based molecules that enhance Wnt signaling by stabilizing Frizzled receptors on targeted cells.
SZN-043 is the first development candidate designed using Surrozen’s SWEETS platform. In preclinical animal models of liver injury and fibrosis, SZN-043 has been shown to selectively activate Wnt signaling in the liver, stimulate hepatocyte proliferation, improve synthetic function, and reduce fibrosis. Surrozen will develop SZN-043 for severe liver diseases including severe alcoholic hepatitis and decompensated liver cirrhosis.
SZN-1326 is the first development candidate designed using Surrozen’s SWAP platform. SZN-1326 targets the Wnt-signaling pathway in the intestinal epithelium. In preclinical animal models of acute and chronic colitis, SZN-1326 has been shown to activate Wnt signaling in the intestine, stimulate intestinal epithelial regeneration, and reduce disease activity. Surrozen will develop SZN-1326 for moderate to severe inflammatory bowel disease.
Surrozen is a biotechnology company pioneering a new class of targeted regenerative antibodies to repair a broad range of tissues and organs damaged by serious disease. Surrozen is designing tissue-specific antibodies that engage the body’s own biological repair mechanisms resulting in a broad pipeline of disease-specific therapies to help patients across multiple disease areas, including severe liver diseases, inflammatory bowel disease, retinopathies, hearing loss, lung and airway diseases, and certain neurological disorders. For more information, please visit surrozen.com.
VP, Corporate Development and Strategy