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Anaphore Announces Acquisition of RuiYi for GPCR Biologics Drug Discovery Platform

Published: Monday, March 26, 2012
Last Updated: Monday, March 26, 2012
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Acquiring the Shanghai-based RuiYi Inc. brings the company a powerful biologics drug discovery platform focused on the discovery and development of biologic therapies targeting G protein coupled receptors.

RuiYi was founded by Raymond Stevens, PhD., of The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) and TSRI alumni Fei Xu, Ph.D. of Shanghai, China.
 
“The acquisition of RuiYi in China allows Anaphore to access the substantial scientific expertise, capital and potential new collaboration opportunities in the Chinese pharmaceutical marketplace,” said Paul A. Grayson, president and CEO of Anaphore. “RuiYi also provides Anaphore a Wholly Foreign-Owned Enterprise (WFOE) in Pudong Shanghai, a necessity for conducting business in China, and establishes relationships with all of RuiYi’s current collaborators.”
 
“I am very excited about the opportunity to work with Paul and his creative team at Anaphore,” added Dr. Stevens. “Anaphore’s existing expertise in biologic drug development combined with RuiYi’s knowledge in targeting GPCRs is an optimal alignment of talent, energy and resource to discover novel medicines to address human medical needs.”
 
GPCRs are a class of cell surface signaling proteins that has broad tissue expression in the body and are ideal drug targets, constituting greater than 40 percent of marketed small molecule drugs. While much progress has been made over the years in the development of small molecule pharmaceuticals targeting GPCRs, development of biologic therapies have been much more limited. RuiYi’s technology allows for the discovery of high quality GPCR biologics.
New Members of Anaphore Board of Directors
 
Anaphore is also announcing two new independent directors to its Board of Directors – Peppi Prasit and Raymond Stevens. “We are delighted to bring both Peppi and Ray onto the Anaphore Board of Directors,” commented Paul Grayson. “Combining the substantial and proven scientific and drug-hunting capabilities of both Ray and Peppi enhances the expertise of our existing board and investor base.”
 
Peppi Prasit, PhD, is the founder and CEO of Inception Sciences. Previously, he was the co-founder and chief scientific officer of San Diego-based Amira Pharmaceuticals, which was acquired by Bristol Myers Squibb in July 2011. Dr. Prasit has more than 20 years of experience in pharmaceutical research and management serving in various positions with Merck Frosst Canada and more recently at Merck San Diego. During this time, he played a pivotal role in the discovery of multiple marketed drugs. Dr. Prasit received his B.Sc. from UCL, London University, and his Ph.D. from Victoria University of Wellington in New Zealand and served as a postdoctoral fellow at Princeton University.
 
Raymond Stevens is a Professor of Molecular Biology and Chemistry at The Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, California. Dr. Stevens obtained his Ph.D. in chemistry in 1988 and conducted his post-doctoral research in structural biology in the Chemistry Department at Harvard University. Dr. Stevens has helped to pioneer the areas of high throughput structural biology and GPCR structure-function, publishing more than 270 peer reviewed publications in the past 20 years. His research is focused in the area of structural biology and structure based drug discovery including involvement in the development of TamifluTM for influenza virus, KuvanTM for mild phenylketonuria, Peg-palTM for classical phenylketonuria, and alogliptin for type II diabetes. He has also founded four biotech companies – Syrrx, MemRx, Receptos, and RuiYi.
 
Anaphore recently closed on the fifteen million dollar second tranche of the company’s thirty eight million dollar Series A financing. Investors in the financing, which had its first close in January 2009, included 5AM Ventures, Versant Ventures, Apposite Capital, SR One, Merck Serono Ventures and Aravis.


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