Autifony Therapeutics Limited has announced that Dr John Hutchison has joined the company as Chief Medical Officer, ahead of the planned retirement of Dr Peter Harris at the end of September.
Dr Hutchison joins Autifony from Pfizer, where he was Chief Medical Officer and VP of Clinical Research at Pfizer Neusentis in the UK. Dr Hutchison brings a wealth of experience of clinical drug development in both big pharma and the biotech sector, and has a strong background in CNS indications, including epilepsy, rare neurological disorders, Huntington’s disease, paediatric autism, and cerebellar ataxia.
Dr Hutchison will head up Autifony’s growing clinical development team that will oversee the evaluation of two different candidate drugs in multiple clinical trials by the end of the year. Autifony’s first candidate drug, AUT00063, is in two Phase II trials: one for age-related hearing loss and one for tinnitus. AUT00206, the second of Autifony's candidate drugs, is optimized for psychiatric indications and is initially being progressed for schizophrenia.
Dr Harris joined Autifony as a consultant in April 2012, before becoming the company’s first Chief Medical Officer in December of that year. Dr Harris successfully steered AUT00063 through first-in-human Phase I trials before setting up two pioneering Phase IIa clinical studies for age-related hearing loss and tinnitus in the US and UK, respectively. He built the strong network of collaborations in the hearing space which has underpinned Autifony’s Phase II programme. The two Phase IIa trials are due to read out by mid-2016.
Dr Charles Large, Chief Executive Officer of Autifony Therapeutics, commented: “Dr Hutchison brings new experience and insights that will help us to realize the full potential of our Kv3 ion channel platform. Our exciting new clinical development programme for schizophrenia will enter Phase I later this year, and John’s CNS experience will be critical to our ambitions. These ambitions go beyond schizophrenia to include other CNS indications of high unmet medical need.
“At the same time, we are sad Peter is stepping down, but pleased he has agreed to continue to provide his expertise in hearing clinical development to Autifony in a part-time capacity. I would like to warmly thank him for his remarkable contribution to Autifony over the last 3 years.”