4D pharma makes strategic appointment of independent Non-Executive Director in response to new clinical success and next stages of global development

Written by: Nola Cadman
Published On: 25 Sep 2020

Leeds, UK, September 22, 2020 - 4D pharma plc (AIM: DDDD), a pharmaceutical company leading the development of Live Biotherapeutics, today announces the appointment of Katrin Rupalla, Ph.D, as an independent Non-Executive Director with immediate effect.

Duncan Peyton, 4D’s Chief Executive Officer, commented: “We are delighted to be able to attract someone of Katrin’s calibre to our Board of Directors.  Her vast experience guiding novel therapies through the clinic will be invaluable as we progress our pipeline of novel Live Biotherapeutics into and through the clinic.  With her background so well aligned with 4D’s core focus areas of oncology and CNS, Katrin’s experience and network across Europe, the US and China will support 4D’s growth as we continue to expand our global profile.”

Dr Rupalla brings to 4D pharma over twenty years of experience in the pharmaceutical industry, extensive regulatory and clinical expertise in the fields of oncology and neuroscience. Dr Rupalla has previously served in senior positions at Merck & Co., Roche, Celgene and Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS). While at BMS, Dr Rupalla was Vice President Head R&D China and Global Development Team Leader for Opdivo/Yervoy in China, and then Vice President, Head Oncology Global Regulatory Sciences. Throughout her career, she has led regional and global teams responsible for obtaining approvals for multiple new therapeutics and indications, including Opdivo, Yervoy, Rituxan, Xeloda, Avastin, Revlimid and Vidaza, among others.

Dr Rupalla will make a considerable impact on 4D pharma’s immediate and long-term clinical strategy across its Live Biotherapeutic development pipeline, including the application of the Rx platform and our earlier pre-clinical assets, but also our lead immuno-oncology candidate MRx0518 and neurodegenerative disease programs MRx0029 and MRx0005. Following the recent successful completion of the Part A safety phase of its ongoing trial of MRx0518 in combination with immune checkpoint inhibitor (ICI) Keytruda(R), which achieved a disease control rate (DCR) of 42 percent in heavily pre-treated patients refractory to prior ICI therapy, the Part B cohort expansion phase of the trial is currently enrolling at multiple sites as announced. Dr Rupalla will be a valuable new voice helping to guide and deliver the expanding global clinical development program for MRx0518.

Dr Rupalla currently serves as Senior Vice President, Global Head Regulatory Affairs, Medical Documentation and R&D Quality at Lundbeck, a leading biopharmaceutical developing novel therapeutics for diseases of the central nervous system (CNS).  

Dr Rupalla has a Ph.D in CNS Pharmacology from the Philipps-University Marburg, Germany, and an MBA from Jones International University, CO, US. 

4D pharma also announces the retirement of David Norwood as a Non-Executive Director at the end of September.  Duncan Peyton said, “On behalf of the Board, I would like to thank Dave, as a founding member, investor and Chairman of 4D pharma for six years, for his contributions to 4D pharma’s incredible growth and development to where we are today, and wish him all the best in his retirement.”

Additional Disclosures 

The following information is disclosed pursuant to Schedule Two paragraph (g) of the AIM Rules for Companies. Katrin Juliane Rupalla, aged 53 years, has been a director of the following companies during the five years preceding the date of this announcement:

Current directorships/partnerships: iQure Pharma Inc

Past directorships/partnerships: N/A

Katrin Rupalla does not currently hold any ordinary shares in the Company.

Save as set out above there are no further disclosures pursuant to Rule 17 or Schedule Two paragraph (g) of the AIM Rules for Companies in respect of the appointment of Katrin Rupalla.

About 4D

Founded in February 2014, 4D pharma is a world leader in the development of Live Biotherapeutics, a novel and emerging class of drugs, defined by the FDA as biological products that contain a live organism, such as a bacterium, that is applicable to the prevention, treatment or cure of a disease.  4D has developed a proprietary platform, MicroRx®, that rationally identifies Live Biotherapeutics based on a deep understanding of function and mechanism.

4D's Live Biotherapeutic Products are orally delivered single strains of bacteria that are naturally found in the healthy human gut. The Company has six clinical studies in progress, namely a Phase II clinical study of BLAUTIX® in Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), a Phase I/II study of MRx0518 in combination with KEYTRUDA® (pembrolizumab) in solid tumours, a Phase I study of MRx0518 in a neoadjuvant setting for patients with solid tumours, a Phase I study of MRx0518 in patients with pancreatic cancer, a Phase I/II study of MRx-4DP0004 in asthma, and a Phase II study of MRx-4DP0004 in patients hospitalised with COVID-19. Preclinical-stage programs include candidates for CNS disease such as Parkinson's disease and other neurodegenerative conditions. The Company has a research collaboration with MSD, a tradename of Merck & Co., Inc., Kenilworth, NJ, USA, to discover and develop Live Biotherapeutics for vaccines.

For more information, refer to https://www.4dpharmaplc.com.