LEXINGTON, Mass.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--TARIS Biomedical, a specialty pharmaceutical company pioneering the field of drug-device convergence for targeted therapies, announced today the appointment of Julie Lekstrom Himes, M.D. to join TARIS in the position of Chief Medical Officer and Senior Vice President for Clinical Development. Dr. Himes has broad clinical research and operations experience within the biopharmaceutical industry, including Coley Pharmaceuticals and Millennium Pharmaceuticals. Prior to joining industry, Dr. Himes held academic positions at the National Institutes of Health in the Allergy and Infectious Diseases and Human Genome Research Institutes.
“We are delighted to welcome Dr. Himes with her broad clinical research and clinical operations experience to the TARIS team,” said Christine Bunt, co-founder and COO of TARIS Biomedical. “Dr. Himes joins TARIS at an ideal time, as we prepare for mid-stage clinical development of our lead program in Interstitial Cystitis.”
Dr. Himes was responsible for all clinical programs at Coley, including oncology, chronic hepatitis C and autoimmunity, with direct oversight of clinical operations, outsourcing, data management, drug safety and medical writing functions. As Medical Director for Millennium’s Cardiovascular and Inflammation Franchise, Dr. Himes managed the design, execution and regulatory submissions of cardiovascular and anti-inflammatory product candidates. Dr. Himes earned her MD at the Medical College of Virginia and her BS in Chemistry at the University of Virginia.
“I am honored to join TARIS as it advances its technology to mid-stage clinical development and am excited by the long-term potential of the TARIS platform technology to deliver drug directly to target tissue through its drug-device convergence technology,” said Julie Lekstrom Himes, M.D., Chief Medical Officer of TARIS Biomedical.
About the LiRIS System
TARIS is focusing its development efforts in disease areas with high unmet need in which current therapies or systemic treatments have failed. TARIS has developed a lidocaine-releasing intravesical system (LiRIS) that supplies a sustained release of lidocaine directly into the bladder. Lidocaine has been shown in scientific literature and clinical practice, to decrease symptoms associated with bladder diseases, such as bladder pain and urgency when instilled directly into the bladder. Bladder diseases, which are difficult to treat with systemic therapies, affect 50 million people in the U.S. alone. These diseases include interstitial cystitis (IC)/painful bladder syndrome (PBS), bladder cancer, overactive bladder, urinary tract infections and chronic pelvic pain syndrome.
IC/PBS, a bladder disease associated with significant pain and disability, as well as urinary urgency and/or frequency, will be the initial therapeutic area of focus for TARIS. People with severe cases of IC/PBS may urinate 25-60 times a day, including frequent nighttime urination, also called nocturnia. IC/PBS can dramatically impact quality of life, including loss of work and reduced sexual intimacy. IC/PBS is associated with suicidal rates five-to-seven times the national average. New therapeutic options for IC/PBS are desperately needed. Over four million people in the U.S. alone suffer from IC/PBS, for which only two medications are approved, both associated with significant efficacy limitations.
About TARIS Biomedical
TARIS Biomedical Inc., a specialty pharmaceutical company with deep domain expertise in therapeutics and drug-delivery, is focused on local minimally-invasive drug-device convergence products. The TARIS core technology and development efforts are being applied to disease areas with high unmet medical need in which current therapies or systemic treatments have failed. TARIS Biomedical has several drug-device convergence program opportunities focused on addressing those underserved disease areas through local delivery of therapeutics, with an initial focus on bladder diseases including Interstitial Cystitis (IC)/Painful Bladder Syndrome (PBS) and Bladder Cancer. Based in Lexington, MA, TARIS Biomedical’s technology was developed by internationally renowned scientists from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Robert Langer and Michael Cima, and is backed by leading venture capital firms Flagship Ventures, Flybridge Capital Partners and Polaris Venture Partners. For more information, visit www.tarisbiomedical.com.
©2009 TARIS Biomedical. All rights reserved.
Christine Bunt, 781-676-7750
COO and Founder
Gina Nugent, 617-460-3579