Praeventix is an early-stage biotech company committed to the discovery, research and early clinical development of novel serotonergic therapeutics with potential applications in dermatologic, autoimmune and neurodegenerative diseases.
Praeventix was founded by Dr. Douglas Pippin based on discoveries researched by Dr. Pippin and at Temple University.
We are initially focused on the development of pre-clinical candidate PRA-523, a potential first-in-class neuromodulatory therapy for pruritus and other potential indications.
Potential first indication
Pruritus, the urge to scratch due to an unpleasant sensation, is a symptom of many diseases and the most common skin complaint in dermatology
Chronic pruritus (>6 weeks) has an estimated lifetime prevalence of >20% in the general population
Itch sensation transmitted through C fibers to the cerebral cortex; generates spinal reflex response
Pruritus affects sleep, mood, personal relationships and can significantly reduce quality of life
Pruritus is currently managed, but not cured, using a range of topical and systemic treatments
Unmet need in
Pruritus is a trademark symptom of atopic dermatitis (AD), affecting all patients regardless of age and disease severity
~20% of children and up to 10% of adults suffer from AD
Chronic inflammatory skin disease characterized by itchy skin lesions and rashes
When accompanied by intense scratching, pruritus affects QoL and increases risk of injury
Anti-inflammatory agents often used to treat AD, but pruritus left unresolved long-term
Our initial focus is on the development of pre-clinical candidate PRA-523, a neuromodulatory 5-HT7 receptor antagonist, as a potential first-in-class treatment for chronic pruritus.
Recent studies have shown that serotonin (5-HT) is a contributing factor to the severity of pruritus, and elevated levels of 5-HT have been reported in patients with AD and chronic eczema.
Our approach to blocking 5-HT7 activation with a selective 5-HT7 antagonist has the potential to offer a first-in-class treatment for the management of pruritus in AD patients.
Dr. Pippin (Co-Founder, CEO, President and Chairman of the Board, PI/PD) is a scientist, educator, serial biotechnology entrepreneur and corporate executive with deep expertise in drug development. He brings over 20 years of experience in discovering and developing novel therapeutics across a range of areas. Dr. Pippin’s track record of success includes serving in key roles to close a $500M deal with Genentech to discover, develop, manufacture, and commercialize therapeutics and selling Cellular Genomics, Inc. to Gilead, Inc. for $120M. As the Founding CEO of Praeventix, Dr. Pippin has successfully raised $9.1M of funding through non-dilutive competitive grant awards (NIH), public-private partnerships (Temple University School of Pharmacy), and private investment funds (Tellus BioVentures). Over the years, Dr. Pippin’s research group efforts have led to the discovery of 3 clinical candidates, one FDA approved OTC Eczema/anti-pruritic treatment, two follow-on candidates currently in IND enabling studies for AD/pruritus, and numerous late-stage pre-clinical candidates, including symptomatic and disease modifying treatments for arthritis (pre-clinical and clinical), ovarian cancer (Phase II), lung cancer (Phase I), and Lymphoma (Phase II). Dr. Pippin’s discovery efforts over the last five years have been focused primarily on identifying and commercializing novel therapeutic candidates for pruritus/Inflammation/Immunology (Serotonin signaling modulators and Sphingosine-1-Phosphate lyase modulators). Dr. Pippin’s work designing ligands targeting the serotonergic receptor 5-HT7 has led to the discovery of Praeventix’s novel selective lead candidate PRA-523 as a potential first-in-class topical treatment for pruritus.
Heidi Kempinski (COO) is an experienced R&D and operations executive with over 30 years of experience in global drug development. Her experience includes the development of large and small molecules and cell and gene therapy products, spanning all development stages through to commercialization. Ms. Kempinski has successfully built and led integrated R&D operations for companies of variable size and maturity. Ms. Kempinski also serves as Senior Principal and Operating Executive at Tellus BioVentures, LLC, an early-stage life sciences investment fund and Chief Operating Officer for both Aegle Therapeutics and TamuroBio Inc, Tellus Portfolio companies. Previously, she also served as Chief Operating Officer for Zenas BioPharma, a Tellus portfolio company, where she built the R&D organization from the ground to over 50 employees in 2 countries and built and managed a portfolio of 6 IND/clinical stage products. Prior to Tellus, Ms. Kempinski served as VP of Business Operations and Strategic Alliances at GlaxoSmithKline following the acquisition of TESARO in 2019. Ms. Kempinski was part of the founding management team of TESARO where she established pharmaceutical development and manufacturing, quality, regulatory, clinical operations, and program management for the company, ultimately leading to multiple, successful development programs, regulatory approvals in >30 countries and product launches in the US and EU. Ms. Kempinski brings fundraising experience through the generation of corporate strategic plans, investor pitch decks, and supporting investor diligence processes resulting in $203.5M Series A-B financing, and the successful acquisition of 3 of her prior companies for a total of $9B.
Dr. Blattner (Senior Scientist) has spent the last 4 years at Praeventix expanding the 5-HT7 antagonist library (~500 compounds) and has identified lead compounds that differ in pharmacological properties (BBB penetration) with the goal of identifying clinical leads for the treatment of pruritus, cocaine use disorder, and UC. He has optimized scalable synthetic protocols for multiple compounds including PRA-523. Prior to joining Praeventix, Dr. Blattner spent his five years in graduate school involved in research related to the development of both selective 5-HT7 antagonists and sigma 2 binders within the Temple University School of Pharmacy’s Moulder Center for Drug Discovery Research. Dr. Blattner has developed extensive structural activity relationship knowledge on the therapeutic target, 5-HT7, resulting in the identification of 5-HT7 antagonists including PRA-523. Dr. Blattner completed his PhD research program and graduated from Temple University School of Pharmacy in August 2018 (Thesis title: Design, synthesis and evaluation of 5-HT7 antagonists for the treatment of Inflammatory Bowel Disease).
665 Stockton Drive, Suite 200H
Exton, PA 19341