Anthera Names William Shanahan Its CMO, Will Lead Close of Phase 3 Lupus Study

Ines Martins, PhD avatar

by Ines Martins, PhD |

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Anthera Pharmaceuticals announced that William Shanahan, MD, has been appointed its chief medical officer, with responsibilities that include advancing a potential treatment for systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) now in a Phase 3 clinical study.

Shanahan, a rheumatologist, brings to the company years of experience in drug development, and will lead the analysis of results in the CHABLIS-SCI (NCT01395745) trial, evaluating the efficacy and safety of blisibimod plus standard therapy in SLE patients. Topline data is expected to be announced by year’s end, possibly at the American College of Rheumatology (ACR) annual meeting set for mid-November.

The study’s primary endpoint is a six-point reduction in Systemic Lupus Erythematosus Responder Index (SRI-6) at week 52 in a population of patients who, despite corticosteroid use, continue to have clinically active SLE.

Among the company’s other development programs is an ongoing Phase 3 clinical trial, called SOLUTION, evaluating Sollpura (liprotamase) as a potential treatment for exocrine pancreatic insufficiency in cystic fibrosis patients.

“We are extremely fortunate to have William join the Anthera team in our late stages of clinical development,” Craig Thompson, Anthera’s president and chief operations officer, said in a press release. “His considerable expertise in guiding the clinical development of novel therapeutics will be a significant asset as we work to complete the development of and in preparing the BLA for Sollpura and blisibimod.”

Shanahan holds an A.B. from Dartmouth College, an M.D. from the University of California San Francisco, and a J.D. from Loyola University in Chicago. At the University of Connecticut School Of Medicine, he also served as an assistant professor and clinical associate professor in the Division of Rheumatology.

He has  more than three decades of experience in clinical development, and in earlier career positions served as vice president of drug development at Isis Pharmaceuticals, director of clinical research at Pfizer, and associate director and director of clinical research at Searle.

Before joining Anthera, he was chief medical officer of Arena Pharmaceuticals, involved in all aspects of  the preclinical and clinical development of lorcaserin (Belviq), from Phase 1 testing through to its approval as a weight management treatment. He also served as chief medical officer at Tanox, where he developed a series of monoclonal antibodies for allergy, inflammation and HIV through Phase 1 and 2 testing.

“I am excited to join Anthera as Chief Medical Officer at such a critical time for the company,” Shanahan said. “I look forward to contributing my clinical development experience to the data analysis and interpretation of the blisibimod CHABLIS-SC1 study in lupus patients, the blisibimod BRIGHT-SC final analysis in IgA nephropathy patients, and the Sollpura SOLUTION study in cystic fibrosis patients with exocrine pancreatic insufficiency, all in the fourth quarter of this year.”