Aug. 16, 2022
South Rampart Pharma (“South Rampart” or the “Company”), a clinical-stage life science company advancing innovative medications for the treatment of pain and fever, today announced the appointment of Josh Blacher as the company’s Chief Financial Officer. In this capacity, Mr. Blacher will be responsible for the Company’s finance and accounting department, as well as launch a robust corporate development effort.
Mr. Blacher brings to South Rampart Pharma over twenty years of leadership experience in senior positions in the healthcare and capital markets sectors. Hernan Bazan, M.D., F.A.C.S., CEO and Co-Founder of South Rampart Pharma and The Endowed John Ochsner Professor of Surgery at the Ochsner Clinic, commented, “We are thrilled to welcome Josh to our team. Josh brings us a valuable combination of executing growth capital initiatives as well as strategic collaborations with biopharmaceutical partners.” Dr. Bazan continued, “As we ready for Phase 2 clinical trials of our novel non-opioid lead asset, adding Josh’s unique skill set to our executive team is very timely to drive the Company into its next stage of strategic growth.”
Previously, Mr. Blacher helped build and manage Teva Innovative Ventures, Teva Pharmaceuticals’ early-stage in-licensing and investment unit. Following his tenure at Teva in Israel, Mr. Blacher served as CFO/CBO at three publicly traded biotechnology companies, the most recent of which was Inmed Pharmaceuticals. At Inmed, Mr. Blacher championed and helped execute the company’s NASDAQ IPO, as well as manage its business development and investor relations departments. Earlier in his career, Mr. Blacher held senior positions in portfolio management at Deutsche Asset Management and equity research at Morgan Stanley, as well as in mergers & acquisitions at Lehman Brothers. Mr. Blacher holds an MBA in Finance from Columbia Business School.
“South Rampart is uniquely positioned to disrupt the pain space and provide relief to millions of people without the risk of liver and kidney toxicity that current medications carry,” said Mr. Blacher. “I’m elated to join the South Rampart Pharma team to help it accomplish its corporate and clinical objectives.”
South Rampart Pharma’s lead program, SRP-001, is a novel acetaminophen analog with a unique mechanism of action that notably lacks the liver toxicity present in acetaminophen. In development to treat acute and other forms of pain, evidence to date demonstrates that SRP-001 offers a compelling safety profile over currently available pain medications, including:
- Ability to reduce both pain and fever
- No liver toxicity despite high dose treatment
- No high dose-associated kidney toxicity
- No abuse potential given it is a non-opioid
The ongoing Phase 1 clinical trial is enrolling 60 patients in a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study with endpoints assessing the safety, tolerability, and pharmacokinetics (PK) of single and multiple ascending oral doses of SRP-001. Further, it will characterize the pharmacodynamics and food effect on SRP-001. The Phase 1 study is being conducted at Quotient Sciences in Miami, FL, known for its excellence in supporting the needed clinical pharmacology of Phase 1 studies.
Pain is one of the most prevalent and costly public health issues worldwide1. In the U.S. alone, an estimated 20% (50 million) of adults experience chronic pain2, and more than 76 million have suffered from pain that lasts longer than 24 hours3. Currently available medications are either highly addictive or cause harm to the liver and kidney. For example, acetaminophen hepatotoxicity remains the most common cause of acute liver failure in the U.S., and opioids were associated with more than 100,000 drug overdose deaths in 20214, a nearly 30% increase from the 78,056 deaths during the same period the year before.
William K. Schmidt, Ph.D., a world expert on analgesic drug development and Chairperson for the Annual Arrowhead Pain Summit, added, “The scientific basis underlying the pain relief and lack of liver toxicity are important mechanisms for this lead asset. I believe SRP-001 may represent a cutting-edge opportunity to treat pain effectively, and importantly, without the hepatic, gastrointestinal, cardiovascular, or kidney toxicity commonly associated with acetaminophen or NSAIDs.”
The Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and STTR, collectively the Small Business Programs, are also known as America’s Seed Fund. By setting aside more than $1.2 billion from its Research & Development Funding specifically for Small Business Programs, the NIH supports promising early-stage small businesses throughout the nation after rigorous review of a technology’s scientific merit and commercialization potential. The STTR grant is administered through the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) at the NIH. South Rampart Pharma’s award entitled ‘Novel non-narcotic analgesic for acute and chronic pain’ is being conducted in collaboration with the Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center (LSUHSC) Neuroscience Center of Excellence through the end of 2023.
South Rampart Pharma is a clinical-stage life science company dedicated to advancing the safe treatment of pain by developing new small molecule solutions that can overcome many risks associated with current pain medicines. The Company’s pipeline of novel compounds has effectively reduced both pain and fever in pre-clinical studies without the liver and kidney toxicity of current non opioid analgesics. The Company’s lead program SRP-001 is currently in a Phase 1 study evaluating the safety, tolerability, and pharmacokinetics with data expected in the Q2 2023.
1 Relieving Pain in America. (2011). National Academy of Sciences. doi: 10.17226/13172
2 Prevalence of Chronic Pain and High-Impact Chronic Pain Among Adults – United States, 2016. (2019, September 16). Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/67/wr/mm6736a2.htm?s_cid=mm6736a2_w.
3 Partners for Understanding Pain. (n.d.). TOOL KIT – The ACPA Health Care Professionals September 2019. Retrieved from Tool-Kit-2019-Final-8-27-19.pdf.
Maxim Jacobs, CFA
SOURCE South Rampart Pharma