REDWOOD CITY, Calif., May 8, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — Pliant Therapeutics, Inc., a company focused on discovering, developing and commercializing breakthrough treatments for fibrotic diseases, today announced that Hoyoung Huh, M.D., Ph.D., has been appointed chairman of the board of directors and Éric Lefebvre M.D. has joined the company as chief medical officer. The appointments augment the expertise of Pliant’s leadership team as it identifies internally discovered product candidates to advance into clinical development.
“Drs. Huh and Lefebvre will play important roles in our company’s success as we develop a pipeline of novel therapeutics for a variety of fibrotic diseases,” said Bernard Coulie, M.D., Ph.D., chief executive officer of Pliant Therapeutics. “Both executives have a wealth of expertise in corporate development, pharmaceutical R&D, as well as commercialization that will add significant value as we advance our programs into the clinic.”
As chairman of Pliant’s board of directors, Dr. Huh will use his vast management experience to guide the management team on the overall business strategy. In addition to his role at Pliant, Dr. Huh currently serves as chairman to the board of directors for Geron Corporation and CytomX Therapeutics. He is also a director of Eidos Therapeutics and Rezolute. Dr. Huh is the founder of pH Pharma and Healthcare & Humanity Foundation. Previously, he was the CEO of BiPar Sciences, the chairman of Epizyme, and a director of Facet Biotech, Nektar Therapeutics, Addex Therapeutics and EOS, S.p.A (Milano, Italy). Earlier in his career, Dr. Huh was a partner at McKinsey & Company. He holds a B.A. in biochemistry from Dartmouth College, an M.D. from Cornell University Medical College, and a Ph.D. in cell biology and genetics from Cornell University/Sloan-Kettering Institute.
“I look forward to contributing to the Pliant team as it translates its scientific insights related to fibrosis biology to develop novel therapies for patients in need,” said Dr. Huh.
Dr. Lefebvre is responsible for leading Pliant’s clinical development strategy and clinical operations for its portfolio of product candidates. Prior to joining Pliant, Dr. Lefebvre was head of clinical research and development for non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) at Allergan, where he advanced cenicriviroc for the treatment of patients with NASH into Phase 3 trials. Previously, he was chief medical officer at Tobira Therapeutics, whose focus was the development and commercialization of therapies to treat liver disease, inflammation, fibrosis and HIV, prior to the company being acquired by Allergan in 2016. Dr. Lefebvre also led global clinical development, global medical affairs and commercialization of novel treatments for HIV and hepatitis C at Janssen Pharmaceuticals for 10 years prior to starting his pharmaceutical career at GSK Canada. This was preceded by 15 years of providing primary care and conducting clinical research in HIV and hepatitis at Clinique Medicale L’Actuel in Montreal, Canada. Dr. Lefebvre earned a B.S. from Edouard-Montpetit College and an M.D. from the University of Montreal.
“Pliant understands the molecular drivers of fibrosis and the complementary pathways that are involved in a number of fibrotic diseases with high unmet needs, including idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, primary sclerosing cholangitis and NASH. This expertise fuels a unique and potentially prolific discovery engine that attracted me to the company, and I’m eager to collaborate with the team during this important time in the company’s evolution,” said Dr. Lefebvre.
About Pliant Therapeutics
Pliant Therapeutics is a biotechnology company unraveling and targeting the key biological pathways driving fibrosis. By leveraging its powerful product engine, Pliant’s mission is to halt progression and reverse disease, and ultimately to restore organ function. Founded by a group of seasoned experts in fibrosis biology and medicinal chemistry, Pliant was launched in 2016 by Third Rock Ventures and is headquartered in Redwood City, California. For more information, please visit www.pliantrx.com.