SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO — January 3, 2019 — Pliant Therapeutics, Inc., a biotechnology company unraveling and targeting the key biological pathways driving fibrosis, today announced that Keith Cummings, M.D., MBA, has joined the company as chief financial officer and Eduard Gorina, M.D., has joined as vice president, clinical development.
The appointments further the expertise of Pliant’s leadership team as the company advances its pipeline and moves its lead product candidate, PLN-74809, into clinical development.
“We are eager to welcome Drs. Cummings and Gorina to the Pliant family,” said Bernard Coulie, M.D., Ph.D., chief executive officer of Pliant Therapeutics. “Keith’s deep expertise in financial strategy, coupled with his knowledge of the healthcare sector, support our mission to develop a pipeline of novel therapeutics for a variety of fibrotic diseases. Eduard’s clinical expertise is immensely valuable as we look to advance additional programs into the clinic in 2019.”
Dr. Cummings has 15 years of experience in healthcare and financial services. He joins Pliant from Citigroup Global Markets where he served as a director in the Investment Banking Healthcare Group focusing on small- and mid-cap life sciences companies. While at Citigroup, Dr. Cummings specialized in public and private capital raising as well as M&A, and executed a broad range of transactions for many of the leading life sciences companies on the West Coast. Prior to Citigroup, he worked as an investment banker at Lehman Brothers and Barclays in New York. Dr. Cummings holds an M.D. from Duke University School of Medicine, where he performed research in healthcare economics, and an MBA from the University’s Fuqua School of Business.
“I am joining Pliant at an exciting time for the company,” said Dr. Cummings. “I look forward to working with Bernard and the rest of team to optimize our corporate strategy as we begin clinical development of the company’s first product candidate, PLN-74809, in fibrotic diseases, and build the company for long-term success.”
Dr. Gorina joins the clinical development team under the leadership of Chief Medical Officer Éric Lefebvre and is responsible for overseeing the execution of Pliant’s trials in multiple fibrotic diseases. Previously, he was executive director of clinical development at FibroGen, where he managed clinical programs for fibrotic diseases including idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) and Duchenne muscular dystrophy. Dr. Gorina also held senior director roles in clinical science at Portola Pharmaceuticals and InterMune, where he played a key role in the development and filing of the U.S. new drug application for the first therapy approved for patients with IPF (ESBRIET®, pirfenidone marketed by Roche.) He started his pharmaceutical industry career at Bayer Biologicals, where he was global clinical leader for hemophilia products. Dr. Gorina received his master’s in bioengineering from the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya, his medical license from the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, and his training in clinical pharmacology at the pharmacology unit of Hospital Sant Pau in Barcelona.
“Pliant’s unmatched knowledge of the biological drivers of fibrosis fuels the discovery of novel compounds and a promising pipeline that attracted me to the company, and I’m eager to collaborate with the team as we design and conduct robust development programs,” said Dr. Gorina.
About Pliant Therapeutics
Pliant Therapeutics is a biotechnology company unraveling and targeting the key biological pathways driving fibrosis. By leveraging its powerful product discovery engine, Pliant’s mission is to develop novel therapeutics that seek to halt progression of fibrotic diseases, ultimately preserving organ function. Founded by a group of seasoned experts in fibrosis biology, medicinal chemistry and translational medicine, Pliant expects to initiate clinical trials with its lead product candidate PLN-74809 in idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis in late 2018, with additional programs to advance into the clinic in 2019. For more information, please visit www.pliantrx.com.