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Recludix Pharma Announces the Appointment of Dr. Ajay Nirula, Accomplished Pharma Executive and Immunology Expert, as Executive Vice President and Head of Research and Development, and Strengthens Scientific Advisory Board with the Addition of Dr. Ad

Newly appointed head of R&D, Dr. Nirula, joins Recludix from Eli Lilly with over two decades of clinical development experience

SAB member, Dr. Ray, has over two decades of experience in successful small molecule drug discovery at leading biotech companies

SAN DIEGO, April 23, 2024 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Recludix Pharma, a leader in platform approaches to discover inhibitors of challenging targets for inflammatory disease and cancer, today announced the appointment of Ajay Nirula, M.D., Ph.D., as the company’s executive vice president and head of research and development (R&D), and the addition of Adrian S. Ray, Ph.D., to its scientific advisory board (SAB).

“We are thrilled to welcome Ajay and Adrian to Recludix,” said Nancy Whiting, PharmD, CEO of Recludix. “Ajay joins us from Eli Lilly with over two decades of executive leadership experience spanning all stages of drug discovery and development. He has extensive expertise in immunology and has led the advancement and strategic oversight of deep pipelines with more than ten product candidates reaching the clinic during his Lilly tenure. At Recludix, we have a robust pipeline of validated targets, starting with our two lead programs -- oral and reversible inhibitors of STAT3 and STAT6. Additionally, our proprietary drug discovery platform has enabled us to drug many other exciting previously undruggable SH2 domain targets. Ajay’s deep experience leading a broad discovery and development immunology portfolio – both internally and through strategic partnerships -- is ideally suited to capitalize on the many opportunities at Recludix.”

Dr. Nirula was previously a senior vice president and the immunology therapeutic area head for Eli Lilly & Co, which he joined in 2015. He was responsible for the company’s research and early clinical development work in the area of immunology. He also served as the medical leader for Lilly’s work during the COVID pandemic that led to emergency authorization for multiple therapeutic neutralizing antibodies. Prior to joining Lilly, Ajay held leadership positions at Amgen Inc. and Biogen Idec where he was involved in multiple therapeutic programs and supported regulatory filings spanning diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus, multiple sclerosis, psoriasis, and vasculitis. Earlier in his career, he served in the clinical research department at Merck Research Laboratories and prior to that as a faculty member in the Division of Rheumatology at the University of California at San Francisco (UCSF) School of Medicine. Ajay earned his undergraduate degree in Molecular Biology from the University of California at Berkeley, his M.D. from the University of California at Los Angeles School of Medicine, and his Ph.D. from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School. He has published extensively, including in prestigious journals such as the New England Journal of Medicine, JAMA, and Nature Immunology.

Dr. Nirula added, “I chose to join Recludix because I am very moved by the highly innovative approach. They have made great progress towards cracking the code for drugging of SH2 domains, which mediate critical protein-protein interactions implicated in many human diseases. These types of breakthroughs are indeed rare, and I am inspired by the opportunity before us to help thousands of patients across numerous disease areas, including immune and inflammatory diseases.”

Additionally, the company announced it has expanded its SAB with the appointment of Dr. Ray.

Dr. Whiting continued, “Part of our strategy and competitive advantage is the development of selective, oral, small molecule inhibitors that have demonstrated compelling preclinical activity against high-interest protein targets critical for disease pathology. Adrian’s translational expertise and discovery efforts leading to several successful marketed drugs will be invaluable as we continue on our rapid growth trajectory.”

Dr. Ray has over two decades of experience in biotech working at Gilead, Nimbus, Morphic and, most recently, serving as chief scientific officer at Third Harmonic Bio. He has provided leadership for small molecule drug discovery, nonclinical development and translation across therapeutic areas, contributing to numerous Investigational New Drug applications and successful worldwide registrational filings. Dr. Ray has authored >100 peer-reviewed articles, reviews, book chapters and letters to the editor in prestigious journals, including manuscripts published in Science and Nature. He is an inventor on over 30 granted U.S. patents, including those supporting successful drugs Harvoni and Veklury. Dr. Ray received his undergraduate degree in Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology from the University of California at Santa Cruz, graduating with highest honors. He completed his graduate studies in the Pharmacology Department at Yale University. Dr. Ray was the recipient of the William H. Prusoff Young Investigator Lecture Award and the James R. Gillette Drug Metabolism and Disposition Best Paper Award.

About Recludix
Recludix is a leader in developing platform approaches to discover potent and selective inhibitors of challenging protein targets. The company’s management team includes industry veterans with a track record of success, including former leaders and founding scientific team members of Seagen and Blueprint Medicines. Recludix has developed a unique drug discovery platform that integrates custom generated DNA-encoded libraries, massively parallel determination of structure activity relationships, and a proprietary screening tool to ensure selectivity. The company is employing this approach first in the development of SH2 domain inhibitors. Recludix’s most advanced programs are focused on STAT (signal transducer and activator of transcription) proteins where abnormal activation is found in inflammatory diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis, asthma, atopic dermatitis, and inflammatory bowel disease, as well as numerous cancer types, such as multiple leukemias and lymphomas. The company has a strategic partnership with Sanofi for the development and commercialization of a STAT6 inhibitor. Recludix is also advancing STAT3 inhibitors for Th17-mediated I&I diseases and oncology indications, as well as additional programs. For more information, please visit the company’s website at

Recludix Contacts:
Alexandra Santos

Aljanae Reynolds

By: GlobeNewswire - 23 Apr 2024
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