– Seasoned biopharma medical leader joins Apnimed as it initiates its Phase 3 clinical program for AD109, a potential new oral treatment for Obstructive Sleep Apnea
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. September 18, 2023 – Apnimed, a clinical-stage pharmaceutical company focused on developing oral pharmacologic therapies for the treatment of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and related disorders, announced today that it has appointed John Yee, MD, MPH as Senior Vice President of Medical Affairs. Dr. Yee will lead Apnimed’s efforts to engage and inform the clinical community about Apnimed’s lead drug candidate AD109 as well as other pipeline assets as they progress through clinical development towards commercial launch.
Dr. Yee has more than 25 years of leadership experience at leading biotechnology, pharmaceutical, and healthcare technology companies, and at a major academic medical center. He has provided medical leadership for more than 10 new product launches and label expansions. Prior to joining Apnimed, Dr. Yee served as Chief Medical Officer at Sobi North America. Earlier in his career, he served in senior medical leadership roles at Genzyme Corporation, AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals, Intarcia Therapeutics, Vertex Pharmaceuticals, and Flexion Therapeutics. Dr. Yee currently serves on the scientific advisory board for Comera Life Sciences and previously served as a non-executive director on Comera’s board of directors.
“We are thrilled to welcome John with his experience and expertise in new product launches and expansions as our Phase 3 registration trials get underway for AD109, our first-in-class oral therapeutic for OSA,” said Larry Miller, MD, Chief Executive Officer of Apnimed. “John’s experience will be essential in informing clinicians about the emerging clinical data for AD109 in the treatment of OSA”.
Dr. Yee earned an MD from Harvard Medical School, an MPH in Health Care Management from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, and an AB from Harvard College. He completed his medical residency and fellowship training at Boston Children’s Hospital. Prior to his career in industry, Dr. Yee held leadership roles at Boston Children’s Hospital and was a faculty member at Harvard Medical School.
AD109 has the potential to be the first oral pharmacologic that could both treat the underlying nighttime airway obstruction and hypoxia that characterize OSA, as well as improve the daytime consequences of OSA, such as fatigue. It is a first-in-class, novel, investigational combination dosed once daily at bedtime and is designed to treat OSA patients across a broad spectrum of disease severity. AD109 combines Apnimed’s novel selective antimuscarinic (aroxybutynin) with a selective norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (atomoxetine). AD109 targets key neurological pathways in OSA that activate upper airway dilator muscles to maintain an open airway during sleep. AD109 has the potential to become a safe, effective, and convenient treatment for OSA, addressing some of the key limitations of current standard of care treatments that can be poorly tolerated (e.g., CPAP and oral devices) and/or invasive (e.g., surgery or implanted devices).
AD109 has been granted Fast Track designation by the FDA.
About Obstructive Sleep Apnea
Obstructive Sleep Apnea is one of the most common and serious sleep disorders. It is estimated to affect more than 45 million Americans, though underdiagnosis continues to be a serious problem and the number of affected Americans may be far greater. OSA is characterized by partial or complete upper airway closure that occurs during sleep, which can cause dramatic reductions in overnight oxygen saturation and often leads to poor sleep, and in the long term, has been shown to exacerbate hypertension, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and stroke. Additionally, OSA can impair work productivity, reduce daytime functional abilities, and lower quality of life. Sleep-related muscular relaxation driven by the central nervous system is the key neurologic mechanism that causes OSA. In patients with OSA, a reduction in neuromuscular control of the upper airway during sleep leads to a corresponding relaxation of the upper airway dilator muscles. The vast majority of diagnosed patients are prescribed positive air pressure therapy devices such as continuous positive airway pressure, or CPAP, but many patients are dissatisfied with these mechanical nighttime devices and fewer than half are compliant long term, leaving a significant population untreated, undertreated and at risk.
Apnimed is a clinical-stage pharmaceutical company working to transform the treatment of sleep apnea based on a simple idea – patients with obstructive sleep apnea could benefit from treatment with a safe and effective oral medication dosed once daily at bedtime. Apnimed’s lead development program targets the neurologic control of upper airway muscles to maintain an open airway during sleep. Based in Cambridge, Mass., the company is developing a portfolio of novel pharmacologic therapies for sleep apnea and related disorders. Learn more at apnimed.com or follow us on X and LinkedIn.
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