KALAMAZOO (WWJ) — Tolera Therapeutics Inc., a pharma startup developing a novel T-cell targeted therapeutic platform, announced Tuesday that it has appointed Ashleigh Palmer as president, CEO and a member of its board.

“Ashleigh has an ideal track record in developing, partnering and commercializing advanced-stage biopharma assets and pioneering therapeutic platforms,” said Tolera chairman Suzette Dutch, managing partner of Triathlon Medical Ventures. “The board is delighted with Ashleigh’s appointment and is committed to supporting him as he evaluates and recommends Tolera’s best path forward.”

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While taking the lead at Tolera, Palmer will continue as president of Creative BioVentures Corp., a strategic advisory serving the biopharma industry. Since founding Creative BioVentures in 2002, Palmer has undertaken several challenging development-stage and turnaround assignments, including CEO and Chairman of Restoragen Inc.; CEO of Canfite Biopharma Ltd.; and CEO of Unigene Laboratories Inc.

Previously, Palmer was vice president of business development at Ohmeda, Inc., where he played an instrumental role in its $1.2 billion sale to a Baxter-led consortium by spinning out Ohmeda’s inhaled nitric oxide assets to found INO Therapeutics Inc. Under Palmer’s leadership as founding president and CEO, INO developed and commercialized the world’s first selective pulmonary vasodilator, INOmax, establishing an orphan drug franchise subsequently acquired by Ikaria for $670 million.

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Earlier in his career, Palmer held positions of increasing responsibility in sales and marketing management at Reckitt Benckiser, PLC and SSL International PLC. He received his MBA from the University of Bradford, England and his BSc. honors in Biochemistry and Applied Molecular Biology from the University of Manchester, England.

“Having completed a successful Phase 2 renal transplantation study for its lead product candidate, TOL101, Tolera is now poised to carefully consider its strategic options, evaluate the needs of prospective partners, and advance this novel therapeutic approach towards a market that appears ripe for the entry of an advantageous induction agent,” Palmer said. “Tolera also has a significant opportunity to advance its broader T-cell targeting therapeutic platform, especially with respect to autoimmune disease and cancer. Effective partnering will be the key to this endeavor.”

Tolera is developing and commercializing a highly specific, T-cell antagonist, monoclonal antibody technology (anti-TCR) with application potential across a broad spectrum of T-cell mediated diseases, such as transplant rejection, autoimmune disease and cancer. Its lead product candidate, TOL101, has to date successfully completed clinical testing through Ph2 and is ready to commence advanced stage clinical testing having received approval of a Special Protocol Assessment with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for a Phase 3 clinical trial comparing TOL101 to Thymoglobulin. Primary investors in the company include Triathlon Medical Venture Partners, Hopen Life Science Ventures, the SWMF Life Science Fund, and the Michigan Economic Development Corp.

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More at http://www.tolera.com.