Blade Therapeutics, a private biopharmaceutical company advancing novel anti-fibrotic therapies to meet important patient needs, announced the appointment of Maria E. Fuentes, Ph.D., as Executive Vice President, Research. In this newly established position, Dr. Fuentes will lead Blade’s anti-fibrotic programs in preclinical testing. Blade’s flagship program, focused on a small molecule cysteine protease inhibitor, is expected to enter IND-enabling studies by year-end 2017.
“We are excited to further expand our leadership team and to welcome an accomplished executive with a proven record of advancing promising candidates into the clinic,” stated Blade’s Chief Executive Officer Wendye Robbins, M.D. “We believe Maria’s expertise and insights will contribute greatly to the continued momentum of our lead development programs.”
Dr. Fuentes has extensive drug discovery experience in fibrotic, inflammatory, and respiratory diseases, playing a lead role in multiple IND filings. Most recently, she was Group Director, Fibrosis Discovery Biology at Bristol-Myers Squibb. In this position her focus was to advance into the clinic small molecules and antibody therapeutics for the treatment of fibrotic diseases, including interstitial pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) and nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). Prior to this, Dr. Fuentes held leadership positions at Roche (Palo Alto) and Hoffmann-La Roche (Nutley, NJ), including as Research Director and Head of the Respiratory Drug Discovery Group. During her tenure, she was responsible for progressing several projects to clinical trials and collaborated closely with the company’s Early Development Groups to establish translational approaches, including biomarker discovery and proof of mechanism studies.
Dr. Fuentes received her Ph.D. degree from the Catholic University of Chile and was a Fogarty post-doctoral fellow in the Pharmacology Department, School of Medicine, University of California San Diego, Biochemist from University of Chile.