NASH (Non-Alcoholic Steatohepatitis) is a severe type of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). NAFLD is the most common liver disease and is associated with obesity and type-2 diabetes. It is characterized by the accumulation of fat in the liver with no other apparent causes. NASH occurs when the accumulation of liver fat is accompanied by inflammation and cellular damage. The inflammation can lead to fibrosis (scarring) of the liver and eventually progress to cirrhosis, portal hypertension, liver cancer and liver failure. NASH is now projected to be the primary cause of liver transplantation and liver cancer by 2020.
Recent scientific advances in the understanding NASH have led to the development of investigational drugs with the potential to address the disease. Tobira has targeted the immuno-inflammatory pathways responsible for liver fibrosis in NASH through inhibition of CCR2/CCR5 (C-C chemokine receptors type 2 and 5). Cenicriviroc (CVC), an experimental oral inhibitor of CCR2 and CCR5 receptors, has been shown to have anti-inflammatory and antifibrotic activity in animal models of acute and chronic liver diseases. The one-year primary analysis results from the Phase 2b CENTAUR study were recently presented at AASLD and Phase 3 is planned for 2017. Christopher will address the preclinical and clinical body of evidence for the potential utility of CVC in this indication and its potential extension to other related indications. The regulatory approaches being considered to expedite delivery of this drug to the marketplace will also be addressed, including potential accelerated approval based upon surrogate endpoints. Finally, the corporate strategies being considered by Tobira and Allergan to advance CVC as a cornerstone of therapy for NASH will be explored.
Mr. Peetz joined Tobira as chief financial officer and head of corporate development in 2014. At Tobira, Mr. Peetz led the financing and strategic efforts to take the company public via a reverse merger, fund the Phase 2b program of CVC for NASH, expand companyís pipeline and strategic process leading to a sale of Tobira to Allergan for up to $1.7 billion. Prior to joining Tobira, Mr. Peetz was vice president, finance & corporate development at Jennerex, Inc. While at Jennerex, Mr. Peetz led a $21 million private financing and the sale of the company to SillaJen for $150 million including milestones. Prior to Jennerex, Mr. Peetz was at Onyx Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (now Amgen), and had oversight of financial planning and analysis, corporate strategy, product lifecycle management and commercial roles on Nexavar®, Stivarga® and Kyprolis®. While at Onyx, Mr. Peetz supported public financings totaling nearly $300 million. Prior to Onyx, Mr. Peetz provided merger and acquisition advisory services at LaSalle Corporate Finance, a part of ABN AMRO, and held positions at Abgenix, Inc. and Solazyme, Inc.
Mr. Peetz received an MBA from Stanford Graduate School of Business and BSBA from Washington University in St. Louis.