Philadelphia Business Journal
John George, May 4, 2012
Iroko Pharmaceuticals beefed up its management team with the addition of two new hires from Big Pharma.
Dr. Clarence L. Young has joined the Philadelphia drug developer as chief medical officer. He was previously at Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corp., where he was the vice president for targeted therapies and integrated hospital care. Young also held research positions at GlaxoSmithKline and Protez Pharmaceuticals, a Malvern biotech startup bought by Novartis in 2008 for $100 million.
Also joining the management team at Iroko is Moji James, who will serve as general counsel and vice president. She was most recently global product counsel at Pfizer. Prior to that she was a senior attorney at Wyeth Pharmaceuticals, which was purchased by Pfizer in 2009 for $68 billion.
“Clarence and Moji join the Iroko family at an important and exciting time,” said John Vavricka, Iroko’s CEO, who noted the company has two marketed products and four novel pain medications in late-stage development. “Their significant experience will be critical in helping shape the future of Iroko Pharmaceuticals.”
Iroko was founded in 2007 by Philadelphia-based Phoenix IP Ventures, which hired Vavricka as founding CEO of the company. Iroko’s focus is on the development of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), specifically those used in pain management.
The company is specializing in using its proprietary nanoformulation technology to create improved versions of existing NSAIDs. The technology allows less drug to be absorbed by the body without sacrificing efficacy.
“What attracted me to Iroko is their conviction that innovation using new technology can improve existing medications to address unmet medical needs,”
Dr. Clarence L. Young said.
“Iroko is making significant contributions in the area of pain management and their dedication is evident in their clinical development programs.”
Iroko has two products in the market — Indocin, an osteoarthritis treatment, and Aldomet, a high-blood pressure medicine — both of which the company acquired from Merck.
Back in September, the company announced plans to expand its presence at the Philadelphia Navy Yard Corporate Center with a 56,000-square-foot headquarters at the South Philadelphia site.
Iroko said the expansion would allow it to increase its work force to more than 200 employees. It now employs 54 people.
Construction of the new headquarters is expected to be completed by the end of this year.