SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. -- (BUSINESS WIRE) -- Principia Biopharma Inc., a privately-held biopharmaceutical company focused on developing best-in-class small molecule drugs for autoimmune diseases and oncology, today announced that Christopher Y. Chai has joined the company as Chief Financial Officer and Dr. Steven G. Gourlay has joined as Chief Medical Officer.
“As part of the projected growth and maturation of Principia into a clinical-stage company, we are pleased to attract the talents of Chris and Steve. Each has played an integral part of very successful and important drug development companies, and we welcome their financial and clinical acumen, which will provide critical insight and direction in the coming years for Principia,” said Martin Babler, Chief Executive Officer of Principia Biopharma.
Principia Biopharma’s drug discovery engine enables a new approach to making small molecules that are potent, safe and have antibody-like specificity. To date, Principia has advanced programs against both high value kinase and non-kinase targets. The company’s most advanced program, an oral BTK inhibitor for potential use in autoimmune disease and oncology, is currently in preclinical development. Other programs include a potent and selective FGFR inhibitor for use in solid tumors and an oral IL-17 pathway inhibitor for the treatment of autoimmune disease.
Mr. Chai combines investment banking expertise with 15 years of operating experience at emerging growth companies. Most recently he served as Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer at MAP Pharmaceuticals, Inc. He joined MAP Pharmaceuticals when it was a private company in 2006 and played an integral role in its growth, including an IPO and eventual sale in 2013 to Allergan, Inc. for approximately $950 million. From 1998 to 2006, Mr. Chai was employed by CV Therapeutics, Inc., a biopharmaceutical company, where he held various management positions, including Vice President, Treasury and Investor Relations. Mr. Chai also worked at J.P. Morgan & Co. Incorporated, in various capacities, including as a healthcare investment banker. He received a B.S. in operations research and industrial engineering from Cornell University.
Dr. Gourlay, MBBS (M.D.), Ph.D., FRACP, M.B.A., has more than 25 years of experience in the clinical development of novel therapies. Prior to joining Principia, from 2005 to 2013 he was a partner at GBS Venture Partners, a specialist life sciences investment firm, where he served as both investment partner and consultant CMO for portfolio companies. In that role he served on the boards of eight early-stage medical companies. From 1997 to 2004, he held positions of increasing responsibility at Genentech, Inc. in the areas of epidemiology and early clinical development. He holds a medical degree from the University of Melbourne, a Ph.D. in medicine from Monash University, and an M.B.A. from Macquarie University.
About Principia Biopharma
Principia Biopharma is a privately-held biopharmaceutical company focused on the discovery and development of best-in-class small molecule drugs for autoimmune diseases and cancer. The company uses its proprietary technology, licensed from the University of California San Francisco, to enable a new approach to making small molecules that are potent, safe and have antibody-like specificity. Principia raised $40 million in a Series A round of financing from a leading group of healthcare investors, including New Leaf Venture Partners, OrbiMed Advisors, Morgenthaler Ventures, SROne and Mission Bay Capital. For more information, please visit the company's website at www.principiabio.com.