– Dr. Cheung, who has dedicated his career to NASH, hepatocellular carcinoma, fatty liver disease, and viral hepatitis will endeavor to advance Hepion’s business development and partnering efforts in Asia –
EDISON, N.J., Feb. 15, 2022 — Hepion Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ:HEPA), a clinical stage biopharmaceutical company focused on Artificial Intelligence (“AI”)-driven therapeutic drug development for the treatment of non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (“NASH”) and hepatocellular carcinoma (“HCC”), today announced that it has appointed Eddie C. Cheung, M.D., FACG, to lead Strategic Medical Affairs in Asia.
In this newly created role with Hepion, Dr. Cheung will explore and identify possible partnerships, and will liaise with national and regional regulatory authorities and thought leaders to advance rencofilstat’s clinical development strategy in China and other parts of Asia.
Dr. Cheung’s current appointments include Professor of Gastroenterology/Hepatology, Academic Leader and Director of Hepatology, and Doctoral Supervisor at the Seventh Affiliated Hospital at Sun Yat-sen University in Shenzhen, China. In addition, he has been Professor of Internal Medicine, Clinical Nutrition and Gastroenterology/Hepatology at the California Northstate University College of Medicine; Clinical Professor of Internal Medicine and Gastroenterology/Hepatology at the University of California at Davis School of Medicine; as well as Honorary Professor at the 302 Military Hospital, Translational Hepatology Institute of the Capital Medical University in Beijing and Honorary Director of Sino-U.S. International Liver Disease Center at the Zhejiang University Shulan Health Group, Hangzhou, China. He is on the National Board of Directors and the Medical Advisory Board of the American Liver Foundation.
Dr. Cheung founded the Asian Cancer Coalition and was a member of the Coalition to Eradicate Viral Hepatitis in Asia Pacific, as well as the U.S. National Task Force for Hepatitis B. He was previously the Chair, Asian-American Pacific Islander Workgroup of the American Cancer Society and served on the Clinical Faculty at Stanford University School of Medicine and the University of California at San Francisco School of Medicine. Additionally, he was Chair of the Board of Directors, Northern California, and Nevada Division of the American Liver Foundation. He received the Salute to Excellence Outstanding Community Service Award from the American Liver Foundation, Outstanding Contribution to Health Award from the Community Health Charities, the Distinguished Community Service Award from the Salvation Army, and the Special Contribution Award from the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Dr. Cheung earned his medical degree from Taipei Medical University, Taiwan in 1974 and completed his Fellowship of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Clinical Nutrition at the University of Louisville, Kentucky in 1980.
“For over 50 years, Dr. Cheung has been involved in research, teaching and clinical practice in various areas of gastroenterology and hepatology, advancing the understanding and use of new treatments for fatty liver disease, HCC, and viral hepatitis, and we are honored that he has accepted this key role,” said Dr. Robert Foster, PharmD, PhD, Hepion’s CEO. “We are extremely confident in his ability to spearhead our business development and partnering efforts for rencofilstat, our lead candidate in clinical development for the treatment of NASH and HCC, in Asia.”
“I have been involved, both on a regional and international level, in a number of efforts in the fight against gastrointestinal and liver diseases, particularly liver cancer and viral hepatitis, so I am excited to continue this journey with Hepion,” commented Dr. Cheung. “Approximately 75% of the world’s cases of liver cancer occur in Asia, and China alone bears more than half of the world’s liver cancer burden,1 so I am looking forward to working with the Hepion team to help realize rencofilstat’s full potential.”
1 Wang, W. J., Xiao, P., Xu, H. Q., Niu, J. Q., & Gao, Y. H. (2019). Growing burden of alcoholic liver disease in China: A review. World journal of gastroenterology, 25(12), 1445-1456. https://doi.org/10.3748/wjg.v25.i12.1445
About Hepion Pharmaceuticals
The Company’s lead drug candidate, rencofilstat (Rencofilstat), is a potent inhibitor of cyclophilins, which are involved in many disease processes. Rencofilstat is currently in clinical-phase development for the treatment of NASH, with the potential to play an important role in the overall treatment of liver disease – from triggering events through to end-stage disease. Rencofilstat has been shown to reduce liver fibrosis and hepatocellular carcinoma tumor burden in experimental models of NASH, and has demonstrated antiviral activities towards HBV, HCV, and HDV through several mechanisms, in nonclinical studies. In November 2021, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”) granted Fast Track designation for rencofilstat for the treatment of NASH. That was soon followed in December 2021 by the FDA’s acceptance of Hepion’s investigational new drug (IND) application for rencofilstat for the treatment of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC).
Hepion has created a proprietary AI platform, called AI-POWR™, which stands for Artificial Intelligence – Precision Medicine; Omics (including genomics, proteomics, metabolomics, transcriptomics, and lipidomics); World database access; and Response and clinical outcomes. Hepion intends to use AI-POWR™ to help identify which NASH patients will best respond to rencofilstat, potentially shortening development timelines and increasing the delta between placebo and treatment groups. In addition to using AI-POWR™ to drive its ongoing NASH clinical development program, Hepion intends to use the platform to identify additional potential indications for rencofilstat to expand the company’s footprint in the cyclophilin inhibition therapeutic space.
Forward Looking Statements
Certain statements in this press release are forward-looking within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These statements may be identified by the use of forward-looking words such as “anticipate,” “believe,” “forecast,” “estimated,” and “intend,” among others. These forward-looking statements are based on Hepion Pharmaceuticals’ current expectations and actual results could differ materially. There are a number of factors that could cause actual events to differ materially from those indicated by such forward-looking statements. These factors include, but are not limited to, substantial competition; our ability to continue as a going concern; our need for additional financing; uncertainties of patent protection and litigation; risks associated with delays, increased costs and funding shortages caused by the COVID-19 pandemic; uncertainties with respect to lengthy and expensive clinical trials, that results of earlier studies and trials may not be predictive of future trial results; uncertainties of government or third party payer reimbursement; limited sales and marketing efforts and dependence upon third parties; and risks related to failure to obtain FDA clearances or approvals and noncompliance with FDA regulations. As with any drug candidates under development, there are significant risks in the development, regulatory approval, and commercialization of new products. There are no guarantees that future clinical trials discussed in this press release will be completed or successful, or that any product will receive regulatory approval for any indication or prove to be commercially successful. Hepion Pharmaceuticals does not undertake an obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statement. Investors should read the risk factors set forth in Hepion Pharmaceuticals’ Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2020, and other periodic reports filed.
For further information, please contact:
Hepion Pharmaceuticals Investor Relations
Direct: (646) 274-3580