We are Apellis Pharmaceuticals

What We Do

About Apellis

Apellis Pharmaceuticals, Inc. is an early stage biotechnology company applying immunotherapy to auto-immune diseases, with an initial emphasis on diseases of the lungs such as asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), diseases of the retina such as age-related macular degeneration (AMD), and rare hematological diseases such as paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria (PNH). Apellis believes that targeting a key element in the immune system called the complement system can have profound disease modifying benefits. We call this approach Complement Immunotherapy.

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Our Pipeline

Apellis’ efforts are focused on developing complement immunotherapies around three distinct therapeutic areas.

ApellisPipeline
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Rare Diseases
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Our Team

We believe in a diverse range of personnel to bring creative skills, thoughts, and ideas to the table.

Cedric Francois, MD/PhD

Cedric Francois, MD/PhD

Co-founder & Chief Executive Officer/President View Details
Pascal Deschatelets, PhD

Pascal Deschatelets, PhD

Co-founder & Chief Operating Officer View Details
David Watson, JD

David Watson, JD

General Counsel & Vice-President of Corporate Development View Details
Federico Grossi, MD/PhD

Federico Grossi, MD/PhD

Vice-President of Clinical Development View Details
Monica Gerber, MD/PhD/JD

Monica Gerber, MD/PhD/JD

Vice-President of Intellectual Property View Details
Raymond Stoll, PhD

Raymond Stoll, PhD

Chief Toxicologist View Details
Lisa Tan, RN

Lisa Tan, RN

Acting Clinical Director View Details
Cedric Francois, MD/PhD

Cedric Francois, MD/PhD

Co-founder & Chief Executive Officer/President

Dr. Francois founded Apellis Pharmaceuticals in 2009 and became its Chief Executive Officer. His primary areas of expertise are immunology and immune system mediated disease. Cedric Francois received his medical degree from the University of Leuven in Belgium and his Ph.D. in Physiology from the University of Louisville. Following postgraduate training in pediatric and transplant surgery, Dr. Francois was a member of the research team that performed the first successful hand transplantation and of the Louisville Face Transplant Team, whose work supported the first human face transplantation in Lyon, France in 2005. He has published numerous publications and is the principal author on the clinical report of the first four human hand transplantations. He is an inventor on many biotechnology patent applications, including all of Potentia’s and Apellis’ proprietary patent applications. Dr. Francois led Potentia to become the first group to test complement-inhibiting drug candidates for age-related macular degeneration, more than a year before the landmark reports in Science magazine in 2005, establishing complement as a key mechanism in AMD.

Pascal Deschatelets, PhD

Pascal Deschatelets, PhD

Co-founder & Chief Operating Officer

Dr. Deschatelets founded Apellis Pharmaceuticals in November 2009 and joined as its Chief Operating Officer. Prior to founding Apellis, Dr. Deschatelets co-founded Potentia Pharmaceuticals, and was its Chief Operating Officer when the company signed a licensing agreement with Alcon in 2009 for Potentia’s ocular drug development program. In addition to overseeing the day-to-day activities of these companies and managing external collaborations, he is actively involved in overseeing their research and development efforts and supporting all the business development work. Dr. Deschatelets has been engaged in state-of-the-art research in the areas of surface chemistry and organic synthesis for the last 25 years, and was a co-founder of Syntetica Fine Chemicals, a custom chemical synthesis company supporting the pharmaceutical industry. He has extensive experience in nanobiotechnology and in the synthesis of organic molecules and bioconjugates. Dr. Deschatelets received his Ph.D. in organic chemistry from the University of Montreal and his post-doctoral training in the laboratory of Dr. George Whitesides at Harvard University.

David Watson, JD

David Watson, JD

General Counsel & Vice-President of Corporate Development

Mr. Watson has been the Vice President of Corporate Development of Apellis Pharmaceuticals since 2014. Previously, Mr. Watson was a Member at Frost Brown Todd LLC, where his practice included equity finance, mergers & acquisitions and securities transactions. Mr. Watson is a graduate of Harvard College (B.A., magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa), Vanderbilt Law School (J.D.) and the University of Kentucky (M.A., mathematics).

Federico Grossi, MD/PhD

Federico Grossi, MD/PhD

Vice-President of Clinical Development

Dr. Grossi was Potentia Pharmaceuticals’ Clinical Research Director when he joined Apellis as the new company’s Clinical Research Director in 2010. Dr. Grossi received his medical degree from the University of Cordoba in Argentina and his Doctorate’s Degree in Physiology from the University of Louisville. Following his post graduate training in surgery, Dr. Grossi joined the Plastic Surgery Research Laboratory at the University of Louisville where he developed his expertise in microsurgery and composite tissue transplantation. He was a crucial member of the Louisville Face Transplant Team, which has published several manuscripts on the ethical and psychological aspect of face transplantation that are now considered hallmark publications in this field. He has also published numerous articles in the fields of ischemic preconditioning and composite tissue allotransplantation.

Monica Gerber, MD/PhD/JD

Monica Gerber, MD/PhD/JD

Vice-President of Intellectual Property

Dr. Gerber was Potentia Pharmaceutical’s General Counsel when she transferred to Apellis in May 2010 to become the new company’s General Counsel and Vice-President of Intellectual Property Dr. Gerber was a patent attorney at the law firm of Choate, Hall & Stewart in Boston, where she assisted clients in the life sciences field with their intellectual property needs ranging from intellectual property development and protection to licensing. Before joining Choate in 1999, Dr. Gerber was a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology at Harvard University. Dr. Gerber received her Ph.D. in Biochemistry & Biophysics from the University of California, San Francisco, where she studied the role of the CDC37 gene in the cell cycle, and received her M.D. from the same university. She received her J.D., cum laude, from Harvard Law School.. Dr. Gerber also holds a part-time position as the Patent Counsel of the Whitehead Institute at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Raymond Stoll, PhD

Raymond Stoll, PhD

Chief Toxicologist

Dr. Stoll was Potentia Pharmaceuticals’ Chief Toxicologist and took over the same duties when Apellis Pharmaceuticals was launched in 2010. Dr. Stoll started his career in drug development when serving in the United States Air Force while doing research in Endocrinology and Nephrology from 1968 through 1971 and supporting clinical trials investigating lipid lowering agents. In 1974 he was awarded a Ph.D. in Pharmacology and Toxicology from Purdue University; upon graduation he started his industrial career of over 35 years, initially at Merck in West Point, PA and then served as Manager, Associate Director and then Director of Preclinical Safety Assessment at Sandoz Pharmaceuticals, Inc.; Senior Director of Toxicology and Pathology at Cetus/Chiron; and Director of Toxicology and Safety Assessment at Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc. He was awarded the title Highly Distinguished Scientist in Toxicology at BI. He is presently Adjunct Professor in Toxicology at University of Connecticut. He has served on numerous task forces in the PMA, and served as Chairperson of the DRUSAFE (Drug Safety) Steering Committee and was a working member of this subsection committee of the PMA for 25 years. Additionally, he served as PMA Safety Chairperson in ICH (International Conference on Harmonization) process I, II, and III from. He has authored over 35 scientific papers and numerous abstracts to date.

Dr. Stoll was responsible for the design, strategy, execution and toxicological regulatory issues of toxicology IND/NDA programs for 20 major pharmaceutical compounds approved for marketing by the FDA and European agencies. His scientific interests include toxicogenomics, carcinogenicity (secondary mechanisms of tumor induction), transgenic mice in carcinogenicity assessments, genotoxicology and computers/statistics used in preclinical toxicology testing.

Lisa Tan, RN

Lisa Tan, RN

Acting Clinical Director

Lisa has 20 years’ experience in clinical research and development. She started her career at Cephalon Inc., working on a Phase III study of Insulin-like Growth Factor-1 in Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis. She joined Pfizer in 1996 and held positions of increasing responsibility including Senior Clinical Research Associate, Clinical Research Manager, Clinical Scientist (Associate Director) and Director. Since 2010 Lisa has worked as an independent consultant providing clinical research leadership to large pharma and smaller biotechnology clients. Lisa joined Apellis as acting Clinical Research Director in April 2012 and has provided input into the clinical development programs for APL-1 and APL-2.

Lisa has a proven track record of successes in clinical development, clinical pharmacology and translational medicine. Her main therapeutic area expertise is respiratory medicine and she also has experience in gastroenterology, nephrology and infectious diseases. Lisa is involved in strategic clinical development planning as well as the design of individual clinical studies including methodology development, first-in-human and proof-of-concept studies. Lisa has consistently delivered on the execution of these studies and has presented clinical results at major scientific conferences and published in peer reviewed journals.

Board of Directors

Gerald Chan, SD

Gerald Chan, SD

Chairman View Details
Stephanie Monaghan O’Brien, JD

Stephanie Monaghan O’Brien, JD

Director View Details
Alec Machiels, JD/MBA

Alec Machiels, JD/MBA

Co-founder View Details
Cedric Francois, MD/PhD

Cedric Francois, MD/PhD

Co-founder & Chief Executive Officer/President View Details
Sinclair Dunlop, MBA

Sinclair Dunlop, MBA

Director View Details
Gerald Chan, SD

Gerald Chan, SD

Chairman

Gerald Chan is a venture capitalist whose work focuses on start-up biotechnology companies founded on novel science. He sits on the boards of several biotech companies including Aduro, Synchroneuron, Matrivax and Stealth Peptides. After completing his doctoral and post-doctoral training at Harvard University, he co-founded the Morningside Group, an investment firm with venture, private equity and property investments that maintains a strong commitment to social responsibility. Gerald is a director of the Morningside Foundation whose donations lead to the founding of the Morningside College of the Chinese University of Hong Kong and to the naming of the Harvard School of Public Health after his late father, T.H. Chan. Gerald remains closely associated with the School of Public Health where he is a Distinguished Visiting Fellow and a member of the Board of Dean’s Advisors. Gerald holds an honorary fellowship at Wolfson College of Oxford University and an honorary Doctor of Social Science degree from the Chinese University of Hong Kong.

Stephanie Monaghan O’Brien, JD

Stephanie Monaghan O’Brien, JD

Director

Stephanie O’Brien represents Morningside Ventures and has extensive experience working with venture-backed companies focused on novel science. She focuses on early-stage companies, working with CEOs on building the management team and developing business plans. She has served on numerous private company boards, including Aduro Biotech, Inc., ViOptiox, Inc., I-Behavior, Inc., Natural Polymer International Corp., Serica Technology, Inc., and BiddingForGood, Inc. She received her A.B., cum laude, from Harvard College and her J.D. from New York University School of Law. Prior to attending law school, Stephanie worked for Chase Manhattan Bank, N.A, where she completed the loan officer credit training program and then worked in international portfolio analysis. After law school, Stephanie spent nine years as a corporate lawyer with Hale and Dorr in the Boston and Washington, D.C. offices, working primarily with venture capital finance and start-up companies.

Alec Machiels, JD/MBA

Alec Machiels, JD/MBA

Co-founder

Alec Machiels is a Partner at Pegasus Capital Advisors, L.P., a private equity fund manager. Mr. Machiels is a member of the firm’s Executive and Investment Committees. He has over 15 years of private equity investing and investment banking experience. Previously, Mr. Machiels was a Financial Analyst in the Financial Services Group at Goldman Sachs International in London and in the Private Equity Group at Goldman Sachs and Co. in New York. Investments in which he has been highly involved in include Pure Biofuels, Molycorp Minerals, Traxys, Slipstream Communications, Coffeyville Resources and Merisant Company. He also co-founded and serves as a board member of Potentia Pharmaceuticals, Inc. and Apellis Pharmaceuticals, Inc. which respectively have drugs in development to treat macular degeneration and rare diseases and COPD. He also served as a member of the Board of Trustees of the American Federation of Arts where he chaired the endowment committee. Mr. Machiels is a graduate of Harvard Business School, KU Leuven Law School in Belgium and Konstanz University in Germany.

Cedric Francois, MD/PhD

Cedric Francois, MD/PhD

Co-founder & Chief Executive Officer/President

Cedric Francois’ primary areas of expertise are immunology and immune system mediated disease. Cedric Francois received his medical degree from the University of Leuven in Belgium and his Ph.D. in Physiology from the University of Louisville. Following postgraduate training in pediatric and transplant surgery, Dr. Francois was a member of the research team that performed the first successful hand transplantation and of the Louisville Face Transplant Team, whose work supported the first human face transplantation in Lyon, France in 2005. He has published numerous publications and is the principal author on the clinical report of the first four human hand transplantations. He is an inventor on many biotechnology patent applications, including all of Potentia’s proprietary patent applications. Dr. Francois led Potentia to become the first group to test complement-inhibiting drug candidates for age-related macular degeneration, more than a year before the landmark reports in Science magazine.

Sinclair Dunlop, MBA

Sinclair Dunlop, MBA

Director

As Managing Partner of Epidarex, Mr. Dunlop leads the review and analysis of Epidarex investment candidates. A former international business and economics analyst with the Center for Strategic & International Studies in Washington, D.C., Mr. Dunlop has private equity and venture capital experience in Europe, the U.S. and Israel. Prior to founding Epidarex, Mr. Dunlop acted as the Director of New Business Ventures of MASA Life Science Ventures after a period as an Associate at New Vantage Group, manager of several early-stage venture capital funds in the Mid-Atlantic region. In May 2000, Mr. Dunlop received his M.B.A. from Columbia Business School where he was the R.C. Kopf British-American Fellow in international business. He also holds an M.A. with Honors in Political Economy from the University of Glasgow and an M.A. in International Relations from the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University. He is a St. Andrews Society of New York Scholar.

Facts on Complement-Mediated Diseases

12

Approximately, 12 million Americans have been diagnosed with COPD, but at least another 12 million Americans may be undiagnosed.

3

3 million: people will have advanced AMD by 2020

500000

$500,000: cost per year of treatment with Soliris, the standard of care in PNH

0

0: the number of approved treatments for the dry form of AMD

 

 

COPD

Chronic lower respiratory disease, including COPD, is the third leading cause of death in the United States, affecting at least 12 million Americans.

Many adults with poor pulmonary function are not aware that they might have COPD, so the actual prevalence of the disease is likely higher than currently estimated.

The annual cost of COPD to the US healthcare system is estimated to be as high as $50 billion. Close to 40% of that cost results from hospital readmissions within 60 days of an initial COPD-related hospitalization.

Once a patient has COPD, the disease is irreversible, even if the patient stops smoking (although smoking can accelerate the rate of progression). There are no drugs available that can correct the course of the disease.

APL-1 was designed to reduce hospital admissions and mortality in COPD.

AMD

Advanced age-related macular degeneration affects more than 2 million individuals in the United States. Owing to the rapid aging of the US population, this number will increase to almost 3 million by 2020.

Currently the only therapies available for AMD stop blood leakage in the back of the eye, a complication that affects patients with so-called wet AMD. There is no treatment available to treat the underlying disease mechanism of AMD.

Complement inhibition is the only mechanism to have shown a slowing of the progression of dry AMD.

Potentia Pharmaceuticals (Apellis’ predecessor) was the first company to test a complement-inhibiting therapy for AMD, called POT-4.

The most important difference between AMD, COPD, and PNH is probably their location in the body. The disease mechanism behind all three diseases is remarkably similar.

APL-2 was designed to correct the underlying disease mechanism in AMD.

Rare Diseases

PNH affects ten to twenty people per million.

Diagnosis of PNH is difficult and proper diagnosis is typically delayed from 1 to more than 10 years.

PNH is a rare disease that affects between 8,000 and 10,000 North Americans.

APL-2 was designed to make patients with PNH healthy and transfusion independent.

News

Latest News from Apellis Pharmaceuticals

Apellis Pharmaceuticals Raises $33M to Fund its Complement Immunotherapy Programs.

CRESTWOOD, KY – December 2, 2014 – Apellis Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a leading biotechnology company applying immunotherapy to autoimmune disease, today announced that it has completed a $33M private placement of its Series C Preferred Stock. The financing was led by Morningside Ventures and AJU IB Investment Co., Ltd. with Epidarex Capital participating with follow-on funding. The proceeds will be used to fund three new complement immunotherapy programs entering clinical proof-of-concept stage.

The first indication is paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria (PNH), a rare disease of the bone marrow. Apellis’ drug candidate APL-2, an inhibitor of complement component C3, is designed to provide PNH patients with an alternative to the current standard-of-care. In its second program, Apellis is testing whether APL-1, another inhibitor of complement component C3, can affect the underlying disease mechanism in COPD and slow down disease progression. Finally, Apellis’ third program aims to reduce the growth of retinal lesions through the intravitreal injection of APL-2 in patients suffering from geographic atrophy, the advanced form of dry age-related macular degeneration (AMD), for which no treatments exist. All three complement immunotherapy programs focus on the potential of complement inhibition to correct pathogenic Th17 immune responses.

Cedric Francois, MD, PhD and CEO of Apellis commented “We are excited to test the immense potential of complement immunotherapy. Our clinical programs are designed to be implemented in short periods of development, with a robust regulatory strategy, innovative clinical designs and product profiles that could change the lives of millions of patients affected by auto-immunity.” Apellis Chairman Gerald Chan, co-founder of Morningside, added, “Morningside was an early investor in cancer immunotherapy.  Auto-immune conditions are the next frontier for immunotherapy. Rather than suppressing the immune system we should aim to correct its inappropriate behavior.”

Read the full press release here. 

Apellis Pharmaceuticals to acquire Potentia Pharmaceuticals.

CRESTWOOD, KY – November 20, 2014 – Apellis Pharmaceuticals announced today that it entered into an agreement to acquire Potentia Pharmaceuticals.   As part of the acquisition agreement, Apellis obtained the necessary intellectual property rights to develop its complement inhibitor drug compound (APL-2) in ophthalmology and plans its first clinical trial in dry age-related macular degeneration (dry AMD).

Complement inhibition is the only mechanism thus far to show reductions in the growth of dry AMD.   Potentia was the first company to develop a complement inhibitor for the treatment of AMD.  APL-2 has the same mechanism of action as Potentia’s original drug compound but has a significantly improved half-life in the eye.  APL-2 is in late preclinical development in ophthalmology and is expected to enter Phase II clinical testing in patients with AMD by the middle of 2015.

Cedric Francois, MD, PhD and CEO of Apellis commented, “We are delighted to be back in retinal drug development. Ophthalmology is a unique therapeutic area that is very dear to us. We have learned much about complement since our first venture in this area a decade ago, and have great hopes that complement inhibition will be the first effective treatment for patients with dry AMD.” Phil Rosenfeld, MD, a retinal specialist at Bascom Palmer and advisor to Apellis, added: “There’s overwhelming scientific and clinical evidence to suggest that complement inhibition should slow the progression of dry AMD.  I’m optimistic that based on its mechanism of action and its target within the complement cascade, APL-2 offers us the best chance to help our AMD patients.“

Read the full press release here.

Apellis Pharmaceuticals Named 2012 Hot Dozen Company

12 of the Hottest Early Stage Companies in Louisville Debuted Last Night at 21c

Louisville, KY, Oct. 2, 2012 – Apellis Pharmaceuticals has been named a 2012 Hot Dozen company by Greater Louisville Inc’s EnterpriseCorp. The Hot Dozen is an annual celebration of 12 companies who have benefited from Louisville’s entrepreneurial atmosphere and continue to flourish in our region. The companies represent the cutting edge of innovation and entrepreneurship in Louisville’s business community.

Honoring them is part of EnterpriseCorp’s mission to create a new culture of entrepreneurship, provide strategic and network solutions that help client companies realize their full potential and dramatically increase the number and quality of fast-growth, entrepreneurial companies headquartered in our region.

“Being a part of the Hot Dozen is a true honor – these are the companies with big picture thinking that are shaping the landscape of Louisville,” said Bobby Ferreri, EnterpriseCorp Executive Director, we look forward to their next steps and continued success.”
The company was honored in an event held at 21c Museum Hotel and sponsored by Hilliard Lyons. Apellis is proud to have the Hot Dozen distinction and enjoy the opportunity to be a part of the thriving entrepreneurial community of Greater Louisville.

 

How to Launch a Wonder Drug (Courier-Journal; August 14, 2011)

View full article here.

 

Contact Us

Apellis Pharmaceuticals
6400 Westwind Way, Suite A
Crestwood, KY 40014, USA


Office: (502) 241-4114

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