Anthera Pharmaceuticals Announces Appointment of Dr. William Shanahan Jr. as Chief Medical Officer

HAYWARD, Calif., Aug. 16, 2016 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Anthera Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ:ANTH) today announced the appointment of William Shanahan, M.D., J.D. as Chief Medical Officer.  In his role as Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Shanahan will bring his experience as a Rheumatologist and in drug development to lead the blisibimod lupus program and Sollpura program, with both programs expected to report out topline data in the fourth quarter of this year.  He will also have responsibility for the development of additional indications for blisibimod in diseases such as IgA nephropathy and cystic fibrosis and for Sollpura in celiac disease and other diseases.  In addition, he will bring extensive experience with FDA and European filings to work closely with our regulatory team in preparing the Biologics License Applications (BLA) for both Sollpura and blisibimod.

“We are extremely fortunate to have William join the Anthera team in our late stages of clinical development,” said Craig Thompson, President and COO of Anthera. “His considerable expertise in guiding the clinical development of novel therapeutics will be a significant asset as we work to complete the development of and in preparing the BLA for Sollpura and blisibimod.”

Dr. Shanahan joins Anthera with over 30 years of clinical development experience. Most recently, he served as the Chief Medical Officer of Arena Pharmaceuticals.  At Arena Pharmaceuticals Inc., Dr. Shanahan was involved in all aspects of preclinical and clinical development, from phase 1 through NDA filing and approval, of lorcaserin, a selective 5-HT2C agonist for weight management, as well as multiple other programs in a range of therapeutic areas. He previously served as Chief Medical Officer at Tanox from August 2000 until March 2004, developing several monoclonal antibodies for allergy, inflammation and HIV through phase 1 and phase 2. Dr. Shanahan also served as Vice President, Drug Development of Isis Pharmaceuticals, Director of Clinical Research at Pfizer Central Research, and Associate Director and Director of Clinical Research at Searle.  In addition, at the University of Connecticut School of Medicine he held various positions in the Division of Rheumatology including Assistant Professor and Clinical Associate Professor. Dr. Shanahan holds an A.B. degree from Dartmouth College, an M.D. degree from the University of California, San Francisco, and a J.D. degree from Loyola University, Chicago.

“I am excited to join Anthera as Chief Medical Officer at such a critical time for the company,” said Dr. Shanahan. “I look forward to contributing my clinical development experience to the data analysis and interpretation of the blisibimod CHABLIS-SC1 study in lupus patients, the blisibimod BRIGHT-SC final analysis in IgA nephropathy patients, and the Sollpura SOLUTION study in cystic fibrosis patients with exocrine pancreatic insufficiency, all in the fourth quarter of this year.” 

After a brief transition time, Dr. James Pennington will return to his role at Anthera as Senior Clinical Fellow. “We greatly appreciate Jim’s hard work and leadership while serving as Interim Chief Medical Officer,” said Mr. Thompson. “We look forward to continuing to leverage his extensive clinical experience as we advance our clinical development program.”

About Anthera Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

Anthera Pharmaceuticals is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on developing and commercializing products to treat serious and life-threatening diseases, including exocrine pancreatic insufficiency due to cystic fibrosis, lupus, lupus with glomerulonephritis, and IgA nephropathy. Additional information on the Company can be found at

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CONTACT: CONTACT: Nikhil Agarwal of Anthera Pharmaceuticals, Inc. or 510.856.5600 x5621