VANCOUVER, British Columbia, May 25, 2016 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Aquinox Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (“Aquinox”) (NASDAQ:AQXP), a clinical-stage pharmaceutical company discovering and developing targeted therapeutics in disease areas of inflammation and immuno-oncology, is pleased to announce the appointment of Mrs. Abigail L. Jenkins as Chief Commercial Officer and Mr. Paul Brennan as Vice President, Business Development.  Mrs. Jenkins will act as our US Business Head at our San Bruno, CA office and lead the design and implementation of the commercialization strategy for AQX-1125 while Mr. Brennan will be responsible for the identification and fostering of corporate alliances to support and compliment our global business strategies.

Mrs. Jenkins has amassed nearly 20 years of commercial leadership experience spanning start-up Biotech enterprises to large Pharmaceutical companies.  She specializes in launching brands into markets with high unmet clinical needs and brings expertise leading strategic marketing, sales, and market access functions. Most recently Mrs. Jenkins served as Vice-President, Market Access at Relypsa, Inc. where she played a key role in building commercial infrastructure to support the successful launch of its lead CV/Nephrology product in 2015. Mrs. Jenkins previously served as Vice President, Business Development at Actavis, Inc. (now Allergan PLC) as well as Senior Director of Marketing at MedImmune, Inc., where she led cross-functional teams to devise and implement marketing strategies that successfully drove increased revenue and profitability for a billion dollar monoclonal antibody franchise. Mrs. Jenkins also brings eight years of senior marketing and sales experience with Pfizer Inc.

Mr. Brennan brings more than 25 years of experience in building and leading pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies in the United States, Europe and Canada with a strong track-record in partnering and licensing transactions. Previously, Mr. Brennan was Senior Vice-President of Business Development at Arbutus Biopharma Corp. (formerly Tekmira Pharmaceuticals Corp.) prior to which he served as CEO of Altair Therapeutics, Inc. In past roles Mr. Brennan contributed to the sale of Aspreva Pharmaceuticals Corp. to Vifor Pharma Ltd. for $915 million and the sale of AnorMED Inc. to Genzyme Corp. for $580 million. Mr. Brennan also served in senior business development and regulatory affairs roles with AstraZeneca PLC, operating in Sweden, the United Kingdom and Canada.

“Abigail and Paul are welcome additions to the Aquinox team and reflect our plans for commercialization of AQX-1125 in the United States and ex-US partnering strategies,” said David Main, President & CEO of Aquinox. “Exceptional commercial and business development leadership will be vital as we look beyond our planned Phase 3 trials and towards the potential launch of AQX-1125. Abigail’s and Paul’s experience will also be key towards our exploration of additional therapeutic applications for AQX-1125 and other opportunities for value creation.”

About Interstitial Cystitis/Bladder Pain Syndrome (IC/BPS)

IC/BPS is a chronic inflammatory bladder disease characterized by pelvic pain and increased urinary urgency and/or frequency. For many sufferers, these symptoms are severe and adversely affect all major aspects of their lives, including overall physical and emotional health, employment, social and intimate relationships, and leisure activities. While the cause of the disease remains largely unknown, erosion of the bladder lining is thought to be a significant contributor. IC/BPS is estimated to affect between 5 and 12 million people in the United States. Most IC/BPS patients continue to suffer this debilitating condition, despite treatment with existing therapies. Most current therapies and those in development are focused solely on symptomatic relief of IC/BPS. Aquinox believes new and innovative therapies that target the underlying disease in order to reduce the chronic pain and urinary symptoms are needed.

About AQX-1125

AQX-1125, Aquinox's lead drug candidate, is a small molecule activator of SHIP1, which is a regulating component of the PI3K cellular signalling pathway. By increasing SHIP1 activity, AQX-1125 accelerates a natural mechanism that has evolved to maintain homeostasis of the immune system and reduce immune cell activation and migration to sites of inflammation. AQX-1125 has demonstrated preliminary safety and favorable drug properties for once daily oral administration in multiple preclinical studies and seven completed clinical trials. Aquinox completed a successful Phase 2 clinical trial with AQX-1125 for the treatment of IC/BPS in 2015 and anticipates initiation of a Phase 3 trial with AQX-1125 in IC/BPS in the third quarter of 2016.

About Aquinox Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

Aquinox Pharmaceuticals, Inc. is a clinical-stage pharmaceutical company discovering and developing targeted therapeutics in disease areas of inflammation and immuno-oncology. Aquinox's lead drug candidate, AQX-1125, is a small molecule activator of SHIP1 suitable for oral, once daily dosing. With a successful Phase 2 clinical trial completed in 2015, Aquinox plans to initiate a Phase 3 trial in 2016 with AQX-1125 for treatment of IC/BPS. Aquinox has a broad intellectual property portfolio and pipeline of preclinical drug candidates that activate SHIP1. For more information, please visit

Cautionary Note on Forward-looking Statements

Certain of the statements made in this press release are forward looking, such as those, among others, relating to: the planning for, and timing of, our planned Phase 3 clinical trials in IC/BPS; potential market opportunities for AQX-1125; and our projected cash position. These statements are subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results and events to differ materially from those anticipated, including, but not limited to, risks and uncertainties related to: our ability to enroll patients in our clinical trials at the pace that we project; as an organization, we have never conducted a pivotal clinical trial before; the size and growth of the potential markets for AQX-1125 or any future product candidates and our ability to serve those markets; our ability to obtain and maintain regulatory approval of AQX-1125 or any future product candidates; reaching agreement on design of pivotal trials with regulatory authorities and our expectations regarding the potential safety, efficacy or clinical utility of AQX- 1125 or any future product candidates. Actual results or developments may differ materially from those projected or implied in these forward-looking statements. More information about the risks and uncertainties faced by Aquinox is contained in the company's Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for the quarter ended March 31, 2016 filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Aquinox disclaims any intention or obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.

Investor Contact Info:

Brendan Payne
Senior Manager, Investor Relations
Aquinox Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
604.629.9223 Ext. 109

Gitanjali Ogawa
Vice President
The Trout Group