A Medical Device Daily

Sangart (San Diego), a private biopharmaceutical company focused on developing oxygen-therapeutic agents, reported a company restructuring that includes the addition of three executive positions and a "significant reduction" in workforce – though a specific number was not disclosed – primarily in the product manufacturing area. Sangart said the restructuring reduces the company's burn rate and refocuses its business units on pursuing further clinical trials for its lead product, Hemospan.

"Sangart remains committed to developing a safe and effective oxygen-therapeutic agent," said Brian O'Callaghan, president/CEO of Sangart. "Our recent successful Phase III clinical studies of Hemospan demonstrated very encouraging efficacy results for the prevention and treatment of hypotension in hip replacement procedures. These trials provide a platform from which to conduct the pivotal clinical studies that will be necessary to establish the clinical benefit of treating patients with Hemospan. The appointment of key executives and the decision to reduce our workforce, which was difficult but necessary, will enable us to focus our resources on these upcoming clinical trials."

As part of the restructuring, Sangart appointed three new leadership positions: Howard Levy, MD, PhD, chief scientific officer; Clive Bertram, head of European commercialization; and Kristine Figueroa, head of human resources.

According to the company, Levy brings more than 20 years of experience both serving as a principal investigator at research institutions as well as leading clinical study development teams for pharmaceutical companies. Prior to Sangart, he was responsible for clinical research of the hemostasis platform at Novo Nordisk.

Sangart said Bertram brings "a wealth of experience" ranging from marketing and sales for larger pharmaceutical companies to advising small biotech companies on overall branding and commercialization. Prior to Sangart, he was senior director of international marketing for Pharmion.

Figueroa brings more than 13 years of experience in human resources, Sangart noted. Prior to joining the company, she held human resource management positions for SGX Pharmaceuticals and Elan Pharmaceuticals.

Sangart's lead product candidate, Hemospan, is an oxygen therapeutic product that is created using unique polyethylene glycol conjugation with human hemoglobin, according to the company. Hemospan was specifically designed to the optimal molecular size, viscosity, oxygen affinity and diffusion potential to target oxygen delivery to tissues at risk of oxygen deprivation based on experiments with artificial capillaries and in several different animal models. Extensive research and testing demonstrates that this approach optimizes oxygen delivery in the microcirculation while minimizing the side effects that plagued earlier generation products, according to the company.