Oxeltis appoints director of chemistry and consultant in medicinal chemistry to deliver new development strategy

Dr Stéphane Salamone and Dr Olivier Lavergne will be instrumental in boosting additional lab and medchem capabilities at the company

Montpellier, France, November 9, 2020 – Oxeltis, a medicinal chemistry and custom synthesis company, announces today that it has promoted Dr Stéphane Salamone as director of chemistry and appointed Dr Olivier Lavergne as consultant in medicinal chemistry. Salamone and Lavergne will be essential to Oxeltis’ new development strategy, comprising additional lab and medchem capacities.

As an experienced member of the Oxeltis team, Salamone will continue to bolster the technical know-how of the company in its specific fields of expertise – nucleosides, carbohydrates, complex and explorative small molecule synthesis. Lavergne brings over 30 years experience in preclinical research in the pharma industry. Both will help deliver Oxeltis’ new development strategy, comprising additional medchem and lab capacities. The new appointments will also reinforce Oxeltis’ business development positioning, offering improved support for the team, currently made up of Jean-Marc Allaire in the EU, Dom Hebrault (TechGateUS) in the US and Tsutomu Mori (Biocomm²) in Japan. In adding 200m2 of lab space, the company will increase its capacity by one third by Q1, 2021.

“I am very pleased to announce the promotion of Stéphane, who provides – beside his excellent scientific skills – the enthusiasm and leadership to promote and develop Oxeltis’ great team capabilities towards even more focused and expert services for our customers and partners,” said Jean-Marc Allaire, CEO, Oxeltis. “The agreement with Olivier and Chem4LS adds extensive medchem experience to the company and gives us a great opportunity to fine-tune the relevance of Oxeltis’ offer as a preclinical CRO.”

Salamone holds a Ph.D. in organic chemistry from Nancy University (France) and was previously at Aarhus University (Denmark). His past experience includes synthesis of complex mono- and oligosaccharides along with iminosugars and heterocycles. At the Pasteur Institute of Paris, he worked on the preparation of oligosaccharides for the design of a glycoconjugate synthetic vaccine against Shigella flexneri. He joined Oxeltis in 2014 as a research scientist. During his time at the company he has worked on several nucleoside, pronucleotide, macrocyclic and heterocyclic drug candidates in medchem programs for Oxeltis’ clients. His main priorities in the short-term will be to increase the group’s capacity to deliver NCEs according to client’s needs.

“I am thrilled to be appointed as the new director of chemistry and honored by the confidence Jean-Marc has shown in me. My goal is to build on the company’s strengths and pursue the development of Oxeltis whilst making client satisfaction the main priority. With new investments in sight, we will provide a greater scope of practice at the same time as ensuring that Oxeltis remains an excellent place to work,” said Salamone.

To mark its tenth anniversary, the company is committed to adding increased medchem support for its national and international clients – now possible due to the agreement with Lavergne and Chem4LS. From an initial drug target profile proposal and analysis of early screening results to hit-to-lead progression and lead optimization projects, Oxeltis’ new structure will be a better fit for client’s needs from a medchem point of view, providing them with the optimal allocation of chemical synthesis resources to meet their objectives.

Lavergne’s previous experience includes founding Chem4LS in 2017, a consultancy dedicated to the application of synthetic organic chemistry and medicinal chemistry in life sciences and biotech projects. With an engineering degree from CPE-Lyon (France) and a Ph.D. in organic chemistry from Wayne State University (Detroit, US), Lavergne brings many years of experience in pharmaceutical research in the fields of oncology, CNS and endocrinology; acquired in France and Spain. He has led many projects, co-invented numerous patents and co-authored a number of research articles. Lavergne will be responsible for expanding Oxeltis’ scope of expertise to provide a wider range of services for its customers in relation to its drug discovery projects, providing an integrated service offer with Chem4LS.

“Oxeltis has the strong synthetic chemistry expertise that is a required core skill from which a relevant medchem CRO can be developed further, with companion services. I am looking forward to joining the company and helping to improve the client offering worldwide,” said Lavergne.

About Oxeltis

Oxeltis is a medicinal chemistry services company founded in Montpellier (France) in 2010 by former employees of Idenix Pharmaceuticals (ex-MSD company). The company has  expertise in small-scale custom synthesis, as well as in hit-to-lead and lead-to-candidate optimization services, mainly in the areas of antivirals, antibiotics and anticancer compounds.

The Oxeltis scientific team currently comprises 17 highly skilled medicinal chemists (11 Ph.Ds) with recognized expertise in nucleosides/nucleotides, modified sugars, oligo/polysaccharides and macrocycles. The team focuses on speed of delivery, quality and confidentiality in the services and collaborative ventures that it develops. Oxeltis has delivered more than 30 FTE-based projects in complex synthetic chemistry for biotechs and pharmas in the fields of virology, oncology and antibacterials – including five of the top ten pharma companies in the world. Several lead candidates delivered to its customers are currently in clinical development.

Oxeltis works with European, Japanese and North American companies, as well as public research institutions and tech transfer organizations; as of 2020 over 80% of its business is with international customers.