GBT Appoints Kim Smith-Whitley, M.D., to Lead Research and Development

South San Francisco, California, UNITED STATES


SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO, Calif., Dec. 07, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Global Blood Therapeutics, Inc. (GBT) (NASDAQ: GBT) today announced that world-renowned hematologist and sickle cell disease (SCD) thought leader and advocate Kim Smith-Whitley, M.D., will join the company as executive vice president and head of research and development.

“As we enter a period of expected sustained growth for years to come, aligning our research and development teams under a single leader will make GBT even more efficient and productive in bringing innovative medicines to patients. We are absolutely thrilled to add Kim, a committed and accomplished global leader in sickle cell disease, to our senior management team and to lead this critical effort,” said Ted W. Love, M.D., president and chief executive officer of GBT. “Kim has an impressive track record of developing innovative programs that advance patient care. Her experience and passion will be invaluable as we continue GBT’s journey to be the leader in sickle cell treatments and transform this devastating disease into a well-managed condition.”

Dr. Smith-Whitley is a board-certified pediatric hematologist and clinical director of hematology and director of the Comprehensive Sickle Cell Center at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP). Dr. Smith-Whitley’s clinical work has centered on program development and clinical initiatives to support evidence-based clinical care. Her research has focused on SCD, specifically pulmonary complications, transfusion-related complications and health care utilization. She has served as principal investigator for many federally- and industry-funded clinical research studies, including clinical trials related to pain prevention and curative therapies.

Dr. Smith-Whitley will officially join GBT in 2021, and in the interim, will serve in an advisory capacity. Upon joining the company, she plans to continue seeing patients part-time.

“With more than 30 years of helping patients battle sickle cell disease, it is a true privilege to now have the opportunity to work with the tremendous expertise at GBT and make an even broader impact on patients,” said Dr. Smith-Whitley. “Leading GBT’s stellar R&D teams from drug discovery to late-stage development and accelerating the work to bring more transformative medicines to more patients, for me, is really a dream job.”

Dr. Smith-Whitley is a former chief medical officer of the Sickle Cell Disease Association of America (SCDAA), where she continues to serve as a member of the Board. She has received numerous awards recognizing her expertise in teaching, advocacy and clinical care, including the Master Clinician Awards at both CHOP and the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine. Dr. Smith-Whitley received her medical degree from George Washington University and completed her postgraduate training at the Children’s National Medical Center and CHOP.

“Kim’s tireless dedication and passion for the sickle cell disease community has pushed boundaries and improved the lives of many patients over many years,” said Beverley Francis-Gibson, M.A., president and chief executive officer of the SCDAA. “We are excited to see what exponential improvements for sickle cell disease might be possible now that Kim is combining her extensive experience in clinical research and patient care with the therapeutic innovation we have seen from GBT.”

About Global Blood Therapeutics

Global Blood Therapeutics (GBT) is a biopharmaceutical company dedicated to the discovery, development, and delivery of life-changing treatments that provide hope to underserved patient communities. Founded in 2011, GBT is delivering on its goal to transform the treatment and care of sickle cell disease (SCD), a lifelong, devastating inherited blood disorder. The company has introduced Oxbryta® (voxelotor), the first FDA-approved treatment that directly inhibits sickle hemoglobin polymerization, the root cause of red blood cell sickling in SCD. GBT is also advancing its pipeline program in SCD with inclacumab, a P-selectin inhibitor in development to address pain crises associated with the disease, and GBT021601, the company’s next generation hemoglobin S polymerization inhibitor. In addition, GBT’s drug discovery teams are working on new targets to develop the next wave of treatments for SCD. To learn more, please visit www.gbt.com and follow the company on Twitter @GBT_news.

Forward-Looking Statements

Certain statements in this press release are forward-looking within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, including statements containing the words “will,” “anticipates,” “plans,” “believes,” “forecast,” “estimates,” “expects,” and “intends,” or similar expressions. These forward-looking statements are based on GBT’s current expectations and actual results could differ materially. Statements in this press release may include statements that are not historical facts and are considered forward-looking within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended. GBT intends these forward-looking statements, including statements regarding GBT’s priorities, dedication, commitment, focus, goals, journey, and vision; the appointment of Kim Smith-Whitley, M.D., and expected impact on GBT and patients; expectation of growth; potential benefits of aligning R&D teams under a single leader; GBT’s efficiency and productivity; the commercialization, characteristics and potential of Oxbryta; altering the treatment, course, and care of SCD and alleviating related complications; the potential of GBT’s pipeline, including inclacumab and other product candidates; and advancing GBT’s pipeline, working on new targets and discovering, developing and delivering treatments, to be covered by the safe harbor provisions for forward-looking statements contained in Section 27A of the Securities Act and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act, and GBT makes this statement for purposes of complying with those safe harbor provisions. These forward-looking statements reflect GBT’s current views about its plans, intentions, expectations, strategies, and prospects, which are based on the information currently available to the company and on assumptions the company has made. GBT can give no assurance that the plans, intentions, expectations, or strategies will be attained or achieved, and, furthermore, actual results may differ materially from those described in the forward-looking statements and will be affected by a variety of risks and factors that are beyond GBT’s control including, without limitation, risks and uncertainties relating to the COVID-19 pandemic, including the extent and duration of the impact on GBT’s business, including commercialization activities, regulatory efforts, research and development, corporate development activities, and operating results, which will depend on future developments that are highly uncertain and cannot be accurately predicted, such as the ultimate duration of the pandemic, travel restrictions, quarantines, social distancing, and business closure requirements in the U.S. and in other countries, and the effectiveness of actions taken globally to contain and treat the disease; the risks that GBT is continuing to establish its commercialization capabilities and may not be able to successfully commercialize Oxbryta; risks associated with GBT’s dependence on third parties for development, manufacture, distribution and commercialization activities related to Oxbryta; government and third-party payor actions, including those relating to reimbursement and pricing; risks and uncertainties relating to competitive products and other changes that may limit demand for Oxbryta; the risks regulatory authorities may require additional studies or data to support continued commercialization of Oxbryta; the risks that drug-related adverse events may be observed during commercialization or clinical development; data and results may not meet regulatory requirements or otherwise be sufficient for further development, regulatory review or approval; compliance with the obligations under the Pharmakon loan; and the timing and progress of GBT’s and Syros’ research and development activities under their collaboration; along with those risks set forth in GBT’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2019, and in GBT’s most recent Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, as well as discussions of potential risks, uncertainties, and other important factors in GBT’s subsequent filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Except as required by law, GBT assumes no obligation to update publicly any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events, or otherwise.

Contact:
Steven Immergut (media)
GBT
650.410.3258
simmergut@gbt.com

Courtney Roberts (investors)
GBT
650.351.7881
croberts@gbt.com