SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO, CA--(Marketwired - Jan 8, 2015) - Global Blood Therapeutics (GBT), a biopharmaceutical company developing novel, small molecule therapeutics for the treatment of severe blood disorders, today announced the appointment of Willie L. Brown, Jr., former mayor of San Francisco, speaker of the California State Assembly and respected community leader, to the Company's board of directors. With more than 50 years of political, business and non-profit experience, Mr. Brown will serve as a key resource to GBT not only in its regular business activities but also in helping the Company build and advocate for a nationwide community of sickle cell disease (SCD) patients, researchers, clinicians and other key constituents.

GBT440, the company's lead drug candidate, is an oral, once daily dosing, direct-acting sickle hemoglobin (HbS) modifier for the chronic, prophylactic treatment of patients with SCD. The drug is a potential best-in-class disease modifier that works by increasing hemoglobin's affinity for oxygen. Since oxygenated hemoglobin does not polymerize, GBT440 blocks polymerization of HbS and the resultant sickling of red blood cells (RBCs). With the promise of restoring normal hemoglobin dynamics, GBT440 may be capable of preventing and halting the progression of SCD.

"The needs of sickle cell disease patients have long been underserved by the healthcare industry and I am delighted to work alongside Global Blood Therapeutics as it strives to improve the care and quality of life of these individuals," said Mr. Brown. "In the U.S., SCD primarily afflicts the African American community. It is my hope to work as an ambassador of GBT to engage the African American community in this project and dialog, and ultimately build the visibility and support needed nationwide to fight this debilitating disease."

Mr. Brown is a practicing attorney, community leader and well-respected public official who served over 31 years in the California State Assembly, spending more than 14 years as its Speaker. Following his work in the California State Assembly, Mr. Brown served as the 41st mayor of San Francisco, holding the position from January 1996 until January 2004. His tenure as mayor is marked by many well known, large-scale projects including a significant increase in real estate development such as the Mission Bay biotech complex and AT&T baseball stadium, public works, and city beautification.

He currently serves as chairman and chief executive officer of The Willie L. Brown, Jr. Institute on Politics and Public Service, an independent, non-profit organization providing a forum for non-partisan education, debate and discussion of public policy issues. The Institute is one of the first in the country to focus on local government, dedicated to expanding the resources and expertise available to stakeholders from the political, academic, business and scientific communities.

Mr. Brown earned a degree in political science from San Francisco State University and a J.D. from University of California, Hastings College of the Law. He has received over 17 honorary degrees from prestigious institutions throughout his life. Mr. Brown has served on dozens of nonprofit boards and is considered a leader in unifying the San Francisco community.

"I'm excited that Mr. Brown shares our passion to help patients suffering from sickle cell disease," said Ted W. Love, M.D., chief executive officer of GBT. "We are fortunate to be able to draw upon his more than 50 years of expertise in bringing people together to achieve big vision goals, as well as the access that he can provide to key government, business and community leaders."

About Sickle Cell Disease (SCD)

Sickle cell disease (SCD) is an inherited disorder caused by a genetic mutation leading to formation of hemoglobin S (HbS). A primary and obligatory event in the molecular pathogenesis of SCD is the polymerization of deoxygenated HbS. This polymerization results in the red blood cell (RBC) sickling that causes the normally flexible RBCs to become rigid with a significantly shorter lifespan.

Sickled RBCs cannot adapt their shape to allow uninterrupted flow through capillaries (smaller blood vessels). Sickled cells, unlike flexible healthy RBCs, stack up against each other, blocking normal blood flow. As a consequence of the resulting vascular occlusion, patients with SCD suffer acute and chronic complications including unpredictable and recurrent episodes of severe pain, progressive organ damage, stroke and a shortened life expectancy.

About Global Blood Therapeutics

Global Blood Therapeutics (GBT) is a biopharmaceutical company developing novel, small molecule therapeutics for the treatment of severe blood disorders. The company is addressing serious, non-malignant blood-based conditions for which there are currently no effective cures and only limited therapeutic options. Lead drug candidate, GBT440, is a potentially disease-modifying therapeutic for patients with sickle cell disease. GBT440 has shown promising results in preclinical testing and the company is initiating a Phase I/II clinical trial. In addition to GBT440, the company is advancing pipeline research programs addressing hereditary angioedema (HAE) and hypoxic cardiopulmonary disorders.

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Stephanie Diaz (investors)
Vida Strategic Partners

Tim Brons (media)
Vida Strategic Partners