Sapience Therapeutics Announces Appointment of Abi Vainstein-Haras, M.D. as Chief Medical Officer

-Dr. Alice S. Bexon, consulting Chief Medical Officer, to continue in advisory role-

HARRISON, N.Y., Dec. 1, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Sapience Therapeutics, Inc., a clinical-stage biotechnology company focused on the discovery and development of peptide therapeutics to address oncogenic and immune dysregulation that drive cancer, announced today the appointment of Dr. Abi Vainstein-Haras as Chief Medical Officer, effective December 1, 2022. Dr. Alice S. Bexon, who has served as a clinical advisor since 2017 and as Sapience’s consulting Chief Medical Officer since 2019, will continue in an advisory role to support the transition to Dr. Vainstein-Haras and beyond. In addition, Dr. Bexon’s clinical consulting group, Bexon Clinical, will continue to support the development of Sapience’s clinical-stage pipeline and strategy. 

“We are thrilled to welcome Abi to Sapience as Chief Medical Officer,” commented Dr. Barry Kappel, CEO and President of Sapience. “In addition to a track record of leadership in clinical oncology and advancing multiple therapies through late-stage clinical development, Abi has taken a peptide drug candidate in oncology from IND to NDA, an achievement that very few can claim. I believe there is no better person to lead the clinical efforts for ST101, ST316 and our SPEARs™ pipeline. We are excited for Abi to collaborate with Alice and know that she will be a seamless fit to our organization as she takes over leadership of our clinical team.” 

Dr. Kappel continued, “On behalf of everyone at Sapience, I want to thank Alice for her tremendous contributions to our organization, to the clinical development of ST101 and to our upcoming clinical program, ST316. We always knew this day of transition would occur. We are delighted that Alice was deeply involved with identifying Abi as our new CMO and that she will remain part of our clinical team going forward.”

“I’m joining Sapience at a very exciting time when clinical studies are up and running and more will begin soon. With its SPEARs™ technology, Sapience has enabled peptides to reach important cancer targets that have previously been considered undruggable. I’m excited to work with Alice and the Company’s world-class team to advance and broaden its innovative pipeline and deliver important new medicines to patients in need,” added Dr. Vainstein-Haras. “I look forward to bringing my passion for improving patients’ lives and my drug development experience in oncology and immunology to Sapience.” 

Dr. Vainstein brings more than fifteen years of experience in oncology drug development and treatment of patients with cancer and other diseases. She joins Sapience from BioLineRx, where she spent the last eight years serving in multiple roles of increasing responsibility, most recently serving as Chief Medical Officer since January 2021. BioLineRx is a biopharmaceutical company with a focus in oncology, with late-stage programs in Phase 2 and 3 for difficult-to-treat cancers like solid tumors and hematological diseases. Prior to being named Chief Medical Officer, she served as Vice President of Clinical Development and Senior Medical Director, where she was responsible for the clinical development of all clinical phase projects. Prior to joining BioLineRx, she was the Director and Clinical Program Leader at Teva for COPAXONE®, a medication used to treat multiple sclerosis (MS), and before that, she served in several medical positions in the Innovative R&D team at Teva. Dr. Vainstein holds an M.D. from the University of Buenos Aires, is licensed to practice medicine in Israel and has authored twenty-five research presentations and publications.

“It has been my honor to serve as Chief Medical Officer of Sapience for the past three years,” said Dr. Bexon. “I’m proud of our many accomplishments, most notably our evolution into a clinical stage company with ST101 and our validation of the SPEARs™ approach with multiple confirmed clinical responses in difficult-to-treat cancers like glioblastoma and advanced melanoma. I believe ST101, ST316 and our pipeline programs hold tremendous potential to make a significant contribution for patients with cancer, and I look forward to working with Abi and the team to advance this mission.”

About SPEARs™                

Sapience’s SPEARs™ (Stabilized Peptides Engineered Against Regulation) are novel peptide therapeutics engineered to have several important properties that improve upon conventional peptide approaches. SPEARs consist of a protein-protein interaction (PPI) disrupting domain and a cell penetrating domain. The PPI disrupting domain blocks oncogenic transcription and oncogenic signaling while altering the cell’s immune repertoire. The cell penetrating domain enables penetration into the cell’s cytoplasm or nucleus. Sapience has designed its SPEARs to have non-immunogenic profiles with enhanced stability, long-half lives, and improved cell and blood-brain barrier permeability, enabling more favorable clinical regimens and outcomes. 

About Sapience Therapeutics

Sapience Therapeutics, Inc. is a privately held, clinical-stage biotechnology company focused on discovering and developing peptide therapeutics to address oncogenic and immune dysregulation that drive cancer. Its pipeline of SPEARs™ (Stabilized Peptides Engineered Against Regulation) disrupt intracellular protein-protein interactions, enabling targeting of transcription factors which have traditionally been considered undruggable. Sapience’s lead program, ST101, is a first-in-class antagonist of C/EBPβ that has demonstrated clinical proof-of-concept in multiple indications. For more information on Sapience Therapeutics, please visit and engage with us on LinkedIn.

Cautionary Note on Forward-Looking Statements

This press release contains forward-looking statements. Any statements herein other than statements of historical fact could be deemed to be forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements may include, among other things, statements regarding future events that involve significant risks and uncertainties (including with respect to Sapience’s preclinical and clinical development programs). These forward-looking statements are based on management’s current expectations, and actual results and future events may differ materially as a result of certain factors, including, without limitation, our ability to obtain additional funds, and meet applicable regulatory standards and receive required regulatory approvals. Forward-looking statements speak only as of the date of this press release. Sapience does not undertake any obligation to update any forward-looking statements as a result of new information, future events, changed assumptions or otherwise, except as required by law.


Sapience Therapeutics, Inc.
Barry Kappel, Ph.D., M.B.A.
President and Chief Executive Officer

Media and Investor Contact:
Amy Conrad
Juniper Point
(858) 366-3243

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SOURCE Sapience Therapeutics, Inc.

Released December 1, 2022