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Xequel Bio, Inc. Appoints Veteran Pharmaceutical Executives To Advance Next Stage Of Corporate Growth

Xequel Bio, Inc. (formerly FirstString Research, Inc.), a clinical stage biopharmaceutical company developing dermatologic and ophthalmic therapeutics utilizing its patented new chemical entity aCT1 (alpha-Connexin carboxyl-Terminal 1 peptide), announced today the appointments of Jerry St. Peter as Chief Executive Officer and Wes Brazell as Chief Financial Officer.

“As we embark on a new corporate phase focused on clinical development and approval of novel treatments, we have brought in two seasoned executives, Jerry St. Peter, and Wes Brazell, to lead these efforts,” said Tony Bartsh, Chairman of Xequel’s Board of Directors and partner at Park West Asset Management. “Jerry’s proven track record in building successful, fully integrated biopharmaceutical companies, partnered with Wes’ financial management and operations expertise, provide the right combination to design and execute our strategic transformation. Both Jerry and Wes bring extensive corporate leadership, business development execution and entrepreneurial acumen to Xequel. With these exciting leadership appointments, we have also rebranded the organization from FirstString Research to emphasize our emergence as a growing biopharmaceutical company in late-stage clinical development.”

“It is a pleasure to join Xequel at such a pivotal moment in its evolution,” said Jerry St. Peter, Chief Executive Officer and Board Member. “Our talented team of scientists and clinical development professionals have established a cutting-edge technology platform culminating in a robust pipeline of product candidates backed by strong preclinical and clinical research. We have also created a strong corporate identity under the Xequel Bio name, reflecting our strategic move into the Company’s next chapter.”

“Our proprietary aCT1 technology platform provides tremendous opportunity to address unmet needs for patients in dermatologic and ophthalmic treatments. We have multiple, novel late-stage programs with near-term inflection points as well as preclinical research in other valuable target disease states. Wes and I look forward to working with our dedicated team to implement our growth plan, advance our pipeline, deliver meaningful patient outcomes and successful business results,” concluded Mr. St. Peter.

The Company is in the process of developing a new corporate website and updated social media accounts reflecting the Xequel Bio name.

Jerry St. Peter, Chief Executive Officer and Board Director

Jerry St. Peter brings over 30 years of specialty biopharma executive leadership implementing strategic planning, commercial operations, financial management, fundraising, business development, and overall general management. Prior to joining Xequel, Mr. St. Peter was the Chief Executive Officer and President of Eyevance Pharmaceuticals (a Santen Company), a global ophthalmic company focused on serious, unmet treatment needs by developing innovative solutions that protect and restore vision. Mr. St. Peter was Co-founder, Chief Executive Officer, and Board Member of Eyevance Pharmaceuticals prior to its acquisition by Santen for $225 million in 2020. Established in 2017, Eyevance was a private equity backed venture solely focused on ophthalmic diseases that affect millions of patients every day. Prior to co-founding Eyevance, Mr. St. Peter was the Senior Vice President and Head of Sun Pharmaceuticals’ newly formed Ophthalmics division. Before Sun, he was the Executive Vice President and General Manager for Nicox’s Ophthalmic business in the United States and formerly served as the Senior Vice President and Head of the Ophthalmic division at Inspire Pharmaceuticals before Merck acquired Inspire for $450 million in 2011.

Wes Brazell, Chief Financial Officer

Wes Brazell brings three decades of leadership and expertise in pharmaceuticals and medical devices with broad experiences in operations management, financial management, business development, portfolio management, corporate finance, international operations and corporate strategy. Prior to joining Xequel, Mr. Brazell was Chief Financial Officer for Eyevance Pharmaceuticals, a private equity backed pharmaceutical company which was acquired by Santen for $225 million in 2020. Prior to Eyevance, Mr. Brazell was the Chief Financial Officer of TearLab, a NASDAQ-traded company focused on the marketing and development of tear related diagnostic products. Mr. Brazell previously spent 21 years in multiple financial management positions with Alcon, a multi-billion-dollar ophthalmology focused pharmaceutical and medical device company, including Vice-President of Finance for Alcon’s business in the United States, Vice-President of Finance for Alcon’s Europe, Middle East and Africa business as well as Vice-President of Corporate Financial Planning and Analysis.

About Xequel’s aCT1 Technology Platform

Xequel Bio’s aCT1 (alpha-Connexin carboxyl-Terminal 1 peptide) technology platform is designed to develop drugs that will enable physicians to better manage a variety of indications involving inflammation and the body’s response to injury. aCT1 is a patented new chemical entity, based on the C-terminal sequence of Connexin43, designed to selectively and reversibly inhibit protein binding of endogenous Connexin43 to key binding partners. Connexin43 plays critical roles in multiple aspects of the injury response, including spread of injury signals, extravasation of immune cells, granulation tissue formation and fibrosis. aCT1’s unique, targeted mechanism of action has been demonstrated to restore the coordination of cellular communication, reinforce junctional integrity and temper excessive inflammatory responses in injured tissues for optimal injury response and tissue repair. aCT1 is currently in clinical development for multiple indications across dermatology and ophthalmology, as well as in ongoing preclinical research in pulmonology.

About Xequel Bio, Inc. (formerly FirstString Research)

Xequel Bio, Inc. is a clinical stage biopharmaceutical company advancing its proprietary aCT1 (alpha-Connexin carboxyl-Terminal 1 peptide) technology platform to develop drugs that will enable physicians to better manage a variety of indications involving inflammation and the body’s response to injury. aCT1 is a patented new chemical entity currently in development for multiple indications. The Company’s lead clinical programs include Granexin® gel in dermatology and iNexin™ ophthalmic solution in ophthalmology. The Company also has ongoing preclinical research in pulmonology. For more information, please visit

Source: Xequel Bio, Inc.

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Tamia Sumpter

Tamia is a driven senior undergraduate Bioengineering student currently enrolled at Clemson University. With a strong foundation in her field, she has honed her skills through hands-on experience in research and development at Eli Lilly & Company. During her time in the ADME department, Tamia contributed significantly by working on siRNAs and their applications in finding In Vitro-In Vivo Correlation (IVIVC). Looking ahead, Tamia has set her sights on a promising career in law. She aspires to specialize in Intellectual Property Law, with a particular focus on serving as in-house counsel for leading medical device or pharmaceutical companies. Her enthusiasm for this role is palpable as she prepares to embark on her legal journey! She is also a proud member of the Omicron Phi chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., PEER Mentor for Clemson PEER/WiSE, and currently serves as the President of Clemson Bioengineering Organization (CBO). With her unique blend of scientific knowledge and legal interests, Tamia is poised to make a meaningful impact in the healthcare and life sciences industries.