SAN DIEGO, November 1 /PRNewswire/ --

Amira Pharmaceuticals, a small molecule pharmaceutical company focused on the discovery and development of compounds to treat inflammatory disease linked to the eicosanoid pathway, today announced the appointment of Isabelle Raizon-Ounis, M.D., as vice president of development.

Dr. Raizon-Ounis brings 20 years of pharmaceutical experience to Amira, most recently serving as a clinical research & licensing executive with Roche Palo Alto. She began her pharmaceutical career at Hoechst Marion Roussel as the head of immunology in medical affairs before moving on to hold numerous clinical positions within the company in immunology, allergy and asthma. In addition to Roche and Hoechst Marion Roussel, Raizon-Ounis has held similar clinical positions at Rhone Poulenc Rorer and Bristol-Myers Squibb.

"Isabelle's commercial and regulatory experience, coupled with her deep knowledge of inflammatory disease, will be crucial as we build on the great science of our discovery team to advance a number of product candidates through clinical trials," said Bob Baltera, CEO of Amira. "Great science is our foundation and we're in the fortunate position to now build a world-class development team, led by Dr. Raizon-Ounis, who will take that science forward."

"Amira's demonstrated ability to quickly identify and move drug candidates into the clinic is impressive," said Raizon-Ounis. "I look forward to helping drive these drug candidates through rigorous development testing and into the market, where there is still tremendous need for improved treatments for diseases such as asthma."

About Amira

Founded in 2005 and headquartered in San Diego, Amira Pharmaceuticals is a small molecule pharmaceutical company focused on the discovery and early development of compounds to treat inflammatory disease linked to the eicosanoid pathway.

The company combines the rigor of a big pharmaceutical company with the ingenuity and energy of a small company, creating an environment for efficient and effective pre-clinical and clinical program decisions. Its scientific founders have successfully worked together for more than a decade and were pivotal in the discovery of a number of inflammatory drugs, including Singulair(R). The drug hunters at Amira are now actively leveraging their history of success to create high-value compounds for the future.

In January 2006, Amira signed a collaboration with Roche to establish a research alliance and an option for Amira to license two clinical-stage compounds from Roche. Amira has yet to exercise its option.

Amira has raised US$40 million to date from investors including Novo A/S (Copenhagen, Denmark), Avalon Ventures (San Diego, CA), Prospect Ventures (Palo Alto, CA) and Versant Ventures (Menlo Park, CA). For more information, visit http://www.amirapharm.com

Web site: http://www.amirapharm.com

In Europe, Julie Walters at Media Speak, +44-(0)-1494-753-990, Mobile, +44-(0)-775-3626967, julie.walters@mediaspeak.com, or In US, Michele Parisi at Media Speak, +1-925-429-1850, Mobile, +1-925-864-5028, michele.parisi@mediaspeak.com, both for Amira Pharmaceuticals, Inc.