Sarfez Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

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January 6, 2014 Issue

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Improving Existing Drugs through Proprietary Extended Release Formulation Technology

AboutSarfez Pharmaceuticals
Sarfez Pharmaceuticals, Inc. is a Virginia company focused on improving existing drugs using proprietary extended release formulation technology, repurposing older drugs for new uses and designing new molecules to target specific patient needs to treat cardiovascular and kidney diseases.


Sarfez is developing innovative treatments with a team who has been involved with the scientific and drug development community for decades. Sarfez team includes academic leaders, internationally renowned physicians and scientists specializing in nephrology and hypertension, with wide-ranging experiences from academic, industry, and public sector areas.

Fatima Khwaja

Dr. Khwaja has more than 20 years of experience in drug development and has been involved in drug repurposing research for a decade both in academic and industrial settings. She brings extensive international experiences to her position as Chief Executive Officer and has been a major factor in shaping Sarfez Pharmaceuticals as an up-and-coming pharmaceutical company. She has published extensively and has presented her work in both national and international conferences. Fatima has a Ph.D. in molecular biology from Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi and Post-Graduate Diploma in Marketing and Management from Indira Gandhi Open National University, New Delhi, India.


She has diverse experience working in Japan, United States and India.

“Sarfez Pharmaceuticals, Inc. stands for innovative technologies for repurposing existing drugs and provide better treatment options for patients.” - Fatima Khwaja


Sarfez Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
Vienna, VA



Interview conducted by: Lynn Fosse, Senior Editor, CEOCFO Magazine, Published – January 6, 2014


CEOCFO: First, just briefly, what is the concept behind Sarfez?

Ms. Khwaja: The main concept behind Sarfez Pharmaceuticals, Inc. is to better serve patients and reduce the costs to the healthcare system by repurposing and improving existing drugs. Since existing drugs have a proven safety profile and well-studied toxic effects, the failure rate attributed to toxicity and safety is significantly reduced.


CEOCFO: Would you tell us about the drug that you are working on right now?

Ms. Khwaja: Sarfez has developed a novel extended release (ER) formulation of Torsemide, which showed a 12- hour release profile in clinical studies. Given the short half-life of loop diuretics as a drug class, our efforts have resulted in developing an extended release version of Torsemide, which will be immensely helpful for physicians in treating heart failure and chronic kidney diseases.


CEOCFO: What did you need to do to extend the time? How did you alter what was already there?

Ms. Khwaja: Loop diuretics such as Torsemide are required to reduce body salt and water and to control hypertension in patients with chronic kidney disease and heart failure. However, the duration of action of Torsemide is short, which allows time for the kidney to regain the salt and water, lost by the action of the drug. Sarfez has developed an extended release formulation of Torsemide to prolong delivery of Torsemide to the blood and thereby to a better salt and water loss. This will alleviate a major problem for more than two million Americans that suffer from high blood pressure and chronic kidney disease.


The extended release Torsemide is a new formulation that allows the drug to be released over a time period without changing the chemical structure of the drug.


CEOCFO: What's next? What is in the pipeline?

Ms. Khwaja: With these encouraging results with ER Torsemide, Sarfez is preparing to conduct clinical trial in chronic kidney disease (CKD) patients with hypertension and will compare the effects of ER Torsemide with Furosemide, the leading drug in this class. In addition, there are a few other drugs in the research and development stages that are all related to cardio-renal system.


CEOCFO: Are you funded for all that you would like to work on or will be seeking partnerships or funding?

Ms. Khwaja: Sarfez has sufficient funds to conduct the next phase of clinical trials. Sarfez is however always looking for strategic partnerships, to take extended release Torsemide to the registration stage and to build a robust pipeline for cardiovascular diseases.


CEOCFO: Why does Sarfez stand out in the drug development crowd?

Ms. Khwaja: The primary focus of Sarfez is to improve existing drugs and to benefit patients and healthcare system alike. To select a drug candidate to improve, Sarfez relies on patient experience, physician observations, scientific findings and chemistry of the drug. Sarfez design a drug development plan with the strong team of advisors (physicians- scientists) and experienced executive team, The additional benefits Sarfez offers: 1). High rate of return with shortened drug development period. 2). Low risk of failure, 3).Improved products for patients. 


Sarfez Pharmaceuticals, Inc. stands for innovative technologies for repurposing existing drugs and provide better treatment options for patients.


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