BOSTON, Aug. 11, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — AZTherapies, Inc., a biopharmaceutical company in advanced clinical trials to treat neuroinflammatory diseases, today announced the expansion of its Scientific Advisory Board, appointing esteemed neuroscientist Robert Malenka, M.D., Ph.D., as well as experts in the development of neuroimmunology and T-cell therapeutics, Adam Boxer, M.D., Ph.D., Vijay Kuchroo, D.V.M., Ph.D., and Megan Levings, Ph.D., who have joined the AZTherapies SAB following the company’s acquisition of Smith Therapeutics in October 2019.
“We are very pleased to welcome these neuro-immunology leaders to our Scientific Advisory Board, as we are all committed to advancing efforts to slow down or halt the progression of neurodegenerative diseases by targeting neuroinflammation as the main cause of progressive neural damage, and declining cognition and function,” said David R. Elmaleh, Ph.D., AZTherapies’ Founder, CEO, and Chairman. “Each of our new board members brings unique expertise relevant to our pipeline – whether it be our Phase 3 program in early Alzheimer’s disease, our progressing candidate for the treatment of ALS and post-ischemic stroke cognitive impairment, or our novel biologic approach using specifically engineered immunosuppressive CAR-T regulatory (Treg) cells to treat neurodegenerative disease – and I look forward to working together to achieve our common goals.”
Philip Ashton-Rickardt, Ph.D., Senior Vice President, Immunology at AZTherapies also commented on the appointments: “I am thrilled that the SAB members from Smith have agreed to stay on to support our efforts in the development of CAR-Tregs to restore a healthy balance of inflammatory and regulatory cells in the brain. Since last fall, we have continued to advance this innovative program through pre-clinical development, and now anticipate initial in vitro and in vivo proof of concept across several models of neurodegenerative disease later this year.”
Dr. Malenka is Deputy Director of the Wu Tsai Neurosciences Institute and Associate Chair of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science at Stanford University, while also serving as the Pritzker Professor of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences. Recognized as a world leader in the field of synapse biology, his work has resulted in more than 250 scientific publications. Dr. Malenka is an elected member of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Medicine as well as the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He received a B.A., summa cum laude, from Harvard College and an M.D. and a Ph.D. in neuroscience from Stanford University School of Medicine.
Dr. Boxer is Endowed Professor in Memory and Aging in the Department of Neurology at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) and directs UCSF’s Neurosciences Clinical Research Unit and the Alzheimer’s Disease and Frontotemporal Degeneration (FTD) Clinical Trials Program at the UCSF Memory and Aging Center. Dr. Boxer’s research is focused on developing new treatments and biomarkers for neurodegenerative diseases. He is the principal investigator of the Advancing Research and Treatment for Frontotemporal Lobar Degeneration Clinical Research Consortium, while also leading the FTD Treatment Study Group, which is looking to speed the development of new therapies for FTD. The author of more than 150 scientific publications, Dr. Boxer received his medical and doctorate degrees at New York University Medical Center.
Dr. Kuchroo is the Samuel L. Wasserstrom professor of neurology at Harvard Medical School, and a senior scientist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. He is also a member of the Broad Institute, and a participant in a Klarman Cell Observatory project that focuses on T cell differentiation. He is the founding director of the Evergrande Center for Immunologic Diseases at Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Dr. Kuchroo obtained his degree in Veterinary Medicine from the College of Veterinary Medicine, Hisar, India, and subsequently specialized in pathology at the University of Queensland, Brisbane Australia, where he obtained a Ph.D. He is the recipient of the Fred Z. Eager Research Prize, the Javits Neuroscience Award by the NIH, the Ranbaxy Prize in Medical Research, the Nobel Laureate Peter Doherty Lecture/Prize, and was named Distinguished Eberly Lecturer.
Dr. Levings is Professor, Department of Surgery and School of Biomedical Engineering, Faculty of Medicine at the University of British Columbia, Investigator at BC Children’s Hospital Research Institute, Lead, Childhood Diseases Research Theme, and an Associate Member of the Department of Microbiology and Immunology. She is internationally recognized in the field of human immunology and currently chairs the Federation of Clinical Immunology Societies Centers’ of Excellence and is a member of the NIH-funded Immune Tolerance Network steering committee. Her research focuses on the use of T regulatory cells to replace conventional immunosuppression in the context of transplantation and autoimmunity. Dr. Levings received her BSc in biology from Simon Fraser University and her Ph.D. in genetics at the University of British Columbia.
AZTherapies is an advanced clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company developing novel small molecules and biologic therapies that aim to fundamentally change neurodegenerative disease progression, extending normal cognition and function and improving quality of life in the aging population. Our lead candidate, ALZT-OP1, is built on a multi-modal approach that recognizes neuroinflammation as a root cause of serious neurodegeneration and seeks to stop or slow the progression of disease; the ALZT-OP1 Phase 3 COGNITE trial in early Alzheimer’s disease is fully enrolled, with trial completion expected in late 2020 and results in the first quarter of 2021. Following our lead program, we are advancing candidates for the treatment of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), post-ischemic stroke cognitive impairment, and are pursuing an innovative CAR-Treg program that could have broad application across a spectrum of neurodegenerative diseases. AZTherapies is a private company headquartered in Boston, Massachusetts. To learn more, please visit www.aztherapies.com.