Addition of highly regarded scientist in the field of protein research creates industry-leading depth in protein misfolding diseases
TORONTO and CAMBRIDGE, Mass., Oct. 29, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- ProMIS Neurosciences, Inc. (TSX: PMN) (OTCQB: ARFXF), a biotechnology company focused on the discovery and development of antibody therapeutics targeting toxic oligomers implicated in the development of neurodegenerative diseases, welcomes Dr. David Wishart, Distinguished University Professor in the Departments of Biological Sciences and Computing Science at the University of Alberta, to its Scientific Advisory Board (SAB). Identified as one of the world’s most highly cited scientists for each of the past 7 years, Dr. Wishart brings more than three decades in protein folding and misfolding research to ProMIS, creating industry-leading depth in this area of therapeutic development for neurodegenerative and other diseases.
“The commitment and talent of our advisory board has been instrumental to the ongoing development of our broad portfolio of highly specific therapeutic, vaccine and diagnostic candidates,” said Eugene Williams, Executive Chairman of ProMIS Neurosciences. “Dr. Wishart’s world-recognized expertise in protein folding and misfolding combined with Dr. Neil Cashman’s complementary leadership will place ProMIS among the most accomplished within this arena. Their combined expertise will advance our platform’s application to an even broader scope of diseases caused by protein misfolding.”
Dr. Wishart will play a pivotal role in advising ProMIS on the application and further development of its drug discovery and development platform, which is uniquely capable of identifying the sequence and shape (conformation) of novel binding targets—called peptide antigens—on misfolded proteins implicated in the development of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and ALS. ProMIS has leveraged its novel platform to create a portfolio of antibody, intrabody and vaccine candidates that are highly selective for the misfolded protein aggregates driving pathogenesis. With Dr. Wishart’s support, ProMIS will continue to expand the application of its platform to the biology of additional misfolded protein diseases.
“Never before has there been a more urgent need for therapy, diagnostic and vaccine candidates that are highly specific for their intended target,” said Dr. Wishart. “I look forward to working with Dr. Neil Cashman and his team and such an accomplished SAB as we continue to seek new opportunities to apply ProMIS’ unique platform technology to misfolded protein diseases with high unmet need.”
ProMIS’ SAB includes distinguished, highly published and cited contributors to the current scientific understanding of Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, ALS, protein misfolding diseases in general, vaccines and diagnostics. Dr. Wishart joins the following current members:
Neil R. Cashman, M.D., is Chief Scientific Officer at ProMIS Neurosciences and Professor of Medicine at the University of British Columbia (UBC), where he holds the Canada Research Chair in Neurodegeneration and Protein Misfolding Diseases and serves as the Director of the UBC ALS Centre. Dr. Cashman is recognized as a pioneer in the field of prion-like misfolded proteins and their role in development of neurodegenerative diseases, in particular ALS and AD. Neil Cashman is co-chair of the SAB.
Sharon Cohen, M.D., is a trained behavioral neurologist and former speech language pathologist. Her memory clinic and dementia clinical trial program at the Toronto Memory Programme are the largest and most active in Canada and have contributed substantially to patient care and to global clinical trial cohorts. Through her commitment to knowledge translation and her passion for clinically meaningful outcomes, Dr. Cohen provides a valuable perspective which places the patient at the center of Alzheimer’s drug development programs.
Hans Frykman M.D., Ph.D., is the CEO and medical director of BC Neuroimmunology Lab and Neurocode Labs and clinical assistant professor of medicine at University of British Columbia. With a 35-year history of delivering highly specific clinical neuroimmunology testing to the North American marketplace, BC Neuroimmunology lab is a technology leader and is academically collaborating with several leading centers in Europe and the USA. Neurocode labs is Canada’s first and only clinical whole exome sequencing facility. It has a particular focus in seizure disorder, cardiac sequencing and sequencing of the neonate.
Todd E. Golde, M.D., Ph.D., is Director of the Center for Translational Research in Neurodegenerative Disease at the University of Florida where he directs a robust program of scientific discovery aimed at translating basic discoveries in neurodegenerative disease into diagnostics and treatments for patients. Dr. Golde is co-chair of the SAB.
William C. Mobley, M.D., Ph.D., is Associate Dean for Neurosciences Initiatives, Distinguished Professor of Neurosciences, Florence Riford Chair for Alzheimer Disease at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD), and the university’s Executive Director of the Down Syndrome Center for Research and Treatment. Dr. Mobley’s research focuses on the neurobiology of neuronal dysfunction in developmental and age-related disorders of the nervous system.
C. Warren Olanow, M.D., is the past Henry P. and Georgette Goldschmidt Professor and Chairman of the Department of Neurology at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City, and present Professor Emeritus in the Department of Neurology and in the Department of Neuroscience.
Andre Strydom, M.D., Ph.D., is a professor in the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience at King’s College London, and Honorary Consultant psychiatrist, South London and the Maudsley NHS Trust. His current projects and collaborations include the LonDownS consortium, funded by the Wellcome Trust/ MRC, to study the neurobiology of Alzheimer’s Disease in Down syndrome to understand the underlying factors that may influence variation in age of onset of symptoms. His research in Down syndrome includes investigation of biomarkers of cognitive decline including those related to excess amyloid production, oxidative stress, and neurodegeneration. He has been an investigator on clinical trials of new drug treatment options in Down syndrome, fragile X syndrome and autism.
Rudolph E. Tanzi, Ph.D., is a neuroscientist and geneticist with scientific expertise in Alzheimer’s disease and brain health. He serves as Vice-Chair of Neurology, Director of the Genetics and Aging Research Unit, and as a Director of the Henry and Allison McCance Center for Brain Health at Massachusetts General Hospital. He is also the Joseph P. and Rose F. Kennedy Professor of Neurology at Harvard Medical School.
Lary C. Walker, Ph.D., is Associate Professor of Neurology and Research Professor at Emory University Yerkes National Primate Research Center. Dr. Walker’s research has been directed toward understanding the mechanisms by which the Alzheimer-associated proteins amyloid beta and tau form pathogenic assemblies in vivo and how these agents spread in the brain.
About Dr. David Wishart
Dr. Wishart has been studying protein folding and misfolding for more than 30 years using a combination of computational and experimental approaches. These experimental approaches include NMR spectroscopy, circular dichroism, fluorescence spectroscopy, electron microscopy, protein engineering and molecular biology. The computational methods include molecular dynamics, agent-based modeling, bioinformatics and machine learning. Over the course of his career, Dr. Wishart has published more than 430 scientific papers, cited more than 78,000 times, covering many areas of protein science including structural biology, protein metabolism and computational biochemistry. He has been with the University of Alberta since 1995 and is currently a Distinguished University Professor in the Departments of Biological Sciences and Computing Science. He also holds adjunct appointments with the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences and the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine.
Dr. Wishart has been awarded research grants totaling more than $130 million from a number of funding agencies. He has also led or directed a number of core facilities and centers and currently co-directs The Metabolomics Innovation Centre (TMIC), Canada’s national metabolomics laboratory. Dr. Wishart held the Bristol-Myers Squibb Research Chair in Pharmaceutical Sciences from 1995-2005, received the Astra-Zeneca-CFPS Young Investigator Prize in 2001, was awarded a Lifetime Honorary Fellowship by the Metabolomics Society in 2014 and elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada in 2017.
About ProMIS Neurosciences
ProMIS Neurosciences, Inc. is a development stage biotechnology company whose unique core technology is the ability to rationally predict the site and shape (conformation) of novel targets known as Disease Specific Epitopes (DSEs) on the molecular surface of proteins. In neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s, ALS and Parkinson’s disease, the DSEs are misfolded regions on toxic forms of otherwise normal proteins. In the infectious disease setting, these DSEs represent peptide antigens that can be used as an essential component to create accurate and sensitive serological assays to detect the presence of antibodies that arise in response to a specific infection, such as COVID-19. ProMIS proprietary peptide antigens can also be used to create potential therapeutic antibodies, as well as serve as the basis for development of vaccines. ProMIS is headquartered in Toronto, Ontario, with offices in Cambridge, Massachusetts. ProMIS is listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the symbol PMN, and on the OTCQB Venture Market under the symbol ARFXF.
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