- Press releases
Asceneuron SA, an emerging leader in developing novel small molecule therapeutics targeting tauopathies for Alzheimer’s and related neurodegenerative diseases, today announced the appointment of leading experts in the field of neurodegenerative diseases to its newly formed scientific advisory board (SAB): Prof. Christian Haass from Ludwig-Maximilians University (LMU) Munich; Prof. Adam Boxer from University of California, San Francisco (UCSF); and Prof. Günter U. Höglinger from the Technical University of Munich.
“We are glad to benefit from the deep scientific knowledge of our new SAB members as we execute on our plans to enter the clinic late this year with our lead product, an oral O-GlcNAcase inhibitor ASN-561 to treat progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP), an orphan tauopathy,” said Dirk Beher, CEO of Asceneuron. “We welcome Profs. Haass, Boxer and Höglinger and look forward to working together to develop the first targeted treatments for PSP and other tauopathies.”
Prof. Christian Haass heads the Department of Metabolic Biochemistry at the Adolf-Butenandt Institute at LMU Munich. He has been Coordinator of the German Center for Neurodegenerative Disorders (DZNE) in Munich since 2009. Dr. Haass made major discoveries between 1990-1995 showing how beta-amyloid peptide is generated at the cellular level in Alzheimer’s disease (AD) while working at the Center for Neurologic Diseases at Harvard Medical School where he was Assistant Professor for Neurology. He was Associate Professor for Molecular Biology at Central Institute of Mental Health, Mannheim (1995-1999) and Professor for Biochemistry at LMU Munich since 1999, where he has investigated the structure, function and amyloidogenesis of AD causing presenilin-dependent intramembrane protease complexes. Dr. Haass has received many awards for his innovative, high impact research.
Prof. Adam Boxer is Associate Professor of Neurology and the Vera and John Graziadio Scholar in Alzheimer’s Disease Research at UCSF, where he directs the Alzheimer’s Disease and Frontotemporal Dementia Clinical Trials Program at the Memory and Aging Center. He was the lead principle investigator of the first US multicenter, randomized, placebocontrolled, clinical trial of a therapeutic agent for frontotemporal dementia (memantine/Namenda®) and an international, phase 2/3, randomized, placebo-controlled trial of the microtubule stabilizing agent, davunetide (NAP, Al-108), for PSP. He is principal Investigator of the NIH-funded, North American rare disease clinical research consortium, entitled Advancing Research and Treatment for Frontotemporal Lobar Degeneration (ARTFL), which is dedicated to preparing for clinical trials in PSP and other FTLD-spectrum disorders.
Prof. Günter U. Höglinger heads the Institute for Translational Neurodegeneration of the DZNE (German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases) and is Consultant Senior Neurologist at the Dept. of Neurology in the Klinikum rechts der Isar of the Technical University Munich, Germany. His present research focuses on the identification of environmental and genetic causes of neurodegenerative akinetic-rigid and dementing syndromes including progressive supranuclear palsy, the improvement of diagnostic tools and the development of therapeutic interventions. Günter Höglinger pioneered prior clinical therapeutic developments in PSP patients (Stamelou, M, et al., Mov Disord. 2008,23: 942-9; Höglinger, GU, et al., Mov. Disord. 2014;29: 479-87) and led the study that first identified genetic risk factors for PSP (Höglinger, GU, et al., Nature Genetics, 2011;43: 699-705). He studied Medicine and Physics at the Universities of Regensburg and Würzburg, Germany. He was Deputy Director of the Dept. of Neurology under Prof. Dr. Dr. W. H. Oertel at the Philipps University Marburg. He is member of the Scientific Advisory Board of the curePSP foundation and co-chair the SAB of the German PSP society.
Asceneuron SA (www.asceneuron.com) researches and develops oral small molecule therapeutics targeting tauopathies for treating Alzheimer’s and related neurodegenerative diseases. The lead product, a preclinical O-GlcNAcase inhibitor which targets tau, is scheduled to begin clinical testing in late 2015. Neuronal deposits of the microtubule-associated tau protein are a common feature of tauopathies, known to be a major contributor to neurodegenerative diseases. Asceneuron was formed in October 2012 through an MS Ventures-led spinout of the Alzheimer’s disease drug discovery portfolio and research group from Merck Serono, the pharmaceutical division of Merck.