FRAMINGHAM, Mass.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Alzheon, Inc., a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on developing new medicines for patients suffering from Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and other neurodegenerative disorders, announced today that Christopher Noel Dunn, Jordan Heller, and Diane K. Jorkasky, MD, FACP, have been appointed to the company’s board of directors.
Mr. Noel Dunn serves as Executive Chairman and director of Ero Copper Corporation. Mr. Dunn has 25 years of experience in investment banking, primarily with Goldman Sachs managing the capital underwriting business in London. Previously, at Bear Stearns and JP Morgan, he led their respective investment banking practices in mining and metals. Mr. Dunn holds a Master of Arts degree from University of Edinburgh and a Master of Science degree from University of Durham.
“Noel brings an outstanding track record of financial transactions, investment and company-building experience to Alzheon’s Board,” said Neil Flanzraich, JD, Executive Chairman of Alzheon’s board of directors. “His keen insights will help sharpen our business and investment strategies.”
Mr. Jordan Heller is Managing Director and Partner of Beacon Pointe Wealth Advisors. Prior to entering the wealth management industry, Mr. Heller spent 15 years on Wall Street heading real estate finance securities at Merrill Lynch, Salomon Brothers and CIBC. During this time, Mr. Heller played a leading role in the rebirth of the modern real estate investment trust (REIT) industry.
“Jordan brings diversity of experience in value-generation from an investor perspective and deep insights into institutional investment. We look forward to his expertise as we build and finance Alzheon’s business,” commented Mr. Flanzraich.
Dr. Diane Jorkasky most recently served as Chief Medical Officer, Head of Development and EVP at Complexa, Inc., a company developing new medicines for rare diseases. Previously, at Pfizer Global R&D, she served as Vice President of Global Clinical Research Operations, responsible for exploratory development, clinical pharmacology, and translational medicine. Dr. Jorkasky is board certified in internal medicine, nephrology and clinical pharmacology, and received her medical degree from the University of Pennsylvania.
“I am honored to serve on Alzheon’s board as the company emerges as a frontrunner in the race to develop a safe, oral disease-modifying treatment for patients and families affected by Alzheimer’s,” said Dr. Jorkasky. “Alzheon has advanced the understanding of the critical role that toxic amyloid oligomers play in Alzheimer’s pathophysiology, and I look forward to seeing the company’s promising therapy, ALZ-801, in a confirmatory Phase 3 trial.”
“We are excited to have Diane, an accomplished physician-scientist, bring her wealth of clinical development experience as we advance ALZ-801 to Phase 3, as a groundbreaking oral treatment for Alzheimer’s disease,” said Mr. Flanzraich.
Alzheon’s lead product candidate, ALZ-801, an oral anti-amyloid drug candidate that is an optimized prodrug of tramiprosate, has shown promising results in analyses of clinical data1,2 and a novel therapeutic mechanism of action.3 ALZ-801 has received Fast Track designation from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The clinical data for ALZ-8014 and its active agent, tramiprosate, suggest long-term clinical efficacy in AD patients with the apolipoprotein E4 (APOE4) genotype and a favorable safety profile.1,2 ALZ-801 acts through a novel enveloping molecular mechanism of action blocking the formation of toxic amyloid oligomers3 associated with the development and progression of AD.6 The cognitive improvements observed in AD patients in the tramiprosate Phase 3 studies may be attributed, in part, to the therapeutic anti-oligomer action of 3-sulfopropanoic acid (3-SPA), an endogenous substance in the human brain, discovered by Alzheon scientists, that inhibits the formation of neurotoxic beta amyloid oligomers.5 3-SPA is the primary metabolite of ALZ-801 in humans and its discovery elucidates the beneficial pharmaceutical attributes of ALZ-801, including a favorable safety profile, selectivity against beta amyloid oligomers, and excellent brain penetration. ALZ-801 increases levels of 3-SPA in the brain and augments the body’s natural mechanism for blocking the formation of toxic amyloid oligomers.5 The initial Phase 3 program for ALZ-801 will focus on patients with the homozygous APOE4/4 genotype at the Early stage of AD, with the potential for future expansion to additional Alzheimer’s populations.6
Alzheon, Inc. is committed to developing innovative medicines by directly addressing the underlying pathology of devastating neurodegenerative disorders. Our lead Alzheimer’s clinical candidate, ALZ-801, is a Phase 3-ready, first-in-class, small molecule oral inhibitor of beta amyloid aggregation and neurotoxicity – hallmarks of Alzheimer’s disease. ALZ-801 is a novel prodrug that builds on the safety and efficacy profile of the active compound tramiprosate, which has been evaluated in clinical trials involving over 2,000 Alzheimer’s patients. Our clinical expertise and technology platform are focused on developing drug candidates using a precision medicine approach based on individual genetic and biological information to advance therapies with the greatest impact for patients.
1 Abushakra et al. Journal of Prevention of Alzheimer’s Disease, 2016
2 Abushakra et al. Journal of Prevention of Alzheimer’s Disease, 2017
3 Kocis et al. CNS Drugs, 2017
4 Hey et al. Clinical Pharmacokinetics, 2018
5 Hey et al. CNS Drugs, 2018
6 Tolar et al. Alzheimer’s & Dementia, 2019