LEXINGTON, Mass., April 15, 2014 — Alzheon, Inc., a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on brain health, memory and aging, announced today that it has appointed Franz F. Hefti, PhD, to the company’s Board of Directors. Dr. Hefti’s leadership and expertise in drug development for Alzheimer’s disease will support Alzheon’s continued growth and advancement as a leading clinical-stage Alzheimer’s company.
“We are very fortunate to welcome a prominent leader in neurodegenerative diseases and Alzheimer’s such as Franz to our board of directors, particularly as we advance our lead drug candidate ALZ-801 into a pivotal clinical study in Alzheimer’s disease and continue to build our portfolio,” said Martin Tolar, MD, PhD, Founder, President and Chief Executive Officer of Alzheon. “We look forward to utilizing the deep knowledge and experience that Franz will bring to Alzheon as we execute on our strategy to bring transformational treatments to patients within the next 5 years.”
Dr. Hefti’s appointment represents an expansion of Alzheon’s Board of Directors, building on the appointment of three other experienced drug developers and company leaders who joined Martin Tolar on the Alzheon board in January 2014: Menghis Bairu, MD, Franklin Berger and Scott Minick. Alzheon was founded in 2013, and the growth and expansion of the company’s Board of Directors aligns with the advancement of ALZ-801 into a confirmatory Phase 2/3 clinical study in Alzheimer’s disease patients in early 2015.
“I am excited to join Alzheon’s distinguished Board of Directors,” said Franz F. Hefti, PhD. “I look forward to helping to guide the advancement of ALZ-801, a novel therapeutic with potential to significantly alleviate the suffering of Alzheimer’s patients within the next few years, as well as contributing to the in-licensing and development of other promising clinical assets making up Alzheon’s portfolio. With its strong leadership team and a promising lead candidate, Alzheon is well positioned to be a truly path-breaking company in the Alzheimer’s arena.”
Dr. Franz F. Hefti is an established expert in drug discovery and development for Alzheimer’s disease and other diseases of the central nervous system. Dr. Hefti is currently the President and Chief Executive Officer of Acumen Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a biopharmaceutical company he has led since 2011. Prior to joining Acumen Pharmaceuticals, he was Chief Scientific Officer at Avid Radiopharmaceuticals Inc., a company that developed an amyloid imaging diagnostic for Alzheimer’s disease which was acquired by Eli Lilly in 2010. Dr. Hefti was also Executive Vice President of Drug Development at Rinat Neuroscience, a company with antibody programs for Alzheimer’s disease and pain indications, acquired by Pfizer in 2006.
Prior to his contributions in biotechnology companies, Dr. Hefti held senior management positions at Merck & Co. and Genentech, and was Professor at the University of Southern California and Associate Professor at the University of Miami, where he carried out seminal research on therapeutic applications of neurotrophic factors. Dr. Hefti has contributed to more than 250 publications on neurotrophic factors and topics in neuropharmacology. Dr. Hefti received his PhD from the University of Zurich and conducted postdoctoral research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and at the Max Planck Institute in Munich.
Alzheon, Inc., is a clinical-stage biotechnology company focused on brain health, memory and aging, developing a pipeline of innovative therapies targeting the underlying pathogenesis of neurodegeneration in Alzheimer’s disease and other neurodegenerative disorders. Alzheon pursues clinical candidates for which established clinical efficacy, target engagement and human safety data exist, and where new insights can be applied using the latest scientific knowledge and state-of-the-art, efficient clinical development strategy. Our lead product candidate, ALZ-801, is a first-in-class small molecule inhibitor of neurotoxicity and amyloid aggregation, currently advancing into a confirmatory Phase 2/3 study for patient subpopulations with Alzheimer’s or at high risk for the disease. Alzheon has world-leading capabilities in drug development of treatments to improve the symptoms and to slow the progression of Alzheimer’s and related diseases, and is applying this expertise to pipeline product candidates as well as additional therapeutics acquired through strategic in-licensing.
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