ReNeuron Group plc has announced that it has held the inaugural meeting of its newly-established Scientific Advisory Board (“SAB”), which comprises nine leading academics and industry executives with a world-class breadth of expertise across the Company’s areas of operation. The meeting was chaired by Dr Mike Owen, who was recently appointed as a Non-executive Director of the Company.
The SAB comprises the following members:
• Dr Mike Owen, Chair
• Professor Sir Colin Blakemore
• Dr Marie Csete
• Professor Trevor Jones CBE
• Dr. Thomas Lönngren
• Professor Chris Mason
• Professor Jack Price
• Dr Mahendra S Rao
• Dr Lee L Rubin
Further biographical details on the members of the SAB are given below.
The SAB will provide insight and counsel across ReNeuron’s therapeutic programmes and broader research and development activities. Its role is to advise the Company on strategic matters relating to its scientific and commercial agenda: in particular, the future direction of cell therapy, links to academic, regulatory and industrial organizations and relationships with government bodies, the media and the public, both in the UK and internationally. It is expected that the SAB will meet bi-annually.
Commenting on the formation of the Scientific Advisory Board, Olav Hellebø, ReNeuron’s CEO, said: “We are honoured to have attracted such a prestigious group of leading, international academics and industry executives to our Scientific Advisory Board. The Company has always sought the advice and input of scientific and other experts when required as its research and development programmes have progressed. The formal establishment of our SAB will enable the business to harness the collective knowledge of the SAB members across all aspects of drug development which will be invaluable as we drive our therapeutic programmes through the clinic and progress our exciting early stage work in exosomes.”
Biographical details of the SAB members:
Dr Mike Owen
Mike Owen’s career in biotech, the pharmaceutical industry and academia spans almost 40 years. He serves as a director of Zealand Pharma, Ossianix Inc, BlinK Biomedical SAS and Avacta plc and, in addition to ReNeuron, is a member of the Scientific Advisory Boards of Kymab Ltd and the CRT Pioneer Fund LP, and the investor advisory board of HS Life sciences gmbh. Dr Owen was formally Senior Vice President for Biopharmaceuticals Research at GlaxoSmithKline where he was responsible for the discovery and development of antibody drugs in multiple therapeutic areas through to successful clinical proof of concept. He was also a Founder and Chief Scientific Officer of Kymab Ltd, an antibody based Biotech Company, and for many years held a research position at the Imperial Cancer Research Fund (now CR-UK). He is a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences and a member of the European Molecular Biology Organization.
Professor Sir Colin Blakemore
Colin Blakemore, FMedSci, Hon FRCP, FRS, is Professor of Neuroscience & Philosophy at the School of Advanced Study, University of London, and Emeritus Professor of Neuroscience at Oxford. He studied Medical Sciences at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, and did a PhD at the University of California, Berkeley. He taught at Cambridge for 11 years and was Director of Studies in Medicine at Downing from 1971 to 1979, when he moved to Oxford as Waynflete Professor of Physiology and later Director of the Centre for Cognitive Neuroscience. From 2003-7 he was Chief Executive of the Medical Research Council. His research has been concerned with vision, development of the brain, plasticity of the cerebral cortex and neurodegenerative disease. He now leads a major project aimed at integrating philosophical and scientific approaches to the study of perception, and he is continuing work on the earliest stages of development of the human brain. He has been President of the British Science Association, the British Neuroscience Association, the Physiological Society and the Society of Biology. He is also passionately committed to engagement between science and the public, and to the importance of science in government. He was knighted in 2014 for services to scientific research, policy and outreach.
Dr Marie Csete
Marie Csete received her undergraduate music degree from Princeton University, followed by an MD from Columbia University, College of Physicians & Surgeons. She is board certified in anesthesiology with subspecialty certification in critical care. Her academic career focused on optimizing the perioperative management of liver transplant patients, and she led the liver transplant anesthesiology services at UCSF, UCLA, Michigan and Emory where she was co-director of the MD/PhD program and founding director of the Emory/GaTech human embryonic stem cell core facility. Mid-career Dr. Csete received a PhD in developmental biology from Caltech. Her PhD work focused on the role of oxygen in stem cell fate, which led to later work in stem cell aging. Dr. Csete was the first CSO of CIRM, the California state stem cell agency where she supervised development of its core programs. Currently President & Chief Scientist of the non-profit Huntington Medical Research Institutes, her lab studies iPS models of neurodegeneration. At HMRI she is leading a new scientific strategic plan focused on multidisciplinary approaches to common diseases with core emphasis on inflammation and metabolism, and development of new imaging approaches to quantify these processes.
Professor Trevor Jones CBE
Professor Trevor Jones was the founder Chairman of ReNeuron and is the Chairman of Simbec-Orion Research Ltd (UK). Until March 2015 he was a Director of Allergan Inc (USA), and formerly a main board director of The Wellcome Foundation, where he was responsible for R&D including the development of AZT (HIV/AIDS), Zovirax (Herpes), Lamictal (Epilepsy), Malarone (Malaria) and other medicines. He is also a Board member of e-therapeutics plc. He is a visiting professor at King’s College, London and holds honorary degrees and Gold Medals from 6 universities. He is a founder member of the Geneva-based, Public: Private Partnership, Medicines for Malaria Venture (MMV) and in 2004 was appointed to the World Health Organization (WHO) Commission on Intellectual Property Rights, Innovation and Public Health (C.I.P.I.H).Trevor was for 12 years a member of The UK Government regulatory agency, the Medicines Commission, an advisor to the Cabinet Office on the Human Genome project, a member of the Prime Minister’s Task force on the Competitiveness of the Pharmaceutical Industry (PICTF) and Chair of the UK Government Advisory Group on Genetics Research. For 10 years until September 2004 he was Director General of the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI) a member of Council of IFPMA and the Board of EFPIA.
Dr Thomas Lönngren
Thomas Lönngren is the former Executive Director of the European Medicines Agency, EMA and he previously served with the Swedish Board of Health and Welfare as Director of Operations and later Deputy Director General at the Swedish Medical Products Agency (MPA).Thomas established the EMA from a relatively small-unknown agency in 2001 to a world-renowned regulatory agency in 2010 and was responsible for all of its operations. Stepping down after 10 years’ service he is currently Director at his own independent consultancy, Pharma Executive Consulting, offering strategic advice to the healthcare and pharmaceutical sector in the area of Drug Development focusing on Regulatory and Market access aspects. During 2011, Thomas was a member of the board of CIBIO in Brisbane, Australia. Through his consultancy his main work is as Strategic Advisor at NDA Group AB and its clients. His focus over the last two years has been advising US based biotech companies located in US, Boston, Cambridge, New York and San Francisco. Thomas is currently serving on several Advisory Boards and frequently speaks at conferences around the world US, Europe, Japan and Australia. He is currently a board member of Global Kinetics Corporation in Melbourne and Analytica Ltd in Brisbane Australia and is also an advisor to GLG New York, CIRS UK, Scientific med Sweden, Molecular Warehouse UK and Pictet Asset Management, Switzerland. He is Honorary Member of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain, Honorary Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians UK, Honorary Doctor of Uppsala University, Sweden and Honorary Doctor of the University of Bath, United Kingdom. He graduated from the Pharmaceutical Faculty in Uppsala 1976.
Professor Chris Mason
Chris Mason is Professor of Regenerative Medicine Bioprocessing in the Advanced Centre for Biochemical Engineering, University College London working on the clinical translation and commercialization of cell and gene therapies. He has a multidisciplinary track record, spanning R&D, clinical medicine, bioprocessing, regulation, healthcare economics, reimbursement and business. His current responsibilities include; Chair of the BioIndustry Association (BIA) Regenerative Medicine and Cell Therapy Industry Group, Co-Chair of the Alliance for Regenerative Medicine (ARM) Cell Therapy Section, Founder and CEO of the London Regenerative Medicine Network, and Trustee of the UK Stem Cell Foundation. Chris is on a number of national and international committees, working groups and initiatives related to the academic, clinical translation and commercialization of cell and gene therapies including; the UK-Israel Science Council, the Scientific Advisory Panel of the UK Cell Therapy Catapult, and the Strategic Advisory Board of the Canadian Centre for the Commercialization of Regenerative Medicine. He is a general spokesperson for the cell and gene therapy sector including frequent newspaper, radio and TV interviews. Chris is Senior Editor of the journals; “Regenerative Medicine” and “Cell and Gene Therapy Insights”.
Professor Jack Price
Jack Price is a Professor of Developmental Neurobiology and Head of the Cells & Behaviour Unit at the Institute of Psychiatry Psychology & Neuroscience, King's College London. Following his PhD in Neurobiology (University College London) and post-doctoral training at MIT, he ran a research group at the National Institute for Medical Research, Mill Hill. He was Director of Molecular Neuroscience at SmithKline Beecham Pharmaceuticals until joining King’s College London in 1998. He has published widely on neural stem cells as therapeutic agents, and has served on Working Parties on novel neurotechnologies with the Nuffield Council of Bioethics and the Academy of Medical Sciences. He led the Department of Trade and Industry Technology Mission to China, Singapore, and South Korea, and served on BIONET, the European Commission project into governance of Biomedicine in Europe and China. He is on the Scientific Advisory Board of the MRC Centre for Neuropsychiatric Genetics and Genomics, Cardiff, and been a consultant to ReNeuron Ltd since 1998. Currently, he is part of three European consortia (EU-AIMS, Stem BANCC, and MATRICS), funded by the European Commission, using stem cells to study brain disorders.
Dr Mahendra S. Rao
Mahendra Rao received his MD (MBBS) from Bombay University in India and his PhD in Developmental Neurobiology from the California Institute of Technology. Mahendra Rao is internationally known for his research involving human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) and other somatic stem cells and has worked in the stem cell field for more than twenty years with stints in academia, government and regulatory affairs and industry. Dr Rao has an extensive background teaching medical and graduate students, as well as postdoctoral fellows at institutions including The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, The National Centre for Biological Sciences in Bangalore, India, and the University Of Utah School Of Medicine. Dr Rao has published more than 300 papers on stem cell research and is the co-founder of a neural stem cell company Q therapeutics based in Salt Lake City (Utah) and more recently NxCell based in California. Until 2010 Dr Rao led the Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine division at LiFE Technologies and served on the Board of Thermogenesis (CESCA), Aastrom and Q therapeutics all companies involved in stem cell processing and therapy. Dr Rao also served as the Chair of the CBER (FDA) advisory committee (CTGTAC). Dr Rao serves on several scientific advisory boards to Pharma, journal editorial boards and oversight committees and advisory panels on large scale projects related to stem cell biology. He continues to work with the FDA and other regulatory authorities on PSC related issues most recently as the CIRM and ISSCR liaison to the ISCT. Dr. Rao was the founding Director of the NIH Center of Regenerative Medicine and also the Chief of the Laboratory of Stem cell Biology at the NIH until 2013. Dr Rao is currently the VP of strategic Affairs at Q therapeutics and serves as a consultant on Regenerative Medicine for the New York Stem Cell Foundation which has provided more than 100M dollars in research funding for cutting edge research in Regenerative Medicine. Dr Rao continues to provide consultant and advisory services to biotechnology companies in the regenerative medicine field and most recently was appointed as faculty at the Wake Forest School of Medicine.
Dr Lee L. Rubin
Lee Rubin has a broad experience in both academia and industry, particularly in the realms of cell-based assays and drug discovery. Prior to joining Harvard, he was Chief Scientific Officer of Curis, Inc., a Cambridge-based biotechnology company, where his group identified the first small molecule regulators of the hedgehog signalling pathway. One of these antagonists was developed by Genentech and is now (as Erivedge) approved as the first oral treatment for metastatic basal cell carcinoma. At Harvard, much of his work is focused on finding key molecular mediators of different neurodegenerative diseases and on searching for effective preclinical therapeutic candidates. His research takes advantage of his group’s ability to produce large numbers of patient-derived induced pluripotent stem cell lines and of effective means of deriving differentiated neurons from them. They have set up an array of techniques that allow them to identify early cellular and physiological changes in neurons as they become diseased. For example, they have identified new targets for the treatment of the motor neuron disorders Spinal Muscular Atrophy and Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis. They are also studying Psychiatric disorders, Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease. Recently, his group discovered that a circulating protein, GDF11, has the ability to reverse some of the changes in the CNS associated with aging. They are actively exploring the therapeutic implications of these observations as well.