PharmAust assembles world-class scientific advisory board to propel fight against neurodegenerative diseases

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By Colin Hay - 
PharmAust ASX PAA scientific advisory board MND ALS monopantel MPL

Perth-based clinical-stage biotechnology company PharmAust (ASX: PAA) has pulled together a team of leading scientists to support the investigation of its lead treatment candidate monepantel (MPL).

PharmAust is focused on repurposing MPL for the treatment of human neurodegenerative disorders such as motor neurone disease (MND) / amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).

To help drive further development in that area the company has now brought in significant additional expertise to sit on its Scientific Advisory Board (SAB).

The SAB “dream team” includes internationally-renowned experts in MND/ALS drug discovery and clinical development who will provide PharmAust with strategic guidance in the development of MPL.

PharmAust chief executive officer Dr Michael Thurn said the SAB is a prestigious and accomplished group of thought leaders.

“These innovative individuals have pioneered breakthroughs in MND/ALS and together they bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to PharmAust,” he said.

We look forward to collaborating with this group to inform and shape our research and development efforts in advancing our lead monepantel program for treating MND/ALS and the potential expansion of other neurodegenerative indications

SAB composition

Members of the SAB are as follows:

Professor Leonard van den Berg

A professor of Neurology who holds a chair in experimental neurology of motor neurone diseases at the University Medical Centre Utrecht in the Netherlands.

He also is director of the centre’s laboratory for neuromuscular disease, director of the Netherlands ALS Centre, chair of the Neuromuscular Centre the Netherlands and chair of the European Network to Cure ALS, a network of the European ALS Centres.

Dr Sabrina Paganoni

Co-director of the neurological clinical research institute at the Massachusetts General Hospital, assistant professor at Harvard Medical School and physician investigator at the Sean M. Healey and AMG Centre for ALS at Mass General.

She is the co-principal Investigator of the HEALEY ALS platform trial, the world’s first platform trial for ALS.

Dr Melanie Quintana

Director and senior statistical scientist at Berry Consultants, where she specialises in designing Bayesian adaptive clinical trials across a wide range of therapeutic areas.

Her work has included numerous examples in designing platform trials, including the HEALEY ALS platform trial and clinical trials in rare and progressive diseases focusing on developing disease progression models to design better and more powerful clinical trials.

Dr Christian Freitag

More than 20 years of experience in the pharmaceutical industry with positions in companies including Hoffmann La Roche, Shire and BTG, where he led global clinical development projects.

Dr Freitag has held the position of chief medical officer at Dynacure and Azafaros, where he was the medical monitor on PharmAust’s Phase 1 MEND study and oversaw medical and clinical activities.

Next phase of development

“I’m very excited to be a part of PharmAust’s SAB and look forward to guiding with my fellow SAB members the next phase of clinical development of monepantel for the treatment of MND/ALS,” professor van den Berg said.

“There is a clear need for more effective treatment options for MND/ALS. The survival data produced to date with MPL is encouraging and compounds that enhance autophagy have the potential to treat a wide range of neurodegenerative diseases.”