Drug Discovery Companies
Former Chief Scientific Officer and Founder: Noel Cusack
Current Status: Aderis was aquired by Schwarz Pharma Ltd in July of 2005.
Company Profile: Aderis Pharmaceuticals was a biopharmaceutical company that developed, manufactured, and commercialized drugs for the therapeutic treatment of central nervous system, cardiovascular and inflammatory diseases. It was best known for the development of Rotigotine, a dopamine agonist made for the treatment of Parkinson's disease. It also developed indications for restless leg syndrome, cardiac image stress testing, atrial fibrillation and wound healing.
The company had strategic alliances with Schwarz Pharma AG and King Pharmaceuticals. It was formerly known as Discovery Therapeutics and changed its name to Aderis Pharmaceuticals in January 2002. The company was founded in 1994 and was based in Hopkinton, Mass. with a research and development facility in Richmond, Va.
Affiliation with Emory: Juha P. Kokko, MD, PhD is a Professor Emeritus at Emory's School of Medicine. He served as a Senior Scientific Advisor at Aderis. For more than 30 years, he has been a pioneer and leader in research, teaching and the practice of medicine. He has held positions as CEO and scientific advisor at numerous biotechnology companies. Kokko earned his MD and PhD degrees from Emory University.
Altiris Therapeutics, Inc.
Address: 311 Ferst Drive, NW, Suite L1309, Atlanta, GA 30332
Web Address: http://www.altiristherapeutics.com/
President and CEO: Douglas H. Gooding
Current Status: Altiris no longer has a license to Emory technology.
Company Profile: Altiris Therapeutics, Inc. develops and commercializes orally administered small-molecule drug therapies. The company is developing drugs that inhibit CXCR4, a receptor on cells for SDF-1 (stromal cell derived factor 1) that acts as a mediator of cellular and chemical trafficking. The therapeutics under development by Altiris can potentially be used for the treatment of metastatic cancers, HIV infection as well as enhancing stem cell mobility.
Affiliation with Emory: Altiris Therapeutics was originally founded as Metastatix, Inc. in 2005 by Emory faculty members Dennis Liotta, PhD, James Snyder, PhD and Hyunsuk Shim, PhD.
Former President and CEO: Russell M. Medford
Current Status: On June 22, 2009, Atherogenics Inc. went out of business as per its Chapter 11 liquidation filing under bankruptcy.
Company Profile: During its operation, AtheroGenics, Inc. was in the business of discovery, development, and commercialization of drugs for the treatment of certain chronic inflammatory diseases, including coronary heart disease, organ transplant rejection, rheumatoid arthritis, and asthma, as well as diabetes treatment. The company's focus was its vascular protectant or V-protectant technology platform to discover drugs. The company's products included AGI-1067, a product that completed Phase III clinical trials for the treatment of atherosclerosis and began Phase III clinical trials for treatment of diabetes; AGI-1096, a Phase I clinical trial antioxidant and selective anti-inflammatory agent for the treatment of transplant rejection; as well as other V-Protectant candidates for various chronic inflammatory diseases, including rheumatoid arthritis and asthma. Atherogenics had gone public and was traded under the symbol AGIX.
Affiliation with Emory: In 1995, Atherogenics licensed several families of patents from Emory that relate to the use of certain compounds in cardiovascular indications. In addition, members of the board of Atherogenics included R. Wayne Alexander, MD, PhD, the Chairman of Medicine at Emory University School of Medicine and Russell Medford, MD, PhD, the President and CEO of the Company, was a former Emory professor.
Address: 13859 Progress Blvd., Suite 100, Alachua, FL 32615
Web Address: http://www.axogeninc.com/
CEO: Karen Zaderej
Current Status: AxoGen has three products currently available for sale to help treat damaged nerves.
Company Profile: AxoGen Inc. focuses on improving peripheral nerve repair. Peripheral nerves provide the pathway for motor and sensory signals between the central nervous system and muscles or organs throughout the body. For example, a traumatic injury to an arm may result in a loss of strength, movement and muscle mass because of nerve damage. Every year, several hundred thousand people suffer traumatic injuries or have surgical procedures that impact the function of their peripheral nerves. AxoGen provides products which help support surgeons in improving care for these patients.
AxoGen processes nerve tissue in a way that preserves the three dimensional matrix of the tissue. AxoGen utilized this technology to provide the first distributed peripheral nerve repair option that preserves the nerve's extra-cellular matrix. AxoGen is traded publicly under the symbol AXGN.
Affiliation with Emory: Emory scientists Arthur English, PhD, Robert McKeon, PhD, and Erica Werner, PhD developed never repair technology which was licensed to AxoGen. Using this licensed technology from Emory University has allowed AxoGen to process allograft nerves while preserving the relevant characteristics of the three dimensional scaffold of the nerve tissue.
Address: 1180 W Peachtree Street NW # 1450, Atlanta, GA 30309
Chief Executive Officer: John P Richard
Current Status: AxoTect's drugs are currently in the pre-clinical phase.
Company Profile: AxoTect, an emerging biotech company grown from research at Emory University & Georgia Tech, is focused on developing drugs to deal with axonal degeneration, a condition in which neurons to break down at their signaling processes. The company is developing these drugs as a new approach to treating chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy (CIPN), a devastating side effect produced by many cancer treatments as well as other neurological disorders.
AxoTect's lead compound, AK295, has shown promise against CIPN. Following AK295 in Axotect's pipeline are other additional compounds that are as potent as AK295. There are currently no treatments for preventing peripheral neuropathy due to axonal degeneration, and prevention of CIPN remains a major unmet medical need.
AxoTect was originally founded as Axona, Inc. in 2005 with the help of Georgia Venture Partners (GVP) and researchers Jonathan Glass and James Powers. Funding for development has come from the founding parties, as well as the State of Georgia's seed capital fund (administered by the Advance Technology Development Center).
Affiliation with Emory: Jonathan Glass, MD, an original investor in AxoTect, is a professor of neurology at Emory's School of Medicine. He is also the director of the Emory Neuromuscular Laboratory and the Emory ALS Center. Glass has played a significant role in the development of AxoTect's main drug to treat CIPN.
Cambium Medical Technologies
Address: 2986 Greenwillow Drive NE, Atlanta, GA 30345
Web Address: http://www.cambiumbio.com/
President and CEO: Terence Walts
Current Status: Cambium Medical Technologies has products in pre-clinical development.
Company Profile: Cambium was created based on a proprietary method to manufacture a standardized allogeneic platelet lysate preparation invented by Emory scientists. The company is developing novel blood-derived therapeutics that augments the body’s natural regenerative capacity. Cambium’s lead product is a topical solution for ophthalmologic indications associated with corneal disease, in particular Keratoconjunctivitis sicca (KCS) or dry eye syndrome. The company’s preclinical FDA-mandated GLP in vivo animal testing has been funded by its Pacific Rim partner and the Georgia Research Alliance.
Affiliation with Emory: Cambium’s scientific founders are Emory faculty Ian Copland, PhD, Jacques Galipeau, MD, Edmund Waller, MD, PhD, and John Roback, MD, PhD.
Colorado Cancer Therapeutics
Address: 1209 Orange Street, Wilmington, New Castle County, DE 19801
VP: Richard Muruve
Current Status: Colorado Cancer no longer has a license to Emory technology.
Company Profile: Colorado Cancer Therapeutics discovers drugs and compounds to help treat various forms of cancer. Company Profile: Colorado Cancer Therapeutics, founded as a subsidiary of Arch Biopartners, Inc., in 2010, has been discovering compounds to treat cancer. However, this biotechnology is in the preclinical phase when discovered by Colorado Cancer Therapeutics. Their current project centers around small molecule compounds that treat metastatic prostate cancer, pancreatic cancer, and non-small-cell lung cancer – all of these take several thousand lives each year.
Affiliation with Emory: Leland Chung, PhD, is an Emory scientist who collaborates with the University of Colorado to venture into biotechnology and discover potentially revolutionary drugs.
Current Status: This company is no longer in business.
Company Profile: COOL- BIO, INC. was a pre-clinical stage biotechnology company focused on developing hypothermia-activated biologics. The company’s lead product is a “platelet anesthetic” agent for use during cardiopulmonary bypass (CPB), which works to inhibit platelet function at temperatures lower than normal body temperature. The “anesthetic” itself is a fusion peptide, a combination of a temperature-controlled, elastin-mimetic peptide fused with a single-chain monoclonal antibody targeted against activated platelet glycoprotein IIb/IIIa receptors. By taking of advantage of the normal cooling process of bypass surgery the fusion peptide could potentially avert surgical complications such as bleeding and ischemia. Over one million CPB surgeries are performed worldwide each year and protecting platelets from the damage of CPB is recognized to preserve platelet number and function, however there are no safe, available platelet inhibitors currently for peri-operative use.
Affiliation with Emory: The research around platelets by former Emory surgeon Elliot Chaikof, MD, PhD and his colleagues at the Baker Heart Research Institute in Australia form the founding technology behind COOL-BIO.
Cougar Biotechnology, Inc.
Former President and CEO: Alan Auerbach
Current Status: Cougar currently has Phase 3 clinical testing of a drug for prostate cancer, phase 1 and 2 testing for breast cancer and phase 1 trial for myeloma. Johnson & Johnson acquired Cougar in July 2009.
Company Profile: Cougar Biotechnology, Inc. is a Los Angeles-based company that primarily focuses on the field of oncology. Cougar's oncology portfolio includes CB7630, which has been being tested in a Phase III clinical trial in prostate cancer and a Phase I/II trial in breast cancer. It also has two drugs in the earlier stages of the development process: CB3304 in a Phase I trial in multiple myeloma and CB1089, which has been clinically tested in a number of solid tumor types.
The drug closest to reaching the market, abiraterone acetate (CB7630), shows promise in its treatment of prostate cancer. One in six men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in his lifetime, and the disease accounts for 10 percent of cancer-related deaths in the United States. The first Phase III trial tested patients with metastatic, castration-resistant prostate cancer for whom chemotherapy has not worked. The second Phase III trial is patients with metastatic, castration-resistant prostate cancer for people who have not yet received chemotherapy.
On July 10, 2009, Johnson & Johnson acquired Cougar. Cougar Biotechnology now operates as a wholly owned subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson. Prior to this Cougar was traded publicly under the symbol CYKN.
Affiliation to Emory: In 1998 Harish Joshi, PhD, a professor of cell biology at Emory's School of Medicine, along with his colleagues, made a key discovery that noscapine has potent anti-tumor activity against solid murine lymphoid tumors and human breast and bladder tumors. Joshi's team identified that noscapine and its analogs exert their anticancer activity through a tubulin binding mechanism.
In June 2004 Cougar Biotechnology announced that it had licensed the worldwide, exclusive rights to Emory's intellectual property portfolio for noscapine and analogs of noscapine. The company purchased the rights to this technology because they thought the discovery could lead to new drugs for the treatment of a variety of cancers. Part of the licensing agreement with Emory was that Cougar would sponsor additional preclinical research studies of noscapine performed at Emory. Cougar no longer has a licensing agreement with Emory.
Address: 633 Davis Drive, Suite 500; PO Box 14490; Research Triangle Park; NC 27709-4490
President and CEO: Dennis P. Schafer
Current Status: Company ceased operations at the end of 2008.
Company Profile: Curry Pharmaceuticals, Inc. developed drugs for cancer and inflammatory diseases based on the natural product curcumin. The company was founded in 2003 and was based in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina. Curry Pharmaceuticals' mission was to exploit the broad phamacological potential demonstrated for native curcumin extract by developing a synthetic curcumin for selected clinical indications and by creating and optimizing curcumin derivatives for multiple pharmacological pathways and for multiple clinical indications.
Affiliation with Emory: Curry Pharmaceuticals’s scientific founders and senior clinical advisors include some of Emory University’s own: Dennis Liotta, Ph.D., Professor of Chemistry; Mamoru Shoji, MD., Associate Professor of Hematology; Jim Snyder, Ph.D., Director of Biostructural Research.
Address: 11726 San Vicente Blvd., Suite 650, Los Angeles, CA 90049
Web Address: http://www.cytrx.com/
President and CEO: Steven A. Kriegsman
Current Status: CytRx is a biopharmaceutical research and development company specializing in oncology.
Company Profile: CytRx Corporation is a biopharmaceutical research and development company that specializes in oncology. The company's drug development pipeline includes multiple programs in various stages of clinical development for cancers.
The company recently announced the start of a Phase II clinical trial to evaluate the safety and effectiveness of its drug candidate bafetinib in patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia. It also plans to initiate three PhaseII2 trials with its oncology candidate INNO-206, which is intended for the treatment of pancreatic cancer, gastric cancer and soft tissue sarcomas. CytRx is traded publicly under the symbol CYTR.
Affiliation with Emory: Virinder Nohria, MD a former Emory adjunct faculty member is on the Clinical Advisory Board of CytRx. He is a board certified neurologist with special qualifications in child neurology.
Michael Benatar, MBChB, MS, DPhil, former Associate Professor of Neurology and Epidemiology at Emory, is one of the co-principal investigators for the company's research efforts to develop a drug to treat ALS.
Effigene Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
Current Status: The company is no longer in business.
Company Profile: Effigene Pharmaceuticals, Inc. is a biopharmaceutical company that focuses on improving the utilization of RNA interference (RNAi) technology, which is a system in living cells that helps control which proteins are produced from a gene. The company also works on the development of small interference RNA (siRNA) based therapeutics to treat various diseases.
The company's main product, EFI-001, is a proprietary formulation for enhancing silencing effects of siRNA or shRNA in eukaryotic cells. It generally boosts silencing effect to 80 to 90 percent for a siRNA that otherwise can only achieve around 50 percent knock down. It also lowers the dose needed to achieve desirable knock down effects and prolongs the silencing duration. Effigene's main intellectual assets are a unique RNAi reporter system, a siRNA research kit and two small molecules with the potential to stimulate the immune system in siRNA therapeutics.
Affiliation to Emory: Effigene was founded in late 2007 in large part due to the work of Emory researcher Peng Jin, PhD, who developed a chemical screen capable of identifying small-molecule enhancers of RNAi. Jin, an assistant professor of genetics at Emory and Allan Levey, MD, PhD, a professor of neurology at Emory, both serve on the scientific advisory board of Effigene.
Emory University and Effigene have an official partnership, and the company is located about six miles north or campus.
Address: 1900 Lake Park Drive, Suite 380, Smyrna, GA 30080
Web Address: http://www.geovax.com/
President and CEO: Robert T. McNally
Current Status: GeoVax has vaccines in Phase IIA of testing for AIDS.
Company Profile: GeoVax develops vaccines for diseases caused by HIV-1 (Human Immunodeficiency Virus - AIDS). The company aims to be the first to develop an effective AIDS vaccine and then distribute it globally. GeoVax's vaccines are unique in that they express nonpathogenic virus like particles that in turn display glycoproteins found on the exterior of the native virus.
Geovax has successfully completed their preventative Phase I human clinical trial testing the ability of the vaccine to raise anti-HIV antibodies and killer T cells along with its safety. These results then supported the initiation of their first Phase II testing. GeoVax's Phase II human trial began in January 2009 and will ultimately involve 300 participants at sites in the United States and South America. Recently GeoVax began enrolling patients in a Phase 1/2 therapeutic trial for individuals already infected with HIV. GeoVax is traded publicly under the symbol GOVX.
Affiliation to Emory: Harriet Robinson, PhD currently the Senior Vice President of Research and Development for the company, developed GeoVax's AIDS vaccines while with Emory University. Robinson and her research team at the Emory Vaccine Center and Yerkes National Primate Research Center began work on a vaccine in 1998 that could fight off HIV in uninfected people and reduce the virus in those already infected.
Emory and Robinson's team formed GeoVax 2001, and it is now a $100 million publicly held company. If the company achieves its goals, Robinson says it would likely generate $4 billion a year.
Address: Clarendon House, 2 Church Street, Hamilton, HM11 Bermuda
President & CEO: William Ho
Current Status: Incysus has therapeutic candidates in clinical development.
Company Profile: Cancer immunotherapy has demonstrated significant advances and remarkable tumor responses but many of the current therapies have been limited to blood-based tumors with autologous products. Incysus, Ltd. brings a new approach to immunotherapy that offers the flexibility to address both solid and liquid tumors. The company seeks to develop immunotherapy targeting both the innate and adaptive immune systems using T cells that are bio-engineered to withstand drug induced toxicities, thus allowing for the combined use of immunotherapy and chemotherapy. Glioblastoma Multiforme (GBM) is expected to be the company’s first solid tumor market. The company’s liquid tumor market is defined broadly as in the post-transplant setting for hematological malignancies. Incysus’ product development has been funded by capital infusion from friends and family.
Affiliation with Emory: H. Trent Spencer, PhD (Pediatrics) is a scientific co-founder of Incysus.
Inhibikase Therapeutics, Inc.
Address: 3350 Riverwood Parkway, Suite 1927, Atlanta, GA 30339
Web Address: http://www.inhibikase.com
CEO: Milton H. Werner
Current Status: Inhibkase Therapeutics is a biopharmaceutical company developing host-targeted therapeutics to treat and prevent infectious diseases including polyoma virus-based diseases.
Company Profile: Inhibikase was founded in 2010 based on technology that was developed by Emory researchers focusing on host-targeted antiviral therapies. The company focuses on compounds that can be used to target a variety of diseases based on a common mechanism: the inhibition of certain cellular kinase pathways. The company has received FDA approval for a phase II trial in progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML) caused by the JC virus.
Affiliation with Emory: Inhibikase was founded based on Emory technology from Daniel Kalman, PhD. Dr. Kalman is an Associate Professor in the Emory School of Medicine Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine. Dr. Kalman's lab is focused on understanding how bacterial and viral pathogens interface with the host and were the first to demonstrate that inhibition of non-receptor host tyrosine kinases can block replication and propagation of certain types of viruses in animals. He is the scientific founder of the company and continues to work on technology in host-targeted antivirals.
Address: 4939 Directors Place, San Diego, CA 92121
Web Address: http://www.ardeabio.com/about/contact-us.php
President & CEO: Barry D. Quart
Current Status: In 2012 Ardea Biosciences (formerly IntraBiotics) was aquired by AstraZeneca.
Comnpany Profile: Ardea Biosciences is a biotechnology company focused on the development of small-molecule therapeutics for the treatment of serious diseases, specifically gout and cancer. IntraBiotics previously traded under the symbol IBPI.
Affiliation to Emory: In 1994 licensed a patent portfolio around antimicrobial peptides and their uses based on research from Emory's Jan Pohl, PhD and William Shafer, PhD.
InVasc Therapeutics, Inc.
Address: 3562 Habersham at Northlake, Building J, Suite A, Tucker, GA 30084
CEO: William D. Johnston
Current Status: InVasc Therapeutics is a biopharmaceutical company developing clinical stage drugs to treat and prevent chronic kidney and cardiometabolic diseases.
Company Profile: Researchers from Emory and Ohio State University founded InVasc Therapeutics in 2006. With the addition of senior executives with product development experience, InVasc moved from a start up to a development organization in 2009. Currently, InVasc has one lead drug in Phase II development for chronic kidney disease, a largely unaddressed cause of morbidity and mortality in the world, as well as several products in preclinical development for additional indications including atherosclerosis, stroke and vascular events.
Affiliation with Emory: One of InVasc Therapeutics' scientific founders, Bobby V. Khan, MD, PhD, has ties to Emory, as does a member of its scientific advisory board W. Virgil Brown, MD. Until he left to focus on InVasc, Dr. Khan was the Director of Cardiovascular Research and Supervisor of the Vascular Lab at Emory/Grady Memorial Hospital. Dr. Brown is a professor of medicine at Emory University. The initial collaborative studies focused on cardiometabolic pathways and treatments of metabolic disorders was conducted at Emory University.
iThemba Pharmaceuticals (PTY), Ltd.
Current Status: The company is no longer in business.
Company Profile: iThemba, a drug discovery company based in Modderfontein, South Africa, is developing new treatments for neglected infectious diseases including HIV/Aids, Malaria and Tuberculosis (TB). iThemba has developed a strong foundation in synthetic organic chemistry, natural products and medicinal chemistry. Its drug collection includes a range of substituted building blocks, each functionalized with a selection of synthetically useful reactive groups. The company is engaged in developing a pipeline with carefully selected new molecular scaffolds for new and existing biological targets that offer promise for treating neglected infectious diseases.
Affiliation to Emory: Dennis C. Liotta, PhD, one of the company founders, is a renowned organic and medicinal chemist. Liotta's research within the Department of Chemistry at Emory has focused on the discovery and development of novel antiviral and anticancer agents. He is the inventor of two highly successful drugs currently on the market for the treatment HIV and Hepatitis B.
Ketal Biomedical, Inc.
Current Status: The company is no longer in business.
Company Profile: Founded in 2009, Ketal Biomedical commercializes their novel polyketal drug delivery technology. This method is particularly novel because of its ability to not trigger an inflammatory response, which other polymer delivery systems can cause, due to its biodegradable nature. These attributes also lend to many advantages in drug delivery, including but not limited to controlled dosage release of drugs, targeted release to particular areas, and assisting in the up-take of the drugs by targeted cells. Though this technology has centered on drugs, the delivery system can carry proteins and nucleic acids as well, which may prove essential in the future with tailored cellular therapy.
Affiliation with Emory: Michael Davis, PhD, is a researcher at Emory who developed this polyketal delivery technology with Georgia Tech's Niren Murphy, PhD.
Meissa Vaccines, Inc.
Address: 1919 Alameda de las Pulgas, #37, San Mateo, CA 94403
Web Address: http://www.meissavaccines.com/
President & CEO: Marty Moore
Current Status: Meissa has vaccine candidates in pre-clinical development.
Company Profile: Meissa Vaccines is a pharmaceutical startup with a particular focus on developing vaccines for respiratory syncytial virus (RSV, the largest unmet respiratory medical need in pediatrics) and rhinovirus (leading cause of infectious disease worldwide). The challenging obstacles in vaccine development include suboptimal immune responses, vaccine stability, and the lack of broad protection. Meissa Vaccines is applying synthetic biology and genetic engineering to respiratory viruses for the rational design of vaccine strains that overcome these obstacles.
Affiliation with Emory: Martin Moore, Ph.D. (Pediatrics) is the scientific founder of Meissa Vaccines.
Naturopathic Pharmacy, Inc.
Address: 28-2970 Kumula St # B9, Pepeekeo, HI 96783
Current Status: Naturopathic Pharmacy is a company located in Hawaii that is developing novel therapeutics based on naturally occurring compounds to treat cancer patients.
Company Profile: Emory physician scientist Jack Arbiser, MD, PhD, discovered that honokiol, a compound found in the cones, leaves and bark of the Magnolia tree, has antitumor properties. Therefore, honokiol, which has traditionally been used in Chinese herbal medicine, could potentially help individuals who have inoperable or incurable cancers.
Affiliation with Emory: Emory has licensed to Naturopathic Pharmacy the rights pertaining to the use of honokiol to treat various types of cancer. The company is utilizing the Emory technology to create novel formulations of honokiol, which will greatly improve its delivery to a patient.
Address: 5620 Sonoma Road, Bethesda, Maryland 20817
President & CEO: Denes V. Agoston
Current Status: Neuronomix no longer has a license to Emory technology.
Company Profile: Neuronomix-TBI, LLC is a Maryland based company developing pharmacotherapies for the treatment of traumatic brain injury (TBI) and concussion. The company’s mission is to reduce the medical, emotional and fiscal burden of TBI on the individual, on the families and on the society by providing innovative therapeutic solutions. Neuronomix-TBI utilizes blood-oxygen-level dependent (BOLD) contrast functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and neuro-informatics tools for CNS drug discovery and validation. The company was founded by neuroscientists and physicians based on a novel neuroprotective therapy discovered at Emory. The Emory intellectual property relates to: a) the composition of various progesterone analogs and their use in treating TBI, stroke, neurodegenerative diseases and other related indications; and b) the stable injectable formulations suitable for rapid administration by emergency personnel.
Affiliation with Emory: Emory licensed progesterone and analogs technology developed by Emory inventors Donald Stein, PhD, David Wright, MD, and Dennis Liotta, PhD.
Address: 58 Edgewood Avenue, NE, First Floor, Suite 122, Atlanta, GA 30303
Web Address: http://www.neuropinc.com/
President and CEO: George (Barney) Koszalka
Current Status: NeurOp's products are all in the pre-clinical stage.
Company Profile: Researchers at NeurOp are translating years of groundbreaking research at Emory on a critical signaling pathway in the central nervous system into promising drug compounds. These novel therapeutics have the potential to treat patients who have or are at high risk for serious diseases and disorders of the central nervous system including depression, ischemia and neuropathic pain. NeurOp is developing a new generation of N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor antagonists that are efficacious while offering a better safety profile compare to previous NMDA antagonists. NeurOp's drug development programs are currently in the pre-clinical stage.
Affiliation to Emory: Raymond Dingledine, PhD and Stephen Traynelis, PhD, both in the Department of Pharmacology at the Emory University School of Medicine, founded NeurOp in Atlanta in 2002.Dingledine, the Department Chair, is widely recognized as a leading expert in the field of neuropharmacology. George Koszalka, PhD is a senior executive with more than 35 years of leadership experience in global pharmaceutical drug development at numerous biotechnology companies. Dennis Liotta, PhD, who serves on the Board of Directors for NeurOp, is the Samuel Candler Dobbs professor of chemistry at Emory, where he has been a faculty member for more than 25 years.
Address: 717 Braeburn Lane, Penn Valley, PA 19072
Emory Co-Founder: John S. (Pete) Lollar
Current Status: Octagen sold all its assets to Ipsen, its strategic partner and investor in 2008.
Company Profile: Octagen previously was developing drugs for the treatment of hemophilia. The company was founded in November, 1997 in Penn Valley, Pa.
Octagen developed a product to treat patients with hemophilia A, which results from the lack of functional clotting factor VIII. Known as OBI-1, this drug is based on the structure of factor VIII found in pigs and therefore, can be used to treat hemophila A patients who have developed antibody inhibitors to human factor VIII. Octagen teamed with French pharmaceutical company Ipsen, S.A., which purchased all of the assets related to OBI-1 in July, 2008. Ipsen partners with Inspiration BioPharmaceuticals to continue development. In January 2013 Baxter acquires Inspiration BioPharmaceuticals.
Affiliation to Emory: Octagen's hemophilia therapeutic resulted from the groundbreaking work of John S. (Pete) Lollar, MD, a professor in the Department of Pediatrics at Emory. In 1998, Octagen entered an exclusive worldwide licensing agreement with Emory for the commercialization rights to OBI-1.
Pamlico Biopharma, Inc.
Address: 655 Research Parkway, Oklahoma City, OK 73104
CEO: Clayton I. Duncan
Current Status: Pamlico has developed its first drug candidate for severe community-acquired pneumonococcal pneumonia.
Company Profile: Pamlico Biopharma, Inc. is a pre-clinical stage drug discovery company founded around human monoclonal antibody therapeutics for human pathogens, cancer and autoimmune diseases. Researchers at Emory University and the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation (OMRF) developed the company’s initial technology portfolio. Pamlico focuses on antibody therapeutics for pneumonia caused by S pneumoniae (SPN). SPN caused pneumonia remains a major cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide. The magnitude of the clinical challenge is likely to increase as multiple strains of the bacteria have developed resistance to multiple antibiotics. The company’s first drug candidate is a monoclonal antibody for severe (PSI -V) community-acquired pneumonococcal pneumonia, which has a 20-35% mortality rate that has remained constant for two decades. The therapeutic goal is to reduce mortality by 20%, which the company anticipates demonstrating in a superiority study compared to standard care alone. The addressable worldwide market for the company’s products is approximately $ 1 billion.
Affiliation with Emory: Emory researcher Rafi Ahmed, Ph.D. helped to develop Pamlico’s initial technology portfolio. Dr. Ahmed is the director of the Emory Vaccine Center, professor of microbiology and immunology in the Emory University School of Medicine, a Georgia Research Alliance Eminent Scholar, and a member of the National Academy of Sciences.
Former President and CEO: P. Schaefer Price
Current Status: Pharmasset has focused on developing new drugs to treat Hepatitis C virus. Currently, the company has several phase II studies underway on nucleotide analogs. Pharmasset was aquired by Gilead Sciences in January of 2012 for approximately $11 billion.
Company Profile: Pharmasset is a clinical-stage pharmaceutical company that discovers, develops and commercializes novel drugs to treat viral infections. Its primary focus is on the development of drugs for the treatment of the hepatitis C virus ("HCV"). The company currently has six clinical trials ongoing in phase IIa or phase IIb stages on two separate lead compounds.
RG7-128, a drug designed to treat HCV, was brought into the clinic in partnership with Roche and is currently in a phase 2B clinical trial. PSI-7977, also in phase II trials. Pharmasset previously traded under the symbol VRUS.
Affiliation to Emory: Emory faculty members Raymond Schinazi, PhD and Dennis Liotta, PhD founded Pharmasset in 1998 to develop new compounds for treating viral infections and cancer. Liotta is the Samuel Candler Dobbs Professor of Chemistry and Schinazi holds the Frances Winship Walters Chair in Pediatrics. Between them, Schinazi and Liotta hold more than 100 issued patents.
QUE Oncology, Inc.
Address: 2870 Peachtree Rd, #466, Atlanta, GA 30305
Web Address: http://queoncology.com/
President & CEO: John Richard
Current Status: QUE Oncology’s lead compound, Q-122 is currently in Phase Ib clinical trials.
Company Profile: QUE Oncology, Inc. is a drug discovery company developing novel drug candidates to treat cancer and its consequences, from an early development stage to the end of Phase II clinical trials, at which point a partnering global pharmaceutical company can complete their path to market. Emory University, the University of Queensland, and the University of Sydney jointly created the company with each of the universities licensing a technology portfolio to the company.
Affiliation with Emory: QUE Oncology’s most advanced drug asset is Q101, a small molecule drug invented by Dr. Dennis Liotta and his colleagues at Emory University. Dr. Liotta is the Samuel Candler Dobbs Professor in the Department of Chemistry at Emory University. The three universities (Emory University, University of Queensland, and University of Sydney) and the Georgia Research Alliance currently fund the company’s research and development.
RFS Pharma, LLC
Current Status: RFS Pharma was in a reverse merger with Co-Crystal Pharma.
Company Profile: RFS Pharma is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company founded by Raymond Schinazi to discover and develop new drugs for the treatment of certain viral infections. The company team has significant experience in bringing compounds from preclinical stages into the clinic.
Incorporated in 2004, RFS Pharma in-licensed a series of anti-HIV drugs including Amdoxovir (AMDX, DAPD) from Emory University and the University of Georgia Research Foundation. In advanced Phase II clinical studies, Amdoxovir is effective at lowering HIV load, even in individuals with resistant virus strains.
In addition to Amdoxovir, the Company is focusing on developing new molecules for treatment of hepatitis viruses, and in particular hepatitis C (HCV) as well as other infections such as noroviruses. The company has identified several polymerase inhibitor compounds that are being optimized for clinical delivery.
Affiliation to Emory: Raymond F. Schinazi, PhD, the founder and director of RFS Pharma, is a professor at Emory University. He holds the Frances Winship Walters Chair in Pediatrics, has served as a co-Director in the University's Center for AIDS Research, and holds more than 80 U.S. patents.
Schinazi has been instrumental in developing several drugs for HIV, hepatitis B and HCV, including some in the RFS Pharma portfolio. He was one of the principal founders of Triangle Pharmaceuticals, Idenix Pharmaceuticals, and Pharmasset.
Shanghai Braegen Pharmaceutical Company, Ltd.
Address: Room 713, No. 780 Cailun Road, Shanghai Zhang-Jiang Hi-Tech Park, Pudong New District, Shanghai, 201203, P. R. China
Founder and Director: Jie Zhang
Current Status: Shanghai Braegen Pharmaceutical Company, Ltd. has drug candidates in pre-clinical development.
Company Profile: Shanghai Braegen Pharmaceutical Company, Ltd. is based in China. The company is developing drugs for neurodegenerative diseases including Alzheimer’s disease. The Emory intellectual property licensed to the company relates to a series of small molecule precursors to7, 8-dihydroxyflavone (7, 8 DHF), a potent tyrosine receptor kinase B (TrkB) agonist, for the treatment of various neurological diseases. TrkB is a receptor for brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), a growth factor that has important roles in the survival and function of neurons in the central nervous system. Recent studies have indicated that TrkB receptor is associated with Alzheimer’s disease. The company’s drug development is funded by Chinese venture investors.
Affiliation to Emory: Keqiang Ye, PhD (Pathology and Laboratory Medicine) is the scientific founder of the company.
Slainte Bioceuticals, Inc
Current Status: This company is no longer in business.
Company Profile: Slainte was an early-stage drug discovery and development company whose mission is to initially identify, develop and optimize proprietary, clinically-relevant anti-tumor and anti-inflammatory compounds which have either a preventative or therapeutic effect. The core platform technology is based on a group of naturally-occurring compounds known as sphingolipids.
Affiliation to Emory: In 2002 Slainte Biocenticals was incorporated by three individuals including Emory's Dennis Liotta, PhD.
Triangle Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
Founder and Former CEO: David Barry
Current Status: Triangle Pharmaceuticals was acquired by Gilead in December 2002.
Company Profile: Triangle Pharmaceuticals was a biopharmaceutical that developed solutions for serious viral diseases, with a particular focus on therapies for the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), including the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) and the hepatitis B virus. The company developed a portfolio of antiviral drug candidates in advanced stages of development including Coviracil (emtricitabine) for HIV and HBV, amdoxovir for HIV and clevudine for HBV. Triangle also developed immunotherapies for HIV. In December 2002, Triangle Pharmaceuticals was acquired by Gilead Sciences, a leading antiviral biotechnology company.
Gilead is also a research-based biopharmaceutical company with Gilead's primary areas of focus include HIV/AIDS, hepatitis, serious respiratory, cardiovascular, and metabolic conditions, cancer and inflammation. Its portfolio of fourteen marketed products includes five targeting HIV/AIDS, including Atripla, the first single-tablet daily regimen for HIV infection which was initially approved in the US in 2006 and which includes emtricitabine as a key ingredient. Gilead is a publicly traded company that has a market cap, as of 2012, of approximately $38 billion and worldwide operations. Triangle previously traded under the symbol VIRS.
Affiliation to Emory: Since the emergence of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the 1980s Emory scientists Dennis Liotta, PhD and Raymond Schinazi, PhD have led the fight to develop life-saving drugs to treat its victims. In 1995, Schinazi and Liotta co-founded Triangle Pharmaceuticals in Research Triangle Park, NC. Triangle Pharmaceuticals focused on the development of certain drugs that had been identified at Emory, including emtricitabine, which was licensed from Emory into the company in 1996. Emtricitabine was approved in the US in 2003. In January of 2003, Gilead acquired Triangle and, in 2005, also purchased the royalty rights under the Emory-Triangle agreement from Emory for $525 million, at the time the largest royalty buyout ever entered into by a University. As of 2012, four of Gilead's five HIV-targeted products include emtricitabine as a component, and it has been calculated that emtricitabine is used in first line treatment of more than 90% of all HIV patients worldwide.
Zetra Biologicals, LLC
Address: 3961 Woburn Drive, Tucker, GA 30084-6028
Former President: Jadranka Bozja
Current Status: This company is no longer in business.
Company Profile: Zetra Biologicals is a preclinical stage biotechnology company. The company is developing innovative vaccines against pandemic influenza and other infectious diseases, including HIV and Respritory Syncytial Virus (RSV). Zetra Biologicals was formed around the novel virus-like particle (VLP) technology developed by scientific founder Richard Compans.
The VLP technology has the potential to considerably simplify the vaccine manufacturing process and at the same time reduce the time to market. Zetra was founded in January 2007 and its start-up activities have been funded by GRA VentureLab and SBIR grants.
Affiliation with Emory: Richard Compans, PhD, the scientific founder of Zetra, is a professor and former chair of the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at Emory's School of Medicine. He is also is Director of the Influenza Pathogenesis & Immunology Research Center (IPIRC), the same field in which Zetra Biologicals operates.