HALLE/SAALE, Germany, Jan 23, 2013 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- Probiodrug AG (Probiodrug) today announced the appointment of two senior executives: Ronald Black, M.D., chief medical officer, and Inge Lues, Ph.D., chief development officer. Dr. Black will be based in the United States and will lead the Company's clinical development strategy and U.S. presence. Dr. Lues will be based in Germany and will be responsible for non-clinical development and ancillary science activities for the Company's portfolio of anti-pyroglutamated Abeta therapies for the treatment of Alzheimer's disease.
"We have made great strides in understanding the role of a modified Abeta molecule, pyroglutamated Abeta, in the etiology of Alzheimer's disease. We look forward to adding the broad industry experience of Drs. Black and Lues to our efforts as we translate this important discovery further into clinical application," said Dr. Konrad Glund, CEO of Probiodrug. "Their combined experience in Alzheimer's R&D will be invaluable as we advance PQ912, our lead QC inhibitor, through Phase 2 trials and commence clinical studies on our other pipeline products."
Dr. Black brings a wealth of clinical and scientific knowledge on Alzheimer's disease to Probiodrug, including extensive experience across all stages of clinical drug development for neurologic disorders. Before joining Probiodrug, he was assistant vice president of Alzheimer's immunotherapy at Pfizer. Both at Pfizer and at Wyeth Pharmaceuticals prior to its acquisition by Pfizer, Dr. Black led the development of a number of small molecules and biologics for the treatment of Alzheimer's disease, including the monoclonal antibody bapineuzumab, which was developed in partnership with Elan and Janssen. He has been involved with two New Drug Applications and eight Investigational New Drug filings and he has authored more than 40 publications and 50 abstracts. Dr. Black graduated from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and completed a residency in neurology at New York Hospital-Cornell Medical Center.
For the last five years, Dr. Lues has acted as a research and development advisor to venture capital and biotechnology companies. During this time she assisted the Probiodrug team in identifying drug candidates and advancing them from discovery into clinical studies. Earlier in her career, she held several positions at Merck KGaA including executive vice president of global drug discovery and non-clinical development from 2002 until 2007, and head of Merck's CNS business unit from 1998 and 2002, where she was instrumental in the development of the antidepressant vilazodone (now marketed as Viibryd(R)) and the IBS treatment asimadoline. Dr Lues received her Ph.D. in physiology in 1978 and postdoctoral training in pharmacology.
Commenting on his appointment, Dr. Black stated, "I was attracted to the Probiodrug opportunity in large part because of the new and promising direction of the Company's research. Alzheimer's is a complex disease and a difficult therapeutic target, however I believe that glutaminyl cyclase inhibitors represent the one of the best chances to impact disease biology and even to halt the progression of the disease." Dr. Lues added, "I'm looking forward to collaborating with Dr. Black to advance Probiodrug's pipeline of QC inhibitors, expand the clinical development program and continue the Company's evolution towards the market."
About Probiodrug AG
Probiodrug is a biopharmaceutical company dedicated to the discovery and development of small molecule drugs against novel molecular targets for the treatment of neuronal and inflammatory diseases. With its medical use and composition of matter patents the Company has a dominant position in the area of glutaminyl cyclase inhibition. Glutaminyl cyclase, a novel enzyme target discovered and patented by Probiodrug, is essential for the formation of pyroglutamated Abeta, which has been shown to play a crucial role in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer's disease (AD). Probiodrug is backed by institutions such as BB Biotech, Edmond de Rothschild Investment Partners, Goodvent/IBG, HBM, TVM Capital, Life Sciences Partners, Biogen Idec New Ventures, CFH Group, funds managed by Wellington Management and private investors.
Probiodrug's core capabilities are based on its long-standing expertise in the elucidation of the structure and function of enzymes which play a central role in the maturation of hormones. The Company has pioneered the field of dipeptidyl peptidase 4 (DP4)-inhibition for the treatment of type 2 diabetes. Medical use and composition of matter patents of its DP4 program in diabetes were licensed to various pharmaceutical companies. In 2004, all metabolic assets were sold to OSI Pharmaceuticals Ltd. The first drug based on Probiodrug's technologies reached the market in late 2006. Proceeds of the various transactions have been reinvested to fund the novel approach for the treatment of AD. Probiodrug was founded in 1997 by Prof. Dr. Hans-Ulrich Demuth and Dr. Konrad Glund. For more information, please visit www.probiodrug.de.