Avilex Appoints Mark Treherne As Its New Chief Executive Officer

The Danish biotech Avilex Pharma, developing innovtive treatments for ischaemic stroke, announces that it has appointed Dr Mark Treherne as its new Chief Executive Officer (CEO).

Mark Treherne has a PhD degree in neuropharmacology from Cambridge University and more than 25 years' industrial R&D experience including leading neurodegeneration at Pfizer in the UK as well as Chief Executive of Cambridge Drug Discovery and then Senexis. Dr Treherne has been involved in raising more than £140 million (DKK 1.4 billion) for private and public companies since leaving Pfizer.

Ischemic stroke is a leading cause of death and disability worldwide with few treatment options available. Avilex is currently developing a drug for the treatment of ischemic stroke based on a novel concept of inhibiting the neuronal scaffolding protein, PSD-95. Avilex employs a novel concept for inhibiting PSD-95 using dimeric ligands that target two protein modules of PSD-95 simultaneously. This has led to identification of a lead compound, UCCB01-144. The specific design of UCCB01-144 provides several key advantages, such as exceptionally high affinity to PSD-95, increased stability and enhanced in vivo neuroprotective properties.

CSO and co-founder of Avilex Pharma, Kristian Strømgaard, comments: "We are exceptionally pleased that Mark has joined us: he has an impressive track record in both big pharma as well as biotech, where he has raised significant amounts of investment. We believe Mark is a perfect fit for Avilex Pharma, where we currently have solid funding for our preclinical development of UCCB01-144, which is progressing very well, but will need to secure further funding for clinical development."

Mark Treherne: "I am very excited about joining Avilex Pharma and look forward to work with Kristian and the team. The recent Award form the Wellcome Trust will provide substantial funding for our current R&D and we look forward to working with the Trust over the coming 2 years. This Award enables us to transform the pioneering work obtained by our scientists into a comprehensive drug development program that we hope will lead to a novel clinical candidate for treatment of ischemic stroke."

Emmanuelle Coutanceau, Investment Director at Novo Seeds: "Avilex Pharma has accumulated compelling data for the treatment of stroke and its compound shows very strong evidence of efficacy in preclinical models. The company has now reached the next level of its development and Mark will bring significant expertise and value for bringing UCCB01- 144 into the clinic".