The University of Oxford’s regenerative drug discovery spinout OxStem Limited has appointed Georg Terstappen as chief scientific officer, to lead development work across its portfolio of six programs that aim to stimulate progenitor and stem cell repair mechanisms within the body.
Most recently, Terstappen served as head of platform technologies and science at GlaxoSmithKline’s R&D center in Shanghai, helping to oversee preclinical drug development. Before that, he headed up discovery biology at AbbVie’s Ludwigshafen, Germany location.
He has also held positions at Bayer, GlaxoWellcome and Siena Biotech, where he was co-founder and CSO.
In addition, Terstappen has held positions at the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations, including vice-chair of the organization’s innovative medicines strategy group, under its public-private Innovative Medicines Initiative. He is also a founding member and co-chair of the IMI’s strategic governing group for neurodegeneration.
OxStem itself acts as a parent holding company, overseeing and funding development of small molecule drugs at a series of subsidiaries, each focused on different therapeutic needs and organ systems. Its current roster includes OxStem Neuro, OxStem Oncology, OxStem Ocular and OxStem Cardio, all of which are in the discovery stage.
Two more branches are being planned: OxStem Immuno, in wound healing and inflammation, and OxStem Beta, targeting the regeneration of insulin-producing beta cells.
Its Neuro outfit is aiming to identify a new class of drugs that stimulate de novo neuron production from neural stem cells to counteract degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s.
Similarly, OxStem Cardio hopes to stimulate resident cardiac precursor cells to increase muscle regeneration and improve function following a heart attack, while OxStem Ocular looks to stimulate photoreceptor cell production within the retina.
OxStem Oncology, meanwhile, is looking to develop treatments for a wide range of cancer types, and the “cancer stem-like cells” that can persist after therapy. The company hopes to develop drugs that force those cells to differentiate into more benign states.