MONROVIA, Calif., 9/21/20 — AcuraStem (www.acurastem.com), a patient-based drug discovery platform company developing novel therapeutics for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and neurodegenerative diseases, announced today that Robert P. Bowser, Ph.D., Professor and Chair of Neurobiology at the Barrow Neurological Institute, and founder of Iron Horse Diagnostics, has been elected to AcuraStem’s scientific board of advisors.
“We are excited to add our collaborator Dr. Robert Bowser to our advisory board. Bob is a worldwide leader in ALS biomarker development. His expertise will be critical as we look to validate key, CNS-specific, mechanistic biomarkers for our PIKFYVE programs,” said Sam Alworth, co-founder and chief executive officer of AcuraStem.
The disease-modifying potential of PIKFYVE inhibition for ALS was discovered by AcuraStem’s co-founder and close collaborator, Dr. Justin Ichida, in a landmark study appearing in Nature Medicine in 2017 (Shi Y et al Nature Med 2018). Reducing PIKFYVE levels in ALS patient motor neurons helps to prevent neurodegeneration, and could translate to improved motor function and survival for ALS patients. Supported by the National Institutes of Health and the Muscular Dystrophy Association, AcuraStem has been developing PIKFYVE-targeting therapies which are soon to enter IND-enabling studies.
Profiling these treatments across a large panel of ALS patient motor neurons on AcuraStem’s iNeuroRx® technology platform has shown that targeting PIKFYVE works broadly for both familial and sporadic forms of ALS, a large patient population lacking effective treatments in the development pipeline. The iNeuroRx technology platform is composed of disease-relevant neurons from many ALS patients and machine learning-driven assays. AcuraStem has discovered several novel and potentially disease-modifying therapeutic opportunities on the platform, and it is building out a robust pipeline of treatments.
“Bob’s wealth of biomarker experience, co-chairing the Northeast ALS Consortium Biorepository and leading the Target ALS and ALS Association TDP-43-focused biomarker initiative, will be extremely valuable to expedite our programs into clinical trials and maximize their chances of success,” said Mr. Alworth.
About Robert Bowser, Ph.D.
Dr. Bowser is the Chief Scientific Officer, the John and Betty VanDenburgh Chair of Neuromuscular Disease as well as Professor and Chairman of the Department of Neurobiology at the Barrow Neurological Institute (BNI) and St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center. He is also the Founder and President of Iron Horse Diagnostics, Inc. Dr. Bowser is a co-chair of the Northeast ALS Consortium (NEALS) BioRepository Committee, and Director of the Target ALS and ALS Association TDP-43-Focused Biomarker Initiative. He has led the establishment of standardized protocols for the collection and processing of human cerebrospinal fluid, blood, and post-mortem tissue samples for biomarker studies in ALS, and performed large proteomic and metabolomics discovery and validation studies for ALS biomarkers.
About AcuraStem, Inc.
AcuraStem is a patient-based drug discovery platform company developing novel drug programs for neurodegenerative diseases, starting with ALS. It is focused on advancing therapeutic targets that show efficacy in animal and patient-derived models of sporadic ALS. All of AcuraStem’s drug discovery is done using neurons derived from patients and modeled on its proprietary iNeuroRx® technology platform. The company is led by experts in disease modeling, machine learning, and drug development. For additional information, please visit www.acurastem.com
Director of Communications, AcuraStem
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