Neurona Therapeutics Appoints Brad Margus to its Board of Directors
San Francisco, CA, October 20, 2021 – Neurona Therapeutics, a biotherapeutics company advancing restorative neural cell therapies for the treatment of chronic neurological disorders, today announced that it has appointed Brad Margus to its board of directors. Mr. Margus brings over 30 years of company building and corporate leadership experience including over 20 years in the development of therapeutics for central nervous system (CNS) diseases.
“It is my great pleasure to welcome Brad to the Neurona board of directors” said Cory Nicholas, Ph.D., Neurona’s president and chief executive officer. “Determined to decode devastating neurodegenerative disease, he has worked tirelessly to advance new technology platforms that fuel novel diagnostic and therapeutic pipelines. He has done everything from forming nonprofit initiatives, organizing scientific conferences, creating research funding opportunities and resources and more recently to building successful CNS disease-focused companies. We look forward to benefitting from his broad expertise and passion for advancing therapeutic solutions for disorders of the brain as we work to advance our first NRTX-1001 program into a clinical trial for epilepsy this year.”
“I am excited by Neurona’s innovative regenerative cell therapy platform and its initial application in an off-the-shelf therapy that has the potential to broaden treatment options for people with drug resistant focal epilepsy,” said Mr. Margus. “I look forward to working with the talented Neurona team and board of directors to help build and grow the company as it brings its neural cell therapy candidates to patients as expeditiously as possible.”
Mr. Margus is a co-founder and the chief executive officer of Cerevance, a private, clinical-stage pharmaceutical company focused on diseases of the central nervous system. His drive to advance new therapeutics for brain diseases was ignited in the mid-1990s when he formed a nonprofit (the A-T Children’s Project), raised over $50 million from donors through nationwide grassroots efforts, organized scientific conferences, funded research projects worldwide, created tissue banks, established a clinic at Johns Hopkins Hospital, and coordinated clinical trials. He also advocated for other genetic disorders, frequently testifying before Congress.
In addition to Cerevance, Mr. Margus has co-founded several biotechnology companies including Perlegen Sciences, a tools and diagnostics company focused on using genetic variation to improve clinical decision making, and Envoy Therapeutics, focused on advancing a pipeline of compounds that acted on proteins selectively expressed in the disrupted circuitry of brain diseases. Envoy Therapeutics was acquired by Takeda Pharmaceuticals in 2012.
Mr. Margus helped to form the Global Alliance for Genomics and Health, a coalition of over 500 academic medical centers, funding organizations, patient groups, technology providers and government agencies to establish technical and ethical standards for the secure sharing of genomic data, and served as founding CEO of Genome Bridge, a non-profit subsidiary of the Broad Institute of Harvard and M.I.T., to build a scalable computational platform for aggregating, analyzing and sharing genomic and clinical data.
Mr. Margus also serves on the board of Arvinas (Nasdaq: ARVN), a protein degradation company, as volunteer Chairman of the A T Children’s Project, Co-chair of the Network for Excellence in Neuroscience Clinical Trials External Oversight Board at the NIH and the board of Global Genes, a non-profit organization that advocates on behalf of all rare diseases.
He has previously served on the Advisory Council to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke at the NIH; the Secretary of Health and Human Services’ Advisory Committee on Genetics, Health and Society; as a member of the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences Advisory Council and the Cure Acceleration Network Review Board (both at the NIH), the Board of the Genetic Alliance, an umbrella organization representing hundreds of genetic disease advocacy organizations; as an advisor to Counsyl, Inc. (acquired by Myriad Genetics); the Board of Children’s Neurobiological Solutions, an organization aimed at applying brain repair and regeneration to pediatric neurological disorders; the Board of Cellular Research, a molecular biology tool company (acquired by Becton Dickinson); the Board of Second Genome, a microbiome company; the Board of Presage Biosciences, an oncology company, as a Harvard Business School Global Advisor; and on the Stanford University School of Medicine’s Stem Cell Research Oversight Committee. Mr. Margus holds an MBA from Harvard Business School.
NRTX-1001 is an inhibitory nerve cell therapy derived from human pluripotent stem cells. The nerve cells, called interneurons, secrete the inhibitory neurotransmitter, gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). Delivered as a one-time dose, the human interneurons integrate and innervate ontarget, providing long-term GABAergic inhibition to repair hyperexcitable neural networks that underlie epilepsy as well as other disorders of the nervous system. Neurona is initially focused on developing NRTX-1001 as a restorative treatment for mesial temporal lobe epilepsy (MTLE), which is the most common type of focal epilepsy.
Mesial temporal lobe epilepsy (MTLE) involves the internal structures of the temporal lobe. Seizures often begin in a structure of the brain called the hippocampus. MTLE accounts for almost 80% of all temporal lobe seizures. For people with seizures that are resistant to drugs, epilepsy surgery, where the damaged temporal lobe is surgically removed or laser ablated, can be an option for some. However, current surgical options are not available or effective for all, are tissue-destructive, and can have significant adverse effects.
Neurona’s cell therapies have single-dose curative potential. Based on a novel neural cell lineage developed by the company’s scientific founders, Neurona has built a robust regenerative platform and is developing restorative neuronal, glial, and gene-edited cell therapy candidates that provide long-term integration and repair of dysfunctional neural networks for multiple neurological disorders. For more information about Neurona, visit www.neuronatherapeutics.com
Investor and Media Contacts:
Elizabeth Wolffe, Ph.D.