Mr. Anthony J. Giovinazzo joins as Executive Chairman; and Dr. Nickolay V. Kukekov, Ph.D. as President and CEO
KalGene also announced that concurrent with the appointment of new leadership, the Company has closed on a substantial amount of capital from US institutions and family offices to progress KG207 to clinical testing
MONTREAL and TORONTO, Aug. 5, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- KalGene Pharmaceuticals Inc. announced today that Anthony J. Giovinazzo, MBA, C. Dir. & A.C.C. has joined the Board of Directors of the company as an Executive Chairman. Mr. Giovinazzo is an internationally recognized expert in drug development and commercialization, with more than 25 years of experience in Central Nervous System (CNS) diseases, primarily Alzheimer's and Parkinson's. Most recently, he was a co-inventor and CEO of Cynapsus Therapeutics, a specialty pharmaceutical company that developed an FDA approved drug today known as Kynmobi for Parkinson's disease. At Cynapsus, Mr. Giovinazzo built the leadership team, raised US $ 136 million including an oversubscribed IPO to NASDAQ and eventually sold the company for a Cad. $841 million all cash acquisition.
Mr. Giovinazzo commented on his new role "I've followed the development of KalGene and its lead KG207 program for many years. I am truly impressed by the quality of the science and the composition of the drug candidate as a carefully engineered entity, selective for Toxic Oligomers, to potentially become the best-in-class therapy over existing drug candidates to treat Alzheimer's disease."
KalGene's Board also announced today that Nickolay V. Kukekov, Ph.D. has joined as company's President and CEO. Dr. Kukekov received his Ph.D. in Neuroscience from Columbia University, College of Physicians & Surgeons in New York City. The focus of his research was the molecular mechanisms underlying programmed cell death of neuronal cells exposed to various pro-apoptotic conditions such as hypoxia, cytotoxic stress, amyloid-beta, etc. After his thesis defense and post-doctoral position at Columbia, he spent 15 years on Wall Street, where he held a number of healthcare investment banking, healthcare private equity and merchant banking positions.
"I am extremely excited about joining KalGene's team where together we are focused on developing a solution to such a devastating and complex disease like Alzheimer's. Our lead drug candidate KG207 holds great promise to truly become the best-in-class disease-modifying agent for this disease. The team of over 40 brilliant scientists from the leading scientific institutions in Canada are behind this unique molecule. It integrates all of the cutting-edge features, such as enhanced blood brain barrier penetration, highly specific binding to toxic beta-amyloid oligomers, no observed dose-limiting toxicity and lack of neuro-inflammatory side effects; all that makes it a highly attractive candidate for the human clinical trials."
Dr. Kukekov continued " I am very grateful to our wonderful partners; the National Research Council of Canada (NRC), McGill University, Lumira Ventures and a number of agencies and foundations that continue to support us including the Weston Brain Institute, Consortium Québécois sur la Découverte du Médicament (CQDM), Brain Canada and Ontario Brain Institute."
Mr. Giovinazzo and Dr. Kukekov bring an outstanding combination of CNS, drug development and capital markets expertise to KalGene", said Jacki Jenuth, Partner at Lumira Ventures. "We identified KG207 early as a best-in-class therapeutic which targets the safe removal of toxic beta-amyloid oligomers which are thought to be one of the major contributing factors leading to Alzheimer's disease. The unique profile of KG207 and quality of the preclinical data has enabled KalGene to attract and assemble a world class team which is poised to bring this important therapeutic to patients suffering from this devastating disease."
About KalGene Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
KalGene Pharmaceuticals Inc. is a pre-clinical stage company focused on the development of a precision engineered drug candidate KG207 to slow the progression and potentially reverse Alzheimer's. KG207 targets the direct cause of Alzheimer's disease toxic beta-amyloid oligomers with reduced risk of potentially serious side effects caused by all emerging anti-amyloid monoclonal antibody therapeutics, including the recently FDA-approved Aduhelm (aducanumab; Biogen).
The molecule was designed to address several critical components: a chaperone binding motif to facilitate active transport across the blood brain barrier, allowing for a multi-fold greater concentration of the drug to enter the brain when compared to conventional monoclonal antibody; an active structural element to increase the half-life of the molecule and a Toxic Oligomer species specific binding peptide fragment that potentially slows neuronal loss and reverses the effect of Alzheimer's disease