LEXINGTON, Mass.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Alzheon, Inc., a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on brain health, memory and aging, announced today that it has appointed Jean-Pierre Sommadossi, PhD, to the company’s Board of Directors. With more than 20 years of scientific, operational, strategic and management experience in the biotechnology industry, Dr. Sommadossi brings a seasoned and unique perspective to support Alzheon’s continued growth and advancement as a leading clinical-stage Alzheimer’s company.
“We are privileged to expand our Board of Directors to include Dr. Sommadossi, a preeminent leader in the biotechnology industry well-known for his founding and management roles at two highly successful biotechs, Idenix and Pharmasset,” said Martin Tolar, MD, PhD, Founder, President and Chief Executive Officer of Alzheon. “JP’s exceptional grasp of the operational and strategic opportunities as well as challenges that face rapid growth biotechnology companies will be a tremendous asset to Alzheon as we advance our lead drug candidate ALZ-801 into a pivotal Alzheimer’s study and continue to build our pipeline to become a leading innovator in therapies for neurodegenerative disorders.”
Dr. Sommadossi’s appointment represents further expansion of Alzheon’s Board of Directors, building on the appointment of other experienced drug developers and company leaders who joined Martin Tolar on the Alzheon board within the past year: Menghis Bairu, MD, Franklin Berger, Franz Hefti, PhD, and Scott Minick. Alzheon was founded in early 2013, and the expansion of the company’s Board of Directors aligns with the advancement of ALZ-801 into a confirmatory Phase 2/3 clinical study in Alzheimer’s disease patients in 2015.
“Alzheon is uniquely positioned to be a path-breaking company with the potential to bring transformational treatments to patients with Alzheimer’s disease within the next five year,” commented Dr. Sommadossi. “I look forward to sharing my insights and experiences with the strong leadership team at Alzheon as the company advances its lead candidate, ALZ-801, as well as building other promising clinical assets in Alzheon’s portfolio.”
Jean-Pierre Sommadossi is the principal founder of Atea Pharmaceuticals, where he is currently Chairman and CEO. In addition, he is a member of the Harvard Medical School Therapeutics Advisory Council, a senior advisor to PureTech Ventures, Chairman of the Board of Panchrest, Inc., and a Member of the Board of the BioExecutive Institute. Dr. Sommadossi is the principal founder of Idenix Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ:IDIX) and a co-founder of Pharmasset, Inc. Both of these companies were acquired; Idenix by Merck for $3.85 billion in 2014, and Pharmasset by Gilead for $11.1 billion in 2012. Dr. Sommadossi held a number of key executive positions at Idenix, including Chairman of the Board of Directors, Executive President and Chief Scientific Officer from 1998 to 2000, and then as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer from 2000 to 2010. Under his leadership, the company raised more than $450 million in private and public equity financings and entered into multiple strategic partnerships, including those with Sumitomo and GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) as well as a landmark biotech-pharma transaction with Novartis Pharma AG in 2003. Throughout this time, Idenix discovered, co-developed and co-launched Telbuvidine (Tyzeka®/Sebivo®) for the treatment of hepatitis B, and established a major clinical pipeline of antiviral therapeutics for the treatment of hepatitis C and HIV/AIDS.
Prior to embarking on his entrepreneurial career, Dr. Sommadossi was on the faculty of the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Medicine since March 1985. He has served as a Professor of Pharmacology, Toxicology and Clinical Pharmacology as well as an Associate Director of both the Center for AIDS Research and The Liver Center from June 1992 to November 2000. Dr. Sommadossi has authored over 180 peer-reviewed publications and holds more than 50 U.S. patents related to the treatment of cancer and infectious diseases. Dr. Sommadossi holds a PharmD and a PhD in Pharmacology from the University of Marseilles in France. He was a postdoctoral Fogarty Fellow at the National Cancer Institute and The Medical College of Virginia, and is a recipient of a Faculty Award from The American Cancer Society.
Alzheon, Inc., is a clinical-stage biotechnology company focused on brain health, memory and aging, developing innovative treatments for Alzheimer’s disease and other neurodegenerative disorders. Alzheon pursues clinical candidates for which established clinical efficacy, target engagement and human safety data exist, and where new insights and development strategies can be applied. Alzheon is implementing the latest scientific knowledge and understanding of the impact on patients to a focused and efficient clinical development strategy in Alzheimer’s disease and other neurodegenerative disorders. The company pursues a pipeline of innovative drugs targeting the underlying pathogenesis of neurodegeneration to improve the symptoms and to slow the progression of these devastating conditions. Our lead product candidate, ALZ-801, is a first-in-class small molecule inhibitor of neurotoxicity and amyloid aggregation, and is advancing into a confirmatory Phase 2/3 study for patient subpopulations with Alzheimer’s or at high risk for the disease. Alzheon has world-leading capabilities in drug development for Alzheimer’s diseases and neuropsychiatric disorders, and is applying these to pipeline product candidates as well as additional therapeutics acquired through strategic in-licensing. Alzheon is located in Lexington, Massachusetts, USA. For more information, please visit www.alzheon.com.
Tyzeka® and Sebivo® are registered trademarks of Idenix Pharmaceuticals, Inc.