ACTON, Mass.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Cognoptix, an emerging medical device company that is developing the SAPPHIRE II eye test designed to identify Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) patients via a beta-amyloid (A-beta) signature in their eyes, announced today that it has elected its President and CEO, Paul D. Hartung, as Chairman of the Board. The company also announced that it has elected a new director: Christine de los Reyes, PharmD, Vice President, Business Development and Strategic Planning, Alopexx Enterprises LLC.
On Sept. 30, 2014, Cognoptix announced that it closed the first tranche of a Series D round of financing totaling over $15 million. The round was co-led by new investor Alopexx and existing investor Inventages, with participation from original investor, Launchpad Venture Group.
“Christine brings to Cognoptix significant international business development experience, particularly in the pharmaceutical sector,” said Paul D. Hartung, Chairman, CEO and President of Cognoptix. “We expect Christine to be extremely helpful to Cognoptix as we fast-forward the completion of the clinical development of our SAPPHIRE II eye test, which we believe will help change the course of Alzheimer’s disease by enabling early diagnosis at point-of-care.”
Dr. Christine de los Reyes is Vice President of Business Development and Strategic Planning at Alopexx Enterprises, a healthcare investment and development firm based in Concord, Mass. Most recently, she was founder and Managing Director of BiotechPartnering Solutions, a business development consulting firm that advises life science companies on partnering strategy, search for potential partners, coordination of technical evaluation and due diligence, deal structure and transaction negotiation. Dr. de los Reyes has been a member of the advisory board of the Neurotechnology Industry Organization, a non-profit trade association that represents companies involved in neuroscience, academic neuroscience research centers and brain-illness advocacy groups. Previously, she was Executive Director of Licensing & Development at Pfizer, with a focus on in-licensing in several therapeutic areas including neuroscience and ophthalmology.
Mr. Hartung is a long-time life sciences executive with a proven track record in launching successful startup businesses and leading Fortune 500 organizations. He has raised over $32 million in Angel and VC funding for Cognoptix, leading the company from concept through clinical trials, with outstanding Phase 2 results. He serves on the Board of Directors of Medical Development Group (MDG), a leading medical technology professional organization. He has extensive experience in the laser and medical device industries, including managing manufacturing for Summit Technology, Inc., a leading developer of the LASIK procedure and other laser eye correction procedures. Mr. Hartung is an active speaker, author and inventor on a number of patents.
In addition to Mr. Hartung and Dr. de los Reyes, the Cognoptix Board of Directors also includes Gunnar Weikert, MD, PhD, who is Chairman, CEO and Founder of Inventages.
By detecting a specific fluorescent signature of ligand-marked A-beta in the supranucleus region of the human lens, SAPPHIRE II achieved a sensitivity of 85% and a specificity of 95% in differentiating 20 patients who were clinically diagnosed with probable AD from a group of 20 age-matched healthy volunteers in a Phase II clinical trial. In addition, the SAPPHIRE II test showed superior correlation to PET (positron emission tomography) amyloid brain imaging, with 95% specificity for SAPPHIRE II versus 80% for PET brain imaging.
Cognoptix, a privately held medical technology company headquartered in Acton, Mass., is focused on developing and commercializing an in-office, drug/device diagnostic system as an aid in the early detection of Alzheimer’s Disease (AD). Its investors include Alopexx Enterprises, Inventages Venture Capital, and Launchpad Venture Group.
NOTE: The SAPPHIRE II system is approved for investigational use only in the United States.