GRANADA, Spain, June 1, 2016 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- nLife Therapeutics, an early-stage biopharmaceutical company leading developments in conjugated nucleic acids as therapeutic agents for central nervous system (CNS) and neuromuscular (NS) disorders, today announced the appointment of Dr. Errol B. De Souza, Ph.D. as executive chairman.
Dr. De Souza joined the team at nLife on April 19, 2016. He has been president and CEO at leading biopharmaceutical companies, including Biodel Inc., Archemix Corp., and Synaptic Pharmaceuticals. He was co-founder and chief scientific officer at Neurocrine Biosciences, senior vice president and U.S. site head of drug innovation and approval (R&D) at Aventis and director of CNS disease research at DuPont Merck.
Dr. De Souza serves or has served on the faculty of major U.S. universities, editorial boards, National Institutes of Health committees and boards of directors. He has raised capital in private and public environments and established multiple collaborations with large pharmaceutical companies.
nLife Therapeutics has developed a proprietary oligonucleotide delivery platform with strong IP protection. Oligonucleotides can be applied to un-druggable target proteins, allowing the development of therapies in diseases that might otherwise have no viable treatment.
The nLife gene silencing applications are validated in primate models for Parkinson's disease, and in rodent models for morbid obesity and major depression disorder. The technology is now being diversified from 'gene silencing' to broader 'non-viral gene therapy' applications.
In addition to managing and chairing the board of directors at nLife, Dr. De Souza will liaise with investors and management to develop and implement strategy, scientific direction and fundraising. Dr. De Souza said: "I appreciate the board's vote of confidence and look forward to working with the scientific team. The nLife platform is expanding from oligonucleotides in gene silencing using antisense and siRNA, toward new applications related to mRNA therapeutics and non-viral CRISPR/CAS9 gene editing."
nLife is in the process of raising a Series B financial round to support the expansion of the nLife technology platform. The CEO at nLife Therapeutics, Andres Montefeltro said: "Errol's leadership and experience will help us to create shareholder value through fundraising and to establish collaborations with major biotech and pharmaceutical companies to accelerate the application of our delivery platforms to target a wider range of neurodegenerative conditions."
About Errol B. De Souza, Ph.D. (high res images available on request)
Dr. De Souza was the president and chief executive officer of Biodel a specialty biopharmaceutical company focused on the development and commercialization of innovative treatments for diabetes (March 2010 to January 2016). From April 2003 to January 2009, Dr. De Souza was president and chief executive officer of Archemix Corporation, a biopharmaceutical company focused on oligonucleotide aptamer therapeutics. From September 2002 to March 2003, he was president and chief executive officer and a director of Synaptic Pharmaceuticals. As a result of a merger effective March 2003, Synaptic Pharmaceuticals became a wholly-owned subsidiary of H. Lundbeck A/S, an international pharmaceutical company.
Prior to that (1998 - 2002), Dr. De Souza held senior management positions with Aventis, and its predecessor company Hoechst Marion Roussel Pharmaceuticals where he was senior vice president and site head of US Drug Innovation and Approval (R&D) with responsibilities for the discovery and development of drug candidates for central nervous system and immunological disorders through proof-of-concept (Phase 2) trials. He was co-founder and executive vice president of R&D at Neurocrine Biosciences, Inc (1992 - 1998) and Head of CNS Diseases Research at DuPont Merck (1990 - 1992).
Dr. De Souza received his B.A. (Honors) in physiology and his Ph.D. in neuroendocrinology from the University of Toronto and he received his postdoctoral fellowship in neuroscience from The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. He has edited 6 books and is an author or co-author of approximately 300 original articles, chapters or reviews and 300 abstracts.
His research has focused on the receptor mechanisms involved in coordinating brain-endocrine-immune responses to stress. He is the recipient of numerous national and international awards including the 1990 Joseph Cochin Young Investigator Award of the Committee on Problems of Drug Dependence, the 1991 Jordi Folch-Pi Memorial Award of the American Society for Neurochemistry, the 1994 Curt Richter Award and the 2005 Service Award of the International Society of Psychoneuroendocrinology, the 1997 Daniel H. Efron Award of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology and the 2005 Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year (New England Biotech category).
Dr. De Souza has served on the faculty of several universities including The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, the University of California at San Diego and Rutgers University. He serves or has served on several Editorial Boards and National Institutes of Health Committees as well as Board of Directors of several private and public companies including Bionomics Limited, Catalyst Biosciences, IDEXX Laboratories, Palatin Technologies, Neurocrine Biosciences, Synaptic Pharmaceuticals and Targacept, Inc.
About nLife Therapeutics and its nucleic acid delivery platform technology (images on request)
nLife Therapeutics is leading the development of cell-specific oligonucleotides as therapeutic agents for central nervous system and neuromuscular disorders.
Oligonucleotides are short nucleic acid polymers designed to bind to specific complementary messenger RNA strands promoting their degradation, which produces a decrease in the levels of specific proteins that may contribute to diseases when they accumulate.
Selective delivery and cell-specific targeting are achieved by attaching small molecule chemical ligands to the oligonucleotide. The conjugated oligonucleotides can be applied to un-druggable target proteins and have potential as a disease-modifying therapy for a broad array of genetic disorders that might otherwise have no viable treatment option.
Founded in 2010 and based in Granada (Spain), nLife has raised a total of USD 11 million from private capital and USD 4 million in public grants since inception. The 'angel' investors include four Spanish VC's: Crossroad Biotech, Caixa Capital, Biomed Risk, Invercaria and HealthEquity.
Recent publications: http://doi.org/10.1038/mp.2015.80 - Molecular Psychiatry - May 2016
Ferrés-Coy, A., Galofré, M., Pilar-Cuellar, F., Vidal, R., Paz, V., Ruiz-Bronchal, E., et al. (2015). Therapeutic antidepressant potential of a conjugated siRNA silencing the serotonin transporter after intranasal administration.
Further information - http://www.n-life.es
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Errol B. De Souza: http://hugin.info/172620/R/2016951/748226.jpg