NOVATO, Calif., Oct. 25, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- Mercaptor Discoveries (Mercaptor), a company developing small molecules that target brain trauma and neurodegenerative diseases, announced today that Dr. Adriano Aguzzi, MD, PhD, is heading up the formation of its Scientific Advisory Board (SAB). Dr. Aguzzi is a world-renowned neuropathologist, whose research has garnered numerous accolades including the Marcel-Benoist Prize, the Robert-Koch Prize and the Antonio-Feltrinelli Award, which are among the highest recognitions in Switzerland, Germany and Italy, respectively.
He is also Professor and Chairman of the Department of Pathology at University of Zurich, Director of the Institute of Neuropathology at the University Hospital of Zurich and a Founder and Director of the Swiss National Center for Prion Diseases.
"Mercaptor's strategy is based on solid scientific knowledge," Dr. Aguzzi said. "In addition, the management team of Mercaptor has shown to be immensely successful with its previous company—and this gives me strong confidence that they will have the optimal chances to tackle the most difficult challenges in drug discovery against neurological diseases."
Dr. Aguzzi plans to identify two to three additional advisors with complementary expertise to join Mercaptor's SAB and help guide Mercaptor's research. "It is crucial to explicitly ensure a diversity of opinions, so that the issues at hand can be explored from a variety of angles," he explained. "In my experience of running an academic lab for over 25 years, I have found that this is best addressed by cultivating diversity – in the educational history of SAB members, in their geographic location, and also in gender and in cultural aspects."
Mercaptor's approach to treating neurodegeneration by addressing reactive oxygen species (ROS) parallels Dr. Aguzzi's research, which convinced him that "removing oxygen radicals at the right moment in the right cells may represent a promising strategy against prions and perhaps many other neurological diseases."
Referring to the vast unmet medical need, Dr. Aguzzi said, "More than in other disease areas, there is a glaring lack of validated targets against neurodegeneration. Hence any effort will have to involve discovery-oriented research."
The Capton® approach is to enable production of a neuroprotectant at the site of damage, locally, leaving the healthy brain tissue untouched. Dr. Aguzzi finds that "the rationale for using captons is stringent and plausible for many brain diseases."
"Mercaptor's approach is radically different from those currently pursued by most pharmaceutical companies in the neurological disease space," he added. "This makes Mercaptor's compounds particularly attractive, as they might be exploited in combination with the more conventional small-molecule and antibody approaches."
"Adriano is a recognized leader in the field of neuropathology," said Dr. Todd Zankel, CSO and Co-founder of Mercaptor. "His input has already helped advance our understanding of brain pathology and its treatment."
About Mercaptor Discoveries
Mercaptor Discoveries has developed a range of small molecules, called Captons®, as injury-induced therapeutics that protect against the progression of brain trauma and neurodegeneration. Captons® have preclinical POC as neuroprotectants with wide potential to treat CNS disorders and neurodegenerative diseases such as TBI, concussions, Alzheimer's disease, ALS, CTE, Parkinson's disease, and stroke. Founded in 2016, Mercaptor is led by a team of highly trained scientists and executives with experience developing successful biotech companies, including Raptor Pharmaceuticals; purchased by Horizon Pharma in 2016 for nearly $860M. Mercaptor prioritizes productivity and transparency and values the purity of research. To learn more, visit www.mercaptor.com.