SYRACUSE, N.Y., July 21, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Salus Scientific (www.salusscientific.com), a medical cannabis company that has submitted an application to become one of five organizations authorized in New York State to provide medical cannabis products, announced today that Dr. M. Flint Beal and Mr. Kevin McKernan have joined the company's scientific advisory board.
Dr. Beal is currently Professor of Neurology and Professor of Neuroscience at the Brain and Mind Research Institute (BMRI) at Weill Cornell Medical College. BMRI is one of New York's leading neurological institutes that conducts bench-to-bedside research to develop novel therapeutics for neurological diseases to be tested in cutting-edge clinical trials. Dr. Beal previously served for more than 10 years as the Chair of Neurology at Weill Cornell Medical College and Neurologist-in-Chief at New York Presbyterian Hospital.
Mr. McKernan is the founder of Medicinal Genomics, a molecular information company that applies state-of-the-art life science technology to cannabis plant genetics. He is also the Co-Founder and Chief Science Officer of Courtagen Life Sciences, one of the premier genetic testing company's in the United States, specializing in neurological and metabolic disorders.
Dr. Beal, an internationally recognized authority on neurodegenerative disorders, has focused his 30+ year career on the mechanism of neuronal degeneration in Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), Alzheimer's Disease, Huntington's Disease, and Parkinson's Disease. He is the author or co-author of more than 300 scientific articles and more than 125 books, book chapters and reviews. He serves on the editorial boards of seven prestigious journals, including the Journal of Neurochemistry, the Annals of Neurology, Journal of Molecular Neuroscience, Experimental Neurology and Neurobiology of Disease. He is also a member of the prestigious Institute of Medicine (IOM) and the National Academy of Sciences.
"Dr. Beal has been developing novel therapeutics and leading cutting-edge and FDA approved clinical trials for fatal neurological diseases for decades and has managed the medical care of tens of thousands of patients in New York," said Nicole Ruvo Falcone, CEO of Salus Scientific. "We intend to work with Dr. Beal to conduct professional clinical studies with cannabis on patients in New York suffering from Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), Huntington's Disease, and Parkinson's Disease. These are 3 of the 10 deadly diseases that currently qualify under New York's medical marijuana program. There is no one with a better understanding of how to treat patients with these specific neurological diseases and to determine if cannabis is an effective therapy."
"What attracted me to Salus Scientific is their team's unwavering commitment to finding treatments for devastating neurological diseases and their passion to truly discover if medical cannabis can treat these conditions," said M. Flint Beal, Professor of Neurology and Professor of Neuroscience at the Brain and Mind Research Institute at Weill Cornell Medical College. "I intend to work with their team to help establish robust clinical studies where we track key biomarkers and other important metrics in New York patients to determine how cannabis therapy may impact these diseases."
As CEO of Salus Scientific, Ms. Ruvo Falcone understands the type of personal and financial commitment it takes to prove if cannabis works in neurodegenerative disease such as ALS, Huntington's and Parkinson's. Her entire family has dedicated themselves to finding treatments for degenerative brain diseases, through the creation and fundraising of over $200 million for the Keep Memory Alive Foundation.
The Keep Memory Alive Foundation supports Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health, which treats patients with Alzheimer's, Huntington's and Parkinson's disease, as well as frontotemporal dementia, multiple sclerosis and multiple system atrophy. With more than 30 clinical trials in its portfolio, the center is among the largest neurological clinical research programs in the United States. Ms. Ruvo has relationships with some of the leading neuroscientists in the world and intends to team up these scientists with Dr. Beal and other leading New York physicians and hospitals to create a national cannabis clinical program.
In addition to Dr. M. Flint Beal joining the Scientific Advisory Board, Mr. Kevin McKernan, founder of Medicinal Genomics and Chief Science Officer at Courtagen Life Sciences will also join the advisory board. Mr. McKernan is undisputedly one of the top cannabis genetics researchers in the world, having successfully sequenced the genomes for both Cannabis sativa and Cannabis indica in 2011. Mr. McKernan's pioneering work into the genomics of cannabis and hemp is beginning to unlock the mysteries of marijuana DNA. Prior to joining Medicinal Genomics and Courtagen Life Sciences, Mr. McKernan managed the Research and Development for the Human Genome Project at Whitehead Institute/MIT.
Using the latest next-generation sequencing technologies, Mr. McKernan will work with Salus Scientific to study the genomes of patients with neurodegenerative disorders to stratify their response to cannabis. Mr. McKernan used this groundbreaking research and genetic analysis on children with Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome, two rare and severe forms of infantile-onset, genetic, drug-resistant epilepsy syndromes, that resulted in the FDA granting orphan drug designation for one of his product candidates that contains plant-derived cannabidiol as its active ingredient.
"Personalized medicine coupled with safe access to cannabinoids is becoming a transformative step in the healthcare industry," said Kevin McKernan, founder of Medicinal Genomics and Chief Science Officer at Courtagen Life Sciences. "The intersection of genetics and cannabis will enable the much needed disruptive change and cost savings needed in the healthcare industry. We are focused on combining personalized medicine approaches and cannabis safety testing and believe Salus Scientific is uniquely positioned lead clinical trials in patients using cutting edge therapeutic approaches."
If New York State grants licensing to Salus Scientific, the company intends to locate its cultivation facility in Johnson City, N.Y. in a 120,000 square foot warehouse space. The company also plans to open four dispensaries across the state in Vestal, Evans Mills in the Town of LeRay, Dewitt and Maspeth. Salus Scientific was particularly drawn to the eastern region of the Southern Tier because of its proximity to an outstanding healthcare delivery system and to the new Binghamton University School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences. The company has also developed a relationship with the School, creating the potential for significant research and biomedical developments.
For more information on Salus Scientific, please visit the company on the web at http:www.salusscientific.com and on Twitter: @SalusScientific.
SOURCE Salus Scientific