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About NeuroGenetic Pharmaceuticals

NeuroGenetic Pharmaceuticals is a privately held biotech company founded in 2009 with worldwide exclusive rights to a platform of gamma-secretase modulators.

Our patented technology includes multiple lead compounds for the treatment of neurodegenerative conditions, their composition of matter, mechanism of action and method of treatment.

Board of Directors

William T. Comer, Ph.D.
  CEO & Chairman, NeuroGenetic Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

Tom Reed, M.B.A.
  CEO, Reed-Ventures

Barry Quart, Pharm.D.
  President & CEO, Heron

Maria Z. Kounnas, Ph.D.
  Department of Pathology, UCSD

Principal Employees

William T. Comer, Ph.D.
  CEO & Chairman, NeuroGenetic Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

Maria Z. Kounnas, Ph.D.
  Chief Scientific Officer

Consultants and Advisors

Fred Reno, Ph.D.
  Toxicology Consultant

Vijay N. Hingorani, M.D., Ph.D., MBA
  Medical Consultant

Back to Management

William T. Comer, Ph.D.

CEO & Chairman, NeuroGenetic Pharmaceuticals

Dr. William Comer has been in the pharmaceutical and biotech industries for over 50 years, directing efforts at every phase from discovery to commercialization. Currently, he is Founder, President and CEO of NeuroGenetic Pharmaceuticals, Inc. From 1961-1991 he was employed by Mead Johnson & Co. which was acquired by Bristol-Myers; he was responsible for discovery and worldwide clinical development of pharmacodynamic agents and was President of Pharmaceutical Research and Licensing until the merger in 1990 to become Bristol-Myers Squibb, when he became Senior Vice President of Strategic Management. He managed the discovery and development of more than 10 blockbuster products. From April 1991 until November 1999 he was President and CEO of SIBIA Neurosciences, which became publicly traded in May 1996 and was acquired by Merck in November 1999. In March 2000, Dr. Comer was a Founder and Chairman of the Board of NeuroGenetics, Inc. (renamed TorreyPines Therapeutics in 2005), serving as Interim CEO until April 2002, and was appointed Chairman Emeritus and Senior Advisor until resigning in February 2009.

Dr. Comer has served as a Board Director for Trega Biosciences (formerly Houghten Pharmaceuticals) 1993-1996, Epimmune (formerly Cytel Corporation) 1994-2005, Board Chairman of Prescient Neuropharma 2000-2002, a Board Director for Tetragenex Pharmaceuticals (formerly Innapharma) 2001-present, TRACON Pharmaceuticals 2007-2010, and Scientific Board of Nativis 2007-2011. He also serves or has served on the Boards of UCSD Foundation 2000-2006, UCSD Cancer Center 1992-present, UCSD Departments of Chemistry and Biochemistry 1992-2006, Dean’s Advisory Board for UCSD Skaggs School of Pharmacy 2005-present, La Jolla Institute of Molecular Medicine 2000-2007, and has served on the California Governor’s Council on Biotechnology, California Breast Cancer Research Council, BIOCOM Board, and several national and divisional offices of the American Chemical Society including Chairman of Medicinal Chemistry. He received a B.A. in Chemistry from Carleton College in 1957 and an Alumni Achievement Award in 1997, plus a PhD in Organic Chemistry and Pharmacology from the University of Iowa in 1961.

Back to Management

Tom Reed

CEO, Reed-Ventures

Mr. Reed is an executive with over 25 years experience in finance, business development, operations, licensing and management in the biotechnology and biopharmaceutical industries. Currently he is CEO of Reed-Ventures which provides angel investment and consulting services to Life Science companies. Mr. Reed was President, CFO and Board Member of GT Life Sciences (GT), a company which was formed in 2007 by Genomatica to independently pursue the life science applications of the integrated metabolic modeling and experimental platform that was developed by Genomatica. At GT, Mr. Reed helped secure over $5 million of non-dilutive funding from corporate collaborations (Pfizer (2X) and Genentech) and government SBIR grants and he led the negotiation and recent sale of the company to Intrexon.

Before joining GT, Mr. Reed was Vice-President, Finance and Corporate Development at Genomatica, a technology leader in the chemical industry. Mr. Reed was one of the founding members of the leadership team at Genomatica and was responsible for finance, corporate development, licensing and administrative activities. While there he was involved with several financings and helping to secure numerous corporate grants and contracts (over 30) from federal funding agencies as well as corporate partnerships (including Cargill Dow, Dow Chemical, DSM, Kyowa Hakko, Unilever and Verenium). Genomatica has raised over $100 million in funding and has registered for an IPO.

Prior to joining Genomatica, Mr. Reed held various management positions at SIBIA Neurosciences (from 1981 to 1999), a publicly traded (NASDAQ) biotechnology company specializing in neuroscience drug discovery and development. During the period 1994 to 1999, he held the position of Vice President, Finance and Administration and Chief Financial Officer. Mr. Reed was a key participant in a management team that completed several major corporate partnerships (Eli Lilly & Co. [2x], Novartis AG, Bristol-Myers Squibb and Meiji Seika Kaisha). He also managed the entire IPO process for the company, which was led by Salomon Brothers, and he served as a key member of the senior management team that completed the sale of SIBIA to Merck. Following the sale of the company to Merck in 1999 he joined Merck as an Executive Director. Since 2001, in addition to his roles at GT Life Sciences and Genomatica, Mr. Reed has provided strategic, financial, operations and advisory services on the Executive and Board level to other life science and biotechnology companies.

Mr. Reed holds a BA degree in biology from the University of California, Berkeley, and an MBA from the University of San Diego

Back to Management

Maria Kounnas, PhD

Chief Scientific Officer, NeuroGenetic Pharmaceuticals

Dr. Maria Kounnas has 20 years of experience in the Alzheimer’s disease (AD), protease, and receptor fields, concentrating on drug discovery and preclinical development of novel compounds to modify the onset of AD.

Dr. Kounnas joined NeuroGenetic Pharmaceuticals in 2009. Prior to NGP, she was a Director at TorreyPines Therapeutics, where she had a key role in the discovery of NGP’s current gamma-secretase modulator series of compounds. From 1995-2000, Dr. Kounnas was part of the SIBIA Neurosciences collaboration with Bristol Myers-Squibb which discovered a small molecule gamma-secretase inhibitor, (BMS-299895). This compound was one of the first gamma-secretase inhibitors to be tested in the clinic and was the precursor to the current BMS compound in the clinic (BMS-708,163).

She has led teams in the development of novel Abeta biomarker assays, Notch assays and other secondary screens, and has managed both in vivo and in vitro studies at NGP.

Dr. Kounnas has a PhD in Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics from the Medical College of Virginia.

Back to Management

Barry Quart, PharmD

President & CEO, Heron

Since December 2006, Dr. Quart has been President, CEO and a director of Ardea Biosciences which recently announced that it was being acquired by AstraZeneca for $1.26 billion. From 2002 until December, 2006, Dr. Quart was President of Napo Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Prior to Napo, Dr. Quart served as Senior Vice President, Pfizer Global Research and Development and the Director of Pfizer's La Jolla Laboratories, where he was responsible for approximately 1,000 employees and an annual budget of almost $300 million.

Before Pfizer's acquisition of the Warner-Lambert Company, Dr. Quart was President of Research and Development at Agouron Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a division of the Warner-Lambert Company since 1999. Dr. Quart joined Agouron in 1993, and was instrumental in the development and registration of nelfinavir (Viracept®), which went from the lab bench to NDA approval in 38 months. In addition, Dr. Quart spent over ten years at Bristol-Myers Squibb in both Clinical Research and Regulatory Affairs and was actively involved in the development and registration of important drugs for the treatment of HIV and cancer, including paclitaxel (Taxol®), didanosine (Videx®), and stavudine (Zerit®).

Dr. Quart has a PharmD from University of California, San Francisco

January 4, 2012

Abbott Biotech Ventures Invests in NeuroGenetic Pharmaceuticals;
Advancing Research on Therapy for Alzheimer's Disease

SAN DIEGO — NeuroGenetic Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NGP), a privately held biopharmaceutical company focused on Alzheimer's disease (AD) therapeutics, has received an investment from Abbott Biotech Ventures. The amount of the investment was not disclosed. Dr. William T. Comer, president and CEO of NGP said, "The funding will expedite the development of our lead candidate, NGP 555, for the prevention of AD, including achieving our immediate goal of initiating clinical trials."

Earlier, NGP announced that it has been awarded a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) fast-track grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for preclinical work on NGP 555. This NIH grant has provided $3.3M from July 2011 through July 2014.

July 2011

In July 2011 NeuroGenetic Pharmaceuticals was awarded a Small Business Innovation Research Fast-track grant from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) for a cooperative agreement. The grant will fund the preclinical development and Investigational New Drug application for the clinical candidate NGP 555. The first phase award is $288,000 with future awards up to $1 million per year for three years for milestone-based achievements. NGP 555 is a proprietary “first-in-class” molecule for the prevention/treatment of Alzheimer’s Disease which targets the amyloid pathway in a selective manner precluding side effects seen with other amyloid-based therapies.

Sept. 8, 2010

NeuroGenetic Pharmaceuticals announces studies showing
its proprietary compound reduces brain plaques
associated with Alzheimer’s disease
Data published in Neuron demonstrates proof of concept in long term prevention
of disease pathology in a mouse model, without GI side effects
SAN DIEGO -- In the Sept 9, 2010 issue of Neuron, NeuroGenetic Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NGP) reports proof of concept studies that show its proprietary compound, NGP 555, is effective in preventing the amyloid pathology of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) in a transgenic mouse model. The study further demonstrates that following chronic treatment with the gamma secretase modulator (GSM) compound from NGP, the mice were devoid of gastrointestinal side effects, an adverse finding commonly associated with gamma secretase inhibitors (GSIs).

A major pathological hallmark of Alzheimer's disease is an abundance of neuritic plaques in key areas of the brain involved in memory and cognition. Decades of studies have confirmed that Αβ42 forms the “seed” of these amyloid plaques, which gradually accumulate in the brain and induce neuronal cell death in the underlying brain tissue. This “toxic” molecule is generated by a stepwise process involving a pivotal enzyme, gamma secretase. Modification of gamma secretase activity to decrease production of Αβ42, thereby reducing the deposits of Αβ42 -seeded plaques, would be beneficial for the prevention of Alzheimer’s disease-related pathology.

“We are pleased to make public these data on our gamma secretase modulator, NGP 555,” said Dr. William T. Comer, President and CEO of NeuroGenetic Pharmaceuticals. “Deposition of amyloid plaques can precede dementia by many years, and the progression of plaques to dementia reflects neuronal loss which is irreversible. We believe that halting this gradual progression of AD from pathology to dementia represents a major unmet need, especially given the growth of an aging population and the enormous cost to society for care and hospitalization. Recent advances in the use of Αβ biomarkers in the cerebrospinal fluid and brain scans should permit early diagnosis of AD pathology and allow us to show that NGP 555 prevents the amyloid pathology.”

The work published in Neuron is the first to describe these mechanistically and biochemically distinct GSM compounds and how they provide a more selective mechanism than GSIs. The key advantages of these small molecules include reduction of the “toxic” form of beta amyloid (Αβ42), direct binding to components of the gamma secretase complex, and excellent brain exposure. The paper demonstrated that NeuroGenetic Pharmaceuticals’ approach of gamma secretase modulation allows for selective reduction of Αβ42 and amyloid pathology. Oral administration of NGP 555 (identified as compound 4 in Neuron) in transgenic AD mice resulted in a dose-related lowering of both plasma and brain Αβ42. Chronic daily administration for 7 months led to significant reduction in both diffuse and neuritic plaques, without the GI-related side effects found with GSI compounds, according to the paper in Neuron. The work, conducted by researchers at TorreyPines Therapeutics (TPTX) in collaboration with academic institutions, concludes that these types of GSM compounds warrant further investigation as a potentially safe and effective approach for prevention of AD.

“This study links Αβ biomarker and pathology findings with a mechanistic understanding of how our compounds selectively target a key enzyme involved in the pathology of Alzheimer’s disease,” said Maria Z. Kounnas, Ph.D., lead author on the study and vice president of Alzheimer’s Research at NGP. “Combining early disease identification with a treatment capable of preventing AD-related pathology, such as NGP 555, would represent an important advance in our ability to prevent AD or hinder its progression to dementia. Clearly, the earlier AD is detected and treated, the better the likelihood of a good outcome.”

For further information, email the Media Contact listed below ( for a copy of the full paper or read after Sept. 9 in Neuron at:

About Alzheimer’s disease

The Alzheimer’s Association ( describes Alzheimer’s as a progressive and fatal brain disease, with as many as 5.3 million Americans and up to 30 million worldwide currently living with the disease. The National Institute of Health reports that unless the disease can be effectively treated or prevented, the number of people with AD will increase significantly. The number of people age 65 and older in the U.S. is expected to grow from 39 million in 2008 to 72 million in 2030, with the number of people with AD doubling every 5-year interval beyond age 65, according to the NIH. For further information:

About NeuroGenetic Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

NeuroGenetic Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NGP) is a biopharmaceutical discovery and development company founded in 2009 which is focused on developing innovative drug therapies for use in the treatment of neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease. Based in San Diego, Calif., the company’s next objective is to obtain an Investigational New Drug approval for its clinical candidate, NGP 555. This compound is expected to prevent the deposition of amyloid plaques in the brain, thereby precluding neuronal cell death and the dementia associated with AD. Future clinical trials will utilize specific Αβ biomarkers and/or brain scanning as an early diagnostic and to monitor drug efficacy in clinical trials. NGP licensed the GSM intellectual property from TPTX and expanded its portfolio to include issued patents in the US, Europe, China, India, Japan, Australia, and other countries. For further information, see


Dr. William T. Comer, CEO, NeuroGenetic Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
Phone: 858-735-5892


Tom Gable
Gable PR
Phone: 877-281-5888