COGNITION THERAPEUTICS INC.
FRANZ HEFTI, PH.D., CHAIRMAN OF THE BOARD
Dr. Hefti brings nearly 20 years experience in the pharmaceutical industry and over a decade experience in academia. He led the drug development efforts at Rinat Neuroscience Corporation as Executive Vice President of Drug Development for three years. During his tenure, three antibody drug candidates advanced from the discovery stage to preclinical and clinical development and the success of these programs led to the acquisition of Rinat Neuroscience by Pfizer in 2006. Previously, Dr. Hefti was Senior Vice President of Neuroscience Research at Merck & Co., where he coordinated the company's neuroscience research worldwide, serving as site head for the neuroscience research centers in the U.K. and U.S. While working with Merck, small molecule drug candidates covering six drug targets in the neuroscience area were taken into development. Dr. Hefti was also Director of the Neuroscience Research Department at Genentech and previously spent more than a decade in academia as a Professor at the University of Southern California and Associate Professor at the University of Miami, where he carried out seminal research on therapeutic applications of neurotrophic factors. He has published over 250 papers on neurotrophic factors and topics in neuropharmacology, and a recent textbook "Drug Discovery for Nervous System Diseases" (John Wiley & Sons). Dr. Hefti received a Ph.D. from the University of Zurich and did his postdoctoral research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Max Planck Institute in Munich.
Dr. Safferstein previously served as Vice President, Business Development, Omrix Biopharmaceuticals, a commercial-stage company that develops and markets biosurgical and passive immunotherapy products. Prior to joining Omrix, he was Executive Vice President, Corporate Development for TransPharma Medical, a privately-held medical device company. From 2001 to 2005, Dr. Safferstein was Vice President, Business Development for Acorda Therapeutics, a CNS drug development and marketing company. Prior to joining Acorda Therapeutics, Dr. Safferstein served in various business development and marketing positions with Bristol-Myers Squibb. From 1991-1997, he was Director, Technology Transfer at the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute and Cooperative Venture Manager for the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health. Dr. Safferstein was an NIH Post-Doctoral Fellow and Fellow of the Multiple Sclerosis Society. He received a B.A. in Biochemistry from Rutgers University, a Ph.D. in Human Anatomy and Neurobiology from the University of Louisville, a J.D. from the AMerican University, Washington College of Law and an M.B.A. from Columbia University.
Dr. Catalano has extensive experience in oligomer biology in the field of Alzheimer’s disease drug discovery. She served as Director of Discovery Biology for South San Francisco-based startup Acumen Pharmaceuticals, Inc., where she led a scientific team to the development of novel, first-in-class assay systems responsible for the discovery of the company’s first small molecule lead candidates targeting oligomers. Dr. Catalano has over 14 years of experience as a cell biologist in the fields of neuroscience and oncology, and nine years of experience in the drug discovery industry. Dr. Catalano received her Ph.D. from U.C. Irvine and postdoctoral training at U.C. Berkeley and Caltech in the field of neurobiology. While a scientist at Roche Palo Alto, she held leadership positions in the Neurophysiology and Neuroimaging groups and led exploratory programs against targets involved in anxiety, depression and schizophrenia. Following this, Dr. Catalano joined Rigel Pharmaceuticals, Inc. as a Senior Scientist and pioneered the use of high content phenotypic screening technology to discover an Aurora kinase inhibitor that recently began its third PhI clinical trial. This screening technology drove the program from pilot screen to IND filing within 3 years, and led to a licensing deal with Serono Pharmaceuticals in Oct. 2005 for $35m. Dr. Catalano then founded a successful consulting practice Drug Discovery Imaging, specializing in image-based consulting for the drug discovery industry.
Dr. Gil Rishton has led drug discovery programs in pharma for over 15 years. During his years at Amgen, he was the founding medicinal chemist at the Thousand Oaks site. Dr. Rishton was responsible for much of the program initiation and group building for the Amgen Small Molecule Drug Discovery Group, which has grown to become one of the most formidable in the pharmaceutical industry. Dr. Rishton led the medicinal chemistry program for Amgen’s Secretase Team, among the first to produce small molecule secretase inhibitors as potential therapeutic agents for Alzheimer’s disease. He was the chemistry manager for Amgen’s Sensipar development program, serving on both the clinical research project team and the preclinical science team for 7 years. This drug development program spanned several phases from preclinical development, to manufacturing and then human clinical trials. This resulted in the commercial launch of Amgen’s first orally administered small molecule product, Sensipar, a treatment for hypercalcemia and loss of bone density due to hyperparathyroidism (HPT). Dr. Rishton retired from Amgen to continue his efforts toward Alzheimer’s drug discovery as founder and director of the nonprofit Channel Islands Alzheimer’s Institute.
Dr. Robert C. Malenka is the Pritzker Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and Director of the Pritzker Laboratory at the Stanford University School of Medicine. He has been a world leader in the molecular mechanisms of how neurons communicate with one another and how this communication is modified during learning and by experience. Dr. Malenka received his undergraduate education at Harvard from which he graduated in 1978, summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa in biology. He did all of his graduate work at the Stanford University School of Medicine from which he received an M.D. and a Ph.D. in neuroscience in 1983. Over the ensuing years he completed residency training in psychiatry at Stanford and 4 years of postdoctoral research work with Roger Nicoll at the University of California, San Francisco (U.C.S.F.). In 1989, he was appointed Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Physiology at U.C.S.F. at which he reached the rank of Full Professor in 1996. In addition to running an active research program at U.C.S.F., he was the Director of the Center for the Neurobiology of Addiction and Associate Director of the Center for Neurobiology and Psychiatry. He returned to the Stanford University School of Medicine in March, 1999 to become the Director of the Pritzker Laboratory in the Dept. of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science. He is an elected member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences (2004) and an elected fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (2005). His public service includes serving on the National Advisory Council on Drug Abuse and as a Councilor for the Society for Neuroscience. He is also on the editorial boards of many prominent journals including Neuron, Trends in Neuroscience and the American Journal of Psychiatry. Dr. Malenka’s research findings have been published in over 170 research papers in leading science journals. He has also co-authored a textbook entitled Molecular Neuropharmacology: A Foundation for Clinical Neuroscience (McGraw Hill, 2001).
Dr. LeVine is an Associate Professor at the Department of Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry, Center on Aging at the University of Kentucky College of Medicine. He is a world leader in the biochemistry of amyloid beta protein and drug discovery efforts directed against this target. He received his B.S. in Biochemistry in 1971 from Cornell University, and Ph.D. in Physiological Chemistry in 1975 from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Following his postdoctoral training at the Wellcome Research Laboratories, Dr. LeVine had a 28 year career of research and drug discovery in the pharmaceutical industry, holding scientific leadership positions at Burroughs-Wellcome, Glaxo, Parke-Davis, and Pfizer. Dr. LeVine’s current research focuses on mechanisms of Alzheimer’s β-peptide production and oligomer formation, as well as drug discovery efforts to discover inhibitors of polymerization of the β-peptide with viable drug properties from in vitro screening through animal models up to the pre-Phase I clinical trial stage.
Please contact Hank Safferstein at 412.770.1621