NeurOp’s Lee Latimer Elected to ACS 2016 Board of Directors

NeurOp, Inc. today announced that Lee H. Latimer, Ph.D., head of chemistry, has been elected as Director-at-Large for the American Chemical Society’s (ACS) 2016 Board of Directors. The Society announced election results on November 5.

Dr. Latimer has been a member of ACS since 1972 and became an ACS Fellow in 2012. He has held leadership positions at the local and national level of the organization and been recognized with a number of awards for his contributions.

“ACS is about opportunity for its members in so many ways. It has certainly been so for me. I enjoy meeting new challenges and colleagues in teams and applying my experience to make a difference,” said Latimer.

Dr. Latimer earned his Ph.D. in organic chemistry from the University of Wisconsin under the mentorship of B.M. Trost and held an NIH Fellowship with W.G. Dauben at the University of California at Berkeley and C.J. Sih at the University of Wisconsin at Madison. To learn more about Dr. Latimer’s extensive professional experience, click here.

About NeurOp
NeurOp, Inc. is an Atlanta-based biopharmaceutical company developing new medicines for central nervous system disorders, including depression, neuropathic pain, ischemia (stroke), schizophrenia, and Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases. Its research targets various subunits of neuronal NMDA receptors and their potential therapeutic benefit. The company has licensed its technology to Bristol-Myers Squibb for the development of a compound for treatment-resistant depression. Multi-year funding from the NIH supports the company’s research and development programs for schizophrenia, Alzheimer’s disease and NP10679, its drug candidate for the prevention of ischemic damage during a stroke or subarachnoid hemorrhage. For more information, please visit www.neuropinc.com.

NeurOp contact:
Barney Koszalka, CEO
Phone: (919) 260-5595

NeurOp Announces Strategic Collaboration with Johnson & Johnson Innovation to Study Role of NMDA Receptors

NeurOp, Inc. today announced that it has entered into a research collaboration with Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc. to better understand how modulating the NMDA (N-methyl-D-aspartate) receptor impacts pathways related to different central nervous system disorders.

Under the agreement, which was facilitated by the Johnson & Johnson Innovation Center in Boston, NeurOp and Janssen will focus specifically on the modulation of the 2C and 2D subunits of the NMDA receptor and their potential to impact central nervous system disorders such as depression. Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

“Glutamate signaling through NMDA receptors is one of the most important processes in normal brain function, particularly in emotional processing,” said Barney Koszalka, Ph.D., NeurOp CEO. “NeurOp and Janssen see this as a tremendous opportunity to investigate the use of NMDA modulators, which could lead to new treatments for patients afflicted with a number of central nervous system disorders.”

About NeurOp
NeurOp, Inc. is an Atlanta-based biopharmaceutical company developing new medicines for central nervous system disorders, including depression, neuropathic pain, ischemia (stroke), schizophrenia, and Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases. Its research targets various subunits of neuronal NMDA receptors and their potential therapeutic benefit. The company has licensed its technology to Bristol-Myers Squibb for the development of a compound for treatment-resistant depression. Multi-year funding from the NIH supports the company’s research and development programs for schizophrenia, Alzheimer’s disease and NP10679, its drug candidate for the prevention of ischemic damage during a stroke or subarachnoid hemorrhage. For more information, please visit www.neuropinc.com.

NeurOp contact:
Barney Koszalka, Ph.D., CEO
Phone: (919) 260-5595

 

NeurOp Receives Milestone Payment as Bristol-Myers Squibb Nominates NMDA Receptor Compound as Drug Development Candidate

NeurOp, Inc. today announced that Bristol-Myers Squibb has selected an NR2B-specific N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor modulator as a drug development candidate for treatment-resistant depression. This decision triggers a milestone payment to NeurOp, which licensed its technology to Bristol-Myers Squibb in 2009. The compound can now advance into pre-IND studies.

“The team at Bristol-Myers Squibb has been a dedicated, insightful research partner as we have worked together for more than three years to identify and advance a new drug candidate,” commented Barney Koszalka, Ph.D., NeurOp president and CEO. “Reaching this clinical and financial milestone is important to NeurOp, because it will help support our R&D on additional subunits of the NMDA receptor as treatments for other central nervous system disorders.”

Under the terms of the agreement, Bristol-Myers Squibb agreed to pay NeurOp an upfront fee and fund a multi-year research collaboration. The direct research collaboration ended in December 2012, and the program was fully internalized at Bristol-Myers Squibb. NeurOp is eligible to receive additional milestone payments for the successful development of a compound and royalties on worldwide sales of commercialized compounds. Financial terms of the current milestone were not disclosed.

About Treatment-Resistant Depression
Unlike normal emotional experiences of sadness, loss or passing mood states, major depressive disorder (MDD) is persistent and can significantly interfere with thoughts, behavior, mood, activity and physical health. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, MDD is the leading cause of disability in the U.S. for people aged 15 to 44 and affects almost 15 million adults, or about 6.7 percent of the population in a given year. Up to 15 percent of people with MDD die by suicide. About one-third of people suffering from depression do not get relief from first-line antidepressant medications. Of significant concern is the fact that even when effective there is a delay in onset of action of two weeks or more, during which time patients are at increased risk of suicide.

About NeurOp
NeurOp, Inc. is an Atlanta-based biopharmaceutical company developing new medicines for central nervous system disorders, including depression, neuropathic pain, ischemia (stroke), schizophrenia, and Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases. Its research targets various subunits of neuronal NMDA receptors and their potential therapeutic benefit. The company has licensed its technology to Bristol-Myers Squibb for the development of a compound for treatment-resistant depression. Multi-year funding from the NIH supports the company’s research and development programs for schizophrenia, Alzheimer’s disease and NP10679, its drug candidate for the prevention of ischemic damage during a stroke or subarachnoid hemorrhage. For more information, please visit www.neuropinc.com.

NeurOp contact:
Barney Koszalka, CEO
Phone: (919) 260-5595

 

NeurOp Awarded NIH Grant for Alzheimer’s Disease Drug Research

NeurOp, Inc. announced today that the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has awarded it a grant to support research on new Alzheimer’s disease treatments. NeurOp is investigating subunit-selective N-methyl D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor compounds as potential therapeutics. The grant is a one-year award and will be conducted in collaboration with Dr. Jon Johnson at the University of Pittsburgh.

“Alzheimer’s disease has devastating effects on patients and their families,” said Barney Koszalka, Ph.D., NeurOp president and CEO. “Our research suggests that targeting specific subunits of NMDA receptors may lead to a new generation of drugs that may enhance cognitive performance, as well as impact the progression of other diseases of the central nervous system. This is the third grant we’ve received from the NIH to fund research based on our NMDA receptor modulation platform, and we look forward to further exploring the potential it has for patients.”

This project is supported by the National Institute on Aging of the National Institutes of Health under award number R41AG048723.

About NeurOp
NeurOp, Inc. is an Atlanta-based biopharmaceutical company developing new medicines for central nervous system disorders, including depression, neuropathic pain, ischemia (stroke), schizophrenia, and Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases. Its research targets various subunits of neuronal NMDA receptors and their potential therapeutic benefit. The company has licensed its technology to Bristol-Myers Squibb for the development of a compound for treatment-resistant depression. Funding from the NIH supports the company’s research and development programs for schizophrenia, Alzheimer’s disease and NP10679, its drug candidate for the prevention of ischemic damage during a stroke or subarachnoid hemorrhage. For more information, please visit www.neuropinc.com.

NeurOp contact:
Barney Koszalka, CEO
Phone: (919) 260-5595

Lee H. Latimer Joins NeurOp to Manage Its Chemistry Operations

NeurOp, Inc. announces that Lee H. Latimer, Ph.D., has been appointed as its head of chemistry. He will oversee the company’s chemistry program to support its drug development initiatives for the treatment of depression, neuropathic pain, ischemia (stroke), schizophrenia and other central nervous system disorders.

Dr. Latimer was most recently a consultant to the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries and provided expertise in process, analytical and medicinal chemistry. Prior to that, he was the senior director of process and analytical chemistry at Elan Pharmaceuticals. He successfully led in-house and outsourced oversight and development of GMP routes to five clinical candidates in its Alzheimer’s disease and multiple sclerosis programs. Dr. Latimer is also an inventor of semagacestat, which reached phase III clinical trials for Alzheimer’s disease in collaboration with Eli Lilly.

“Lee brings a wealth of development experience to NeurOp at a time when our internal programs are advancing into clinical development,” said Barney Koszalka, Ph.D., president and CEO at NeurOp. “His work in early-stage medical chemistry programs will also greatly contribute to our ongoing efforts to develop new modulators of the NMDA receptor through our collaboration with Emory University.”

Dr. Latimer earned his Ph.D. in organic chemistry from the University of Wisconsin under the mentorship of B.M. Trost and held an NIH Fellowship with W.G. Dauben at the University of California at Berkeley and C.J. Sih at the University of Wisconsin at Madison. He is an American Chemical Society Fellow.

About NeurOp

NeurOp, Inc. is an Atlanta-based biopharmaceutical company developing new medicines for central nervous system disorders, including depression, neuropathic pain, ischemia (stroke), schizophrenia, and Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases. Its research targets various subunits of neuronal NMDA receptors and their potential therapeutic benefit. The company has a research collaboration and licensing agreement with Bristol-Myers Squibb for the development of NeurOp’s compounds for the treatment of depression and neuropathic pain. Multi-year funding from the NIH supports the company’s research and development programs for schizophrenia and NP10679, its drug candidate for the prevention of ischemic damage. For more information, please visit www.neuropinc.com.

NeurOp contact:

Barney Koszalka, CEO
Phone: 404.941.2350

 

NeurOp Selects NP10679 as Development Candidate for SAH

NeurOp, Inc. has selected NP10679 as a development candidate for the prevention of ischemic damage and its consequences in persons receiving surgical treatment for subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH). NP10679 is a GluN2B subunit-specific modulator designed to work at the site of ischemic insult.

NeurOp has begun late-stage preclinical development studies with this candidate with the goal to file an IND in 2015.

This news follows the publication of related research by NeurOp’s director of drug discovery, Scott J. Myers, Ph.D., in collaboration with a number of other scientists. In February, Neurocritical Care published their paper entitled “pH-Sensitive NMDA Inhibitors Improve Outcome in a Murine Model of SAH.”

The manuscript demonstrates that the use of a pH-dependent NMDA antagonist has the potential to work selectively in areas of ischemia known to undergo acidic pH shifts, which occur during SAH. Because of their regional selectivity, these NMDA antagonists may also be associated with fewer behavioral side effects than non-selective NMDA antagonists.

NeurOp contact:
Barney Koszalka, CEO
Phone: 404.941.2350

 

NeurOp Receives Third Year of NIH Funding for Ischemia Research

NeurOp, Inc. has received $700,000 in funding as part of a $3 million National Institutes of Health (NIH) award to support its cerebral ischemia development program. This third year of funding from the NIH will support pre-IND and additional efficacy studies for NeurOp’s proprietary development candidate. First announced in July 2011, the NIH grant is a four-year award that provides annual financial support to NeurOp upon successfully meeting its scientific and development milestones.

“We identified a development compound last year with unique characteristics that modulate over-active NMDA receptors through a specific subunit,” commented Barney Koszalka, Ph.D., CEO of NeurOp. “Our primary focus with this compound is to develop it for treating patients that have suffered a subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH).”

NeurOp will initially study its candidate as a prophylactic treatment for SAH patients, which comprise up to seven percent of all stroke victims. Since about half of SAH patients suffer a stroke-like event within 14 days after surgery to repair the cerebral aneurysm, drug administration would begin immediately after surgery and be maintained through this critical period to improve survival and reduce neurological and cognitive insults should a stroke occur. If the compound proves safe and effective in SAH, NeurOp believes this approach can be expanded into other patients at risk of ischemic or traumatic brain injury, providing a much-needed new therapy to address these serious and costly areas of medical need.

This project is supported by Award Number U44NS071657 from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS).

NeurOp contact:
Barney Koszalka, CEO
Phone: 404.941.2350

NeurOp Receives Second Half of NIH Grant for Meeting Schizophrenia Research Milestones

NeurOp, Inc. has received $346,000 from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the second half of a $700,000 grant made last year to support its schizophrenia treatment research. NeurOp is studying NR2C and NR2D subunit-selective NMDA receptor compounds as potential new antipsychotic medications.

“This grant required that we meet certain research objectives to qualify for the second year of funding, and I’m pleased to say that we accomplished those,” said Barney Koszalka, Ph.D., NeurOp president and chief executive officer. “In the next 12 months, our goal is to use these funds to advance the medicinal chemistry and pharmacology work that are needed to complete a proof of concept in animals.”

This project is supported by the National Institute of Mental Health of the National Institutes of Health under award number R43MH096363. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.

About Schizophrenia

Schizophrenia is a complex, disabling and chronic brain disorder that typically strikes in the early adult years and affects one percent of the world’s population. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, people with the disorder may hear voices that others do not. They may also believe other people are reading their minds, controlling their thoughts, or plotting to harm them. This can terrify people with the illness and make them withdrawn or extremely agitated. Symptoms such as hallucinations and delusions usually start between ages 16 and 30.

Because the causes of schizophrenia are unknown, treatments focus on eliminating the symptoms and include antipsychotic medications, designated as typical and atypical, and various psychosocial treatments.

About NeurOp

NeurOp, Inc. is an Atlanta-based biopharmaceutical company developing new medicines for central nervous system disorders, including depression, neuropathic pain, ischemia (stroke), schizophrenia, and Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases. Its research targets various subunits of neuronal NMDA receptors and their potential therapeutic benefit. A research collaboration and licensing agreement with Bristol-Myers Squibb currently funds and supports development of NeurOp’s compounds for the treatment of depression and neuropathic pain. Multi-year funding from the NIH supports its ischemia and schizophrenia research. For more information, please visit www.neuropinc.com.

NeurOp contact:

Barney Koszalka, CEO
Phone: 404.941.2350

 

NeurOp and Emory Scientists Target Cognitive and Mental Health Disorders

Schizophrenia, PTSD, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s Diseases Focus of Research Collaboration

 

NeurOp, Inc. has formed a research collaboration with Emory University to study modulation of certain brain cell receptors and its possible impact on several serious cognitive and mental health disorders – schizophrenia, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases. NeurOp, a biopharmaceutical company, is working with Emory to accelerate NMDA (N-methyl D-aspartate) receptor research into potential new treatments for these areas of medical need.

“This three-year collaboration is based on our joint belief that NeurOp and Emory working together can speed the development of new medicines for certain central nervous system illnesses,” commented Dr. Robert Zaczek, chief scientific officer at NeurOp. “At the end of the period, our goal is to have compounds in late-stage optimization with one or more moving toward Investigational New Drug (IND) enabling testing.”

The collaboration combines the expertise of NeurOp scientists with Emory University’s NMDA receptor researchers, including its pharmacology team, led by Dr. Stephen Traynelis, and medicinal chemistry team of Dr. Dennis Liotta. These three groups of researchers aim to progress select molecules through late-stage lead optimization. Lead optimization is the complex process of refining the chemical structure of a biologically active compound to improve its drug characteristics, with the goal of producing a pre-clinical drug candidate.

Dennis Liotta, Ph.D., is the Samuel Candler Dobbs Professor of Chemistry at Emory University where he has been a faculty member for more than 25 years. He is a renowned organic and medicinal chemist and the author of approximately 200 publications and patents. Dr. Liotta’s research has focused on the discovery and development of novel antiviral and anticancer agents. Stephen Traynelis, Ph.D., is a professor of pharmacology at Emory University School of Medicine, where he has been a faculty member since 1994 and author of more than 300 papers, abstracts and patents. He is an expert on NMDA receptor activation and modulation.

“Steve and Dennis are global leaders in their respective fields. Coupled with NeurOp’s drug development team, we are positioned to quickly move the program forward,” said Barney Koszalka, Ph.D., NeurOp president and chief executive officer. “By combining our efforts and knowledge, we’ll gain a better understanding of how these compounds interact with various subunits of the NMDA receptor, which may yield exciting new treatments for a number of mental illnesses and nervous system disorders.”

About NeurOp
NeurOp, Inc. is an Atlanta-based biopharmaceutical company developing new medicines for central nervous system disorders, including depression, neuropathic pain, ischemia (stroke), schizophrenia, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases. Its research targets various subunits of neuronal NMDA receptors and their potential therapeutic benefit. A research collaboration and licensing agreement with Bristol-Myers Squibb (NYSE: BMY) currently funds and supports development of NeurOp’s compounds for the treatment of depression and neuropathic pain. Multi-year funding from the NIH supports its ischemia and schizophrenia research. For more information, please visit www.neuropinc.com.

 

NeurOp Receives $1 Million in NIH Funding for Ischemia Research

NeurOp, Inc. has received $1 million in funding as part of a $3 million National Institutes of Health (NIH) award to support its cerebral ischemia research program. First announced in July 2011, the grant is a four-year award that provides annual funding to NeurOp upon successfully meeting its project budget and certain milestones. NeurOp will use the funding to advance its lead molecule to an Investigational New Drug (IND) filing for the treatment of subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) and those patients at risk of a stroke.

NeurOp will initially study its compounds as prophylactic treatment for SAH patients, which comprise up to seven percent of all stroke victims. Since about half of SAH patients suffer a stroke-like event within 14 days after surgery to repair the cerebral aneurysm, drug administration would immediately begin after surgery and be maintained through this critical period to improve survival and outcome should a stroke occur. If a compound proves safe and effective in SAH, NeurOp believes this approach can be expanded into other patients at risk of ischemic brain injury and in the treatment of traumatic brain injury, providing a much-needed new therapy to address these serious and costly areas of medical need.

This project is supported by Award Number U44NS071657 from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS).