ProJenX Names Life Sciences Industry Veteran Stan E. Abel as CEO
- Company on track for first clinical data for oral, brain-penetrant ALS drug candidate, prosetin, later this year
- Phase 2/3 study initiation expected in 2023
NEW YORK, May 18, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — ProJenX Inc., a clinical-stage biotechnology company developing novel, brain-penetrant therapies targeting biologically-defined pathways for the treatment of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and other debilitating brain diseases, today announced the appointment of Stan E. Abel as Chief Executive Officer. Abel joins the company after its recent launch by Medical Excellence Capital in collaboration with Project ALS, a leading nonprofit organization committed to ALS research, and with renowned researchers at Columbia University.
Abel, who has more than 20 years of senior management and financial experience in the life sciences industry, has an extensive background in building and leading biopharmaceutical companies. Under his leadership, executive teams with emerging businesses have identified and in-licensed development-stage drug candidates, raised more than $100 million to fund operations, conducted large-scale clinical trials and implemented successful M&A strategies. Prior to joining ProJenX, Abel was CEO of SiteOne Therapeutics Inc., where he led a team developing new treatments for acute and chronic pain. Before this, he was CEO of Corthera Inc. through its sale to Novartis with a focus on a new treatment for heart failure. Earlier in his career, Abel was the CFO of Cerexa Inc. from its inception through its sale to Forest Laboratories. In addition, he was CFO of Peninsula Pharmaceuticals Inc. through its sale to Johnson & Johnson. Abel began his career in finance positions with Eli Lilly and Company and DowBrands Inc.
Abel earned a B.S. in business from Indiana University and an M.B.A., with honors, from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. He is chairman of SiteOne Therapeutics and serves as an advisor to early-stage life science companies.
“We are extremely pleased that Stan has joined us and accepted the role of ProJenX CEO,” said Eric Heil, Interim CEO and Chairman of ProJenX. “Stan brings a proven track record in building successful biotech companies and a compelling vision for developing novel, brain-penetrant therapies for people living with ALS and other serious brain diseases in collaboration with advocates, researchers, and industry. He joins ProJenX at an important time as we build out the leadership team, raise additional capital, and continue to advance the clinical development of prosetin and our pipeline.”
“The visionary collaboration between Project ALS and Columbia University that led to ProJenX has resulted in significant breakthroughs in the understanding of ALS motor neuron pathology and has facilitated the synthesis of promising new drug candidates for ALS and other neurodegenerative diseases,” said Stan Abel, CEO. “I am thrilled to join the ProJenX team to build on the momentum in advancing new therapeutic options for these areas of critical need.”
Erin Fleming, Co-Founder and Vice President of Operations at ProJenX, said, “Stan’s deep experience in building and leading biotech companies, including those focused on serious, hard-to-treat diseases, will be integral to ProJenX as we continue to develop prosetin with the urgency that ALS demands. We are on track with a Phase 1 study for results later this year. Beyond this and with additional financing in place, we expect to initiate a Phase 2/3 study of prosetin in ALS next year. With Stan’s leadership, we are poised to effectively advance prosetin and hopeful for its potential to make a meaningful difference in the lives of people with ALS.”
ProJenX recently initiated a three-part Phase 1 clinical trial, PRO-101, investigating prosetin in healthy individuals and people living with ALS. Prosetin is a potent, oral, brain-penetrant, mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAP4K) inhibitor targeting endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress. ER stress is a common feature across sporadic and familial forms of ALS, and MAP4Ks emerged as the critical regulators of ER stress-mediated motor neuron loss in a patient-specific, cell-based discovery platform developed by researchers at Columbia University. Prosetin is an investigational new drug and has not been approved by the FDA.
ProJenX is a clinical-stage biotechnology company developing novel, brain-penetrant, targeted therapies to address debilitating brain diseases, with an initial focus on ALS. ProJenX was created out of a long-term research collaboration between Project ALS and researchers at Columbia University to rapidly develop and commercialize its lead therapy candidate, prosetin, for people living with ALS. At the heart of ProJenX’s approach is an innovative patient-specific cell-based drug discovery platform that can be leveraged for research and drug development for ALS and other debilitating brain diseases. For more information, visit projenx.com.
Madeline Stabinski or David Schull