EpiVario Establishes Scientific Advisory Board

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Company announces new scientific research collaborations with world-renowned investigators

EpiVario

Bringing deep expertise in the areas of neuroscience, psychology, and epigenetics, these individuals will help EpiVario with its ongoing research efforts to utilize novel medical and scientific discoveries for the development of therapeutics for memory- and addiction-related diseases. - Dr. Berger

EpiVario, Inc., a preclinical stage drug discovery and development company, today announced the formation of a Scientific Advisory Board (SAB) comprised of leading experts in neuroscience, psychology, and epigenetics. The SAB will guide and advise the Company on the translation of core discoveries into the research and development of therapeutic approaches for memory-related psychiatric disorders, including PTSD, drug and alcohol use disorder, and Alzheimer’s disease.

Along with EpiVario’s co-founders Shelley Berger, PhD, Daniel S. Och University Professor, University of Pennsylvania, and Philipp Mews, PhD, Instructor, Friedman Brain Institute at Mount Sinai, the SAB includes the following world-renowned neuroscientists, epigeneticists, and health professionals:

  • Tony Kouzarides, PhD, FMedCsi, FRS: Dr. Kouzarides is Professor of Cancer Biology at the University of Cambridge, Director of the Milner Therapeutics Institute and Senior Group Leader at the Gurdon Institute. Dr. Kouzarides is a leading expert in epigenetics, and its role in cancer. His laboratory identified one of the first enzymes that modifies chromatin, the acetyltransferase CBP, in addition to many new epigenetic pathways that are now targeted in drug development. Dr. Kouzarides is a co-founder of Abcam plc, a publicly trading research reagents company, as well as a co-founder of two UK-based cancer drug discovery companies, Chroma Therapeutics and STORM Therapeutics. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society, and an International Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
  • John H. Krystal, MD: Dr. Krystal is Chair of the Department of Psychiatry at Yale University. He is a leading expert in the areas of alcoholism, post-traumatic stress disorder, schizophrenia, and depression. His work links psychopharmacology, neuroimaging, molecular genetics, and computational neuroscience to study the neurobiology and treatment of these disorders. Dr. Krystal is best known for leading the discovery of the rapid antidepressant effects of ketamine in depressed patients. He is a Fellow of the National Academy of Medicine, and serves in a variety of advisory and review capacities for NIAAA, NIMH, the Wellcome Trust, the Brain and Behavior Research Foundation, the Broad Institute, and the Karolinska Institute.
  • Eric Nestler, MD, PhD: Dr. Nestler is a Nash Family Professor of Neuroscience, Director of the Friedman Brain Institute, and Dean for Academic and Scientific Affairs at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York. He is a leading expert in the molecular basis of addiction and depression, utilizing preclinical animal models. His research has established that drug- and stress-induced changes in genetic transcription factors and chromatin remodeling mechanisms in reward pathways mediate long-lived behavioral changes relevant to addiction and depression. Dr. Nestler is the scientific co-founder of PsychoGenics, a Fellow of the U.S. National Academy of Medicine and a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, as well as the past President of the Society for Neuroscience.
  • Li-Huei Tsai, PhD: Dr. Tsai is the Director of the Picower Institute for Learning and Memory at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, a Picower Professor of Neuroscience, Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, and Senior Associate Member of the Broad Institute. Dr. Tsai is a pioneer in the fields of neuroepigenetics and neurodegeneration. Her work established a key role of chromatin modifications in preclinical models of Alzheimer’s disease and have uncovered related alterations in the human brain. She is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, a Fellow of the U.S. National Academy of Medicine, and an Academician of the Academia Sinica in Taiwan. She also co-founded the Aging Brain Initiative at MIT, and is co-director of the Alana Down Syndrome Center at MIT.

"We are delighted to welcome this group of distinguished experts to our scientific advisory board,” said Dr. Berger. “Bringing deep expertise in the areas of neuroscience, psychology, and epigenetics, these individuals will help EpiVario with its ongoing research efforts to utilize novel medical and scientific discoveries for the development of therapeutics for memory- and addiction-related diseases.”

“I am excited to work with EpiVario and their novel epigenetic approach to reduce the adverse memory that is linked to post-traumatic stress and drug craving,” said Dr. Nestler. “I agreed to serve on the SAB with the other distinguished scientists in order to help EpiVario with its scientific understanding and to take the optimal translational approach towards new therapies. I know both Dr. Mews and Dr. Berger well and respect them greatly, and I am very much looking forward to working with them.”

In addition to establishing its Scientific Advisory Board, EpiVario has also commenced scientific collaborations with leading investigators around the world on the application of therapeutics for memory- and addiction-related diseases. The new research collaborators and projects include:

  • Hagit Cohen, PhD, Professor, Jack Dreyfus Chair in Psychiatry, Head of Anxiety and Stress Research Unit, Faculty of Health Sciences, Ben-Gurion University: Dr. Cohen is studying the impact of one of EpiVario’s therapeutic molecules on anxiety and stress responses using a rat predatory scent-stress model.
  • Christopher Cowan, PhD, Chair, Department of Neuroscience at the Medical University of South Carolina: Dr. Cowan is studying the impact of one of EpiVario’s therapeutic molecules in a rat self-administration model for cocaine addiction.
  • Paul Kenny, PhD, Professor and Chair, Drug Discovery Institute at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai: Dr. Kenny is studying the impact of one of EpiVario’s therapeutic molecules in a rat self-administration model for nicotine addiction.
  • Marcelo Wood, PhD, Professor and Chair, Department of Neurobiology and Behavior at the University of California, Irvine: Dr. Wood is studying one of EpiVario’s drug candidates in mouse stress models to determine if treatment can reduce fear response to traumatic memory while retaining prior non-stress memories.

“I was interested in collaborating with EpiVario and its team because their novel approach could provide a new treatment for substance use disorders that are currently lacking effective therapies,” said Dr. Cowan. “Harnessing epigenetic regulation of gene expression has tremendous potential, and our preclinical models of substance use disorders can help to validate EpiVario’s approach for reducing drug seeking across a number of abused substances.”

Dr. Berger, Dr. Mews, and Penn are co-founders of the company and hold equity in EpiVario. Both Penn and the inventors of the optioned technology may also be entitled to receive additional financial benefits if the technology is licensed to EpiVario in the future.

For more information on EpiVario, please visit: http://www.epivario.com

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About EpiVario, Inc.
EpiVario is a preclinical stage drug discovery and development company that targets a wide range of memory-related psychiatric disorders, including PTSD, drug and alcohol use disorder, and Alzheimer’s disease. The Company’s novel approach targets memory formation at the source of the disease, preventing the creation and reconsolidation of maladaptive memories. Core to EpiVario is administering its drug in conjunction with psychotherapy, where a negative or traumatic memory is intentionally re-lived, with the goal of disassociating the stress linked to the original traumatic memory. EpiVario is a biotechnology company originally founded at the Penn Center for Innovation. For more information visit http://www.epivario.com.

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Maggie Markert
EpiVario
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