Slater Fund Invests Second Round in Promising Drug Discovery Venture
Mnemosyne Pharmaceuticals Attracts World-Class Scientific Advisors and Expands its Board of Directors
Providence, R.I., November 14, 2011 – The Slater Technology Fund today announced that it has completed a second round of funding in Mnemosyne Pharmaceuticals, a drug discovery startup based in Providence, RI focusing on neuropsychiatric disorders. The company has made significant gains over the past year, broadening its scientific and clinical expertise with the appointment to its Scientific Advisory Board of some of the world’s foremost authorities in the field of cognitive dysfunction. In addition, the company has appointed James A. Bristol, Ph.D., former senior vice president of worldwide discovery research at Pfizer, to its Board of Directors.
Slater’s most recent investment in the amount of $250,000, together with co-investment from other private investors, brings aggregate seed funding for the venture to $700,000 thus far. Mnemosyne is currently developing a research platform targeting NMDA receptor function, one of the most impactful signaling mechanisms in the brain. The company is aiming to develop small molecule therapeutics to treat schizophrenia and other cognitive and neuropsychiatric disorders.
Mnemosynd’s newly appointed board member, James A. Bristol, Ph.D., was senior vice president of worldwide discovery research at Pfizer Inc. from 2003-2007. Prior to this position, he was vice president, discovery research, at the Pfizer Global Research & Development site in Ann Arbor, Michigan from 2000-2003. Dr. Bristol was with the Parke-Davis Pharmaceutical Research division of Warner Lambert from 1980-2000 prior to its merger with Pfizer, where he rose through leadership positions culminating as vice president, discovery research. Since retiring from Pfizer in 2007, Dr. Bristol has served as an advisor to numerous pharmaceutical, biotechnology and venture capital firms. Dr. Bristol has exhibited outstanding leadership in the pharmaceutical and medicinal chemistry community, exemplified by serving on the Gordon Research Conferences Board of Trustees (1998 – 2004), serving as editor in chief, Annual Reports in Medicinal Chemistry, Academic Press (1990 – 1998); senior editor, Current Opinion in the Chemistry of Drug Discovery and Development, (1998 – present); and playing leadership roles in the American Chemical Society Division of Medicinal Chemistry, including national chairman of the division during 1995. Dr. Bristol has 46 publications in peer-reviewed journals and 30 granted U.S. patents. In recognition of his service to the pharma industry, Dr. Bristol received the American Chemical Societd’s Earle B. Barnes Award for Leadership in Chemical Research Management in 2004.
Also joining the company are nine Scientific Advisory Board members, representing a wide array of basic and translational research as well as clinical expertise, and all affiliated with leading research institutions in neuroscience and psychiatric medicine. The Scientific Advisory Board includes:
Mark F. Bear, Ph.D. – Professor of neuroscience and investigator in the Howard Hughes Medical Institute at MId’s Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, Dr. Bear is also the scientific founder of Seaside Therapeutics. Dr. Bear is at the forefront of research into molecular mechanisms of synaptic plasticity and their potential for treatment of neuropsychiatric disease and autism.
Michael Brownstein, M.D., Ph.D. – Former leader of the Brain Molecular Anatomy Project and the Molecular Gene Collection Project of the Chief Laboratory of Genetics at the NIMH-NHGIR, and director of the Functional Genomics Program at the Venter Institute. Dr. Brownstein brings over thirty years as a scientific leader in genetics, endocrinology, pharmacology and drug development.
Donald C. Goff, M.D. – Director of the Schizophrenia Program at Massachusetts General Hospital and professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Gofd’s work is in the clinical investigation of new therapies for the treatment of schizophrenia with a special focus on glutamatergic approaches.
Michael F. Green, Ph.D. – Professor in residence of psychiatry and bio-behavioral sciences at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. Dr. Green is a key thought leader on cognitive dysfunction and its functional consequences in schizophrenia, and was a principal investigator for the MATRICS initiative.
John H. Krystal, M.D. – Professor of clinical pharmacology and deputy chairman for research in the Department of Psychiatry at Yale, and medical director of the Schizophrenia Biological Research Center, VA Connecticut Healthcare System in West Haven, CT. Dr. Krystal has done seminal clinical translational work on the role of NMDA receptors in the etiology of schizophrenia.
David A. Lewis, M.D. – Professor of translational neuroscience and chairman of the Department of Psychiatry at the School of Medicine and director of the Translational Neuroscience Program at the University of Pittsburgh. Dr. Lewis has been instrumental in illuminating the alterations of neural circuitry of the prefrontal cortex and related brain regions that cause schizophrenia.
Peter J. Snyder, Ph.D. – Professor in the Department of Neurology at Alpert Medical School at Brown University and vice president for research at Lifespan in Providence, RI. Dr. Snyder is a world leader in translational and proof-of-concept research in the assessment of cognition in clinical trials.
Stephen F. Traynelis, Ph.D. – Professor in the Department of Pharmacology at Emory University School of Medicine. Dr. Traynelis is a world expert in the molecular physiology and pharmacology of glutamate receptors.
Robert Volkmann, Ph.D. – Former senior research fellow at Pfizer. Dr. Volkmann is a world-renowned medicinal chemist with 35 years experience in the pharmaceutical industry, the last 20 years focused in CNS. Dr. Volkmann is a pioneer in the field of network analysis as applied to the holistic understanding of drug action.
"Since our launch in 2010, it has been Mnemosynd’s goal to recruit the leading basic and clinical researchers in neuroscience and psychiatry to our advisory board for the development of an extremely promising class of small molecules to treat patients with schizophrenia and other diseases of cognitive dysfunction," said Kollol Pal, Ph.D., president and CEO of Mnemosyne. "Together with Jim Bristol, who recently joined our Board of Directors, these individuals bring world-class credentials and experience to bear on the very challenging goals we have set for ourselves, which is to develop a fundamentally new class of molecules for the treatment of major unmet needs in neuropsychiatric disease."
About Slater Technology Fund
The Slater Technology Fund is a state-backed venture capital fund that invests in new ventures committed to basing and building their businesses in Rhode Island. Slater focuses its resources on the support of entrepreneurs who have the vision, leadership and commitment to build substantial commercial enterprises. Slater typically invests at the inception stage in the development of a new venture, often based upon ideas and technologies originating in academic institutions and/or government research laboratories located within the region. In most cases, investments are premised upon the possibility of raising substantial follow-on financing, from venture capital investors or from strategic partners, with a view toward accelerating the generation of significant numbers of high-value, high-wage jobs over the intermediate to longer-term. For more information, visit www.slaterfund.com.
Mnemosyne Pharmaceuticals, Inc. is a drug discovery company developing a novel and innovative class of compounds, referred to as Subunit Selective NMDA Receptor Modulators (SNRMs), for the neuropsychiatry market. Mnemosynd’s founding scientists possess over 70 years of experience in neuroscience research and management. They played a prominent role in the research that targeted the N-Methyl-D-Aspartate (NMDA) receptor, paving the way for numerous clinical programs in the development of NMDA receptor antagonists. The company is also supported by a group of scientific advisors who are thought leaders in the field of neuropsychiatry, with experience ranging from early stage drug discovery to translational pharmacology and clinical development. For more information, visit www.mnemosynepharma.com
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