Facio expands Scientific Advisory BoardLeiden, the Netherlands - February 11, 2019
Facio announced today that Prof. Dr. Gerd Schnorrenberg has agreed to join Facio’s Scientific Advisory Board. His strong drug discovery and development expertise will support Facio in its ongoing efforts to generate, select and optimize drug development candidates for specific use in treating FSHD.
Gerd Schnorrenberg has extensive experience in pharmaceutical research and development in several therapeutic areas. He recently retired from Boehringer Ingelheim Pharma GmbH & Co KG, where he was Head of Research, Germany, and member of the International Research Committee overseeing all research activities. In the course of a career that spanned 36 years, he made many contributions to Boehringer Ingelheim’s research and development pipeline and drug approvals across a variety of disease domains. Gerd lectured in medicinal chemistry at Johannes Gutenberg University (Mainz, Germany) and received an honorary professorship from the German federal State of Rheinland-Pfalz. He received his PhD from the University of Bonn and spent a sabbatical at the University of California in San Diego and at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
“I am delighted to support Facio’s exciting FSHD program and to contribute to identifying effective and innovative disease-modifying medicines to fight this debilitating disease. I am looking forward to working with Facio’s team of highly motivated and talented scientists,” said Gerd.
Facio’s R&D Director, Joris De Maeyer, commented: “Compounds fit for treating FSHD do not exist. They have to be designed and optimized. This requires very careful thought, experimentation and selection because a compound must meet many exacting criteria before it may become suitable as a future FSHD drug. Gerd’s deep and wide experience in drug discovery will help us maintain the high standards of rigor that we apply in our R&D. We are pleased by his willingness to contribute to the advancement of our therapies.”
FSHD (facioscapulohumeral dystrophy) is a skeletal muscle wasting disease that devastates the lives of over 700,000 people worldwide and those close to them. The loss of muscle strength has a huge impact on daily life. Living with FSHD means living with pain, fatigue, and social isolation. Above all, the future becomes uncertain because the course of the disease is unpredictable. About 20% of people with FSHD end up in a wheelchair. Currently, no therapy for FSHD is available other than forms of temporary symptomatic relief.
About Facio Therapies BV
Facio Therapies, established in 2014, is a Netherlands-based company with a single focus: to overcome FSHD by developing a causal therapy that restores the natural repression of the muscle-toxic protein, DUX4. When unduly produced in skeletal muscle, DUX4 sets in motion a cascade of cellular events that eventually result in the muscle wasting seen in FSHD. Facio is the only one in the FSHD field with a fully automated, high-throughput screening platform based on quantifying the DUX4 protein in unadulterated (“primary”) FSHD-affected muscle cells. Facio delivered the first-ever therapeutically relevant proof of principle in FSHD by showing that one of its lead candidates, an orally active small molecule, represses DUX4 levels produced by human FSHD-affected muscle cells in a unique animal model (“in vivo”).
Rooted in, and dedicated to working for the FSHD community, Facio’s business approach is to have a positive impact on lives rather than to maximize financial gain. Since inception, Facio has raised over €16M in equity funding from FSHD-affected families, their friends, FSHD foundations, and Facio’s drug discovery partner, Evotec. Facio’s Board consists of business leaders from the FSHD community – Kees van der Graaf (Chairman; Netherlands), Neil Camarta (Canada), Dave Mackay (USA), Bill Moss (Australia), and Chip Wilson (Canada) – and Evotec’s CSO, Cord Dohrmann (Germany).