Professor Rudy Tanzi Appointed Prana’s Chief Scientific Advisor
Melbourne – 11 January, 2012: Prana Biotechnology (NASDAQ:PRAN; ASX:PBT) today announced that Professor Rudy Tanzi has been appointed as Chief Scientific Advisor to the Company. Professor Tanzi is the Joseph P. and Rose F. Kennedy Professor of Neurology at Harvard University, and Director of the Genetics and Aging Research Unit at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH). Professor Tanzi has been investigating the genetics of neurological disease since 1980 when he participated in the study that led to the first disease gene being identified by genetic analysis (Huntington's Disease).
Geoffrey Kempler, Prana’s Executive Chairman commented, “Professor Tanzi, who has been involved with Prana from its inception, is significantly increasing his role in the Company as we commence two clinical trials – one in Alzheimer’s and one in Huntington’s Disease. Professor Tanzi will work closely at all levels of the Company as we advance the commercialization of our key assets”.
Prana recently announced that it has received approval from the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to start recruiting patients for the company's first clinical trial using PBT2 in patients with Huntington's Disease (HD). It has also commenced recruitment and screening of patients for a 12 month Phase II Imaging trial testing PBT2 in Alzheimer’s patients.
Professor Tanzi commented, “I am very pleased to take a more active role in Prana at this exciting time in the company’s development. I have always believed that PBT2 shows great promise in both Alzheimer’s and Huntington’s Disease and we are now testing the drug in clinical trials which can lead to commercialization.”
Professor Tanzi is the Chair of the Cure Alzheimer’s Fund Research Consortium. He has received many awards, including the three highest awards for Alzheimer's Disease (AD) research: The Metropolitan Life Award, The Potamkin Prize, and The Reagan Award.
In 2007, Professor Tanzi was included on the list of the "Harvard 100 Most Influential Alumni", and in 2009, he was chosen by the Geoffrey Beene Foundation as a “Rock Star of Science”.
In 2010, Professor Tanzi served on a 3-person task force invited by President Obama to the White House to assess the impact of AD in the U.S.A. He also serves on the Alzheimer’s Disease Leadership Council and is a member of Leaders Engaged in Alzheimer’s Disease (LEAD). In 2011, he was honored with delivering the NIH Annual Director’s Lecture. Professor Tanzi has co-authored over 400 research articles, including three of the top ten most cited AD papers.
He also co-authored the popular trade book “Decoding Darkness: The Search for the Genetic Causes of Alzheimer’s Disease”.
In 1987, Professor Tanzi isolated the first familial Alzheimer's Disease (FAD) gene, known as the amyloid ß-protein (A4) precursor (APP). In 1993, he discovered the gene responsible for Wilson’s disease, and 1995, he co- discovered the second two FAD genes: presenilin 1 and 2. Professor Tanzi has carried out multiple genome wide association studies of thousands of Alzheimer’s families; these studies have identified dozens of novel AD candidate genes as part of the Alzheimer’s Genome Project. In 2008, he discovered the first two rare mutations that cause a form of late-onset AD in the ADAM10 gene.