A new approach in Alzheimer's Research
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Pre-clinical Trials

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Diane Van Alstyne, Ph.D. - CEO and founder

Diane Van Alstyne, Ph.D., is the founder and CEO of Septa Therapeutics, Inc. and received her doctorate in Molecular Biology at UCSD La Jolla. She was a post-doctoral fellow in biochemistry at McGill University, and then joined UBC Vancouver, as an Assistant Professor in Medicine/Neurology, where she published extensively on the topic: chronic rubella virus (RV) infection in the central nervous system.

While at UBC, Diane:

  • identified 2 mechanisms of persistent RV infection

  • identified a mechanism of restricted viral replication in cells in the CNS which accounts for the protracted gap between infection and the onset of Multiple Sclerosis (MS) symptoms where a viral etiology is suspected. This work contributed directly to Don Paty’s (UBC) future involvement in clinical trials of beta interferon, the first drug developed for use in MS, and

  • proposed a new theory for the origin of the prion, the agent responsible for “mad cow disease” (BSE) and Creutzfeldt-Jacob Disease (CJD) in humans.

After going to Neuroimmunology at the NIH as an invited Visiting Scientist, where she constructed the first monoclonal antibodies to RV, she returned to Vancouver and founded Insight Biotek Inc. (IBI). It was Diane's highly unorthodox use of a monoclonal antibody directed against RV to detect a common, cross-reacting septapeptide in both meningitis-causing bacteria and viruses that led to the discovery of IBI’s platform technology. As CEO of IBI she has used this technology to initiate the development of a new diagnostic test for bacterial meningitis and patented technology for a new “universal” (one-shot-does-all) vaccine against bacterial meningitis.

Diane has recently used the previous platform technology to identify the “trigger” that initiates the events which lead ultimately to AD symptoms. As the founder and CEO of Septa Therapeutics Inc., she is devoting her time exclusively to the development of a new therapeutic for the effective treatment of AD.

Drew Makepeace - Technical Support

Drew Makepeace is owner of Environ Geomatics in Penticton, BC. After graduating from Queen's Univeristy Drew studied Geographic Information Systems at British Columbia Institute of Technology. He provides technical support for Septa Therapeutics including document graphics for manuscripts and posters and web design and layout.

Harvey R. Herschman, Ph.D. - Scientific Advisor

Dr. Herschman is a Distinguished Research Professor in the UCLA Departments of Molecular and Medical Pharmacology and Biological Chemistry.

His lab identified the COX-2 gene, later used by the pharmaceutical industry to develop non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as aspirin and ibuprofren.

He later went on to develop procedures for non-invasive imaging of reporter genes in living animals, and has been the Principal Investigator using this technology (positron emmision tomography, PET scanning) at the UCLA-NCI In Vivo Cellular and Molecular Imaging Center.

His lab has developed a number of genetically modified mice to investigate the role of COX-2 in driving the progression of epithelial cancers. These engineered mice are also useful in understanding the role of COX-2 in neurodegeneration, colitis, bone fracture, ischemic reperfusion injury, and cardiovascular damage.

Dr. Herschman's experience with the use of genetically engineered mice in the development of pharmaceuticals is proving to be invaluable to Septa Therapeutics as we conduct pre-clinical trials to test the efficacy of our drug candidate for the treatment of AD.

Lisa N. Silverman, Ph.D., J.D., Partner at Morrison Foerster, Palo Alto California - Patent Attorney

Dr. Silverman focuses on patent portfolio management and strategic patent counselling in areas of chemistry and life sciences, with extensive experience in pharmaceutical products. She received her J.D. from Stanford Law School.

Dr. Silverman's legal expertise combined with an in-depth understanding of the use of small peptides as therapeutic agents make her the ideal patent attorney for Septa Therapeutics' work in developing a new peptide drug candidate for the treatment of AD.

For a complete summary of Dr. Silverman's background see the Morrison Foerster web site.

Christopher M. Lennon - corporate counsel

Christopher Lennon, of LennonAllen LLP, Vancouver, BC, is now representing Septa Therapeutics. In addition to his many other activities, he is also corporate counsel to the University of British Columbia, handling all tech transfers to industry.