Therapeutic approaches to Alzheimer's disease (AD) have most commonly been focused on the management of amyloid beta, which deposits over many years prior to dementia and maximally accumulates prior to disease onset. In contrast, an alternative approach is being investigated to inhibit disease progression via a novel mechanism associated with the slow spread of the disease in the central nervous system (CNS). Tau proteins are abundant throughout the brain and normally function to stabilize microtubules. Interestingly, the cell-to-cell spread of aberrantly modified forms of Tau (eTau), first discovered using an induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) platform, has now been correlated with AD progression in animal models and studies of AD patient samples.
A monoclonal antibody (IPN007) targeting a novel form of secreted Tau is under development by iPierian. Designed to limit the activity and slow the spread of Tau throughout the brain, its therapeutic goal is to inhibit the associated disease progression of AD and an Investigational New Drug (IND) application will be filed in 2014 to initiate clinical trials. Nancy Stagliano will describe the early research and development of this antibody, the recent preclinical data supporting its clinical evaluation, and the rationale driving the redirection of this previously stem cell-focused company into new therapeutic opportunities.
Nancy Stagliano, Ph.D. joined iPierian as CEO in September 2011 with an accomplished career as a biotech leader spanning all aspects of the industry. Prior to joining iPierian, Dr. Stagliano was CEO of CytomX Therapeutics, where she was co-founder and a lead inventor on the company's key platform patents. In earlier roles with CytomX, she served as the COO of CytomX LLC as well as Cynvenio Biosystems. Before moving to California, Dr. Stagliano had an eight-year tenure at Millennium Pharmaceuticals and consulted to several local startups. Dr. Stagliano is also currently the CEO of True North Therapeutics, Inc. focused on selective blockade of the classical complement system.
Dr. Stagliano received her BS in Electrical Engineering and her MS in Biomedical Engineering, both from Drexel University in Philadelphia. She obtained her PhD in Neuroscience from the University of Miami, followed by three years as an independently-funded research fellow at the Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, where she studied mechanisms of brain injury after stroke.