Abeona Therapeutics Inc. (NASDAQ: ABEO) is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on developing novel therapies for life-threatening rare genetic diseases. Developing therapies for rare disease requires new approaches and strong collaboration between researchers, industry, regulators and patient groups. Abeona was forged from the company’s close collaborations with key stakeholders all dedicated to transforming new biotechnology insights into breakthrough treatments for rare diseases.
Advancing treatments for rare diseases…Working together to find a cure.
A rare disease is one that affects fewer than 200,000 people in the United States. There are nearly 7,000 rare diseases, which may involve chronic illness, disability, and often, premature death. More than 25 million Americans and 30 million Europeans have one.
While rare diseases can affect any age group, about 50% of people affected are children (15 million); and rare diseases account for 35% of deaths in the first year of life.
These rare diseases are often poorly diagnosed, very complex, and have no treatment or not very effective treatment—over 95% of rare diseases do not have a single FDA or EMA approved drug treatment. However, most rare diseases are often caused by changes in genes—80% are genetic in origin and can present at any stage of life.
We believe emerging insights in genetics and advances in biotechnology, as well as new approaches and collaboration between researchers, industry, regulators and patient groups, provide significant opportunities to develop breakthrough treatments for rare diseases.
Stephen B. Thompson, the Company’s Vice President Finance, became the Chief Accounting Officer, Secretary and Treasurer on January 1, 2015. Mr. Thompson consulted with the Company from December 1, 2013 through December 31, 2014. Prior to December 1, 2013 Mr. Thompson was our Vice President from 2000 and our Chief Financial Officer from 1996. From 1990 to 1996, he was Controller and Administration Manager of Access Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a private Texas corporation. Previously, from 1989 to 1990, Mr. Thompson was Controller of Robert E. Woolley, Inc., a hotel real estate company where he was responsible for accounting, finances and investor relations. From 1985 to 1989, he was Controller of OKC Limited Partnership, an oil and gas company, where he was responsible for accounting, finances and SEC reporting. Between 1975 and 1985 he held various accounting and finance positions with Santa Fe International Corporation.
Board of Directors
Steven H. Rouhandeh became our Executive Chairman, Principal Executive Officer, on January 1, 2015. Mr. Rouhandeh has been a director and Chairman of the Board since March 4, 2008. He has been Chief Investment Officer of SCO Capital Partners, a group of New York based life sciences funds since 1997. Mr. Rouhandeh possesses a diverse background in financial services that includes experience in asset management, corporate finance, investment banking and law. He has been active throughout recent years as an executive in venture capital and as a founder of several companies in the biotech field. His experience also includes positions as Managing Director of a private equity group at Metzler Bank, a private European investment firm and Vice President, Investment Banking at Deutsche Bank. Mr. Rouhandeh was also a corporate attorney at New York City-based Cravath, Swaine & Moore. Mr. Rouhandeh holds a J.D., from Harvard Law School, Harvard University and B.A. Political Science, from Southern Illinois University.
Todd Wider, M.D. is a surgeon. Dr. Wider joined our board May 7, 2015. Dr. Wider has served as consultant to numerous entities in the biotechnology space. Dr. Wider holds a M.D. from Columbia College of Physicians and B.A. from Princeton University.
Mark J. Alvino became a director in March 2006 initially as a designee of SCO Capital Partners LLC and is chairman of the Audit Committee. He is no longer a designee of SCO Capital Partners LLC. Mr. Alvino is also a member of the Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee. Mr. Alvino is currently with Hudson Square Capital LLC since October 2014. From 2013 to October 2014 Mr. Alvino was leading the LifeSciences efforts of Bradley Woods, & Co. Ltd. Mr. Alvino was Managing Director for Griffin Securities from 2007 to 2013. Mr. Alvino was Managing Director for SCO Financial Group LLC from 2002 to 2007. Mr. Alvino was a member of the board of directors of MacroChem Corporation from 2007 until February 2009. He previously worked at Feinstein Kean Healthcare, an Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide Company. There he was Senior Vice President, responsible for managing both investor and corporate communications programs for many private and public companies and acted as senior counsel throughout the agency’s network of offices. Prior to working at FKH, Mr. Alvino served as Vice President of Investor Relations and managed the New York Office of Allen & Caron, Inc., an investor relations agency. His base of clients included medical devices, biotechnology, and e-healthcare companies. Mr. Alvino also spent several years working with Wall Street brokerages including Ladenburg, Thallman & Co. and Martin Simpson & Co.
Scientific Advisory Board
Scientist, Children’s Health Research Center
Professor for the Department of Pediatrics, Sanford School of Medicine of the University of South Dakota
Research in the Pearce Lab is focused on understanding the molecular basis of several inherited pediatric neurodegenerative diseases including the infantile, late infantile and juvenile onset forms of Batten disease. Dr. Pearce and his team use mouse and miniature pig models of these rare, fatal diseases to reveal molecular and cellular pathomechanisms, to identify new therapeutic targets and to test new therapeutic approaches.
Dr. Flanigan earned his medical degree from Rush Medical College and completed his internship at the University of Michigan Health System before completing his Neurology residency and fellowship in Neuromuscular Disorders at the Johns Hopkins Hospital, and an additional post-doctoral laboratory fellowship in Human Molecular Biology and Genetics at the University of Utah.
His primary research interest is in the genetic and molecular characterization of inherited neuromuscular diseases, and the development of therapies directed toward these diseases. A major focus of his laboratory concerns genotype/phenotype correlation in, with the intention of increasing our understanding of the pathogenesis in this disease and translating this understanding into improved therapies. Dr. Flanigan is named among the “Best Doctors in America” and joined Nationwide Children’s Hospital in October 2009.
My research has been focused on understanding brain mechanisms involved in the control of movement or where disorders cause involuntary movements. The research involves neurophysiology, direct measurement of movement abnormalities, rating scales, and longitudinal assessments over the course of development and disease. More recently my work as included clinical trials and studies of factors that impact the function of children with movement disorders.
In addition to my clinical practice and research, I direct the Child Neurology residency at the University of Rochester. I serve on a number of advisory boards including the Tourette Syndrome Association, the Dystonia Medical Research Foundation, the Batten Disease Support and Research Association, the NINDS Board of Scientific Counselors, and the Pediatric Advisory Committee of the FDA. I am also an Associate Editor of Neurology
Dr. Strange has interest in rare lung diseases and participates in NIH programs to advance their treatment. He is the Principal Investigator for the Alpha-1 Foundation Research Registry, the largest registry of individuals with alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency or the carrier state in the world. The Registry is used to support research on new therapies, genetic linkage studies, and social sciences research. The Alpha Coded Testing (ACT) study provides confidential testing for alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency.
Dr. Strange is available for physician consultations on the above research studies and continues active inpatient and outpatient clinical service. For this activity and teaching he has been listed in “Best Doctors in America” 2003-2015 for General Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, Interstitial Lung Diseases, and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease