News Article | May 15, 2017
NEW HAVEN, Conn.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Alexion Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ: ALXN) announced today that researchers presented data showing that the rapid benefits of Strensiq® (asfotase alfa) achieved in adolescents and adults (ages 13-66 years at study entry) with hypophosphatasia (HPP) within the first 6 months were sustained through 5 years of treatment.1 These are the final data from the extension phase of a randomized, open-label, dose-ranging Phase 2 trial of Strensiq and they confirm previously presented interim results. The results were presented at the European Calcified Tissue Society (ECTS) Congress in Austria and demonstrate a reduction in two key biomarkers of HPP disease activity, as well as improvements in physical function in patients treated with Strensiq, as observed in tests to measure walking distance, running speed and agility, and muscle strength. Strensiq was generally well-tolerated. The most common treatment-related adverse events were mild to moderate injection-site reactions.1 “The findings of this phase 2 study suggest that asfotase alfa appears to be safe and effective long-term and reduces the debilitating burden of HPP in adolescent and adult patients,” said lead author, Priya S. Kishnani, M.D., Division Chief, Medical Genetics, Duke University School of Medicine, Durham, North Carolina. “Patients with HPP can suffer multiple fractures, deformities, short stature, impaired mobility, pain, and limited activities of daily living.” Strensiq is approved in the United States as a treatment for patients with perinatal-, infantile- or juvenile-onset HPP. Strensiq is also approved in Australia, Canada, the European Union, Israel, Japan, South Korea, and Switzerland. Further details of the study results1 In the primary phase of this study, patients were randomized to receive no treatment (n=6), 0.3 mg/kg/day of Strensiq (n=7), or 0.5 mg/kg/day of Strensiq (n=6) for 6 months. The majority of patients (with the exception of 1 adult patient) had confirmed pediatric-onset HPP. At 6 months, all 19 patients entered the extension phase of the study and were treated with 0.5 mg/kg/day of Strensiq, then changed to 1 mg/kg/day, 6 times a week, over the next 6 to 12 months. Fourteen patients completed the study over 5 years. Data from both Strensiq dosage groups were pooled for the primary analysis. The approved dosing regimen for patients with perinatal/infantile-onset and juvenile-onset HPP is 2 mg/kg administered subcutaneously three times per week, or 1 mg/kg administered six times per week. (The U.S. Prescribing Information recommends increasing the dose to 3 mg/kg three times per week in patients with infantile-onset HPP in cases of insufficient efficacy). HPP is a genetic, chronic, progressive, and potentially life-threatening ultra-rare metabolic disease that can affect people of all ages. HPP is characterized by defective bone mineralization that can lead to weakness and deformity of bones, fractures and other skeletal abnormalities, as well as systemic complications such as profound muscle weakness, muscle, bone and joint pain, seizures in perinatal/infantile forms of HPP, and respiratory failure leading to premature death in infants.2-6 HPP is traditionally classified by the age of the patient at the onset of symptoms of the disease, with perinatal-, infantile- and juvenile-onset HPP defined by the onset of the first symptom prior to 18 years of age. HPP can have devastating consequences for patients at any stage of life.2 In a natural history study, infants who had their first symptom of HPP within the first 6 months of life had high mortality, with an overall mortality rate of 73 percent at 5 years.7 In these patients, mortality was primarily due to respiratory failure.2,6,8 In patients surviving and those with juvenile-onset HPP, long-term clinical sequelae include recurrent and non-healing fractures, profound muscle weakness, debilitating pain, and the requirement for ambulatory assistive devices such as wheelchairs, wheeled walkers and canes.2,5 HPP is caused by mutations in the gene encoding an enzyme known as tissue non-specific alkaline phosphatase (TNSALP). This enzyme plays a critical role in the proper mineralization of bones.2,3 Strensiq® (asfotase alfa) is a highly innovative bone-targeted enzyme replacement therapy that treats the underlying cause of HPP by replacing the missing TNSALP enzyme. In clinical studies of patients with HPP who had their first symptom prior to the age of 18, treatment with Strensiq improved overall survival in infants, enhanced bone mineralization and improved height, weight and mobility. Strensiq is approved in Australia, Canada, the European Union, Israel, Japan, South Korea, and Switzerland, and the United States. Hypersensitivity reactions, including anaphylaxis, have been reported in STRENSIQ-treated patients. Signs and symptoms consistent with anaphylaxis included difficulty breathing, choking sensation, nausea, periorbital edema, and dizziness. These reactions have occurred within minutes after subcutaneous administration of STRENSIQ and can occur in patients on treatment for more than one year. Other hypersensitivity reactions have also been reported in STRENSIQ-treated patients, including vomiting, fever, headache, flushing, irritability, chills, skin erythema, rash, pruritus and oral hypoesthesia. If a severe hypersensitivity reaction occurs, discontinue STRENSIQ treatment and initiate appropriate medical treatment. Consider the risks and benefits of re-administering STRENSIQ to individual patients following a severe reaction. If the decision is made to re-administer the product, monitor patients for a reoccurrence of signs and symptoms of a severe hypersensitivity reaction. Localized lipodystrophy, including lipoatrophy and lipohypertrophy, has been reported at injection sites after several months in patients treated with STRENSIQ. Advise patients to follow proper injection technique and to rotate injection sites. Patients with HPP are at increased risk for developing ectopic calcifications. In clinical trials, 14 cases (14%) of ectopic calcification of the eye, including the cornea and conjunctiva, and the kidneys (nephrocalcinosis) were reported. There was insufficient information to determine whether or not the reported events were consistent with the disease or due to STRENSIQ. No visual changes or changes in renal function were reported. Ophthalmology examinations and renal ultrasounds are recommended at baseline and periodically during treatment with STRENSIQ to monitor for signs and symptoms of ophthalmic and renal ectopic calcifications and for changes in vision or renal function. The most common adverse reactions (≥ 10%) are injection site reactions, lipodystrophy, ectopic calcifications and hypersensitivity reactions. Please click here for the full Prescribing Information.9 Alexion is a global biopharmaceutical company focused on developing and delivering life-transforming therapies for patients with devastating and rare disorders. Alexion is the global leader in complement inhibition and has developed and commercializes the first and only approved complement inhibitor to treat patients with paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria (PNH) and atypical hemolytic uremic syndrome (aHUS), two life-threatening ultra-rare disorders. In addition, Alexion’s metabolic franchise includes two highly innovative enzyme replacement therapies for patients with life-threatening and ultra-rare disorders, hypophosphatasia (HPP) and lysosomal acid lipase deficiency (LAL-D). Alexion is advancing its rare disease pipeline with highly innovative product candidates in multiple therapeutic areas. This press release and further information about Alexion can be found at: www.alexion.com. This news release contains forward-looking statements, including statements related to potential medical benefits of Strensiq® (asfotase alfa) for hypophosphatasia (HPP). Forward-looking statements are subject to factors that may cause Alexion’s results and plans to differ from those expected, including, for example, risks and uncertainties of drug development, decisions of regulatory authorities regarding the adequacy of our research, marketing approval or material limitations on the marketing of Strensiq for HPP, delays in arranging satisfactory manufacturing capabilities and establishing commercial infrastructure for Strensiq for HPP, the possibility that results of clinical trials are not predictive of safety and efficacy results of Strensiq in broader or different patient populations, the adequacy of our pharmacovigilance and drug safety reporting processes, the risk that estimates regarding the number of patients with Strensiq and observations regarding the natural history of patients with Strensiq are inaccurate, and a variety of other risks set forth from time to time in Alexion's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including but not limited to the risks discussed in Alexion's Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for the period ended March 31, 2017 and in Alexion's other filings with the SEC. Alexion does not intend to update any of these forward-looking statements to reflect events or circumstances after the date hereof, except when a duty arises under law. 1. Kishnani P, Rockman-Greenberg, C, Denker A, et al. Biochemical and Physical Function Outcomes in Adolescents and Adults With Hypophosphatasia Treated With Asfotase Alfa for 5 Years: Results From a Phase 2 Study. Poster presented at the European Calcified Tissue Society Congress, Salzburg, Austria, May 15, 2016. 3. Whyte MP. Hypophosphatasia: nature’s window on alkaline phosphatase function in humans. In: Bilezikian JP, Raisz LG, Martin TJ, eds. Principles of Bone Biology. Vol 1. 3rd ed. San Diego, CA: Academic Press; 2008:1573-1598. 6. Baumgartner-Sigl S, Haberlandt E, Mumm S, et al. Pyridoxine-responsive seizures as the first symptom of infantile hypophosphatasia caused by two novel missense mutations (c.677T>C, p.M226T; c.1112C>T, p.T371I) of the tissue-nonspecific alkaline phosphatase gene. Bone. 2007; 40(6):1655-1661. 7. Whyte MP, Leung E, Wilcox W, et al. Hypophosphatasia: a retrospective natural history study of the severe perinatal and infantile forms. Poster presented at the 2014 Pediatric Academic Societies and Asian Society for Pediatric Research Joint Meeting, Vancouver, B.C., Canada, May 5, 2014. Abstract 752416. 8. Whyte MP, Rockman-Greenberg C, Hofmann C, et al. Improved survival with asfotase alfa treatment in pediatric patients with hypophosphatasia at high risk of death. Poster presented at the American Society for Bone and Mineral Research (ASBMR) 2014 Annual Meeting, Houston, September 14, 2014. Abstract 1097.
News Article | May 17, 2017
CAMBRIDGE, Mass.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Eleven Biotherapeutics, Inc. (NASDAQ:EBIO), a late-stage clinical oncology company advancing a broad pipeline of novel product candidates based on its Targeted Protein Therapeutics (TPTs) platform, today announced the appointment of David Brooks, M.D., Ph.D., to Senior Vice President, Clinical Development. Dr. Brooks will be responsible for the execution of Eleven’s ongoing and planned clinical trials. He will report to Arthur DeCillis, M.D., Chief Medical Officer. “Eleven is at a pivotal inflection point, as we progress our Phase 3 registration trial of Vicinium™ and prepare to advance our second program, Proxinium™, into a Phase 1/2a study in combination with a checkpoint inhibitor,” said Stephen Hurly, President and Chief Executive Officer of Eleven Biotherapeutics. “We are pleased to welcome David to the Eleven team as we continue to build out our clinical development organization. David brings a highly-relevant skillset, including experience overseeing the simultaneous development of multiple oncology programs as monotherapies and in combination with immuno-oncology agents. We look forward to his contributions as we continue to evaluate the potential of our locally- and systemically-administered TPTs and work to bring new medicines that improve upon existing therapeutic options to patients.” Dr. Brooks joins Eleven Biotherapeutics from Deciphera Pharmaceuticals, where he served as Vice President, Clinical Research and Translational Medicine. In this role, Dr. Brooks led the clinical development of four oncology product candidates, set clinical strategy for assets entering testing in direct anti-tumor and immune combination therapy, and planned clinical trials evaluating the combination of immunotherapies with novel myeloid cell checkpoint blockers. Prior to joining Deciphera, Dr. Brooks was Senior Director Physician, Oncology Early Clinical Development at AstraZeneca, where he led the clinical development of a dual specificity PI3K inhibitor across multiple oncology indications and managed a portfolio of external alliances and investigator-sponsored studies. Earlier in his career, Dr. Brooks served as Medical Head, Translational Medicine at TESARO Inc., as Chief Medical Officer and Senior Vice President at Generation Health, Inc., and as Medical Director, Global Clinical Medicine at Abraxis Bioscience, Inc. He also worked at Shire Human Genetic Therapies, Inc. and Merck & Co., Inc. Dr. Brooks holds a M.D. and Ph.D. in Molecular Biology from Cornell University. He completed his residency in Internal Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania and a fellowship in Medical Genetics at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia/Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. He also served as an Instructor in Medicine in the Division of Medical Genetics at the University of Pennsylvania. “I am pleased to join the Eleven team at such an important time,” said Dr. Brooks. “The Company’s lead drug candidates have demonstrated promising anti-tumor activity and safety as single agents. I am eager to work with Eleven’s team to further demonstrate the potential of Vicinium in the clinic. I am particularly excited to progress the ongoing Phase 3 registration trial of Vicinium for patients with high-grade non-muscle invasive bladder cancer, a disease which has not seen meaningful advancements in approximately forty years.” Dr. Brooks is the third recent addition to Eleven’s clinical development group in recent months. In the first quarter, Eleven appointed Gary Conboy as Executive Director, Clinical Sciences and Mary Rohrer as Associate Director, Clinical Operations. Eleven Biotherapeutics, Inc. is a late-stage clinical oncology company advancing a broad pipeline of novel product candidates based upon the Company's TPT platform. The Company's TPTs incorporate a tumor-targeting antibody fragment and a protein cytotoxic payload into a single protein molecule in order to achieve focused tumor cell killing. The Company believes its TPT approach offers significant advantages in treating cancer over existing ADC technologies. The Company believes its TPTs provide effective tumor targeting with broader cancer cell-killing properties than are achievable with small molecule payloads that require tumor cell proliferation and face multi-drug resistance mechanisms. Additionally, the Company believes that its TPT's cancer cell-killing properties promote an anti-tumor immune response that will potentially combine well with immuno-oncology drugs such as checkpoint inhibitors. For more information please refer to the Company's website at www.elevenbio.com. Any statements in this press release about future expectations, plans and prospects for the Company, the Company's strategy, future operations, and other statements containing the words "anticipate," "believe," "estimate," "expect," "intend," "may," "plan," "predict," "project," "target," "potential," "will," "would," "could," "should," "continue," and similar expressions, constitute forward-looking statements within the meaning of The Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Actual results may differ materially from those indicated by such forward-looking statements as a result of various important factors, including: the occurrence of any event change or other circumstances that could give rise to the termination of the License Agreement, the uncertainties inherent in receiving future payments pursuant to the License Agreement, the uncertainties inherent in the initiation and conduct of clinical trials, our ability to successfully develop our product candidates and complete our planned clinical programs, our ability to obtain marketing approvals for our product candidates, expectations regarding our ongoing clinical trials, availability and timing of data from clinical trials, whether interim results from a clinical trial will be predictive of the final results of the trial or results of early clinical studies will be indicative of the results of future studies, the adequacy of any clinical models, expectations regarding regulatory approvals, our ability to obtain, maintain and protect our intellectual property for our technology and products, availability of funding sufficient for the Company's foreseeable and unforeseeable operating expenses and capital expenditure requirements, other matters that could affect the financial performance of the Company, other matters that could affect the availability or commercial potential of the Company's product candidates and other factors discussed in the "Risk Factors" section of the Company's Annual Report on Form 10-K, Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q and other reports filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. In addition, the forward-looking statements included in this press release represent the Company's views as of the date hereof. The Company anticipates that subsequent events and developments will cause the Company's views to change. However, while the Company may elect to update these forward-looking statements at some point in the future, the Company specifically disclaims any obligation to do so. These forward-looking statements should not be relied upon as representing the Company's views as of any date subsequent to the date hereof.
News Article | April 26, 2017
DELRAY BEACH, Fla.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Progeny Genetics LLC (Progeny), a leading risk modeling pedigree software for clinicians, announced today that Jamie L’Heureux, MS, CGC has been appointed to the role of Chief Executive Officer. For 20 years, Progeny has assisted healthcare providers with patient screening, risk analysis, order processing, clinical review, and letter generation. Ms. L’Heureux brings over 12 years of experience in both research and clinical genetics as a Board Certified genetic counselor. She received her Master’s degree in Medical Genetics from the University of Cincinnati’s Genetic Counseling Training Program and began her career at the University of Iowa as a Research Coordinator for several international research projects. Ms. L’Heureux’s strong background in software development includes implementing new laboratory information management systems and designing patient-facing Family History Questionnaires. For the past three years, Ms. L’Heureux served as Software Product Manager at Progeny, and was integral to development of Progeny’s letter generation feature and integrated risk models. “I am excited to be able to use my past experience as a Progeny user, both in the research and clinical genetic counseling settings, to help build upon the strong foundation that Progeny already has established, and make it even more user-friendly for our healthcare provider customers and their patients,” said Ms. L’Heureux. “We have some exciting improvements coming up that are focused on saving clinicians’ time and simplifying their workflow.” As a prominent member of the Progeny leadership team, Ms. L’Heureux helps guide the future of the company by leveraging her extensive experience as a genetic counselor. In addition, her software development knowledge provides a solid foundation for Ms. L’Heureux to harness the needs of Progeny’s healthcare provider clientele. Progeny’s software is available in over 2,400 unique sites in 80 countries worldwide. Progeny has played a prominent role in advancing science by bringing family history to the forefront of genetic healthcare, with the intention that the information provided to healthcare providers will assist them with early detection and intervention to patients with genetic predispositions. Progeny became a subsidiary of Ambry Genetics (Ambry), a genetic testing company based in Aliso Viejo, California, in April 2015. Progeny’s software helps healthcare providers analyze hereditary family history data so clinicians can effectively identify genetic risk factors in patients and their families. For more information about Progeny’s services and support, visit here. Progeny is a subsidiary of Ambry Genetics, providing customizable family history, pedigree, sample, and genetic data management software solutions to healthcare providers worldwide. Using Progeny’s sophisticated technology, healthcare providers can collect family history from patients, review and edit pedigrees, run integrated risk models, order and review genetic testing, and integrate into the electronic medical record, allowing healthcare providers to embrace personalized healthcare like never before. For more information about Progeny, visit www.progenygenetics.com. Ambry Genetics is both College of American Pathologists (CAP)-accredited and Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA)-certified. Ambry leads in clinical genetic diagnostics and genetics software solutions, combining both to offer the most comprehensive testing menu in the industry. Ambry has established a reputation for sharing data while safeguarding patient privacy, unparalleled service, and responsibly applying new technologies to the clinical molecular diagnostics market. For more information about Ambry Genetics, visit www.ambrygen.com.
News Article | May 8, 2017
BOSTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--MetaStat, Inc. (OTCQB:MTST), a pre-commercial biotechnology company focused on the development and commercialization of companion diagnostics and anti-metastatic therapeutics in the novel cancer treatments in drugs, today announced the promotion of Jerome B. Zeldis, M.D., Ph.D. from Vice Chairman to Chairman and the appointment of Douglas A. Hamilton, MetaStat’s President and Chief Executive Officer, to its board of directors in connection with a restructuring of MetaStat’s board. Dr. Zeldis stated, “MetaStat has an exciting technology platform based on the novel mechanisms that drive cancer metastasis and overcome tumor resistance to certain therapeutics, creating the potential to discover novel cancer drugs. I look forward to working with Doug and the MetaStat team in solidifying our mission to discover and develop truly novel approaches for treating a variety of cancers.” Mr. Hamilton said, “I am delighted Jerry is leading MetaStat’s Board of Directors and honored to serve on the board with him. We have a shared vision for the future of the Company, seeing multiple opportunities to make significant advances in treating cancer.” Mr. Hamilton continued, “Our driver-based diagnostic biomarkers are also therapeutic targets for the development of anti-metastatic drugs and combination therapies to overcome drug resistance. We plan to leverage our driver-based biomarkers and expand strategic partnerships to unlock opportunities in oncology.” Please see the company’s current report on Form 8-K filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on May 8, 2017 for full details on the board restructuring, including the resignations of Messrs. Berman, Goodeve and Bronsther. Dr. Zeldis is the Chief Medical Officer of Sorrento Therapeutics, Inc., and previously served as Chief Medical Officer of Celgene Corporation and Chief Executive Officer of Celgene Global Health until June 2016. Prior to joining Celgene in 1997, Dr. Zeldis held positions at Sandoz Research Institute and Janssen Research Institute in both clinical research and medical affairs. He currently serves as Chairman of the board of Alliqua and Trek Therapeutics, in addition to board positions at PTC Therapeutics and Soligenix. He was Assistant Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, Associate Professor of Medicine at University of California, Davis, Clinical Associate Professor of Medicine at Cornell Medical School, and Professor of Clinical Medicine at the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. Dr. Zeldis received BA and MS degrees from Brown University, and M Phil, MD, and PhD degrees from Yale University. Dr. Zeldis has published 122 peer-reviewed articles and is a named inventor on 43 U.S. patents. Mr. Hamilton has been President and CEO of MetaStat since June 2015. Previously, Mr. Hamilton served as CFO for SEA Medical Systems and since 2007, Partner at New Biology Ventures, a life-sciences incubator accelerator and consulting firm. From 1999 to 2006, Mr. Hamilton served as CFO and COO for Javelin Pharmaceuticals, purchased by Hospira, where he led the company to commercialization and through its successful national markets up-listing. Prior to Javelin, Mr. Hamilton was the CFO and Director of Business Development for PolaRx Biopharmaceuticals (now Teva Pharmaceuticals). Mr. Hamilton held positions at Amgen and Pfizer in clinical research and product development, sales and marketing at Pharmacia Biotechnology (now GE Healthcare Life Sciences), and research at Connaught Laboratories (now Sanofi-Pasteur). Mr. Hamilton earned his honors Bachelor of Science degree from the Department of Medical Genetics at the University of Toronto and his MBA from the Ivey Business School at Western University. MetaStat is a pre-commercial biotechnology company focused on the discovery, development and commercialization of diagnostics tests that are prognostic for risk of cancer metastasis, companion diagnostics to predict drug response and therapeutics to prevent aggressive cancer from spreading. MetaStat’s driver-based diagnostic and therapeutic discovery platform technology is based on the pivotal role of the Mena protein and its isoforms, a common pathway for the development of metastatic disease and drug resistance in all epithelial-based solid tumors. MetaStat is based in Boston, MA. This press release contains "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, and such forward-looking statements are made pursuant to the safe harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. You are cautioned that such statements are subject to a multitude of risks and uncertainties that could cause future circumstances, events or results to differ materially from those projected in the forward-looking statements as a result of various factors and other risks, including those set forth in the company's Form 10-K and its other filings filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. You should consider these factors in evaluating the forward-looking statements included herein, and not place undue reliance on such statements. The forward-looking statements in this release are made as of the date hereof and the company undertakes no obligation to update such statements.
News Article | April 17, 2017
Less than a year after publishing research identifying a single genetic mutation that caused multiple sclerosis (MS) in two Canadian families, scientists at the University of British Columbia have found a combination of two other mutations in another family that made them highly susceptible to the disease. The "double gene" mutation was identified in a large Canadian family with five members diagnosed with MS - all of whom had the DNA abnormality. Two other family members had the same mutation but didn't develop MS, indicating that some other genetic or environmental conditions are still necessary to trigger the disease process. The discovery of this mutation, on top of last year's findings, should help erase doubts that at least some forms of MS are inherited. The prevailing view has been that a combination of many genetic variations causes a slight increase in susceptibility. In this family, individuals with the double gene mutation have about a 7-in-10 chance of developing MS, compared to a 1-in-1,000 risk in the general population. These mutations, described in the journal Human Mutation, impair both immune function and phagocytosis, the process by which cells eliminate debris and pathogens. "This is the first time that problems with phagocytosis have been linked to MS, and provides scientists with a better understanding the disease's origins and targets for developing new treatments," said lead author Carles Vilarino-Guell, an Assistant Professor of Medical Genetics who collaborated with colleagues at Australia's Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health. The findings also could be used to screen people with a family history of the disease; an individual who was found to have this mutation could be a candidate for early diagnostic imaging long before symptoms appear, or could opt to reduce environmental risks by taking Vitamin D supplements or quitting smoking. MS results from the body's immune system attacking myelin, the fatty material that insulates neurons and enables rapid transmission of electrical signals. When myelin is damaged, communication between the brain and other parts of the body is disrupted, leading to vision problems, muscle weakness, difficulty with balance and coordination, and cognitive impairments. Canada has one of the highest rate of MS in the world, for reasons that elude scientists. The double mutation, unlike the single mutation described last year, leads to the more typical "relapsing-remitting" form of MS, in which the symptoms come and go. These differences in clinical symptoms suggests that different biological processes are responsible for each type of MS, which could explain why treatments for relapsing-remitting patients are ineffective for people with more debilitating, progressive form of the disease. The family with this mutation had donated to a Canadian-wide collection of blood samples from people with MS, begun in 1993 by co-author A. Dessa Sadovnick, a UBC Professor of Medical Genetics and Neurology. The 20-year project, funded by the MS Society of Canada and the Multiple Sclerosis Scientific Research Foundation, has samples from 4,400 people with MS, plus 8,600 blood relatives - one of the largest such biobanks in the world, stored at UBC and Vancouver Coastal Health's Djavad Mowafaghian Centre for Brain Health.
News Article | May 20, 2017
Experts Call on Ministers of Health to Support African Union-Endorsed Candidate at World Health Assembly -- In an open letter to Ministers of Health today, 35 of the world's top global health leaders expressed support for Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus of Ethiopia to become the next Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO). On Tuesday (23 May), WHO Member States will select the next Director-General at the World Health Assembly in Geneva – a decision that will greatly impact health and lives of people around the world.Dr. Tedros' high-level endorsers – representing a broad cross section of the most influential people in global health in 23 countries and 5 continents – have called him the "most capable, qualified candidate". They note his proven record reforming Ethiopia's health system, bringing primary healthcare to the country, cutting child mortality by 2/3, reducing HIV infections by 90% and malaria and tuberculosis deaths by 75% and 64%.These leaders – with long experience working in international health – also highlighted Dr. Tedros's public health and diplomatic leadership as well as his integrity, humility, and decisiveness."Dr. Tedros not only has the vision and experience to lead the world toward achieving the ambitious aims of the Sustainable Development Goals, including universal health coverage, but also the hands-on experience to be a supportive, credible partner to countries in efforts to achieve them," the leaders stated.The full text of the letter can be found on the campaign website and the list of signatories below.A wide-range of other leaders including former Heads of State, health, foreign affairs, development ministers, prominent academics and civil society advocates have also endorsed Dr. Tedros, found on the campaign website at www.drtedros.com Dr. Tedros served as Minister of Health (2005-2012) and Minister of Foreign Affairs (2012-2016) of Ethiopia, leading comprehensive reform which created more than 3,500 health centers; 16,000 health posts; trained 38,000 health extension workers; increased medical school enrollment; helped to improve supply chain and health information systems, and access to medicines. Dr. Tedros' public health experience is matched by experience in diplomacy and political leadership. As Board Chair of 2 major global health institutions – the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria and the Roll Back Malaria Partnership. He also played a key role in negotiating the landmark Addis Ababa Action Agenda, where countries committed to co-finance the Sustainable Development Goals.If elected, Dr. Tedros would be the 1st WHO Director-General from Africa – as well as the 1st former Minister of Health or former Minister of Foreign Affairs to serve in this role., Distinguished Visiting Professor, University of Johannesburg;Former Executive Director, African Academy of Sciences, Former President, International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics (FIGO); Former President, Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, U.K., Senior Researcher and former Vice-President of Health Production and Innovation, Fiocruz, Brazil; former Executive Director, UNITAID, Geneva; former Unit Chief of Essential Medicines, Vaccines and Health Technologies at PAHO/WHO, Washington, Chief Executive Officer, Speak Up AfricaGlobal health and anti-poverty advocate, Executive Deputy Director, Institute for Global Health, Peking University, Director, Partners in Health Rwanda; Former Board Chair, International AIDS Vaccine Initiative, Professor of Clinical Public Health, Global Health and Surgery, University of Toronto, WHO Regional Director Emeritus (Europe), Founder and President, Speak Up Africa, Vice Provost for Global Initiatives and Chair, Department of Medical Ethics and Health Policy, University of Pennsylvania, President, University of Miami; Former Minister of Health, Mexico, Founder & Chief Executive, Rozaria Memorial Trust; African Union Ambassador on Ending Child Marriage, Midwife; Retired WHO Staff Member; Founder, Edna Adan Hospital & University; Former Foreign Minister and Former First Lady, Somaliland Republic, Former WHO Country Representative to Ethiopia; Former Senior Adviser to WHO Director-General Dr. Lee Jong-wook, Co-Founder and Former President, Global Health Advocates; Managing Director, Æquitas Consulting Pvt. Ltd., 7th President, African Development Bank (2005-2015), Chair, Global Health Innovative Technology Fund, Japan, Regional Director, Partners In Population and Development, Africa Regional Office, Director, Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, Women & Girls Advocate, Youth Leader, Partnership Manager at SEED Project, Former Assistant Administrator for Global Health, U.S. Agency for International Development, Member of Parliament, Lok Sabha, Odisha, India, CEO, Big Win Philanthropy;Former Minister of Health, Nigeria; Adjunct Professor, Duke University Global Health Institute, U.S.Executive Director, International Civil Society Support; Former Executive Director Dutch AIDS Fonds and STOP AIDS NOW, Founding CEO, Global Alliance for TB Drug Development;Founding CEO, Foundation for Innovative and New Diagnostics;Chairman, Next2People Foundation, Former President, International Planned Parenthood Federation; Former Chairman, National Population Council of Ghana, Founder-President, Wellbeing Foundation Africa, Clinical Professor, Obstetrics and Gynaecology and Medical Genetics, University of British Columbia, Canada, Founder and Former President, Women Deliver; Founder and Former President, Family Care International, Chief Executive Officer, Grand Challenges Canada, Director, Centre of Excellence in Women and Child Health, Aga Khan University, East Africa, Director of Healthcare Research, William Davidson Institute, University of Michigan, Former Director, China Program, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; Former Director, China Office, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; Former Chief of Health and Nutrition, UNICEF