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Tag: Leading

Disc Medicine Expands Scientific Advisory Board with Leading Experts in Hepcidin Biology

CAMBRIDGE, Mass., Oct. 13, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — Disc Medicine, a company dedicated to the discovery and development of novel therapeutic candidates for serious and debilitating hematologic diseases, today announced the appointment of Tomas Ganz, MD, PhD and Elizabeta Nemeth, PhD to its scientific advisory board, adding valuable expertise in hepcidin biology.

Disc Medicine is a hematology company harnessing new insights in hepcidin biology to address ineffective red blood cell production (erythropoiesis) in hematologic diseases. Focused on the hepcidin pathway, the master regulator of iron metabolism, Disc is advancing first-in-class therapies to transform the treatment of hematologic diseases. (PRNewsfoto/Disc Medicine)

“We are thrilled to welcome  Dr. Ganz and Dr. Nemeth to our Scientific Advisory Board, particularly at such an exciting time in a field that they helped pioneer,” said John Quisel, JD, PhD, Chief Executive Officer at Disc Medicine. “Together they were instrumental in characterizing the fundamental role of hepcidin in iron homeostasis, and I’m delighted to be working with them as we advance our hepcidin-targeted programs into the clinic.”

Dr. Ganz is a Distinguished Professor of Medicine and Pathology at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, where he studies the role of small peptide regulators in human physiology and disease and is credited for the discovery of the iron-regulatory hormone hepcidin. Dr. Ganz received his PhD in Applied Physics from Caltech and his MD from UCLA, joining UCLA as a faculty member in 1983 after having completed training in Internal Medicine and Pulmonary Medicine. In 2005 he received the Marcel Simon Prize of the International Bioiron Society for the discovery of hepcidin and in 2014 was honored by the E. Donnall Thomas Award from the American Society of Hematology for his research in iron homeostasis, including the discovery of the iron-regulatory hormone hepcidin and investigation of its roles in iron metabolism.

“It has been immensely gratifying to see the hepcidin story unfold as our understanding of hepcidin’s role across different diseases has grown,” said Tomas Ganz, MD PhD. “Disc has taken a compelling approach to targeting hepcidin with two programs guided by human genetic findings. I’m delighted to be a part of this vision, particularly as they look to enter the clinic with their first program next year.”

Dr. Nemeth is a Professor of Medicine at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, and Director of the UCLA Center for Iron Disorders. Dr. Nemeth received her PhD in Cell, Molecular and Neurosciences at the University of Hawaii and completed a postdoctoral fellowship studying the pathobiology of hepcidin at UCLA. During her tenure she has made major contributions to the understanding of iron homeostasis and its dysregulation in disease, such as characterizing the regulation of hepcidin production by inflammation and iron and elucidating the mechanism of action of hepcidin in regulating dietary iron absorption and release from stores. Dr. Nemeth also described the role of hepcidin in various iron disorders including hereditary hemochromatosis, iron-loading anemias and iron-restricted anemias. Dr. Nemeth was a standing member of the Molecular and Cellular Hematology Study Section of the National Institutes of Health, is President-Elect of the International BioIron Society, and an associate editor of the American Journal of Hematology. Dr. Ganz and Nemeth co-founded three biotechnology companies focused on hepcidin-targeted

How Genexa Is Leading The Clean Medicine Revolution And Getting Us To ‘Ditch The Dirty’

As a parent, I’m always thinking of my six year old son and how to keep him healthy and safe. I was surprised to hear of the idea of “clean medicine” – and learn more about how common medications oftentimes contain ingredients which could be harmful.

Genexa is a “clean medicine” company that is on a mission to get us to “Ditch the Dirty.” I caught up with cofounders David Johnson and Max Spielberg to find out more.

Afdhel Aziz: Max, David, welcome. Please tell us how the two of you came to start Genexa?

David Johnson: I grew up in a “nuts and seeds” type of household. My parents, both chiropractors, were particularly cognizant of everything health related. They always tried to choose natural and organic foods. In having my own kids now, I want to raise them similarly, using the cleanest ingredients whenever possible.

Max Spielberg: I have dealt with allergies my entire life. Only a few years ago I discovered that many of the OTC medicines we all know and use routinely, are, surprisingly, full of common allergens. I experienced adverse reactions from some of these allergens, one of which was even in my allergy medicines! David and I are longtime friends and when we both had kids, we became increasingly frustrated by the fever reducers or cough medicines on shelves that were full of synthetic and artificial ingredients. The medicines we trusted to make our kids feel better were actually full of artificial additives, frequently including synthetic dyes, flavorings, as well as common allergens. 

Johnson: We decided we had to do something about this. With the rise of organic, clean label products in other industries (food, beauty, personal care and cleaning products), we thought the pharmaceutical industry – the industry making products intended to heal people – should have been at the forefront but was instead lagging behind. We got to work on creating a new kind of pharma company and found a way to make medicine with the same ingredients people need, but without the artificial ones they don’t. We launched Genexa in 2017 after two years of research, development and fundraising, and tremendous partners around us, namely Brian Perkins, former Worldwide Chairman, Consumer Pharmaceuticals & Nutritional’s at Johnson & Johnson. We’re 3 years in and have so much in store for the next few years!

Aziz: Thank you for sharing that. How would you articulate the purpose and the mission of the company?

Johnson: Genexa is on a mission to revolutionize the medicine aisle by making what we think of as real medicine clean. That means making products that have the same active ingredient – the ingredient that helps you feel better – but removing all of the artificial inactive ingredients. We replace the common allergens, synthetic dyes and artificial sweeteners with wholesome ingredients. For flavoring, we use organic blueberries instead of high fructose corn syrup. For coloring, we use