How do you progress from complex research discoveries to simple solutions that people can use? There is a need to identify common building blocks that are functional, predictable and safe.
Pemi31 Therapeutics is moving in that direction with ICAST – Immune Complex Altered Signaling & Transport, a scalable platform technology with applications for many common diseases and age-related conditions.
ICAST is an important program of communication between cells. Working at the cell membrane, it can “tell” cells how to act, or block bad signals that will increase inflammation and cell death. Alternatively, ICAST can facilitate the uptake of molecules, drugs or factors that need to work inside a cell, or traverse to the other side of the cell where its target lies.
An immune complex (IC) is a combination of a protein and its antibodies. IC’s interact at the cell membrane with various receptors – sometimes simultaneously – to dial into the cells signaling or transport systems.
Pemi31 Therapeutics has discovered the therapeutic value of the IC’s formed between Heat Shock Protein 27 (HSP27) and naturally occurring antibodies to HSP27. Increasing levels of anti-HSP27 antibodies through vaccination and/or direct antibody administration has many applications, including cardiovascular / metabolic diseases, as well as other common inflammatory and degenerative processes.
The O’Brien research laboratory studies how the body develops the right responses to combat the development of hardening of the arteries (or “atherosclerosis”). In particular, we are interested in how to reduce cholesterol levels and unbridled inflammation. In pioneering studies, we discovered Heat Shock Protein 27 (HSP27) as a protein that is in part regulated by estrogens and is associated with cardiovascular health – in males and females.
The biological role of HSP27 markedly changes when this protein combines with natural anti-HSP27 antibodies to form immune complexes (ICs). Acting as a novel modulator of cell signaling and transport, HSP27 ICs constitute a platform technology called ICAST. Altering communication signals within the body, HSP27 ICAST influences the health of cells in your blood vessels, liver and potentially other target organs that maintain one’s wellness and longevity.
Dr. Tucker is a seasoned, Boston-based executive who has played an important role building a number of successful startups. He co-founded and took public Willow Biosciences (CSE:WLLW) and Stem Cell Therapeutics (now Nasdaq/TSX: TRIL). As well, he had important executive roles at SolAeroMed and Reserverlogix. In each of these companies he was either a VP or CEO, and raised significant private financing. As a resident of both the US and Canada, Joe has the broad connections that are vital for securing the necessary funds to move Pemi31 Therapeutics forward into the clinic.
Chief Scientific Officer
Dr. O’Brien is a Cardiologist and Professor in the Department of Cardiac Sciences in the Cumming School of Medicine / Libin Cardiovascular Institute of Alberta where he served as the Chief of Cardiology (2011-16) and Director of Research (2011-2015). Since 1994 he has directed an independent research laboratory that focuses on understanding the mechanisms involved in the genesis of atherosclerosis, taking insights from human biology, testing them in experimental models, and translating this research into new discoveries for the clinic.
Chief Operating Officer
Dr. Gagnon is a knowledgeable and respected executive leader with many years of strategic leadership experience and management excellence. She works within important local, national and international networks, bringing interpersonal skills, interdisciplinary content knowledge, a health professional perspective, and strategic, operational, governance and financial expertise to achieve results. Michelle’s strengths in research, knowledge mobilization and innovation are strong assets for Pemi31 Therapeutics.
KEY OPINION LEADERS
John Kastelein, MD, PhD
Dr. Kastelein is Emeritus Professor of Medicine at the Department of Vascular Medicine at the Academic Medical Center (AMC) of the University of Amsterdam, where he held the Strategic Chair of Genetics of Cardiovascular Disease. Professor Kastelein has published over 1320 research papers in peer reviewed journals, including Nature Genetics, Lancet, New England Journal of Medicine, JAMA and Circulation and has a Hirsch index of 122 in January 2020. His citations reached over 680 in 2020 and in total over 74800.
Dr. Kastelein received his medical degree in Amsterdam in 1980 where he subsequently received specialty training ininternal medicine. Then, between 1986 and 1988, he trained in medical genetics, lipidology and molecular biology at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver. Dr. Kastelein is regularly invited to important meetings on vascular disease for invited or keynote lectures, at least 5 meetings per year (American Heart Association, American College of Cardiology,European Society of Cardiology, International Atherosclerosis Society, European Atherosclerosis Society, EuropeanLipoprotein Conference). Overall, his invited lectures can be numbered in the hundreds. More recently, Dr. Kastelein has extended his expertise into the NAFLD/NASH field, and advises several companies (e.g., Madrigal Pharmaceuticals, 89Bio and North Sea Therapeutics Inc.)
Dr. Kastelein is the recipient of many prestigious awards (e.g., 2010 Lifetime Achievement Award of the Dutch Heart Foundation, the 2014 Anitschkov Prize from the European Atherosclerosis Society. In 2014, Dr. Kastelein was also awarded the No.1 position among the Top Worldwide Experts in Hyperlipidemia Research and Treatment by Expertscape. Lastly, Thomson Reuters has ranked Dr. Kastelein among the top 1% of researchers for the most cited documents in his field and top 100 of the most influential clinical researchers globally in 2015.
Kosh Ray, MD, MPhil
Professor Kausik Ray received his medical education (MB ChB, 1991) at the University of Birmingham Medical School, his MD (2004) at the University of Sheffield, a postdoctoral fellowship at Harvard Medical School and finally an MPhil in epidemiology (2007) from the University of Cambridge. Kausik Ray is currently Professor of Public Heath, Deputy Director of Imperial Clinical Trials Unit and Head of Commercial Trials within the Department of Public Health and Primary Care, School of Public Health, Imperial College London. As well, he is a Consultant Cardiologist and Chief Clinical Officer and Head of Trials – “Discover Now”, as well as NIHR ARC National Lead of Cardiovascular Disease, and the President-Elect of the European Atherosclerosis Society.
Professor Ray has either been the National Lead Investigator, Principal Investigator, or served on committees for several major medical trials, as well as international registries and is currently involved in 8 ongoing trials in lipids and diabetes and the PI for ORION 1, 3, 11 assessing PCSK9 inhibition through RNA interference.
Professor Ray has an H index of 76, an i10 of 180 and nearly 75,000 citations for his work in journals such as New England Journal of Medicine, The Lancet, JAMA, European Heart Journal, Circulation and JACC. Key original contributions which have influenced European and American guidelines include demonstrating the early benefits of statin therapy post ACS, the impact of more/less intensive glycaemic control on CVD and the risks/benefits of aspirin therapy in primary prevention. Recently, his work on statins and diabetes risk led to a global label change for statins by the FDA and EMEA. Currently Professor Ray leads the EAS FH Studies collaboration which is the first global registry of FH which includes 68 countries and 59,000 cases, as well as being the Senior PI for the TOGETHER study looking at cardiometabolic risk in the vascular health checks in 250,000 people in London.
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Very rewarding international experience, working with my colleagues to mentor the world’s future leaders in Women’s Cardiovacular Health research @LibinInstitute #LibinITS
HSP27 Immune Complex Characterization: Latest Update into the Understanding of Novel Immune-facilitated Therapy
October 2019 BBA General Subjects publication from the O'Brien lab advances the knowledge base for...