Augustine Therapeutics, a biotech company developing innovative therapies for neuromuscular and neurodegenerative disorders, announced today the expansion of its leadership team with Marie Trad, MD as Chief Medical Officer, Jonathan van Eyll, PhD as Head of Pharmacology and Cédric Szyndralewiez, MSc as Head of Non-Clinical and Early Development. The company is also opening its state-of-the-art R&D laboratories and offices in the new Arenberg Accelerator building located in Leuven. Growing the R&D team and internal capacity will further accelerate the development of Augustine’s HDAC6-focused programs towards the clinic for the treatment of Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease (CMT), chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy (CIPN), as well as CNS diseases such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).
Marie Trad, Chief Medical Officer, will be responsible for medical and clinical development activities of the Augustine Tx portfolio, liaising with regulatory agencies, Key Opinion Leaders and our clinical Scientific Advisory Board.
With over 33 years of clinical and pharmaceutical development experience in the field of neurology and neuroradiology, she brings her in-depth knowledge and expertise to lead the pipeline of global clinical development from early stages throughout the lifecycle of Augustine’s assets development. After more than a decade of clinical practice, Dr. Trad joined the bio-pharmaceutical industry in 2000 in varied senior strategic roles, both in major pharma (Sanofi-Aventis), CROs (IQVIA) and biotech companies. During this period, she supported multiple NDAs and compound development in a wide variety of indications such as chronic inflammatory demyelinating neuropathy, muscular dystrophies, ALS and other rare diseases, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetic neuropathic pain, and chronic acute pain. Dr. Trad is also founder of Neuraltra, a highly specialized consulting firm dedicated to accelerating clinical development in the neurosciences. She is a board-certified neurologist and a qualified neuroradiologist from the Pierre and Marie Curie University, Paris, France.
Our new CMO Dr. Marie Trad, commented “I am looking forward to lead the clinical development of Augustine’s innovative portfolio, and its first clinical candidate AGT100216 towards clinical proof-of-concept in patients affected by CIPN and CMT. The innovative science and unique differentiated portfolio in both PNS and CNS indications have a potential to change patients’ lives significantly. I look forward, during my tenure at Augustine Tx, to contribute towards this goal.”
Jonathan van Eyll, Head of Pharmacology, will be responsible for the in vitro and in vivo pharmacology platform, as well as translational pharmacology and disease biomarkers supporting clinical trials. Dr. van Eyll started his R&D journey at UCB Pharma (Braine-l’Alleud, Belgium) as a scientist specializing in high-throughput screening.
Recognizing the potential of emerging "omics" technologies, Dr. van Eyll played a pivotal role in establishing UCB's Translational Bioinformatics Unit in 2009, harnessing these cutting-edge technologies to advance translational drug discovery research. His contributions spanned diverse areas such as disease modeling, target identification, preclinical model selection, and clinical biomarker identification. Since 2017, Dr. van Eyll has been entirely focused on neuroscience therapeutics, leading and providing his biology, pharmacology, and computational biology expertise to major CNS projects from early discovery to Phase 2 clinical candidates. Dr. van Eyll holds a master’s degree in molecular and cellular biology and a PhD in biomedical sciences, obtained from the de Duve Institute (UC Louvain).
Dr. Jonathan van Eyll commented “I'm honored to join Augustine's experienced team as Head of Pharmacology. Together, we'll advance our unique therapeutic class of HDAC6 inhibitors for severe neurological diseases, translationally bridging internal pharmacology with patient needs, and identifying novel indications or populations that could benefit from this new class of molecules."
Cédric Szyndralewiez, Head of Non-Clinical and Early Development, will be responsible for the regulatory clinical development of Augustine Tx portfolio drug candidates. Dr. Szyndralewiez has 25 years of experience in drug research and development within mid-size pharmaceutical (Serono) and biotech companies (GenKyotex/Calliditas Therapeutics, Pherecydes) in Europe.
He successfully launched a translational pharmacology department in several therapeutic areas spanning from neurology, inflammation, fibrosis, and oncology in his first part of his career, then moved to lead preclinical and early clinical development, contributing to the identification and clinical development of the First-in-Class NOX1/4 inhibitor Setanaxib, which is currently in Phase 2/3 trial. Prior to joining Augustine Tx, Dr. Szyndralewiez was Global and Clinical Project Manager at Pherecydes Pharma (Lyon/Paris, France), leading the clinical development of phages in antibiotic-resistant infections. He holds a master’s degree in pharmacology from the University of Lyon and the Veterinary School of Lyon and is the co-author of 30 peer-reviewed scientific publications.
Cédric Szyndralewiez commented, “Augustine Tx has generated a robust preclinical package of their lead clinical candidate, pursuing their intense R&D efforts to grow the pipeline and address complex and life-threatening diseases. I am thrilled to be part of the team and start this new journey towards first-in-patient studies”.
As part of its growth, Augustine Therapeutics is also expanding its discovery and development platform by joining the Leuven-based Arenberg Accelerator, accessing state-of-the art laboratories and offices, close to its scientific partners and clinical investigators at both the VIB/KU Leuven Center for Brain and Disease Research and Gasthuisberg Hospital. As part of our R&D team, Ms. Lize Van Robbroeck also joined us from Aelin Therapeutics to ramp-up our proprietary biology, target engagement, and disease biomarker-related assays, supporting our discovery and preclinical programs.
Augustine Therapeutics is currently advancing AGT100216 clinical candidate into regulatory development and First-in-man studies. AGT100216 is a highly selective, orally bioavailable, and safe HDAC6 inhibitor belonging to a unique and unprecedented chemical class which demonstrates robust efficacy in preclinical disease models of CIPN and CMT1A. Statistically significant and dose-dependent reversal of clinical symptoms, rescue of axonal integrity of peripheral nerves along reduction of plasma Neurofilament Light Chain, a validated marker of neurodegeneration, hold great promise to deliver a potential treatment for patients suffering from CIPN and CMT.
Dr. Sylvain Celanire, CEO: “As we transition into clinical development with our lead candidate AGT100216 for the treatment of axonopathies for both CIPN and CMT, while accelerating our portfolio of discovery and preclinical programs to their next value inflection points, I am excited to embark on our next journey with such talented scientists and leaders. Augustine Tx has the fundamental task force and R&D infrastructure to deliver the next generation of selective HDAC6i drug candidates to patients.”