Mission Therapeutics appoints Scientific Advisory Board

Mission Therapeutics, a drug discovery and development company focused on selectively targeting deubiquitylating enzymes (DUBs) to treat serious diseases including mitochondrial diseases, neurodegeneration, inflammation and cancer, has announced the formation of its inaugural Scientific Advisory Board (SAB)

From left ro right: Professor Sir Philip Cohen, Professor Patrick Chinnery, Professor Jacob Corn and Professor Titia Sixma

Mission’s co-founder and CSO, Professor Steve Jackson, FRS, FMedSci will chair the SAB, where he will be joined by four independent, internationally renowned scientists:

  • Professor Sir Philip Cohen FRS, FRSE, FFMedSci, FAA, Professor of Enzymology and Deputy Director of the Division of Signal Transduction Therapy, School of Life Sciences, University of Dundee, Scotland
  • Professor Patrick Chinnery FRCP, FMedSci, Head of the Department of Clinical Neurosciences, University of Cambridge, England
  • Professor Jacob Corn, Director at the Innovative Genomics Institute, and Assistant Adjunct Professor in the Department of Molecular and Cell Biology, University of California, Berkeley, USA
  • Professor Titia Sixma, Group Leader and Head of Biochemistry Division at the Netherlands Cancer Institute, Professor at Erasmus MC Rotterdam, The Netherlands

Mission has built a leadership position and strength in the DUB field, and the SAB will provide strategic advice to the Company as it shapes and progresses its therapeutic programs and pipeline of first-in-class DUB inhibitors.

On welcoming the members to the SAB, Dr. Anker Lundemose, Mission’s CEO, said: “We have attracted a prestigious group of experts to our Scientific Advisory Board, where they bring a wealth of experience across, cell signaling, posttranslational modifications, mitochondrial diseases, neurodegeneration and oncology.

“The formation of this Board will help drive forward the clear clinical potential of our unique DUB platform for the production of first-in-class compounds targeting specific disease-associated DUBs for key indications where effective therapies are currently unavailable. The SAB members’ insights and guidance will prove invaluable as we prioritise and advance our programmes.”

Biographies

Professor Steve Jackson FRS, FMedSci Prof. Jackson’s research and discoveries in protein ubiquitylation and deubiquitylation led to the founding of Mission to explore new therapeutic opportunities across various disease areas. He is Professor of Biology at the University of Cambridge and Head of Cancer Research UK Laboratories at the Gurdon Institute, Cambridge. As a pioneer in the field of DNA repair and DNA-damage signalling, Prof. Jackson’s research has shaped our understanding of cellular responses to DNA damage and of how defects in these responses contribute to disease. Prof Jackson founded KuDOS Pharma that was acquired by AstraZeneca in 2006. Olaparib, which was developed by KuDOS, was approved for advanced BRCA+ ovarian cancer in USA and Europe in 2014.

Professor Sir Philip Cohen FRS, FRSE, FMedSci For 45 years, Prof. Cohen has studied protein phosphorylation in cell regulation and human disease, and made various major contributions to the field. He is now working to unravel signaling networks within the innate immune system involving protein ubiquitylation and phosphorylation during bacterial and viral infections. Prof Cohen is also involved in commercial activities based in Dundee and is frequently cited as the magnet for academics and biotechnology companies and economic regeneration, as 15% of the Dundee economy is from biotech and its employees.

Professor Patrick Chinnery FRCP, FMedSci Prof. Chinnery began research studying links between mitochondrial DNA and human disease, and is interested in mechanisms of mitochondrial inheritance. His research has involved identifying nuclear and mitochondrial gene defects causing mitochondrial disorders, dissecting downstream disease mechanisms and studying molecular and cellular bases of mitochondrial DNA inheritance - most recently through the UK 100,000 Genomes Project. His active clinical translational research studies the natural history of mitochondrial diseases linked to development of new treatments. Prof. Chinnery has an interest in mitochondrial mechanisms in common diseases, particularly neurodegenerative disorders.

Professor Jacob Corn Over the last fifteen years Prof. Corn has bridged academia and industry, working in therapeutic areas that include infectious disease, neurobiology, and oncology. He has an interdisciplinary approach to determine cellular mechanisms underlying human disease, with a particular interest in genome editing, DNA repair, and ubiquitin signaling. Prof. Corn is interested in new models for collaboration between academia and industry, mentoring at the interface of these two areas, and promoting entrepreneurship. His research aims to “bring about the end of genetic disease through the development and application of next-generation genome editing technologies.” Prof. Corn is dedicated to improving human health through understanding of disease mechanisms.

Professor Titia Sixma Prof. Sixma’s research group studies ubiquitin conjugation/deconjugation and DNA repair using a combination of structural methods and biochemistry to understand basic cellular processes. Her aim is to understand structural aspects of the errors that occur in cell biology that lead to cancer development. A major aspect of Prof. Sixma’s work uses protein crystallography, biochemical and biophysical techniques to understand the catalytic activities of deubiquitylating enzymes (DUBs) and how they are regulated by protein partners, cofactors and other domains outside the DUB catalytic subunit. She also collaborates with cell biologists to improve understanding of carcinogenesis as well as the molecular mechanisms that could provide a basis for novel and/or improved drug design.

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