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Former Naurex team launches spin-out company Aptinyx

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Aptinyx, a biopharmaceutical company advancing modulators of the N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor for the treatment of challenging disorders of the brain and nervous system, has launched with the discovery platform and preclinical pipeline spun out of Naurex upon the close of its acquisition by Allergan in Aug. 2015.

Aptinyx has initiated IND-enabling studies for lead candidates stemming from its robust pipeline of small-molecule, orally bioavailable NMDA receptor modulators. The company plans to identify and develop therapeutic candidates that demonstrate differentiated benefits in challenging brain and nervous system disorders, such as traumatic brain injury, neuropathic pain, post-traumatic stress disorder and epilepsy.

Aptinyx’s therapeutics are designed to enhance synaptic plasticity, or strengthen the network for neural cell communication, a pathway that underlies multiple nervous system conditions. Therapeutics that modulate NMDA receptors—rather than shut them down—are both highly effective and well-tolerated. The platform was developed based on research from the laboratory of Joseph Moskal, Ph.D., distinguished professor of biomedical engineering at Northwestern University, director of the university’s Falk Center for Molecular Therapeutics, founder of Naurex, and chief scientific officer of Aptinyx.

Aptinyx will collaborate with Allergan on the discovery and preclinical development of innovative, orally bioavailable, small-molecule NMDA receptor modulators for the treatment of certain psychiatric and neurologic disorders. Allergan receives the right to in-license a select number of compounds discovered and profiled during the term of the collaboration for certain target indications.

Dr. Riedel was president and CEO of Naurex and remains at the helm of the new spin-out company, Aptinyx. Prior to joining Naurex in Jan. 2014, he was corporate vice president and chief science and innovation officer at Baxter International.

Dr. Moskal founded Naurex and served as its chief scientific officer. He continues in that role at Aptinyx.

Aptinyx has appointed Ashish Khanna to the position of chief business officer. Khanna was vice president of corporate development at Naurex and managed the company’s financing and transaction efforts, culminating in the acquisition by Allergan.

Aptinyx also has appointed Torsten Madsen, M.D., Ph.D., as its new chief medical officer. Madsen recently joined Naurex after serving as an observer on the company’s board of directors. He previously held numerous positions at H. Lundbeck, including chief medical officer and vice president of U.S. drug development and divisional director of international clinical research in mood and anxiety disorders.

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