Drug Research
Drug Discovery & Development

Hemispherx Biopharma forms scientific advisory board to advice on drug development programs

Published 22 August 2016

Hemispherx Biopharma has formed a scientific advisory board (SAB) to leverage its member’s scientific and pharmaceutical expertise and advice to advance the Company’s drug development programs by providing guidance on steering the company forward and capitalizing on business opportunities as well as interactions with the Food and Drug Administration.

The Board consists of William Mitchell, M.D., Ph.D., Ronald Brus, M.D., W. Neal Burnette, Ph.D., and Christopher Nicodemus, M.D., F.A.C.P.

Dr. Mitchell, M.D., Ph.D., Chairman of the Board of Directors of Hemispherx, will chair the SAB.  Dr. Mitchell has served as a Director on the Hemispherx Board since 1998, becoming chairman earlier this year.

Dr. Mitchell is Professor of Pathology, Microbiology & Immunology at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine and is a board certified physician. Dr. Mitchell earned a M.D. from Vanderbilt and a Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins University, where he served as House Officer in Internal Medicine (Osler Service), followed by a Fellowship at its School of Medicine.

Dr. Mitchell has published over 200 papers, reviews and abstracts that relate to the pathogenesis of obligate intracellular pathogens, innate and adaptive immune responses, and liquid biopsy cancer (chromosomal instability) diagnostics. He is the inventor or co-inventor of 14 issued US patents as well as derivative foreign patents.

Dr. Mitchell has worked with many professional scientific societies that have included the American Society of Investigative Pathology (ASIP), the International Society for Antiviral Research (ISAR), the American Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB), the American Society of Microbiology (ASM), the American Chemical Society (ACS), and the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO). Dr. Mitchell is a member of the American Medical Association (AMA).

He has served on numerous review committees for the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the European Union (EU), and the College of American Pathology (CAP). He is an independent director of Chronix Biomedical, a genetics based cancer diagnostic company.

Dr. Brus is the founder and chief executive officer of myTomorrows.com, a web-based early access program designed to assist seriously ill patients obtain the latest drug innovations.  Hemispherx recently initiated an early access program through myTomorrows.com for Ampligen® in Europe.

Dr. Brus has more than 25 year of experience in the industry.  Prior to founding myTomorrows.com, he held several executive positions at Crucell, a vaccine company, including chief executive officer. Crucell was acquired by Johnson & Johnson for $2.8 billion in 2011. 

He has served as director of Galapagos, a clinical stage biotech focused on developing novel mode of action medicines and was the product planning physician at Forest Laboratories. Dr. Brus obtained his M.D. at the University of Groningen.

Dr. Burnette is an experienced biomedical research scientist focused on molecular biology and vaccine development in academia, industry, and the military. He is the inventor of the “Western Blot” that remains one of the most used techniques in the medical and biological sciences.

He was a senior scientist at Amgen where he developed the first “genetic toxoids” for pertussis and cholera vaccines. Following 9/11, he returned to active US Army duty and served as the deputy joint program executive officer for Chemical and Biological Defense and as a senior infectious disease consultant to the U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command. Colonel Burnette was also a member of the President’s Interagency Working Group for Weapons of Mass Destruction. He received his Ph.D. in retrovirology at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, was a postdoctoral fellow in molecular biology and infectious diseases at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, and was on the research staffs of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and the Salk Institute.

Dr. Burnette has served as a consultant, acting senior executive, and board member for a wide variety of early-stage biomedical companies that ranged broadly in focus from vaccines and immunobiologics to the treatment of retinal diseases.

Dr. Nicodemus has been a collaborator and advisor to Hemispherx since 2008. He is founder, president and chief scientific officer of AIT Strategies a firm focusing on biomedical research and development with a special interest in immunotherapeutics. Prior to founding AIT Strategies, he served as chairman and chief scientific officer of Advanced Immune Therapeutics, Inc.

Nicodemus focus of interest is enhancing anti-tumor immunity and is an expert on toll-like receptor 3 (TLR3). He has led teams working on three successful NDA’s registrations of Zyrteck®, Acutect® and Neotect®.  His work in ovarian cancer and immunology has resulted in multiple patent applications.

He has extensive FDA and international regulatory experience and has published more than 40 papers, chapters and reviews and numerous abstracts and is a fellow of the American College of Physicians. Dr. Nicodemus received undergraduate training at Harvard College and received his M.D. degree from Upstate Medical University in Syracuse, NY.

“Our company is engaged in a number of development initiatives for both Alferon N Injection and our experimental drug, Ampligen,” said Thomas Equels, chief executive officer of Hemispherx.

“The SAB’s expertise and advice will be invaluable as we move forward with both of these products.”

Source: Company Press Release