Today’s guest on The Long Run is Nancy Stagliano.
She’s the CEO of South San Francisco-based Neuron23.
The company is privately held and was started in late 2018.
The idea, like we’ve seen in oncology, is to develop targeted therapies for molecularly-defined subgroups of patients with Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and other common neurodegenerative diseases.
Nancy is a neuroscientist by training. She got her PhD at the University of Miami before continuing with a postdoctoral fellowship at Harvard Medical School. She made the move to industry at the peak of the genomics boom, going to work at one of the early movers — Millennium Pharmaceuticals. She later became an entrepreneur and CEO at CytomX Therapeutics (now publicly traded), before running two other startups – iPierian and True North Therapeutics — that were successfully acquired by large pharma companies.
The lead program at Neuron23 is a small molecule drug candidate aimed at the LRRK2 protein that’s associated with Parkinson’s disease. The company conducted its first trial in healthy volunteers in 2023 and has selected a lead candidate for further study in Parkinson’s patients. Neuron23 is advancing that drug with a blood-based companion diagnostic, developed in partnership with Qiagen, in hopes of selecting the patients most likely to benefit from the drug.
The LRRK2 gene was first discovered in 2004, and there are still no targeted therapies for Parkinson’s based on this finding. There are many reasons for that, and I’m including a recent review article from NPJ Parkinson’s Disease in the show notes on TimmermanReport.com.
Nancy sees brain science as the “final frontier” of biomedicine. The long-term vision is to get the right drug to the right patient at the right time, like scientists have been talking about in cancer for 30 years.
Now, please join me and Nancy Stagliano on The Long Run.