Dr. Maria Maccecchini, CEO of QR Pharma, Inc. (QR) has been awarded the prestigious Iris Newman Women Entrepreneur of the year award. The award will be presented on November 16 at the annual meeting of The Alliance of Women Entrepreneurs (AWE) where Maria and Kay Koplovitz are keynote speakers. Details of the event can be found on the AWE website and in the articles by the Wall Street Journal and by MedCity News.
Maria has devoted her life and 30 year career to the study of neurodegenerative diseases and their possible treatments. This award follows a year of progress and success for Maria and her company QR. This year QR obtained very positive results in a Phase I/II study of Posiphen; elucidated the drug’s mechanism of action for treating the underlying causes associated with Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases; received funding from Bio-Advance as well as Ben Franklin Technology Partners with a total raise of $4 million; and qualified for major grants from prestigious agencies and foundations.
Maria received her PhD in biochemistry from Rockefeller University and spent two years at Caltech as a postdoctoral fellow in molecular biology. She took her first job at Mallinckrodt as research scientist and her second job as general manager of Bachem Bioscience, a US subsidiary of Bachem AG, Switzerland. In the early 1990s, she started her own biotech company, Symphony Pharmaceuticals. Symphony later changed its name to Annovis after acquiring a Scottish and a Japanese company. Annovis ultimately developed, manufactured and marketed a variety of nucleic acid-based products and provided services for businesses in the life sciences sector. Annovis was acquired by Transgenomic in 2001.
After the sale of her company, Maria fulfilled a life’s ambition to climb Mount Everest and joined two Philadelphia angel groups – Robin Hood Ventures and Mid-Atlantic Angel Group. As an investor, she concentrated her investments in the life science sector. Maria serves on several boards of biotechnology companies and mentors new companies in start up strategy, management, and finance. She is also on the board of the Salvation Army. In late 2008 Maria started QR Pharma, About QR Pharma, Inc. Headquartered in Berwyn, Pennsylvania, QR is a clinical-stage specialty pharmaceutical company committed to developing therapeutics with novel approaches for the treatment of cognitive impairment, Alzheimer’s disease (AD), Parkinson’s disease (PD) and Down syndrome (DS). QR currently has three product development programs – Posiphen for early stage AD and PD and BNC for advanced AD. QR Pharma started with clinical stage technology licensed from NIH/Torrey Pines.
About Posiphen®, QR’s Lead Compound Posiphen®
Is a small orally active compound with high blood brain barrier permeability, which is in clinical development for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease and in early studies for the treatment of Parkinson’s disease. It has been successfully tested in over 120 people and recently completed a phase I/II study that showed that it enters the brain and inhibits the major pathways leading to cognitive impairment in Alzheimer’s disease. Posiphen reduces the rate of synthesis of amyloid precursor protein (APP), Tau and á-Synuclein in cell cultures, normal, transgenic and trisomic mice as well as in mildly cognitively impaired patients (MCI). The data in MCI patient study confirmed that Posiphen’s mechanism of action in humans correlates with the pharmacokinetics of the compound and its metabolites in CSF and plasma and that Posiphen does not just lower levels of both APP and tau by about 50%, but that it normalizes them back to the levels found in healthy, normal volunteers.
“APP mutations and duplications cause Familial Alzheimer’s disease. APP triplication causes Down syndrome and high levels of APP after head trauma, stroke and brain injury lead to neurodegeneration,” saidKumar Sambamurti, PhD, Professor of Neurosciences at the Neurosciences Laboratory at MUSC. “Posiphen, an APP-lowering compound, targets all the toxic fragments cleaved from APP and therefore provide benefits beyond those realized by compounds that target Aâ. Posiphen also targets Tau, which further contributes to the toxicity in Alzheimer’s Disease”.
About QR Pharma, Inc
Headquartered in Radnor, Pennsylvania, QR Pharma, Inc. is a clinical-stage specialty pharmaceutical company committed to developing therapeutics with novel approaches for the treatment of cognitive impairment, in diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease (AD), Parkinson’s disease (PD) and Down Syndrome (DS). QR currently has two product development programs based on oral small-molecule, blood-brain barrier passable therapeutics that target two distinct pathways for the treatment of AD.www.qrpharma.com