Revolutionizing the treatment of paralysis and neurodegenerative diseases
NervGen is restoring life's potential by creating innovative solutions for the treatment of nerve damage.
NervGen’s core technology targets protein tyrosine phosphatase sigma (PTPσ), a neural receptor that impedes nerve regeneration. Inhibition of the PTPσ receptor has been shown to promote regeneration of damaged nerves and improvement of nerve function in animal models for various medical conditions. A series of receptor antagonists have been identified including a lead candidate ready for clinical development. NervGen plans to advance the lead candidate into the clinic initially for the treatment of spinal cord injury while exploiting the technology to identify additional therapeutic candidates for other related medical conditions.
Ernest Wong, PhD, MBA
President, CEO & Director
Ernest Wong has over 20 years of experience in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries. Prior to joining NervGen, Dr. Wong was the Vice President, Corporate Development of Accera, a Nestle Health Science backed clinical stage biotechnology company that develops therapies for central nervous system disorders. Prior to Accera, Dr. Wong was the Head of Business Development and Licensing at Piramal Imaging where he successfully completed a number of high-value strategic transactions as part of the commercial launch of a neuroimaging agent. Prior to Piramal Imaging, he led the corporate development function at YM BioSciences where he executed a partnering campaign for a Phase 2/3 product that resulted in the acquisition of the company by Gilead for over US$500 million. His experiences also include executing business development transactions, managing partnerships and global clinical programs at OSI Pharmaceuticals and AnorMED.
Rob Pilz, CPA, BComm
CFO, Corporate Secretary
An entrepreneurial executive, Mr. Pilz has held CFO positions in three Deloitte Technology Fast 50TM companies including six years as CFO of Response Biomedical a publicly listed medical device company during which time 11 products were developed and commercialized. All three businesses were acquired and in two cases Mr. Pilz led the execution of the sale process. His direct functional experience spans strategic and operational planning, corporate finance mergers and acquisitions, partnering, audit, accounting, and project management.
Amy Franke, MBE
VP, Clinical Operations
Having directly managed 25 clinical trials, including three Phase III trials, Ms. Franke has a demonstrated history of executing drug development programs at organizations ranging from fully integrated pharmaceutical companies to early-stage biotechnology start-ups as well as in global clinical contract research organizations ("CRO"). Prior to NervGen, Ms. Franke was Senior Director, Strategy and Planning at Covance, a global contract research organization that has worked on all of the top-50-best-selling drugs available today. Ms. Franke's clinical development experience also includes management roles at the global CRO Parexel International, Novella Clinical (a unit of IQVIA) and OSI Pharmaceuticals, which was acquired by Astellas Pharma for $4 billion. Ms. Franke received a Master of Bioethics Degree from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and a Bachelor of Science, Cellular and Molecular Biology from the University of Michigan.
Denis Bosc, PhD
VP, Chemistry, Manufacturing and Control
Having directly managed drug supply chain for both small molecule and antibody-based drugs, Dr. Bosc has a demonstrated history of working with a variety of drug substance and drug product contract development and manufacturing organizations for programs at different stages of pharmaceutical development, including preclinical to commercial products. He joins NervGen from the Centre for Probe Development and Commercialization (“CPDC”), a Canadian center of excellence for commercialization and research, where he was Director, Radiopharmaceutical Development and Supply. Prior to CPDC, Dr. Bosc was VP, R&D at Impopharma, a company specializing in the development of nasal spray and pulmonary inhalation drug products. Dr. Bosc’s CMC experience also includes positions at Apotex and SteriMax, both commercial stage companies; YM BioSciences, a small molecule pharmaceutical company acquired by Gilead Sciences for $580 million; and Viventia Biotech, an antibody therapeutic development company. Dr. Bosc received a PhD in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, and a Bachelor of Science, Biotechnology from the University of Manitoba.
Bill Radvak, BASc
Director & Executive Chairman
Bill Radvak is a co-founder of NervGen and has been the CEO and director of multiple startup companies. He was a founder and the CEO of Response Biomedical, a publicly listed medical device company, which he led from its inception to a 90-employee sales and manufacturing company. Mr. Radvak received his Bachelor of Applied Science degree from the University of British Columbia.
Michael Abrams, PhD
Dr. Abrams brings to NervGen extensive expertise and successes gained during his over thirty-year career transforming scientific discovery into innovative and commercially successful products. While earning his PhD at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Dr. Abrams co-invented a technology that resulted in the development of Cardiolite which achieved peak annual sales of over $500 million. For his contribution to Cardiolite, Dr. Abrams was the co-recipient of the Georg Charles de Hevesy Nuclear Pioneer Award from the U.S. Society of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging. He then founded AnorMED which successfully developed Mozobil, a first-in-class drug, approved for use in stem cell transplantation. Dr. Abrams led AnorMED as President & CEO for 10 years prior to its 2006 acquisition by Genzyme for $580 million. Dr. Abrams is currently an Adjunct Professor of Chemistry at the University of British Columbia and remains active in the biotechnology community.
Brian Bayley, MBA
Brian Bayley is a Director and the Executive Chairman of Earlston Investments, a private merchant bank, with transaction experience of over $2 billion. Previously, Mr. Bayley was CEO of Quest Capital and worked with the Vancouver Stock Exchange, now the TSX Venture Exchange. Mr. Bayley has over 30 years of public issuer experience, both as a director and officer, in numerous private and public companies.
Harold Punnett, DMD
Dr. Punnett, co-founder of NervGen, is an accomplished angel investor who has been the director of multiple start-up companies. As a dental surgeon with a practice in British Columbia, Canada, he has extensive knowledge of medicine and physiology, including cell biology. Along with this knowledge, he has a deep passion for those suffering from spinal cord injury and other nerve-related challenges. Dr. Punnett is a Member of the College of Dental Surgeons of British Columbia, Member of the British Columbia Dental Association and Member of the Canadian Dental Association. He received his doctorate degree from the University of British Columbia.
Jerry Silver, PhD
Co-Inventor and Scientific Advisor
Dr. Silver is the Professor of Neurosciences at Case Western Reserve University’s School of Medicine and adjunct Professor in the Department of Neurosurgery at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation. He is credited in over 180 publications and is the recipient of several prestigious awards, including the Ameritec Prize for significant accomplishments toward a cure for paralysis. In 2003 he was also honored with the Christopher Reeve-Joan Irvine Research Medal (The Reeve-Irvine Medal) for critical contributions that may lead to the promotion of repair of the damaged spinal cord. Dr. Silver is an active advisor to NervGen and his lab continues to conduct studies in concert with other academic institutions and partners to advance and evolve intracellular sigma peptide.
Bradley Lang, PhD
Co-Inventor and Scientific Advisor
Dr. Lang has over 12 years of experience in the regenerative medicine industry focused on the development of neurologic drugs. Dr. Lang worked with Dr. Silver to develop and characterize intracellular sigma peptide work which was published in Nature in 2015. Dr. Lang currently serves as an Executive-in-Residence at the biotechnology incubator BioEnterprise in Cleveland, Ohio, where he provides consulting and leadership to emerging pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies. Previously, he served as a scientist on the regenerative medicine team at Athersys, participating in the clinical advancement of its MultiStem system. Dr. Lang received his Bachelor of Science in Biology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and PhD in Neurosciences from Case Western Reserve University. Dr. Lang is providing his leadership in the continued evolution of intracellular sigma peptide.
Marta Hamilton, PhD
Dr. Marta Hamilton is a veteran in drug development with expertise in pharmacokinetics, biomarkers, preclinical and clinical study design, as well as experience with multiple investigational new drug and new drug applications. Dr. Hamilton served in leadership and technical positions at Eli Lilly, Amgen, NeXstar Pharmaceuticals and Gilead Sciences, and most recently as Vice President, Preclinical Development and Clinical Pharmacology at OSI Pharmaceuticals.
Brian Kwon, MD, PhD, FRCSC
Dr. Brian Kwon holds a Canada Research Chair in Spinal Cord Injury and a Professor in the Department of Orthopedics at the University of British Columbia. In addition to his role of Spine Surgeon with the Vancouver Spine Program of the Vancouver General Hospital, he is also Associate Director, Clinical Research at the ICORD Vancouver Spine Research Program.
Brian McAlister, BSc
Co-Founder and Advisor
A prolific startup specialist, advisor, founder and angel investor to startup companies, Mr. McAlister assists start-ups with raising capital and other activities. Over the past 30 years, Mr. McAlister has assisted over 25 early stage companies in various industries including biotechnology, enterprise software, and natural resources.