ANN ARBOR, Mich., Dec. 21, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Adeona Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NYSE Amex: AEN), (the "Company") announced today that the Board of Directors has taken several actions to prioritize the Company's focus on its recent entry into the emerging field of synthetic biology. As previously announced on November 22, 2011, the Company and Intrexon Corporation ("Intrexon") entered into a worldwide exclusive channel collaboration for the development and commercialization of a synthetic DNA-based therapy to treat pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH). Today's announcements are the result of the Company's new primary focus and include the following changes approved by the Board:
- A proposed name change of the Company to Synthetic Biologics, Inc., to better reflect its new mission and primary business, subject to the filing of necessary regulatory documents and stockholder approval.
- The recruitment and appointment of John Monahan, Ph.D., as the Company's Senior Vice President of Research & Development.
Dr. Monahan is an experienced CEO-level executive of biotech companies focused on gene medicine and pharmaceutical companies with biotechnology research departments. He has created and directed a number of successful teams that excelled in these companies. Most recently, Dr. Monahan founded and built Avigen, Inc., a biotech company that pioneered and led the development of gene medicines based on AAV vectors, now an industry standard. Over a 12 year period as CEO of Avigen, he took the company public through its IPO and raised over $235 million. He led the company through a number of gene medicine Investigational New Drug (IND) applications and exited the company leaving a cash position of $100 million and a new management team that he grew over the years. Prior to founding Avigen, Dr. Monahan served as Vice President - Research and Development at Somatix, another pioneering gene medicine company, Director, Molecular & Cell Biology at Triton Biosciences (since merged with Berlex Laboratories), Research Group Chief, Department of Molecular Genetics at Hoffmann-LaRoche, Inc. and Adjunct Assistant Professor, Department of Cell Biology at New York University. Dr. Monahan was also a pioneer in gene cloning and holds the distinction as the second person in the world to clone a gene mRNA sequence (Chick Ovalbumin).
- The Company has established a satellite office in Northern Virginia, to further facilitate the Company's focus on synthetic DNA-based therapeutics, the collaboration between the employees of the Company and Intrexon, and the relationship with the Company's regulatory consultants.
Commenting on today's announcements, the Company's Chairman, Jeffrey Riley stated, "These changes should better enable the Company to concentrate its efforts and build core competencies in the emerging field of synthetic biology and DNA-based human therapeutics, areas in their infancy with extraordinary potential."
"By overcoming many of the technical obstacles that limited traditional gene medicine approaches, synthetic DNA-based biologics may allow us to optimize the delivery of therapeutic proteins in a safe, controlled and localized fashion never before possible. In turn, this may provide physicians the ability to radically transform the way in which many serious diseases can be treated. I am pleased to be joining the Company, and to be a part of this innovative new effort and area," stated John Monahan, Ph.D., the Company's Senior Vice President of Research & Development.James S. Kuo, M.D., M.B.A., Chief Executive Officer of the Company stated, "I am grateful to the Board of Directors for accepting and backing the new vision for the future direction of the Company. This represents an exciting time for the Company and one that I expect will be a great opportunity for our shareholders." In connection with the proposed name change, the Company has filed a preliminary proxy statement with the Securities and Exchange Commission, which following approval will permit the Company to print and mail proxy materials for the scheduled Special Meeting of Stockholders to be held on February 15, 2012 to vote on the proposed name change. The record date for stockholders entitled to vote at this Special Meeting has been set as December 19, 2011. The Company's ongoing and planned clinical trials of Trimesta™ (estriol) for multiple sclerosis are expected to continue and the Company's planned clinical trial of AEN-100 (modified release zinc) for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is also expected to continue. In addition, the Company intends to seek marketing partners for its marketable zinc-based products reaZin™ and wellZin™. About Adeona Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Adeona is a biotechnology company focused on the development of synthetic DNA-based therapeutics and innovative disease-modifying medicines for serious illnesses. Adeona is developing, or has partnered the development of, product candidates to treat pulmonary arterial hypertension, relapses in multiple sclerosis, cognitive dysfunction in multiple sclerosis, fibromyalgia and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). For more information, please visit Adeona's website at www.adeonapharma.com. Synthetic Biologics is a trademark of Adeona Pharmaceuticals, Inc.