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NEOMED Institute Announces Inaugural Board Of Directors

MONTREAL, Jan. 14, 2013 /PRNewswire/ - The NEOMED Institute disclosed on Monday, the composition of the inaugural Board of Directors. "I am extremely pleased today to identify the members of our first Board of Directors.  We have worked very hard to identify individuals that have the expertise, experience, energy and networks to collaborate with the management team and our founding members to realize the ambitious mission we have set for ourselves at NEOMED.  It was critical to ensure that our first board members brought to the table a combination of skills that will allow them to contribute to all aspects of our rapid establishment and future success.  Our board was carefully chosen to encompass a wide range of knowledge, practical experience and success in all aspects of drug development, licensing, business development, fund raising and corporate governance" declared Max Fehlmann, President & CEO of NEOMED Institute.

NEOMED Institute's new Board of Directors includes:

Mr. Donald Olds, Chairman of the Board. Mr. Olds is an experienced and successful executive who is currently President & CEO of Presagia Corporation.  Prior to Presagia, he was Chief Operating Officer of Aegera Therapeutics where he was responsible for business development, clinical operations and finance.  He also sits on the boards of Bellus Health (TSX: BLU), the Quebec Consortium for Drug Discovery (CQDM) and Oxfam, Quebec.

Dr. Michael J. Berendt, PhD, consultant and ex-President & CEO of Aegera Therapeutics Inc. Prior to Aegera, Dr. Berendt worked in life sciences venture capital, as Managing Director for AEA Investors and Research Capital.  He also served as Senior VP of Pharmaceutical Research for Bayer, U.S. and has a long and successful career in drug discovery and development with the Bayer and Pfizer organizations.

Mr. Rod Budd, who held a position as partner and leader of the Life Sciences Practice in Ernst & Young for 25 years until his retirement in 2010. Mr. Budd also serves on the Advisory Board of the Rosalind and Morris Goodman Cancer Centre of McGill University, advises a number of private companies, and also sits on the Boards of Bioniche Life Sciences and Immunotec.

Dr. Jacques Gagné, PhD, President of the Quebec Biotechnology Innovation Centre (QBIC), President of Prix Galien Canada, Vice-president of "Montréal InVivo" and retired Dean of the Faculty of Pharmacy at "Université de Montréal".

Mr. David Levine, consultant and ex-President and CEO for the Montreal Regional Health and Social Service Agency.

Dr Neil Maresky, MD, Vice-President Scientific Affairs at AstraZeneca Canada. Dr Maresky also sits on the board of the Quebec Consortium for Drug Discovery (CQDM).

Dr. Bernard Prigent, MD, Vice-President and Medical Director of Pfizer Canada. He also acts as a board member for the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), the Institute of Health Economics of Alberta (IHE), ,and the Health Research Foundation, Rx&D.

Dr. Joseph Vacca, PhD, the former Global Head of Structural Chemistry and Vice President of Chemistry at Merck Research Laboratories in Kenilworth, New Jersey. He currently acts as Senior Vice President of the Early Success Sharing Partnerships (ESSP) business unit of WuxiApptec Ltd. His work on the HIV-1 protease project led to the discovery of Merck's HIV protease inhibitor CRIXIVAN™ (indinavir sulfate).  Dr. Vacca has over 100 publications and patents and is the holder of many awards including a Merck Directors Award given by the Merck board of Directors (1998); PhRMA Discoverers Award (1999); Intellectual Property Owners "National Inventor of the year Award" (1997); European Inventor of the Year (non-EU nation)(2007); ACS "Award for Creative Invention" (1999); and was a named a Merck Research Laboratories Presidential Fellow in 2008.  He was recently named to the American Chemical Society Medicinal Chemistry Hall of Fame ( Aug. 2012).

"The NEOMED Institute represents an innovative and catalytic approach to drug discovery in the modern world.  I am convinced that the only way that we will be able to overcome our common challenge of finding better and faster ways of developing treatments for unmet medical needs is by creating new paradigms whereby the strengths of partnerships can be focussed on common goals.  I believe that NEOMED is exactly the type of solution that is called for and I believe that the new board and management team have the complementary skill sets that will allow them to succeed.  This approach is unique in the world and one that has been permitted by the forward thinking of the founding members of this partnership" summarized Donald Olds, Chairman, NEOMED Institute.

About NEOMED and the NEOMED Institute NEOMED is a not for profit organization that will pioneer a new approach to drug development as a public-private partnership with government and biopharmaceutical companies. NEOMED is a response to the changing Pharma R&D business model: in view of the considerable gap between basic research and later stage drug development, we seek to create a bridge. We will provide expertise and funding for academic labs and early biotechs, assisting them in bringing emerging therapeutic approaches to the stage of human proof of concept; at which point these de-risked projects will have gained significant value for NEOMED's downstream partners.

Occupying the former AstraZeneca facility in the Technoparc Montréal, the NEOMED Institute is a biopharmaceutical research hub based on a new model. There, players in the life sciences ecosystem (pharmaceutical companies, biotechs, venture capitalists and contract research organizations (CRO)) will be co-located to facilitate innovation, collaboration and creativity. The Institute and its partners will benefit from an impressive array of rare and highly specialized equipment in laboratories specifically designed for the discovery of small molecule drugs.

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