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.