David Stamler, M.D., has joined Prana Biotechnology (ASX: PBT) (NASDAQ: PRAN) as Chief Medical Officer and Senior Vice President, Clinical Development, based in San Francisco. Prior to joining Prana, Dr. Stamler worked for Teva Pharmaceuticals (NYSE: TEVA), as part of Teva's US$3.5 billion acquisition of Auspex Pharmaceuticals. Dr. Stamler led the development of a new drug for the treatment of Huntington's disease, which was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in April this year. This was the second neurological agent that Dr. Stamler has led through the approval process with the FDA.

Dr. Stamler's appointment follows a detailed review of the pharmaceutical assets and strategy at Prana over the last 6 months and marks a refocus on prioritising PBT434 for the treatment of parkinsonian movement disorders. PBT434 is a first-in-class therapy planned to enter Phase 1 clinical trials later this year.

In parallel, the company is exploring new options for PBT2 and building its pipeline of drug candidates from Prana's proprietary library for neurodegenerative diseases and other therapeutic fields that may potentially benefit from Prana's compounds.

Prana's Executive Chairman and CEO, Geoffrey Kempler, noted: "Dr. Stamler is a seasoned and talented drug developer who brings more than 20 years of central nervous system (CNS) development experience and a deep understanding of the regulatory environment. We are very pleased that he has chosen to work with Prana and advance our portfolio of drugs for neurodegenerative diseases."

In commenting on his appointment, Dr. Stamler said: "There is a great need for new treatments for neurodegenerative diseases. Prana's approach, along with their extensive chemical library and experience in translational research, make them ideally positioned to advance the field. Progressing PBT434 into the clinic will be very exciting, as it has demonstrated substantial functional improvements and impressive neuroprotective properties in numerous animal models. I am thrilled to be joining Prana to help bring new agents such as PBT434 to the clinic and, hopefully, to patients in need."

Dr. Stamler comes from Teva as VP, Clinical Development and Therapeutic Head, Movement Disorders where he was responsible for clinical-regulatory interactions leading to the approval of AUSTEDO TM (deutetrabenazine) for treatment of chorea associated with Huntington's disease in 2017.

Prior to Teva, Dr. Stamler was Chief Medical Officer at Auspex Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (which was acquired by Teva in 2015) and prior to this he served as Chief Medical Officer and Senior Vice President of Xenoport, Inc. where he led clinical development activities for their portfolio of CNS compounds.

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