Augustine Therapeutics strengthens Board of Directors and sets up Scientific Advisory Board

Written by: Editor
Published on: 19 Mar 2021

Leuven, Belgium, 19th March 2021 - Augustine Therapeutics, a biotech company focused on the development of innovative medicines for rare peripheral neuropathies and neurodegenerative diseases, announces the strengthening of the company with seasoned senior executive Dr. Erik Tambuyzer joining the Board of Directors. Tambuyzer brings valuable insights based on his long-lasting work in the biotech industry and with patients’ organizations for rare diseases. Academic researchers Dr. Ludo Van Den Bosch and Dr. Joris de Wit are joining the company’s Scientific Advisory Board. The reinforcement of Augustine Therapeutics’ boards is another important step in strengthening the company to further the development of new medicines treating multiple neurodegenerative diseases with high unmet need.

Ward Capoen (Principal at V-Bio Ventures and Augustine founding Board member) comments: “It is a pleasure to welcome Erik to the board, where his decades-long expertise in rare diseases and his industry experience will no doubt make a huge difference in the growth of Augustine. We are also delighted to welcome Ludo and Joris to the SAB, a clear sign of their continuing contributions to the work we are doing at Augustine.”

Augustine Therapeutics announces the appointment of Dr. Erik Tambuyzer, permanent representative of PMV, as a member of the Board of Directors

Dr. Erik Tambuyzer holds a bioengineering degree with a PhD from KU Leuven and has over 30 years of experience in human healthcare innovation. In 1985, he co-founded and managed Innogenetics, one of the first biotech companies in Europe.

In 1992, he joined Genzyme Corp. (now part of Sanofi) as Vice-President Europe, Diagnostics and Genetics and had an important role in building Genzyme’s European presence. From 1996 to 2010, Tambuyzer was Genzyme’s Senior Vice President Corporate Affairs Europe & International and co-managing director of the Genzyme biologicals manufacturing facility in Geel, Belgium. He was also a founding Board member and Chairperson of EuropaBio, the European Association for Bioindustries. 

In 1997, he founded the joint industry Working Group on rare diseases and orphan medicines (EuropaBio/EFPIA). Tambuyzer has been its Chairperson until 2010, as well as from 1997-2000, the industry point person in the discussions with the European institutions on the European Orphan Medicinal Products Regulation (EC 141/2000).

Since 1993, Tambuyzer has worked with rare disease patients’ organizations. From 2014 until 2020, he co-founded and chaired an international non-profit organization working on therapies for neurological rare diseases, such as Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease. Recently, Tambuyzer was lead co-author of a review article about Therapies for Rare Diseases, published in Nature Reviews Drug Discovery and co-authored by the heads of the orphan drugs sectors at EMA and FDA.  

Dr. Erik Tambuyzer comments: “I am thrilled to join the Board of Augustine Therapeutics, which has potential to be another biotech success story in Flanders, and to support the company in the development of novel orphan medicines, much needed by patients.”

Prof. Dr. Ludo Van Den Bosch and Prof. Dr. Joris de Wit, both VIB-KU Leuven group leaders and co-founders of Augustine Therapeutics, join the Scientific Advisory Board.

Dr. Sylvain Celanire, CEO of Augustine Therapeutics, remarks: “The continuous support of scientific co-founders Joris de Wit and Ludo Van Den Bosch strengthens the scientific know-how of the company and is an invaluable validation of the importance of the company in the fields of peripheral neuropathies and neurodegenerative diseases”. 

Prof. Dr. Ludo Van Den Bosch obtained a PhD in Physiology at the KU Leuven, Belgium, in 1990. Van Den Bosch pursued his career with postdoctoral positions in molecular biology and neurodegeneration. 

In 1996, he co-established the Laboratory of Neurobiology and a few years later he became Assistant Professor at the KU Leuven. In 2013, he was promoted to Full Professor at the Neurosciences Department. 

Since 2014, Van Den Bosch has been a group leader at the VIB Center for Brain & Disease Research in Leuven, Belgium. 

In 2017, he became director of the Laboratory of Neurology (Experimental Neurology). His research is focused on motor neuron diseases such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and different neuropathies such as Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease (CMT). The aim of his research is to obtain a more in-depth understanding of the mechanisms of neuronal and axonal degeneration and regeneration, as well as translating these discoveries into new therapeutic strategies for these different neurodegenerative disorders. 

His founding scientific discoveries in CMT and ALS, published in Nature journals in 2011 and 2017 respectively, constitute the most advanced assets of Augustine Therapeutics.

Prof. Dr. Ludo Van Den Bosch adds: “As a scientist, it was always my ambition to translate my scientific discoveries into the development of new therapeutic strategies for patients suffering from diseases for which there is currently no cure. Joining Augustine Therapeutics as Scientific Advisor will help me realize this.”

Prof. Dr. Joris de Wit holds a PhD in neuroscience from the VU Amsterdam in The Netherlands, obtained in 2004. He split his postdoctoral training between Amsterdam with Matthijs Verhage (VU Amsterdam) from 2004 to 2006, and San Diego, USA with Anirvan Ghosh (University of California San Diego) from 2006 to 2012.

In 2013, de Wit started the Laboratory of Synapse Biology at the VIB-KU Leuven Center for Brain & Disease Research and became Associate Professor at KU Leuven. In 2019, he was promoted to Professor at the Neurosciences Department. de Wit is the recipient of an ERC Starting Grant and FWO Odysseus grant.

Work from his lab includes the discovery of a new sorting mechanism by which neurons regulate the protein composition of their cell surface and the identification of molecular adhesion codes that specify properties of specific synapses.  The discovery of a new role for the secreted amyloid precursor protein in modulating synaptic transmission, in close collaboration with the laboratory of Dr. Bart De Strooper, was published in Science in 2019, and forms the basis of one of the projects being pursued by Augustine Therapeutics. 

Prof. Dr. Joris de Wit shares: “I am excited to join the Scientific Advisory Board of Augustine Therapeutics. The projects that are in the pipeline are highly innovative and can truly bring solutions to patients. I am looking forward to working with them!”