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ReNeuron boosts scientific advisory board with three appointments

By Josh White

Date: Wednesday 21 Aug 2019

ReNeuron boosts scientific advisory board with three appointments

(Sharecast News) - Cell-based therapeutics developer ReNeuron Group announced the appointment of professor Robert MacLaren, Dr Sally Temple and Dr José-Alain Sahel to its scientific advisory board on Wednesday.
The AIM-traded said professor Robert MacLaren is a professor of ophthalmology at the University of Oxford, where he directed research into developing new clinical treatments for blindness, using stem cells, gene therapy and electronic retinal implants.

In 2016, he performed the world's first operation inside the human eye using a remotely-controlled robot.

With the University of Oxford, in 2014 he co-founded Nightstar Therapeutics - a biotechnology company originally based at the Wellcome Trust in London - to develop gene therapy treatments for patients with retinal diseases.

Nightstar was acquired by Nasdaq-listed Biogen in June for $800m.

Dr Sally Temple, meanwhile, is the scientific director of the Neural Stem Cell Institute in New York.

ReNeuron said she led a team of 30 researchers focussed on using neural stem cells to develop therapies for eye, brain, and spinal cord disorders.

In 1989, she discovered that the embryonic mammalian brain contained a rare stem cell that could be activated to proliferate in vitro and produce both neurons and glia.

Since then, her team had continued to make "pioneering contributions" to the field of stem cell research.

It said their research on the characterisation of neural stem and progenitors brought the prospect of effective clinical treatments for central nervous system damage in which tissue was lost, for example, due to neurodegenerative diseases or trauma, closer to reality.

Dr José-Alain Sahel is the chair of the department of ophthalmology at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, of the UPMC Eye Center, and the Eye and Ear Foundation endowed chair of ophthalmology.

He founded and still headed the Institut de la Vision in Paris - one of the largest vision research centres worldwide.

ReNeuron said Dr Sahel was known worldwide for his expertise in vision restoration techniques, explaining that he had led pioneering efforts in neuroprotection, prosthetic and optogenetic vision restoration - a technique in which cells in the retina were genetically modified to express light sensitive proteins.

Dr Sahel founded Fovea Pharmaceuticals, which later became the ophthalmology division of Sanofi Aventis.

He was also a scientific co-founder of GenSight Biologics, Pixium Vision and Sparing Vision, and is a member of the French and German National Academies of Science.

ReNeuron said its scientific advisory board was composed of "leading academics and industry executives", with a "world-class" breadth of expertise across the company's areas of operation.

Its role was to advise the company on scientific matters relating to its research and clinical development strategy.

That included the future direction of cell therapy, links to academic, regulatory and industrial organisations and relationships with peer companies and government bodies on a global basis.

"We are delighted to welcome these renowned experts to our scientific advisory board," said ReNeuron chief executive officer Olav Hellebø.

"They will provide invaluable insight and counsel across ReNeuron's therapeutic programmes as we progress our pioneering therapies towards commercialisation."

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