Dr. Michela Gallagher has been named the recipient of the 2018 Melvin R. Goodes Prize for Excellence in Alzheimer's Drug Discovery. The prize, awarded by the Alzheimer's Drug Discovery Foundation (ADDF), recognizes leading researchers developing treatments for Alzheimer's disease and related dementias.
Dr. Gallagher, whose lifetime of research in cognitive neuroscience has focused on age-related cognitive decline, is the Krieger-Eisenhower Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience and heads the Neurogenetics and Behavior Center at Johns Hopkins University. She is also founder of AgeneBio, Inc. a pharmaceutical development company that has initiated a Phase 3 trial to delay the progression of Alzheimer's dementia and a second track of research on a late-stage discovery program of therapies for Alzheimer's, autism and schizophrenia.
The prize includes a $150,000 award and will support Dr. Gallagher's therapeutic development of AGB-101, the first and only treatment to target hippocampal hyperactivity, a condition characteristic of the amnestic mild cognitive impairment stage of Alzheimer's disease. There is currently no FDA-approved therapy for patients in this pre-dementia stage of Alzheimer's disease, representing an enormous unmet clinical need.
"Dr. Gallagher's research could yield the first drug to dramatically slow or stop progression of amnestic mild cognitive impairment, altering the course of Alzheimer's disease and restoring normal brain function," said Dr. Howard Fillit, Founding Executive Director and Chief Scientific Officer of the ADDF. "The enormous potential of her research is why ADDF has supported Dr. Gallagher's work for nearly a decade and recognizes her with the fourth annual Goodes Prize."
The Goodes Prize is awarded by a selection committee comprised of seven leading scientists who choose the awardee based on past achievements and proposed future research in the field of Alzheimer's disease and related dementias. The selection committee noted Dr. Gallagher's years of academic neuroscience research on memory—working effectively to identify new drug targets, screen compounds and advance them into clinical development as potential new therapies for Alzheimer's disease.
The ADDF has supported AgeneBio's discovery stage and clinical trials since 2010 with over $2.5 million in grant funding. AgeneBio recently launched the Phase 3 trial for AGB-101 making it the most advanced program in the ADDF portfolio.
"I am honored by this recognition and grateful to the ADDF and the Goodes family whose lasting commitment to tackling this insidious disease brings us closer to a solution every day," said Dr. Gallagher. "It's through the generosity of committed individuals like Melvin and Nancy Goodes and the sustained commitment of organizations like the ADDF, that this vital research can progress."
2018 Goodes Prize Selection Committee
- Frank M. Longo*, M.D., Ph.D., Chairman of the Board and Founder, Pharmatrophix
- George E. and Lucy Becker Professor in Medicine and Professor, by courtesy, of Neurosurgery, Stanford University
- Elias K. Michaelis, M.D., Ph.D., University Distinguished Professor Emeritus, Pharmacology and Toxicology, University of Kansas School of Pharmacy
- Richard Mohs, Ph.D., Chief Science Officer, Global Alzheimer's Platform Foundation
- Suzana Petanceska, Ph.D., Senior Advisor for Strategic Development and Partnerships and Program Director for Systems Biology and Systems Pharmacology, Division of Neuroscience, National Institute on Aging
- Rachel Schindler, M.D., Principal, Schindler Neuroscience Consulting Group
- Linda J. Van Eldik, Ph.D., Director, Sanders-Brown Center on Aging, University of Kentucky
- D. Martin Watterson*, Ph.D., John G. Searle Professor of Molecular Biology and Biochemistry and Professor of Pharmacology, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine
*Previous Goodes Prize recipients
ABOUT THE GOODES PRIZE
The Melvin R. Goodes Prize is named in honor of the courage, legacy and research advocacy of Mr. Goodes, former Warner-Lambert CEO and Chairman and honorary member of the ADDF's Board of Governors. It was created thanks to the generosity of Mr. Goodes and his wife, Nancy, who is also on the ADDF's Board. The Goodes Family Foundation committed $750,000 to fund the Goodes Prizes for 10 years, and the ADDF matched that contribution. Each year, the Goodes Prize is awarded to a professionally active researcher in academia or industry who has pursued novel research and made a significant and lasting impact in Alzheimer's drug discovery. A Selection Committee that includes leaders in the field nominates candidates for consideration and chooses a winner based on past achievements and proposed future research.
ABOUT MELVIN R. GOODES
Melvin R. Goodes joined Warner-Lambert Canada as manager of new product development in 1965 and quickly rose through the ranks to become CEO and Chairman Worldwide in 1991. Under his leadership, Warner-Lambert became a major player in the prescription drug industry, bringing Lipitor to market in 1996. Lipitor, a highly effective statin, was the world's best-selling drug, with more than $135 billion in sales. Early in his tenure as CEO, he spearheaded the development of Cognex, the first drug approved by the FDA for Alzheimer's disease. In 2010, Mr. Goodes made headlines with a landmark speech revealing his early-stage Alzheimer's disease and pledging to apply all his efforts to speed up the search for new therapies. Since this speech, he and his wife Nancy have become strong ambassadors for the ADDF, inspiring hope among Alzheimer's patients, caregivers, physicians, and researchers.
AgeneBio is a development-stage CNS biopharmaceutical company with a novel pipeline for neurological and psychiatric diseases addressing significant unmet medical needs. The company's lead asset, AGB101, is in development for mild cognitive impairment due to Alzheimer's disease (MCI due to AD), the earliest symptomatic stage of AD. The company also has a late discovery stage program (GABAA a5 positive allosteric modulator program) with potential in Alzheimer's disease, schizophrenia, and autism. The company's lead program, AGB101, modulates synaptic neurotransmitter release in the hippocampus by binding to synaptic vesicle protein SV2A. Based on Phase 2a clinical research results to date, AGB101 restores normal brain network function and preserves memory in patients with mild cognitive impairment due to Alzheimer's disease (MCI due to AD), the earliest symptomatic stage of Alzheimer’s and may prevent or delay the onset of Alzheimer's dementia. AGB101 is well-positioned, pending Phase 3 clinical results and FDA approval, to make a tremendous difference in the lives of patients and society as a whole.