WVU completes acquisition to continue the mission of the Blanchette Rockefeller Neurosciences Institute
The acquisition of the name and certain BRNI assets was approved by the U.S. Bankruptcy Court last week; BRNI filed in late July under Chapter 11 of the federal Bankruptcy Code in order to facilitate the sale and the transition of its research mission to WVU.
WVU will consolidate all of its neurosciences research under a new WVU Blanchette Rockefeller Neurosciences Institute with the goal of advancing knowledge through team-based research.
The Institute will initially comprise six research groups – four groups now housed in the WVU Centers for Neuroscience: addiction research; a center for basic and translational stroke research; a cognitive neuroscience group; and a sensory neuroscience research center; and two newly formed centers for brain health and for neurodegenerative diseases.
“This is the start of a new day for neurosciences research at West Virginia University,” said Clay Marsh, vice president and executive dean for health sciences at WVU. “Thanks to Senator Jay Rockefeller and everyone associated with BRNI up to this day – the scientists, the donors and the people who have supported our efforts in the federal and state government and the University – we’re positioned to continue the good work of BRNI and become a national center for brain research. We will be leaders in the effort to augment brain health, as well as create solutions for brain diseases like Alzheimer’s.”
Under terms of the agreement, 11 current employees will be offered comparable positions at WVU, which additionally will acquire a majority of BRNI’s current assets.
Also this week, Dr. Daniel Alkon, BRNI’s founding scientific director, announced he is leaving his post at BRNI and stepping down as a professor at WVU to assume his new role as president of Neurotrope, Inc.
“It has been a great honor and opportunity to have been a part of the Blanchette Rockefeller Neurosciences Institute and to oversee its discoveries of synaptic regeneration to treat the progression of diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease, Fragile X and Traumatic Brain Injury,” Alkon said. “Now, I believe it is crucial that I assume a more important and direct role at Neurotrope Bioscience, Inc., a public company that has licensed a therapeutic platform from BRNI.
“I believe that Neurotrope’s lead drug candidate, Bryostatin, now in Phase 2 trials across the nation, has the potential to treat and even possibly reverse the ravages of neurodegeneration and I want to be totally involved in the process to make that happen. I believe this is a very exciting time to be involved with the company,” said Alkon,who will begin a leadership role at NeuroDiagnostics, LLC that is developing non-invasive molecular biomarkers, also licensed from BRNI, to identify patients with Alzheimer’s disease.
Prior to his time with BRNI, Alkon spent 30 years at the National Institutes of Health where he became a medical director in the U.S. Public Health Service at the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke and chief of the Laboratory of Adaptive Systems.
“We wish Dan well in his new endeavors and thank him for his work with BRNI to move forward technologies that will hopefully lead to solutions for Alzheimer’s,” Marsh said.
BRNI is one of the world’s premier research institutes developing both an understanding of how human memory works and advancing new discoveries that can identify, treat and repair damages from diseases and disorders that impact human memory. One of the Institute’s critical missions has been to foster private-sector partnerships with venture capital and pharmaceuticals, moving new drug discoveries more quickly to doctors and patients, and helping to foster new investments and jobs in West Virginia.
CONTACT: University Relations/Communications
Follow @WVUToday on Twitter.