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Calman Prussin, M.D., Joins Knopp Biosciences to Lead Clinical Development of Dexpramipexole in Eosinophilic Asthma

January 7, 2016

PITTSBURGH, PA.  January 7, 2016—Knopp Biosciences LLC announced today that Calman Prussin, M.D., formerly a senior investigator in eosinophil-associated inflammatory diseases at the National Institutes of Health and the outgoing chair of the American Board of Allergy and Immunology, has joined Knopp to head clinical and translational medicine in immunology.

In this capacity, Dr. Prussin will lead clinical development of dexpramipexole in asthma and other allergic diseases characterized by elevated eosinophils, which are white bloods cells associated with inflammation. Dexpramipexole is an oral small molecule demonstrated in ongoing clinical trials to lower levels of eosinophils in blood and inflamed tissues.

"We are extremely pleased to have Dr. Prussin leading the development of dexpramipexole in a challenging therapeutic area of persistent unmet medical need," said Michael Bozik, M.D., president and CEO of Knopp. "In two decades as a physician-scientist at one of the world's preeminent research institutions, he distinguished himself as a clinical trialist, a preclinical scientist, and a clinician specializing in allergic eosinophilic diseases—accomplishments that fully prepare him to lead our innovative drug development program in asthma and allergic disease."

Dr. Prussin said, "My joining the Knopp dexpramipexole program is an amazing opportunity to develop the first eosinophil-targeted oral drug to treat asthma and other eosinophilic diseases. Because it is a non-steroidal small molecule, dexpramipexole has the potential to become a mainstay of asthma controller therapy for millions of patients."

Dr. Prussin comes to Knopp from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), a part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). He has acted as principal investigator in numerous clinical trials in eosinophil-associated diseases, served on the Pulmonary-Allergy Drugs Advisory Committee of the Food and Drug Administration, and is the author of 100 peer-reviewed research papers, review articles, book chapters, and abstracts. He remains a director of the American Board of Allergy and Immunology.

A Fellow of the American Academy of Allergy and Immunology, Dr. Prussin received his B.A. in chemistry at the University of California, San Diego, and his M.D. from the USC Keck School of Medicine; conducted his training in internal medicine at Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center; and completed both basic science and clinical allergy and immunology fellowship training at NIAID. He has been the recipient of numerous awards and service medals from the U.S. Public Health Service, from which he retired with the rank of captain.

Knopp intends to initiate Phase 2 trials of dexpramipexole in asthma in 2016, following demonstration of significant eosinophil lowering in the blood and inflamed tissues of eosinophilic subjects in pilot studies in chronic rhinosinusitis with nasal polyps and hypereosinophilic syndrome. These results confirm the targeted eosinophil-lowering effects of dexpramipexole at doses well tolerated in earlier clinical studies of more than 1,000 subjects with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.

About Knopp Biosciences

Knopp Biosciences, based in Pittsburgh, PA, USA, is a drug discovery and development company focused on delivering breakthrough treatments for unmet medical needs through innovation, experience, and partnership. Knopp's lead product candidate is dexpramipexole, an orally bioavailable small molecule in development for the treatment of asthma and other eosinophil-associated disorders, and for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Knopp's discovery platform is directed to next-generation mitochondrial modulators for the treatment of neurodegenerative disorders, leukocyte-lowering agents for immunological disorders, and ion channel modulators for epilepsy and neuropathic pain.

Media Contact:
Thomas Petzinger Jr.