PASADENA, Calif., June 18, 2024 — AcuraStem, a patient-based biotechnology company pioneering the development of treatments for neurodegenerative diseases, today announced it has named Dr. Wen-Hsuan Chang as Associate Vice President of Discovery and Early Development.

Dr. Chang has made significant contributions to the evolution and success of AcuraStem's NeuroRx® technology platform. Under her leadership, the team has enhanced the platform's ability to replicate key aspects of neurodegenerative diseases, leading to more targeted therapeutic strategies. This work includes exploring new indications and continually assessing new targets for integration into AcuraStem's robust preclinical pipeline.

Additionally, Dr. Chang and her team are spearheading several critical programs at AcuraStem, including the UNC13A program. This initiative has significantly advanced our understanding of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) pathophysiology by elucidating the critical role of UNC13A and its association with TDP-43 pathology, prevalent in a majority of ALS cases and notable in frontotemporal dementia (FTD). Leveraging AcuraStem's iNeuroRx® platform, her team has successfully replicated UNC13A pathology in patient-derived neurons. This achievement has facilitated the development and testing of antisense oligonucleotides (ASOs) that restore normal function by targeting and suppressing a cryptic exon associated with the disease. This work not only offers a promising therapeutic avenue but also highlights the potential of precision medicine in neurology.

Dr. Chang previously served as AcuraStem’s Head of Target Validation and was pivotal in establishing and validating the NeuroRx® platform from a biological perspective. Her research has focused on the molecular mechanisms of neurodegeneration, particularly in ALS and FTD, pursued during her postdoctoral work in Dr. Justin Ichida's laboratory at the University of Southern California.

"Dr. Chang's promotion reflects not only her exceptional leadership in advancing our mission of treating neurodegenerative diseases but also her outstanding ability to guide and inspire our team," said Sam Alworth, CEO and co-founder of AcuraStem. "Her elite understanding of the science, combined with a visionary approach and a commitment to fostering a collaborative and innovative team environment, uniquely qualifies her to lead our efforts in discovery and early development."

Dr. Chang's extensive background in stem cell biology and molecular biology, along with her groundbreaking work at USC, has equipped her with the expertise necessary to drive innovation at AcuraStem. Her achievements in identifying critical pathways in neural differentiation and disease mechanisms have paved the way for breakthroughs in treating complex neurodegenerative conditions.

AcuraStem remains steadfast in its commitment to integrating exceptional scientific talent and fostering a culture of innovation, ensuring its leadership in advancing therapies for neurodegenerative diseases.