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Dr Annalisa Jenkins and Lord Michael Grade Appointed as Advisors to AKL Research & Development

Dr Annalisa Jenkins and Lord Michael Grade Appointed as Advisors to AKL Research & Development

PR Newswire

STEVENAGE, England, December 11, 2018

STEVENAGE, England, December 11, 2018 /PRNewswire/ --

Appointments bolster team dedicated to bringing osteoarthritis drug to market

AKL Research and Development (AKLRD), a company developing an investigational osteoarthritis (OA) medicine, today announces the appointment of Dr Annalisa Jenkins and Lord Michael Grade as advisors.

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Dr Jenkins is former Head of Global Research & Development and Executive Vice President Global Development & Medical at Merck Serono. Lord Grade is former Chairman of the BBC.

Current Chief Operating Officer (COO) of AKLRD David Miles has been promoted to Chief Executive Officer (CEO), replacing previous CEO David Sharples who becomes Chairman. Clinical Scientist Alan Reynolds, who has extensive experience in inflammation and autoimmune disease treatments, has taken the role of Chief Science Officer (CSO).

The new appointments and change of roles come as AKL enters its next phase of bringing its investigational medicine APPA to market. Currently in Phase I clinical trials at Liverpool University, APPA is an NFkB and Nrf2 modulator which harnesses the power of two secondary metabolites of plant origin in a fully synthetic oral therapy and is a potential novel treatment for OA.

Dr Jenkins says: "Osteoarthritis is a condition which causes significant pain and disability every day for millions of people across the world. With few effective treatments available, APPA has the potential to offer meaningful improvements and new opportunities for people living with the disease. AKLRD is dedicated to novel approaches to drug development through collaborations with companies which are embracing innovation with the shared common purpose of improving the lives of patients globally. I am excited to join AKLRD at this crucial time."

Speaking about his advisory role, Lord Grade says: "This is an exciting time for everyone at AKLRD, both in terms of APPA's development and the company's pioneering approach to identifying new medicines. I am delighted to help bring this important drug to market."

New CEO of AKLRD, David Miles, says: "We are extremely pleased to welcome both Annalisa and Michael as advisors at such an important time in the development of APPA, our investigational treatment for osteoarthritis. The pioneering nature of AKL's drug development fits particularly well with the expertise and reputation in business of both our new advisors and I know that their depth of knowledge and experience will continue to drive us forward during this important phase."



Profiles of AKLRD ' s new appointments: 

Dr Annalisa Jenkins MBBS FRCP 


PlaqueTec CEO Dr Annalisa Jenkins is a life sciences thought leader with more than 25 years of biopharmaceutical industry experience. Former leadership roles include as Head of Global Research and Development and Executive Vice President Global Development and Medical at Merck Serono and Senior Vice President and Head of Global Medical Affairs at Bristol Myers-Squibb. Dr Jenkins is a board member of several public and private growing companies in Europe and the US and is on the Science Board of the US Food & Drug Administration (FDA), Chair of The Court at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and serves on the Task Force UK board of the US Center for Talent Innovation.

Lord Grade CBE 


Lord Grade has been a long-term supporter of and founder investor in AKLRD and now continues to do so formally as an Advisor to the company. Lord Grade has a long and distinguished career in broadcasting both for the BBC, ITV, and also more than nine years as Chief Executive of Channel Four Television. Away from television, Lord Grade oversaw the successful restructuring of First Leisure. He has served as Chairman of Pinewood Shepperton Group, Ocado and Camelot. He is a trustee of the Science Museum Group.

David Miles  


David Miles, formerly COO of AKLRD, was previously Head of Inflammatory Diseases in Europe for Pfizer. He brings national and global experience from both biotech start ups and established pharma demonstrating increasing roles of responsibility managing commercial, medical and access teams as they progress products from innovation to commercial reality.

Alan R eynolds 


Alan Reynolds is a Clinical Scientist with wide-ranging experience across a number of inflammatory conditions including musculo skeletal. He was previously European Clinical Science Director Inflammation for Wyeth/Pfizer, responsible for providing European input into global research and publication strategies and leading health economic submissions to NICE for the biologic autoimmune treatment Enbrel (etanercept). He is a member of the Treatment Subcommittee of Versus Arthritis, the UK's leading Arthritis charity.

David Sharples  


With a wealth of experience in business, David Sharples, former CEO of AKLRD, specialises in recruiting and supervising strong management teams. He has held extensive senior management roles including securing successful fundraising bids, commercial deals and company trade sales.

About APPA 

  • As we age there is a greater potential for the body's inflammatory response to malfunction, initiating a cascade of activity that can result in chronic, degenerative diseases of inflammation, such as OA.  The 'holy grail' of anti-inflammatory targeting is to block these tissue-damaging activities without compromising host defence mechanisms.
  • APPA is a patented fixed combination of two synthetically produced, synergistic, secondary metabolites of plant origin which exerts its anti-inflammatory effect through modulation of NFkB and Nrf2 pathways. Related to innate immune responses, AKL4 inhibits the formation of neutrophil extracellular traps (NETs).
  • APPA has demonstrated pain relief, improved functionality and slowed cartilage destruction in animal models of osteoarthritis (OA), something that no approved drug has been shown to do1.
  • APPA is unique because it directly affects inflammation at its source by re-balancing intracellular signalling molecules, NFkB and Nrf2. APPA regulates rather than totally blocking the immune response, allowing the body to maintain host defence mechanisms[1]. Current medicines in OA typically focus on pain relief only as a short-term solution.
  • Journalists can request the "About APPA" Backgrounder for more information.

About AKLRD 

  • AKL Research & Development Ltd.'s focus is primarily inflammatory diseases, particularly those related to dysregulation of the innate immune system.
  • AKLRD identifies secondary metabolites of plant origin with proven efficacy and safety. These metabolites are then synthesized before undergoing standard pharmaceutical clinical development. This innovative approach greatly increases the chances of success, while reducing the probability of unexpected side effects.
  • AKLRD's lead asset APPA, is currently in phase I in Osteoarthritis, a highly prevalent and devastating disease with limited treatment options and no cure
  • AKLRD is based at the Stevenage Bioscience Catalyst, Stevenage, Herts UK.

About Osteoarthritis 

  • Osteoarthritis (OA) is a common, debilitating, degenerative disease of the joints involving the cartilage and its surrounding tissues.2
  • The FDA has recently classed OA 'a serious disease'.3 It is the most common type of arthritis in the UK, affecting 8.75 million people, a number expected to more than double by 2030.4,5,6
  • High economic burden (>2% GDP). In US annual medical costs associated with OA are $185B7
  • More than half of all people over the age of 65 have OA, and it is the third most rapidly rising condition globally, just behind diabetes and dementia.8
  • The incidence of hand, hip and knee OA increases with age, and women are more commonly affected than men, especially over the age of 50.5
  • Risk factors include obesity, joint abnormalities, occupation and genetics.7 The knee is most commonly affected, followed by the hip and hands/wrists.6
  • Journalists can request the "About Osteoarthritis" Backgrounder for more information.    

1. Cross A, et al. Effects of APPA on human neutrophil function. 2016 OARSI, Volume 24, S335 - S336

2. Litwic A, et al. Epidemiology and burden of osteoarthritis. Br Med Bull 2018. 105;1:185-199

3. FDA: Osteoarthritis - Structural Endpoints for the Development of Drugs, Devices, and Biological Products for Treatment Guidance for Industry. 18 Jul 2018.

4. NICE. SCOPE. Osteoarthritis: the care and management of osteoarthritis

5. Arthritis Research UK. State of Musculoskeletal Health 2018.

6. Arthritis Research UK. Arthritis rates set to double by 2030. 9 May 2012

7. Kotlarz H, Gunnarsson CL, Fang H, Rizzo JA. Insurer and out-of-pocket costs of osteoarthritis in the US: evidence from national survey data. Arthritis Rheum 2009 Dec;60(12):3546-53.

8. Arden N. OA is a serious disease. Presented at: OARSI 2018 World Congress on Osteoarthritis; April 26-29; Liverpool, England


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Last Updated: 11-Dec-2018