SOURCE: CoMentis

January 07, 2008 16:56 ET

CoMentis Announces Appointment of John L. Higgins to Board of Directors

SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO, CA--(Marketwire - January 7, 2008) - CoMentis, Inc., a privately held biopharmaceutical company, announced today that John L. Higgins has joined the company's Board of Directors. Mr. Higgins is President, Chief Executive Officer and a member of the Board of Directors of Ligand Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ: LGND).

"John brings broad experience in corporate strategy and management to our company," said W. Scott Harkonen, CEO and President of CoMentis. "His outstanding strategic instincts, strong relationships with Wall Street and experience building biopharmaceutical companies will be tremendous assets to CoMentis as we advance our pipeline and establish the foundation for an independent, publicly traded biotech company."

"CoMentis is a well capitalized company with some of the most promising compounds in the biotech industry, particularly in the area of Alzheimer's disease," said Mr. Higgins. "In 2008, we anticipate exciting data milestones and key strategic partnerships. I look forward to working with the CoMentis Board and senior management as we execute on our strategic and clinical goals and build a diversified biotech company."

Mr. Higgins' experience encompasses 15 years of corporate development, financing, strategic planning, commercialization, executive management and investment banking in the biopharmaceutical industry. Prior to joining Ligand, Mr. Higgins was Chief Financial Officer, Executive Vice President, Finance, Administration and Corporate Development of Connetics Corporation, a public specialty pharmaceutical company, until its acquisition by Stiefel Laboratories, Inc. in December 2006. Previously, Mr. Higgins was Executive Vice President, Corporate Development, of BioCryst Pharmaceuticals, Inc. and he was a member of the health care investment banking team at Dillon, Read & Co. Inc. Mr. Higgins earned an A.B. in Economics, Magna Cum Laude, from Colgate University and is a director of BioCryst Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

About CoMentis

CoMentis, Inc. has its headquarters in South San Francisco, with research operations in both South San Francisco and Oklahoma City. The company is engaged in the discovery and development of small-molecule drugs to treat diseases such as Alzheimer's disease, age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and cognitive disorders. The company has two fundamental technology platforms: (i) aspartic protease inhibitors, including beta-secretase inhibitors for Alzheimer's disease; and (ii) nicotinic acetylcholine receptor (nAChR) agonists and antagonists for the treatment of angiogenesis mediated diseases and cognitive disorders.

Originally founded in 2004 as Athenagen, Inc., the company was re-named CoMentis following the August 2006 merger with Zapaq, Inc., which created a leading neurovascular disease franchise. Zapaq was founded in 2001 by Jordan Tang, Ph.D., of the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation, and Arun Ghosh, Ph.D., now at Purdue University, both experts in the field of aspartic proteases. In 2000, Dr. Tang's groundbreaking discovery of beta-secretase, an aspartic protease which is a critical enzyme in beta amyloid production, was published in "Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences."

CoMentis currently has three product development programs based on its two technologies: ATG-3, a topical (eye drop) anti-angiogenesis compound for neovascular AMD; CTS-21166, an orally active beta-secretase inhibitor for Alzheimer's disease; and GTS-21, an oral agonist of the alpha-7 nACh receptor pathway for cognition enhancement. For more information:

Contact Information

    W. Scott Harkonen, M.D.
    President and CEO
    (650) 869-7600
    Email Contact