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Knopp Bioscience

Changing the Course of Human Health

Discovering, developing, and delivering breakthrough medication

2004-2006

Inspired to help

Knopp Biosciences LLC (Knopp) was originally founded in 2004 as Knopp Neurosciences Inc. by Greg Hebrank and Tom Petzinger in 2004. The company was named for Walter Knopp, a Pittsburgh area entrepreneur and philanthropist afflicted with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), a progressive neurological disordere often referred to a “Lou Gehrig’s Disease”.  With intellectual property licensed from both the University of Pittsburgh and the University of Virginia, the company’s initial drug pipeline was built around dexpramipexole (Dex), a small molecule dopamine agonist, thought to be a potential treatment for ALS. 

Under the leadership of company CEO Mike Bozik, Knopp advanced Dex to a Phase I clinical trial in September 2007, and a follow-on Phase II study in April 2008.  The Phase II clinical data indicated efficacy at slowing the progression of ALS in certain patients.  The favorable data led to a licensing transaction with Biogen Inc. in 2010.  In 2011, Biogen launched a 900+ patient Phase III clinical trial for Dex in ALS.  The Phase III study was stopped in 2013 and deem unsuccessful in the treatment of ALS.  The Biogen license was eventually terminated in 2014, and the development rights and clinical data for Dex were returned to Knopp.

2007-2016

Clinical breakthroughs

The clinical data from the ALS study produced an unexpected result.  Routine blood analysis of patients participating in the clinical trial showed a marked decrease of eosinophils, a type of white blood cell.  Normal eosinophil levels protect humans from certain pathogens, including many parasites.  Elevated levels of eosinophils in the blood are often associated with persistent asthma and other auto-immune disorders.  Armed with this data, Knopp launched Phase II clinical trials for Dex in eosinophilic asthma and hyper eosinophilic syndrome in 2015 and 2016.   

Simultaneous to the clinical work on Dex, Knopp was also developing a set of small molecule compounds to treat dysfunction of the Kv7 ion channels in cell membranes.  Dysfunction of the Kv7 ion channels is often associated with epilepsy and other neurological disorders.  The Kv7 development effort was led by CSO Steve Dworetsky. 

2017-2021

Growth & Expansion

Following a significant capital raising transaction in 2019, the company commenced a concerted effort to find a partner to fund and manage a large multi-center Phase III clinical trial for Dex in eosinophilic asthma.  Those efforts resulted in a partnership with Population Health Partners (PHP) and syndicate of private equity investors led by Bain Capital.  In June 2022, Knopp contributed its Dex pipeline to Areteia Therapeutics, Inc., a new entity with $350 million of committed capital.

During the process of identifying a partner for Dex, Biohaven Pharmaceuticals Limited developed an interest the company’s Kv7 preclinical program.  Biohaven purchased the company’s Kv7 platform in April 2022.

Current

Acquisition by Biohaven

Today, Knopp is no longer an operating company.  Its former employees are now employed by Biohaven and Areteia.  Instead of test tubes and microscopes, the company’s assets consist of equity securities related to the Areteia transaction, and contract rights to future payments from Biohaven related to the Kv7 platform.  If either program (or both) is successful, the company expects to realize significant cash from these assets which will eventually be distributed to the company’s owners.

LEADERSHIP

The People
Behind the Medicine

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C David Adair MD, MBA, FACOG, FASH

Member — Board of Directors

Steve Butts

Member — Board of Directors

Michael E. Bozik, M.D.

Member — Board of Directors

Benjamin Gomez

Member — Board of Directors

Gregory T. Hebrank

Member — Board of Directors

Jeffrey McCormick

Member — Board of Directors

Thomas Petzinger Jr.

Member — Board of Directors

F.J. Lucchino

Management

Charlie O’Hanlon

Management

LEADERSHIP

The People
Behind the Medicine

Lorem Ipsum is simply dummy text of the printing and typesetting industry. Lorem Ipsum has been the industry’s standard dummy text ever since the 1500s

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C David Adair MD, MBA, FACOG, FASH


Member — Board of Directors

Steve Butts


Member — Board of Directors

Michael E. Bozik, M.D.


Member — Board of Directors

Benjamin Gomez


Member — Board of Directors

Gregory T. Hebrank


Member — Board of Directors

Jeffrey McCormick


Member — Board of Directors

Thomas Petzinger, Jr.


Member — Board of Directors

F.J. Lucchino


Management

Charlie O’Hanlon


Management