HOUSTON, May 25, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Coya Therapeutics, Inc. (Coya™), a clinical-stage biotechnology company developing first-in-class approaches utilizing autologous regulatory T cells (Tregs) and Treg-derived exosome therapeutics for neurodegenerative and autoimmune diseases, today announced that it has appointed Anabella Villalobos Ph.D., Head of Biotherapeutics and Medicinal Sciences of Biogen, to the Company’s Board of Directors, effective immediately.
“Dr. Villalobos is a world class researcher and highly respected senior pharmaceutical executive who will provide immediate and valuable expertise as well as key insights into our neurodegenerative disease development programs,” said Howard Berman, Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer of Coya Therapeutics. “She has played a key leadership role in neurologic drug discovery, driving new thinking and scientific direction that have changed design practices in neuroscience medicinal chemistry. We look forward to her counsel and deep expertise as we advance ALS001 in the clinic and expand our R&D pipeline.”
As head of Biotherapeutics and Medicinal Sciences at Biogen, Dr. Villalobos is responsible for the delivery of high-quality, differentiated drug candidates that advance through the clinic to become transformative medicines. Additionally, she has built a new gene therapy unit, setting the initial direction of effort including hiring the first team.
Prior to Biogen, Dr. Villalobos was at Pfizer for 28 years where she most recently served as Vice President of Medicinal Synthesis Technologies and Neuroscience Medicinal Chemistry. As the leader of several medicinal chemistry groups throughout her tenure at Pfizer, Dr. Villalobos’ teams delivered more than 30 candidates which showed increased survival to the clinic. Noteworthy were clinical candidates to combat Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, schizophrenia, depression, insomnia, and stroke. Among other accomplishments, she contributed to the design and discovery of CP-118,954 (icopezil), an acetylcholinesterase inhibitor, which was advanced to Phase II clinical trials for Alzheimer’s disease. This candidate became part of the agreement that led to the successful co-promotion of Aricept by Pfizer and Eisai. Dr. Villalobos has also championed new scientific directions that have improved design practices in medicinal chemistry including the Central Nervous System Multi-Parameter Optimization (CNS MPO) design tool and a novel PET ligand design and discovery approach.
Dr. Villalobos obtained her B.S. in Chemistry at the University of Panama and her Ph.D. in Medicinal Chemistry at the University of Kansas where she was a Fulbright-Hayes fellow. She was a National Institutes of Health Postdoctoral Fellow at Yale University in synthetic organic chemistry for two years.
About Coya Therapeutics, Inc.
Headquartered in Houston, TX, Coya Therapeutics™ is a clinical-stage biotechnology company developing first-in-class and best-in-class approaches utilizing adoptive regulatory T cells (Tregs) to target disease. The company’s CTreg™ (Cryopreservation for Tregs) system is patent pending and the first in the industry to overcome prior limitations of Treg cell therapies, allowing for serial infusions from a single manufacturing round. Through our proprietary TAI™ (Tregs Against Inflammation™) and patent pending iscEXO™ (immunosuppressive cell Exosome) platforms, Coya is focused on the advancement of disease modifying approaches to address the significant unmet medical needs of patients with ALS, Frontotemporal Dementia, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and autoimmune diseases. For more information, please visit