Ovid Therapeutics Expands Epilepsy Development Expertise with New Appointments

  • Recognized epileptologist and medical affairs leader, Manoj Malhotra, M.D., joins as Chief Medical Officer
  • Drug discovery and development scientist and soticlestat co-inventor, Toshiya Nishi, D.V.M., joins as Head of Epilepsy Research

NEW YORK, Feb. 08, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Ovid Therapeutics Inc. (NASDAQ: OVID), a biopharmaceutical company developing medicines designed to conquer epilepsies and meaningfully improve the lives of people affected by brain disorders, is expanding its medical and development team with the respective appointments of industry veterans, Manoj Malhotra, M.D., as its Chief Medical Officer and Toshiya Nishi, D.V.M., as its Head of Epilepsy Research.

“Our goal is to have an industry-leading pipeline and R&D team in the area of seizures. Dr. Malhotra brings to Ovid deep expertise from his career serving as a clinical trialist, a treating epileptologist, and a senior medical affairs executive within biopharmaceutical companies. He joins us from senior roles at global pharmaceutical companies where he contributed to the development and approval of multiple neurological medicines,” said Jeremy Levin, D. Phil, MB BChir, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Ovid Therapeutics. “His experience complements our team, and we believe will help propel our current programs and facilitate new areas of growth within Ovid.”

“We are equally thrilled that Dr. Nishi, a long-time collaborator with Ovid and the co-inventor of soticlestat, is joining our Company,” added Dr. Levin. “Dr. Nishi is a talented translational scientist who will support our novel epilepsy pipeline. His efforts will include a focus on our unique library of direct KCC2 transporter activators, which we believe may represent an exciting new mechanism of action for mitigating neuronal hyperexcitability.”

Dr. Malhotra is a neurologist with a specialty in epilepsy. He completed his residency in neurology and his fellowship in neurophysiology at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation and served as the Chief of Neurology at Kaiser Permanente. Immediately prior to joining Ovid, Dr. Malhotra served in the Neurology Business Group at Eisai Pharmaceuticals. During his tenure, he led Global Medical Affairs for their epilepsy and multiple sclerosis businesses. Dr. Malhotra was also a Global Senior Medical Director at Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals Autoimmune and Rare Disease Unit, and he held senior roles at Takeda Pharmaceutical supporting its Alzheimer’s disease program, and within Novartis Medical Affairs. Throughout his career, Dr. Malhotra has led or supported multiple mid-to-late-stage epilepsy clinical trials and holds strong relationships with leading academic centers of excellence in epilepsy care. 

“I am excited to join Ovid and contribute to shaping a pipeline of unique mechanisms of action for seizures. If our programs prove successful, I believe they could be potentially game-changing for people with resistant seizures,” said Dr. Malhotra.

Dr. Nishi is a pharmacologist and translational scientist who has led multiple drug discovery programs in neurological disorders and other therapeutic areas. He joins Ovid from Takeda Pharmaceuticals, where he played a critical role in the invention and development of soticlestat, a small molecule inhibitor of cholesterol 24-hydroxylase. Dr. Nishi collaborated with Ovid throughout the early clinical development of soticlestat. Soticlestat is now being evaluated by Takeda in two Phase 3 global clinical trials for the potential treatment of Dravet and Lennox-Gastaut syndromes. Dr. Nishi’s work in epilepsy, Alzheimer’s disease and other therapeutic areas is widely published. At Ovid, he will support preclinical development, including a dedicated focus on the KCC2 program.

About Ovid Therapeutics
Ovid Therapeutics Inc. is a New York-based biopharmaceutical company striving to conquer seizures and brain disorders with courageous science. Ovid’s pipeline of small molecule and genetic medicines candidates seek to meaningfully improve the lives of people and families affected by epilepsies. Ovid is developing OV329, a GABA-aminotransferase inhibitor that is in early clinical development for treatment-resistant seizures, and OV350, a direct activator of the KCC2 transporter, for potential treatment of epilepsies. In addition, Ovid maintains a significant financial interest in the future regulatory development and potential commercialization of soticlestat, which Takeda is responsible for advancing globally. Soticlestat is a cholesterol 24-hydroxylase inhibitor, which is currently in Phase 3 trials for Dravet and Lennox-Gastaut syndromes. For more information about these and other Ovid research programs, please visit www.ovidrx.com.

Forward-Looking Statements
This press release includes certain disclosures that contain “forward-looking statements,” including, without limitation: the creation of a leading R&D team and pipeline in the field of seizures; the impact either appointment will have on our pipeline, programs and long-term success; statements regarding the Company’s pipeline, including the potential development and use of OV329 and 350; and the status of Takeda’s two pivotal Phase 3 trials evaluating soticlestat for Lennox-Gastaut and Dravet syndromes. You can identify forward-looking statements because they contain words such as "anticipates," "believes," "expected," "intends," "plan," "potentially," and "will," and similar expressions (as well as other words or expressions referencing future events, conditions or circumstances). Forward-looking statements are based on Ovid’s current expectations and assumptions. Because forward-looking statements relate to the future, they are subject to inherent uncertainties, risks and changes in circumstances that may differ materially from those contemplated by the forward-looking statements, which are neither statements of historical fact nor guarantees or assurances of future performance. Important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those in the forward-looking statements include, without limitation, uncertainties inherent in the preclinical and clinical development and regulatory approval processes, the risk that Ovid may not be able to realize the intended benefits of its technology. Additional risks that could cause actual results to differ materially from those in the forward-looking statements are set forth under the caption “Risk Factors” in Ovid’s Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on November 8, 2022, and in future filings Ovid makes with the SEC. Any forward-looking statements contained in this press release speak only as of the date hereof, and Ovid assumes no obligation to update any forward-looking statements contained herein, whether because of any new information, future events, changed circumstances or otherwise, except as otherwise required by law.

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