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30 Fastest Growing Companies to watch 2018


ciobulletin nls 1 pharma ag alex zwyer ceo co founder

We aim to improve quality of life and longevity: NLS-1 Pharma AG (NLS)

Good mental and behavioral health means being generally able to think, feel and react in the ways that you need and want to live your life. An extra effort for betterment of your health can increase your life expectancy, benefit your physical appearance and keep you happy for years and years to come. Youthfulness isn't always shown from your appearance, "a young soul is a happy soul!"

Why to worry when we have NLS Pharma with us? The company designs affordable, safe and effective drugs to safeguard and empower the brain throughout all stages of life. Their aim is to improve quality of life and longevity by creating new approaches to treat mental and behavioral disorders, and to enhance cognitive function in healthy people.

In dialogue with Alex Zwyer, CEO and Co-Founder

Brief us about the present market landscape?

Behavioural disorders like Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) affect children and adults and impacts negatively across all aspects of their life, from schooling to work to relationships. The US Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that 11% of American children between the ages of four to 11 have some form of ADHD. Moreover, those figures look set to rise.

Treatment options are important and can significantly affect the quality of life for children and adults affected by this condition.

What is NLS-1 Pharma’s possie in the current market?

We intend to revolutionize the treatment of ADHD with our principal asset, Mazindol CR. For years physicians and parents of children with ADHD have been asking for a treatment that is as effective as current CII stimulants but with an improved safety profile. We expect that our phase III trials will confirm our profile as a potentially game-changing ADHD treatment that is as effective as currently available stimulants. Moreover, we expect significantly less potential for abuse, misuse and diversion.

The whole process of patient management will be easier for parents and prescribers too because prescriptions could be re-filled and called-in to the pharmacy. So, in the near future, our ambition is to establish Mazindol CR as a viable treatment option.

What stumbling blocks does industry address?

Patients with ADHD suffer from difficulty with inattention, hyperactivity or impulsivity, often in multiple settings. The condition negatively affects patient's success in school, at work and in their personal relationships and inhibits a patient's ability to realise his/her full potential. We at NLS feel that it is absolutely critical that more effective, safe treatment options be available for those with the condition, to improve quality of life for themselves and their family and friends. Good treatment can make a huge difference, and there is no reason why people with ADHD can’t live a relatively normal life.

What are the differentiating factors that set your company apart from its competitors?

Current stimulant treatments are effective at improving the symptoms of ADHD but have significant risk associated with their undesirable safety profile. All methylphenidate and amphetamine/lisdexamfetamine products are designated as Schedule II medications by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), meaning they come with a high potential for abuse and dependence. It is the same classification as many narcotic painkillers (Percocet, OxyCotin and fentanyl, to name a few) and methamphetamine and methadone. Non-stimulants treatment options, such as atomoxetine, are not as effective as stimulants and carry significant warnings and precautions such as thoughts of suicide, severe liver injury and serious cardiovascular event risk. With these kinds of side-effects, it is evident we need to work hard to create safer alternatives, particularly as this is a condition that also implicates children.

Our research shows that Mazindol CR has an effect on dopamine and norepinephrine, two validated neurotransmitter targets of ADHD. We believe one of our core breakthroughs in the treatment of ADHD is our deepening understanding of Mazindol CR’s effect on two novel neurotransmitters (serotonin and orexin 2) that are not currently targeted by any other ADHD treatment. This novel MOA has the potential to explain our unprecedented efficacy and safety profile.

Brief overview of the products and services offered by your company.

Our lead compound is Mazindol CR, under development for the treatment of Narcolepsy (orphan drug) and ADHD.

What was the motivation to start the company and how did it all come together?

ADHD is a disorder with significant unmet medical need. We believe treatment rates and patient outcomes could be improved with a new treatment that is as effective as currently available stimulants, while also having an improved safety profile. This drug is called Mazindol CR. Dr Eric Konofal (EK), Chief Scientific Officer and co-founder of NLS, discovered the robust effect of mazindol on the symptoms of ADHD while treating his patients for other disorders. Based on the success of our prior work together, EK invited me to help him set-up and execute a business plan with the aim to bring Mazindol CR to the market and help improve the lives of millions of patients currently suffering with ADHD.

Greet the ingenuity persona

Alex Zwyer started as a marketing assistant in a mid-size pharma company and within 15 years made it to the very top of that firm (Viforpharma). Key positions held were: Regional Director LATAM, Global Head Marketing & Sales, Executive VP Global Markets (responsible for Marketing, Sales, Regulatory Affairs and Medical Affairs globally). As a co-founder of NLS, AZ single-handedly fundraised 15 Mio USD and oversaw a successful execution of - what is currently considered as the most successful phase 2 clinical trial in the ADHD space. AZ is a natural leader and strategist with a track record of producing extraordinary results for more than 25 years. A creative and entrepreneurial executive, he is highly oriented to managing performance excellence for results.  AZ has a highly-developed skill for assembling and managing exceptional teams while building lasting relationships.

“Our patient-centered orientation increases the rate for success and our successful collaboration with experts across industry and academia allows for a target specific and customized approach.”

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