New Advisors Bring Diversity and Experience to SMA Foundation

New York, NY – May 17, 2005 – The Spinal Muscular Atrophy Foundation today announced the addition of six members to its Scientific Advisory Board. The new advisors, some of the most wellrespected individuals in their fields, were specifically sought for the wealth of experience they bring to bear on Foundation efforts to advance drug development in SMA: Paul S. Anderson, PhD, retired vice president for Chemistry at Merck, G. Stephen DeCherney, MD, MPH, president of Clinical Development Services Americas for Quintiles Transnational Corp., Corey S. Goodman, PhD, president and chief executive officer of Renovis, Inc., Jonathan S. Leff, managing director at Warburg Pincus LLC and responsible for the firm’s life sciences investment effort, John H. Park, Partner at Blum Capital Partners, LP, and Wesley Thompson, PhD, professor of Neurobiology at The University of Texas at Austin.

The expansion of the Board also includes the establishment of two Young Investigator Advisors, Christine Beattie, PhD, associate professor of Neuroscience at the Ohio State University Center for Molecular Neurobiology and Charlotte Sumner, MD, clinical fellow in Neurogenetics at the NINDS. Drs. Beattie and Sumner will contribute their unique perspective to the discussions of the Advisory Board and lead efforts to enhance career mentoring and research progress among the academic investigators supported by Foundation grants.

The addition of these esteemed scientists and industry leaders, along with the introduction of the Young Investigator Advisors, increases the SMA Foundation’s scientific leadership to thirteen distinguished and diverse advisors. Biographies of all of the advisors can be found on the SMA Foundation website,

Founded in 2003, the SMA Foundation is a nonprofit organization dedicated to accelerating progress towards a treatment and cure for Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) through targeted funding of clinical research and novel drug development efforts. The Foundation is also committed to increasing federal support of SMA therapeutics research through educational efforts on Capital Hill. For more information on the Spinal Muscular Atrophy Foundation, visit or call (646) 253-7100.

About Spinal Muscular Atrophy

Spinal muscular atrophy is a motor neuron disease and the leading genetic killer of infants and toddlers. Caused by progressive degeneration of nerve cells in the spinal cord, the disease leads to increasing muscular weakness and atrophy. Over time, its victims continue to lose muscle control and strength, leading to progressive inability to walk, stand, sit up and eventually move. More than 50% of patients with SMA die before the age of two.

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Media Contact:
Cynthia Joyce
(646) 253-7100
[email protected]