BRNI Names Scientist-Entrepreneur as CEO

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Mark A. Cochran, Ph.D., a biosciences researcher and entrepreneur, has been named CEO and executive director of the Blanchette Rockefeller Neurosciences Institute (BRNI).

Dr. Cochran was most recently managing director of the $16 million NeuroVentures Fund, based in Charlottesville, Va. Over the past six years, the group has invested in companies developing drugs, devices and other medical technologies for clinical neuroscience.

"Dr. Cochran has the right background and skills that we need to continue BRNI's emerging role as a preeminent scientific institution," said U.S. Senator Jay Rockefeller, the founder of BRNI.  "I'm confident that Dr. Cochran shares our excitement and commitment to making West Virginia and West Virginia University a world leader in Alzheimer's research and treatments."

BRNI has secured patents on several approaches to Alzheimer’s treatment, particularly in the use of bryostatin, a drug originally developed for cancer patients.

“One of our primary missions at BRNI is to put new diagnostic and treatment tools into the hands of the physicians who treat people with Alzheimer’s disease and other related diseases that affect memory,” said BRNI president Robert M. D’Alessandri, M.D. “Dr. Cochran’s experiences in venture capital, the pharmaceutical industry and in the laboratory make him uniquely qualified to push this organization forward.”

Cochran holds a doctorate in microbiology and immunology from Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario; a master’s in microbiology from the University of Guelph, Ontario, and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Toronto. He completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the National Institutes of Health.

His previous experience in the pharmaceutical industry includes work for the Bayer Corporation, Miles, Inc., and MicroGeneSys, Inc., doing both laboratory research and business development.

He is listed as the author on 22 scientific papers, 66 abstracts and six patents.

Cochran and his wife, Joanne, have three children.

Senator Rockefeller founded BRNI  in memory of his mother, who died of Alzheimer's disease. More information about the Blanchette Rockefeller Neurosciences Institute is available at www.brni.org.

- WVU -

For more information:
Bill Case, HSC News Service, (304) 293-7087

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