Name: Hans van Noort
Affiliation: Business Unit Manager
After obtaining his PhD in biochemistry, Hans van Noort started working in the research organisation TNO in the Netherlands where he entered MS research in the early 1990s. Searching for the trigger of the recurrent inflammatory lesions during MS, he dissected human brain proteins to find one with remarkable properties. This protein, called alpha B-crystallin, selectively accumulates in MS-affected brains and acted as a potent activator of pro-inflammatory T-cell responses. Paradoxically, however, it also turned out to offer beneficial effects as a molecular chaperone and activator of protective innate immune responses by glial cells. In 2008, Hans left his position at TNO to start his own biotech company with the goal to develop alpha B-crystallin as a therapeutic protein in MS. Following completion of a Phase 2a trial in MS patients, the overcrowded MS drug market and lack of continued financing forced him to stop his venture in 2016. Hans is now engaged in efforts to revive his project with a new clinical target.