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About Us

Cognosci Inc. was founded in May 2000 to develop anti-inflammatory compounds for the treatment of neuroinflammatory diseases including Multiple Sclerosis, Alzheimer's Disease, and brain bleeding events. Each of these disorders has a pharmacogenomic linkage to the apolipoprotein E (APOE) protein and patients with the APOE-ε4 allele typically suffer worse outcomes. Based on these findings, scientists from Duke University created a novel APOE-based compound that had potent anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective activities.

Cognosci purchased all rights to this compound from Duke and has engineered over 500 new compounds to greatly improve their pharmaceutical performance. Combined with extensive biological proof-of-principle studies in multiple models of human disease, Cognosci is now poised to begin regulatory studies in human clinical trials. We have submitted an Investigational New Drug application to the Food and Drug Administration and are now planning additional applications for different indications and routes of administration. To continue these development efforts, Cognosci is currently seeking $15 million in Series A Venture Funding to complete GMP-drug manufacture, Phase I clinical trials and Phase II Proof-of-Concept trials in humans.

Management Team

Mike Vitek

Mike Vitek, Ph.D. - Founder, Director, Chief Executive Officer
Dr. Vitek is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Cognosci and is also an Associate Professor at Duke University Medical Center, Department of Medicine, Division of Neurology. He previously held positions of increasing responsibility at Glaxo-Wellcome, Burroughs-Wellcome, the Picower Institute, Lederle Laboratories, and Hoffmann-LaRoche. Dr. Vitek received his Ph.D. in Molecular Biology and Biochemistry from Dartmouth Medical School, specializes in Alzheimer's disease research and the role of innate immunity in neurodegeneration with over 125 published research articles and 17 patents and applications.

Fengqiao Li

Fengqiao Li, Ph.D. - Vice President of Research and Development
Dr. Li has 15+ years' experience in drug discovery for major neurological disorders, such as multiple sclerosis, spinal cord injury, Parkinson's disease, and peripheral neuropathy. He received his Ph.D. degree in Neurobiology from Peking University, China, in 2001. He had his postdoctoral training at NIEHS of NIH and then at Duke University. He joined Cognosci, Inc. as a Senior Scientist in 2006. Starting from 2007, Dr. Li has been leading several Neuroscience programs as Principal Scientist in Cognosci. He is the Principal Investigator of many government grants and from private foundation and has published many peer-reviewed scientific papers with several patents. Dr. Li's expertise includes drug discovery, neuroprotective and neuroregenerative strategy for major neurological disorders.


Bruce Trapp, Ph.D. - Multiple Sclerosis Mechanism Consultant
Dr. Bruce D. Trapp is Chairman of the Department of Neurosciences at the Lerner Research Institute,Cleveland Clinic Foundation and Professor of Neurosciences at Case Western Reserve University andThe Ohio State University. Dr. Trapp received his Ph.D. in anatomy from Loyola University Stritch School of Medicine in Chicago, IL. He completed a postdoctoral fellowship in the Laboratory of Neuropathology and Neuroanatomical Sciences and the Laboratory of Molecular Genetics and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, MD. He was also Assistant Professor, and subsequently Associate Professor, of Neurology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD. He has published over 150 peer-reviewed articles and 25 book chapters.

Dr. Trapp holds numerous multiyear grants from various funding institutions. His research involves the pathobiology of neurological disability in multiple sclerosis patients and the cellular and molecular biology of myelination in the central and peripheral nervous systems. He is the recipient of the Jordi Folch-Pi Award from the American Society of Neurochemistry, The Weil Award from the American Association of Neuropathologists, a Harry Weaver Neuroscience Scholar Award from the National Multiple Sclerosis Society (NMSS), the Jacob Javits Award in Neuroscience from the NationalInstituteof Neurological Disorders and Stroke and the John Dystel Prize for MS Research from the AmericanAcademy of Neurology and the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.

Paul O'Connor, M.D.- Multiple Sclerosis Clinical Trial Design and Performance
Dr. O'Connor is a neurologist who leads the MS Clinic at St. Michael's Hospital as well as the MS Program in the Division of Neurology at the University of Toronto. He is also Neurology Division Chief at St. Michael's Hospital. His chief research interest is in the discovery and development of new treatments for MS, including pharmaceutical and non-pharmaceutical approaches. He is a world authority on the design and implementation of clinical trials in MS and currently serves as lead-investigator or on the steering committee of several new agents for MS treatment including natalizumab and teriflunomide.

Dr. O'Connor has a vast experience with the clinical aspects of MS and directs one of the largest and most clinically active MS centers in the world. Along with providing leadership to the clinic service and research staff, he runs a very busy MS practice and evoked potential diagnostic facility. He received his MD and MSc degree from the University of Toronto and was made a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada in Neurology in 1985.

spacer Latest News

Cognosci Receives Funding for Advanced Testing of Lead Drug Candidate for the Treatment of Multiple Sclerosis

For more information, contact:

Cognosci Inc.
79 T. W. Alexander Drive
4401 Research Commons
Research Triangle Park
NC 27709
(919) 765-0028