National Football League Veteran Wes Chandler Creates WCTE Inc. to Tackle Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy

Former NFL player, Wes Chandler, a member of the San Diego Chargers Hall of Fame, and most recently an inductee into the College Football Hall of Fame, announced today the formation of a biotechnology company named WCTE Inc. which is dedicated to the diagnosis, intervention, and cure of Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE).

At present, the formal diagnosis of CTE can only be made after death, and there is currently no treatment available.  CTE is the cause of depression and suicide in numerous football players, according to Chandler, founder and CEO of WCTE.

“WCTE Inc. was formed because of the urgent unmet need to treat my friends and colleagues, who have sacrificed their health and their lives for popular entertainment.  Now that they need our help, it is our responsibility to be there for them,” said Chandler, who was a star receiver at the University of Florida before moving on to the NFL.  “It is my vision to identify, integrate and incorporate the latest technologies in order to provide a fighting chance for my colleagues.”

CTE has been understudied in contrast to other types of brain injuries, resulting in a time sensitive opportunity for development of intellectual property and therapies in this relatively unexplored area, according to Chandler.  In addition to the estimated $2 billion CTE market, technologies developed addressing CTE possess potential to address the substantially larger Alzheimer’s and aging market.

The company’s immediate focus falls upon three areas. First, capturing all intellectual property related to CTE through licensing/filing of patents.  Secondly, obtain ID approval to initiate a CTE clinical trial using its clinical state stem cell product WesCellTM.  Lastly, generating revenue through sales of NeuroStilbeneTM.

Assisting Chandler in organization of WCTE is Dr. Thomas Ichim, a successful biotechnology entrepreneur whose career successes include taking a stem cell company from discovery of the stem cell to FDA clearance, to sale of the company; 121 peer reviewed papers; 130 patents and patent applications; and successful development of 5 cellular therapeutics that have entered the clinic.

“I am honored to work with Mr. Chandler on helping find a cure for his colleagues and others who suffer from this devastating condition. Having known Wes for several years, I can attest he brings a fresh, multi-disciplinary, goal-oriented, approach to biotechnology. I look forward to working with him in identifying, licensing, and developing key technologies useful for treatment of CTE,” said Dr. Thomas Ichim.

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Concussion Legacy Foundation Global Brain Bank Partners with University of Auckland in New Zealand

Leaders from the Concussion Legacy Foundation (CLF) visited New Zealand this week to announce that the University of Auckland has joined the CLF Global Brain Bank, a network of academic research centers that collaborate with CLF to study Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) and other effects of sports-related brain trauma.

The newly launched New Zealand Sports Human Brain Bank Initiative will be part of the University of Auckland’s Centre for Brain Research, led by internationally recognized neuroscientist, Distinguished Professor Sir Richard Faull.

“We are thrilled that Dr. Faull and the impressive team at the University of Auckland Center for Brain Research are joining the fight against CTE,” said Chris Nowinski, Ph.D., co-founder and CEO of the Concussion Legacy Foundation. “It is fast becoming clear CTE is a global problem, and CLF is committed to recruiting top scientists to collaborate for a cure.”

The Centre for Brain Research was established in 2009 and is home to New Zealand’s only human brain bank. The new extension to the brain bank will collect from donors who have played contact sports like rugby, boxing, soccer, and others, whether or not they have experienced a concussion or traumatic brain injury (TBI), to scientifically research how head impacts in sports influence brain health and brain disease.

“With a large focus on contact sports in our culture, it’s important that New Zealand is part of this global conversation and that our sports people are included and have access to relevant research results,” said Sir Richard Faull.

The CLF Global Brain Bank was launched in March 2018 with the Australian Sports Brain Bank at the University of Sydney’s Brain and Mind Centre and Royal Prince Alfred Hospital. In October 2018, the University of São Paulo Biobank for Aging Studies became the CLF Global Brain Bank’s exclusive collaborator in Brazil.

The mission of the CLF Global Brain Bank is to accelerate research by activating the global scientific and sports communities in the fight to understand, prevent, treat, and eventually cure CTE and other trauma-related brain diseases. The CLF Global Brain Bank is modeled off the success of CLF’s collaboration in the United States (US) with Boston University (BU) and the US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), which has become the world’s largest CTE brain bank. The VA-BU-CLF Brain Bank research team, led by Dr. Ann McKee, has diagnosed more than 400 cases of CTE in the U.S.

Members of the CLF Global Brain Bank commit to collaborative research, including using common study methods, common data elements, and sharing data. Brain tissue will be stored and made available to outside researchers.

“The Australian Sports Brain Bank looks forward to collaborating with our New Zealand colleagues at the New Zealand Sports Human Brain Bank Initiative,” said Dr. Michael Buckland, director of the Australian Sports Brain Bank, who was also in New Zealand for the announcement. “I hope that by working together we can make a uniquely Antipodean contribution to international collaborative efforts to understand, treat and prevent CTE”.

Dr. Buckland announced this week that more than 200 people have pledged their brain to the Australian Sports Brain Bank, which has now received nine brain donations and completed analysis on four cases.

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Riddell Partners with NetVirta ‘to Advance Head Protection with Mobile 3D Technology’

Riddell, a leader in football helmet technology and innovation, entered a strategic partnership with tech company NetVirta. The Boston-based company is the creator of a mobile 3D scanning technology, called Verifyt. Leveraging NetVirta’s Verifyt app, Riddell captures 3D head shape data of an individual’s head. The app streamlines creation of Riddell Precision-Fit helmets, which are designed uniquely for individual athletes.

Riddell Precision-Fit technology debuted in 2017, where it quickly became the industry-leading helmet platform at elite levels. Now, the technology will be available to customers nationwide, where Riddell reps capture data using the app on iOS and Android devices. Verifyt captures head shape measurements with accuracy of +/- 0.5mm, allowing Riddell to create a truly custom fit.

“Our partnership with NetVirta and the use of Verifyt technology demonstrates commitment to creating forward-thinking technologies with industry leaders who help us reach our goal – to deliver improved player protection to football athletes everywhere,” said Thad Ide, Senior Vice President of Research and Product Development for Riddell. “As we develop game-changing technologies like Precision-Fit, it’s important we focus on making them available to all levels. Having an app that reps take to a program brings elite-level product features to the broad football community.”

In the future, Riddell believes “customers will download the app directly, capture head shape data themselves and upload them to an order platform. As this technology expands, so will Riddell’s ability to offer the latest in innovative product features like Precision-Fit to football players everywhere.”

“We’re excited to partner with Riddell on this project using our Verifyt technology, especially where the application has the chance to affect the greater football community,” said Jeff Chen, Co-Founder and CEO of NetVirta. “We established NetVirta with applications like this in mind and are happy to see our Verifyt technology benefit young athletes across the country.”

The Riddell – NetVirta partnership “demonstrates an ongoing commitment to player protection. In 2019, more NFL players were equipped with Precision-Fit helmets than all other manufacturer helmet models combined. At the college level, more than 1,000 players are wearing the helmet this season. Now, with Verifyt technology, Riddell offers athletes broad-scale access to SpeedFlex Precision Diamond and SpeedFlex Precision helmets.”

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