Healthcare Industry News: RNAi therapeutics
News Release - June 27, 2012
Alnylam Expands and Develops Management TeamAppoints Oved Amitay to Vice President, Head of Commercial
Promotes Akshay Vaishnaw to Executive Vice President and Chief Medical Officer;
Jared Gollob to Vice President, Clinical Research; and,
Lubomir Nechev to Vice President, Process Sciences
CAMBRIDGE, Mass.--(Healthcare Sales & Marketing Network)--Alnylam Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (ALNY), a leading RNAi therapeutics company, announced today that it has expanded and developed its management team with new appointments and promotions. The company has appointed Oved Amitay to the newly created position of Vice President, Head of Commercial. In addition, it announced several promotions from within the organization. Specifically, Akshay Vaishnaw, M.D., Ph.D. has been named Executive Vice President and Chief Medical Officer; he previously held the title of Senior Vice President and Chief Medical Officer. In addition, Jared Gollob, M.D., has been promoted to Vice President, Clinical Research, from Senior Director, and Lubomir (Lubo) Nechev, Ph.D. has been promoted to Vice President, Process Sciences, from Senior Director.
“Our people and their passion remain key to the success of Alnylam. Accordingly, I am pleased to announce these appointments and promotions, which expand and strengthen our management team as we advance our pipeline of RNAi therapeutics through clinic trials and toward the market,” said John Maraganore, Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer of Alnylam. “We are excited to welcome Oved to the Alnylam team, as he brings deep experience in the commercialization of innovative medicines for the treatment of rare and orphan diseases. We are very pleased to promote Akshay based on his continued excellence in stewardship of Alnylam’s pipeline of RNAi therapeutic product opportunities. Further, we recognize the many excellent accomplishments of Jared and Lubo with their new promotions.”
Before joining Alnylam, Mr. Amitay was Vice President for Strategic Development for the Personalized Genetic Health business unit at Genzyme Corporation, now a Sanofi company. At Genzyme, he led the internal research and development activities for their rare diseases franchise. Prior to this position he was General Manager of the Gaucher Disease and MPS Portfolios at Genzyme, where he was responsible for Cerezyme®, leading it to peak sales of over $1.2 billion. Oved joined Genzyme in 1998 and held positions of increasing responsibility in regulatory affairs, medical marketing, market development, and business development in Europe and the Middle East. Prior to joining Genzyme, he was a staff pharmacologist at Peptor Ltd. and Cambridge NeuroScience, Inc. where he was involved in early stage drug development programs. Oved graduated from the School of Pharmacy in the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, and completed his graduate studies in Pharmacology at Northeastern University in Boston.
Dr. Vaishnaw joined Alnylam in 2006 and has been responsible for the company’s development organization, including clinical development, clinical operations, regulatory affairs, and pre-clinical development groups, and has been a member of the company’s Management Team since that time. As a result of his work at Alnylam, Akshay has become a world-recognized leader in the research and development of RNAi therapeutic medicines. Prior to Alnylam, he was at Biogen Idec, where he was involved in many aspects of clinical research and business development, including efforts on the approval of alefacept (Amevive™) for psoriasis and in-licensing of BG-12 as a new medicine for multiple sclerosis. Akshay received his M.D. from the University of Wales College of Medicine, UK, and his Ph.D. from the University of London, UK, in Molecular Immunology. He is a Member of the Royal College of Physicians, UK, and received an Executive M.B.A. from Harvard Business School. Akshay has published papers in leading scientific journals and authored a number of textbook chapters relating to autoimmune disease.
Dr. Gollob joined Alnylam in 2007 and has been responsible for management of the clinical development organization, in addition to serving in a program leadership role for the company’s ALN-VSP program. Prior to Alnylam, he was at Duke University where he was Associate Professor of Medicine and Director of the Biologic Therapy Program, with a secondary appointment as Associate Professor of Immunology. He was also concurrently Head of Hematology/Oncology at the Duke VA Medical Center. Jared received his A.B. and M.D. from Columbia University, and then completed his clinical training at Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, and the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. Jared is a board certified Medical Oncologist with interests in the immunotherapy of cancer, specifically renal cell carcinoma and melanoma. Previously, he has advised Chiron, Schering-Plough, Bayer, and Novartis on their oncology programs.
Dr. Nechev joined Alnylam in 2004 and has held roles of increasing responsibility in the process development organization during that time, including the development of manufacturing processes for Alnylam pipeline programs. Prior to joining Alnylam, Lubo worked in the process development department at Transgenomic, Inc., now Agilent Technologies. Before that, he was a scientist at Ribozyme Pharmaceuticals Inc., which became Sirna Therapeutics and was acquired by Merck & Co., Inc. in 2006. Lubo received his B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. in Chemistry from the St. Kliment Ohridski University in Sofia, Bulgaria. He conducted his postdoctoral training at Vanderbilt University in Nashville.
About RNA Interference (RNAi)
RNAi (RNA interference) is a revolution in biology, representing a breakthrough in understanding how genes are turned on and off in cells, and a completely new approach to drug discovery and development. Its discovery has been heralded as “a major scientific breakthrough that happens once every decade or so,” and represents one of the most promising and rapidly advancing frontiers in biology and drug discovery today which was awarded the 2006 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine. RNAi is a natural process of gene silencing that occurs in organisms ranging from plants to mammals. By harnessing the natural biological process of RNAi occurring in our cells, the creation of a major new class of medicines, known as RNAi therapeutics, is on the horizon. Small interfering RNAs (siRNAs), the molecules that mediate RNAi and comprise Alnylam’s RNAi therapeutic platform, target the cause of diseases by potently silencing specific mRNAs, thereby preventing disease-causing proteins from being made. RNAi therapeutics have the potential to treat disease and help patients in a fundamentally new way.
About Alnylam Pharmaceuticals
Alnylam is a biopharmaceutical company developing novel therapeutics based on RNA interference, or RNAi. The company is leading the translation of RNAi as a new class of innovative medicines with a core focus on RNAi therapeutics for the treatment of genetically defined diseases, including ALN-TTR for the treatment of transthyretin-mediated amyloidosis (ATTR), ALN-PCS for the treatment of severe hypercholesterolemia, ALN-HPN for the treatment of refractory anemia, ALN-APC for the treatment of hemophilia, and ALN-TMP for the treatment of hemoglobinopathies. As part of its “Alnylam 5x15TM” strategy, the company expects to have five RNAi therapeutic products for genetically defined diseases in clinical development, including programs in advanced stages, on its own or with a partner by the end of 2015. Alnylam has additional partner-based programs in clinical or development stages, including ALN-RSV01 for the treatment of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) infection, ALN-VSP for the treatment of liver cancers, and ALN-HTT for the treatment of Huntington’s disease. The company’s leadership position on RNAi therapeutics and intellectual property have enabled it to form major alliances with leading companies including Merck, Medtronic, Novartis, Biogen Idec, Roche, Takeda, Kyowa Hakko Kirin, and Cubist. In addition, Alnylam and Isis co-founded Regulus Therapeutics Inc., a company focused on discovery, development, and commercialization of microRNA therapeutics; Regulus has formed partnerships with GlaxoSmithKline and Sanofi. Alnylam has also formed Alnylam Biotherapeutics, a division of the company focused on the development of RNAi technologies for applications in biologics manufacturing, including recombinant proteins and monoclonal antibodies. Alnylam’s VaxiRNA™ platform applies RNAi technology to improve the manufacturing processes for vaccines; GlaxoSmithKline is a collaborator in this effort. Alnylam scientists and collaborators have published their research on RNAi therapeutics in over 100 peer-reviewed papers, including many in the world’s top scientific journals such as Nature, Nature Medicine, Nature Biotechnology, and Cell. Founded in 2002, Alnylam maintains headquarters in Cambridge, Massachusetts. For more information, please visit www.alnylam.com.
Alnylam Forward-Looking Statements
Various statements in this release concerning Alnylam’s future expectations, plans and prospects, including without limitation, statements regarding Alnylam’s views with respect to the potential for RNAi therapeutics and its expectations regarding its “Alnylam 5x15” product strategy, constitute forward-looking statements for the purposes of the safe harbor provisions under The Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Actual results may differ materially from those indicated by these forward-looking statements as a result of various important factors, including, without limitation, Alnylam’s ability to discover and develop novel drug candidates, the pre-clinical and clinical results for these product candidates, which may not support further development of such product candidates, actions of regulatory agencies, which may affect the initiation, timing and progress of clinical trials for such product candidates, obtaining, maintaining and protecting intellectual property, obtaining regulatory approval for products, competition from others using technology similar to Alnylam’s and others developing products for similar uses, and Alnylam’s ability to establish and maintain strategic business alliances and new business initiatives, as well as those risks more fully discussed in the “Risk Factors” section of its most recent quarterly report on Form 10-Q on file with the Securities and Exchange Commission. In addition, any forward-looking statements represent Alnylam’s views only as of today and should not be relied upon as representing its views as of any subsequent date. Alnylam does not assume any obligation to update any forward-looking statements.
Source: Alnylam Pharmaceuticals
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