Healthcare Industry News: Third Rock Ventures
News Release - September 3, 2014
Voyager Therapeutics Appoints Steven Paul, M.D., to Chief Executive OfficerIndustry Veteran Brings More than 35 Years of Expertise in CNS Drug Discovery and Development
CAMBRIDGE, Mass.--(Healthcare Sales & Marketing Network)--Voyager Therapeutics, a gene therapy company developing life-changing treatments for fatal and debilitating diseases of the central nervous system (CNS), today announced that Steven Paul, M.D., has been appointed to Chief Executive Officer. Dr. Paul succeeds Interim CEO Mark Levin, a Partner at Third Rock Ventures, who will become Chairman of Voyager’s Board of Directors.
Dr. Paul brings to Voyager more than 35 years of neuroscience expertise and an extensive track record in CNS drug discovery and development. As a Venture Partner at Third Rock, he helps lead the ideation and development of new companies, including Voyager, where he has served as Interim President of R&D since the company’s formation in February 2014. Prior to Third Rock, Dr. Paul spent 17 years at Eli Lilly and Company in key leadership roles, including Executive Vice President for Science and Technology and President of the Lilly Research Laboratories, as well as former Vice President of Discovery Research and Neuroscience Research.
“Voyager has made staggering progress since our launch only six months ago. We are rapidly advancing our gene therapy pipeline, we have made significant progress on our proprietary AAV gene therapy product engine, we continue to build an outstanding team, and we are in advanced discussions with multiple potential strategic partners,” said Mr. Levin. “Having overseen successful drug development spanning from early-stage drug discovery and development across multiple therapeutic areas to approvals of blockbuster CNS drugs, Steve’s distinguished expertise makes him an ideal leader to navigate Voyager’s future progress. Steve has been an integral part of the Voyager team since the early ideation of the company, and we are thrilled that he is joining as full-time CEO.”
Before joining Voyager as CEO, Dr. Paul was the Founding Director of the Appel Alzheimer's Disease Research Institute, where he was the Principal Investigator of the Institute’s novel adeno-associated virus (AAV) gene therapy program for Alzheimer’s disease, as well as Professor of Neuroscience, Psychiatry and Pharmacology at Weill Cornell Medical College. As President of the Lilly Research Laboratories, he was responsible for the company’s overall R&D strategy, expanding its efforts in oncology and biotechnology and resulting in a pipeline of approximately 70 new molecular entities. Dr. Paul’s development teams were responsible for the successful launches of Lilly’s blockbuster CNS medicines Cymbalta® and Zyprexa®, and he is a co-inventor of solanezumab, the company’s late-stage monoclonal antibody in development as a potential disease-modifying treatment for Alzheimer’s disease. Prior to Eli Lilly, Dr. Paul served as Scientific Director of the National Institute of Mental Health. While at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), he pioneered discoveries that ultimately led to the formation of SAGE Therapeutics (SAGE), a rare CNS disorders company that Dr. Paul co-founded in 2011 through funding from Third Rock Ventures. He has also served as Medical Director in the Commissioned Corps of the United States Public Health Service. Dr. Paul has authored or co-authored more than 500 papers and book chapters and holds nine patents on inventions developed at Eli Lilly and NIH. He is an elected fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and a member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences. He currently serves on the board or as a trustee of several organizations, including SAGE Therapeutics, Alnylam Pharmaceuticals, Tal Medical, the Sigma Aldrich Company and the Foundation for the NIH. He is board certified by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology and currently serves on the science board of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Dr. Paul holds a B.A. in biology and psychology from Tulane University and an M.S. and M.D. from the Tulane University School of Medicine.
“Based upon recent advances in our understanding of the genetic basis of a variety of CNS diseases, I am extremely enthusiastic about the scientific possibilities that Voyager’s AAV gene therapy approach holds in potentially changing the lives of patients with these often fatal and highly debilitating diseases,” said Dr. Paul. “We have seen encouraging early data demonstrating that Voyager’s approach could be successful in replacing or knocking down faulty genes in diseases such as Parkinson’s disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and Friedreich’s ataxia. I am proud of Voyager’s position at the forefront of this renewed field of gene therapy, and the potential of the company to make a meaningful difference for CNS patients who currently have limited or no therapeutic options.”
About Voyager Therapeutics
Voyager Therapeutics is a gene therapy company developing life-changing treatments for fatal and debilitating diseases of the central nervous system (CNS). Voyager is committed to advancing the field of AAV (adeno-associated virus) gene therapy through innovation and investment in vector optimization and engineering, dosing and delivery techniques, as well as process development and production. The company’s initial pipeline is focused on CNS diseases in dire need of effective new therapies, including Parkinson’s disease, a monogenic form of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), and Friedreich’s ataxia. Founded by scientific and clinical leaders in the fields of AAV gene therapy, expressed RNA interference and neuroscience, Voyager Therapeutics was launched in 2014 with funding from leading life sciences investor Third Rock Ventures and is headquartered in Cambridge, Mass. For more information, please visit www.voyagertherapeutics.com.
Source: Voyager Therapeutics
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