GSK R&D vet Russo jumps to Genenta, takes a lead role in developing a new gene therapy

Carlo Russo, Genenta

GSK vet Carlo Russo is joining up with some of his former gene therapy colleagues, taking the chief medical officer’s role at Milan-based Genenta Science.

Russo is coming over directly from Adverum, but earlier worked at GSK as head of R&D for their rare disease unit. Russo and Genenta co-founder Luigi Naldini had crossed paths before at the San Raffaele Hospital in Milan, a pioneer in gene therapy. A collaboration between San Raffaele and GSK led to the approval of Strimvelis last year, which is looking to become used in Europe for a rare disease called ADA-SCID (severe combined immunodeficiency due to adenosine deaminase deficiency.)

Genenta’s tech focuses on a gene transfer strategy into autologous hematopoietic stem cells to target anti-tumor proteins to tumor-infiltrating monocytes/macrophages.

Pierluigi Paracchi, Genenta

Strimvelis was not the first gene therapy to win a European OK. That was won by uniQure’s Glybera, which is essentially unused. In the US, Spark gets credit as a leader in the field, which is working to land the first OK in the field in this region.

“(Russo) contributed to the marketing authorization of the first ever ex-vivo gene therapy (Strimvelis),” said Genenta CEO and co-founder Pierluigi Paracchi. “We see a great scientific and clinical potential in this reunion, we see the opportunity to reach the same outstanding results.”

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