Rolling up its sleeves, Axovant scoops up five gene therapy vets to propel new pipeline
Having assembled a largely preclinical pipeline of gene therapies through a couple of licensing pacts, Axovant is expanding the crew charged with executing its high-stakes turnaround mission.
All five execs coming on board are seasoned vets from big name biopharma companies, with expertise ranging from manufacturing and technical operations to regulatory affairs and commercialization.
- Greg MacMichael, SVP of technical operations, was the former global head of cell and gene therapy technical development and manufacturing at Novartis;
- Parag Meswani, SVP of commercial strategy and operations, joins from Spark Therapeutics — a US pioneer of the field;
- Paul Korner, SVP of clinical development, held the VP of medical strategy and clinical development role at Sarepta Therapeutics, another emerging gene therapy player;
- Greg Stewart, SVP of vector delivery and optimization, had a stint at neurology-focused Voyager Therapeutics;
- Sean O’Bryan, VP of regulatory affairs, jumps from the same role at Lysogene.
Under the leadership of CEO Pavan Cheruvu — who was promoted to the job in the aftermath of a spectacular failure in Alzheimer’s that saw his predecessor David Hung out the door alongside almost half the staff — Axovant has been recentering its pipeline around gene therapies targeting neurological and neuromuscular diseases.
Its lead program is now AXO-Lenti-PD, a gene therapy for Parkinson’s designed to spur dopamine production in the brain that it paid $30 million to Oxford BioMedica for.
Axovant $AXON still has a long way to go before it can win back the trust of the investors who lost big on its high-wire act on Alzheimer’s — it’s trading at less than $2 now compared to $24.99 at its height — but they are taking sizable first steps in the journey.
Image (from left clockwise): Greg MacMichael, Parag Meswani, Paul Korner, Greg Stewart.