Walking the walk, Alnylam appoints former FDA head Margaret Hamburg to the board

Right on the heels of an industry-wide notice from BIO to speed up gender diversity in the C-suite and boardroom, Alnylam is adding to its roster with the appointment of former FDA commissioner Margaret Hamburg to the board.

The letter, prompted by a slate of controversies over the lack of gender diversity and inclusion during high-level conferences such as JPM and BIO, was signed off by Alnylam CEO John Maraganore, this year’s chairman, along with Halozyme chief Helen Torley and BIO chief Jim Greenwood.

Slated to become a director on January 10, 2019, Hamburg takes the seat of John Clarke, who’s retiring from the board after 16 years of service — including 13 years as the chair.

Hamburg is the fourth woman on the current board of Alnylam, joining Marsha Fanuccia, Amy Schulman and Colleen Reitan. As chairman of industry group BIO, Alnylam CEO John Maraganore has made diversity and inclusion a priority, with a goal of putting more women on corporate boards.

John Maraganore

“We are honored to welcome Peggy to our Board at a landmark moment for Alnylam, having just recently announced the regulatory approval of the first RNAi therapeutic,” said Maraganore.

Hamburg’s most notable stint is her time as FDA commissioner during the Obama years — 2009 to 2015 — where she served the second longest tenure. Prior to her lead role at the agency, she has spent time under the Clinton administration as assistant secretary for planning and evaluation at HHS as well as a gig as New York City’s health commissioner. She is currently serving as foreign secretary of the National Academy of Medicine, president-elect of AAAS and holds seats on a plethora of other boards, as well as a role on the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Advisory Committee.

“I’m very pleased to be joining the Board — Alnylam has kept a sustained focus on cutting-edge biomedical research, pioneering and leading the field of RNAi therapeutics to create a new class of medicines,” said Hamburg. “I look forward to working with Alnylam on innovative approaches to help expedite development of investigational therapies that address unmet medical needs.”

With contribution from Amber Tong

Image: Maynard Clark; CC BY-SA 4.0

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