Affinia Therapeutics Announces Addition of Gene Therapy Scientific and Medical Experts to Leadership Team to Advance Novel Gene Therapy Platform and…

-- Gene editing expert Charles Albright, Ph.D., joins as chief scientific officer --

-- Gene therapy development expert Petra Kaufmann, M.D.,joins as chief medical officer

WALTHAM, Mass., Feb. 17, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Affinia Therapeutics, an innovative gene therapy company with a proprietary platform for rationally designed adeno-associated virus (AAV) vectors and gene therapies for rare and non-rare diseases, today announced the completion of its leadership team. Collectively, the executives represent a diverse team of proven leaders in gene therapy who have successfully developed novel platforms and translated them to medicines that have made a transformative difference in the lives of those affected by devastating diseases.

Our calling is to broaden the reach of gene therapies for patients in need, and this starts with our proven leadership team. Members of our team have been at the forefront of the field and come from a variety of eminent organizations to innovate in the gene therapy science and programs at Affinia Therapeutics, said Rick Modi, chief executive officer at Affinia Therapeutics. We believe in a vastly different future medical era of one-time potentially curative medicines for patients affected by diseases, rare and non-rare. But realizing this vision requires moving beyond conventional AAV serotypes. At Affinia Therapeutics, we are uniquely positioned to engineer novel vectors and gene therapies that direct tissue tropism and have the potential to improve clinical efficacy, as well as immunogenicity and safety. Together, Dr. Albright, Dr. Kaufmann and the rest of our leadership team will leverage their extensive experience to advance our platform and programs.

Dr. Albright joins Affinia Therapeutics from Editas Medicine, where he served as executive vice president and chief scientific officer and led the development of the CRISPR gene editing technology platform. In this role, he industrialized and matured the platform and translated it to pioneering programs through Investigational New Drug (IND) submissions that led to clinical trials. Prior to joining Editas, Dr. Albright spent over 12 years at Bristol Myers Squibb, where he most recently held the position of vice president, genetically defined diseases and genomics. As a research leader at both biotech and large pharmaceutical companies, he has honed his expertise across a range of therapeutic areas including neurology, neuromuscular, cardiovascular, ophthalmology and oncology. Dr. Albright earned a Ph.D. in biology at MIT and was a postdoctoral fellow at the Whitehead Institute.

Dr. Kaufmann is an expert in translational medicine and clinical development focused on neuroscience, rare disease and gene therapy. She recently served as senior vice president and head of clinical development, analytics and translational medicine at Novartis Gene Therapies. She directed clinical development activities that included the global development of Zolgensma and translational strategy for several pipeline programs. This followed many years of clinical research and development positions in academia and at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), where she held leadership roles of increasing responsibility, most recently as director of the Office of Rare Diseases Research. Dr. Kaufmann earned an M.D. at the University of Bonn and an M.S. in biostatistics at Columbia University, where she also trained in neurology and served as a tenured faculty member, advancing research and caring for patients.

It is exciting to see the platform generate advances beyond the conventional AAV serotypes discovered many years ago, said Dr. Albright. Affinia Therapeutics platform for engineering next-generation vectors with specific pharmacodynamic properties enables us to explore the potentially curative benefits of gene therapy in new indications. I look forward to leading the scientific team as we advance these insights into translational opportunities in the clinic and, ultimately, into transformative therapies for patients.

I am thrilled to join this team of gene therapy experts who are helping to broaden the reach of gene therapies, said Dr. Kaufmann. I look forward to putting my clinical research and development experience into practice as we translate our differentiated AAV vectors into transformative medicines for people suffering from diseases that have been inadequately addressed by conventional AAVs and traditional therapies.

Dr. Albright and Dr. Kaufmann join the following individuals on Affinia Therapeutics leadership and scientific advisory team:

This team has collectively authored more than 450 publications, holds more than 15 patents, held meaningful roles on more than 15 BLAs, supplemental BLAs and product launches, and has executed on more than $16 billion in value for IPOs and M&As.

About Affinia TherapeuticsAt Affinia Therapeutics, our purpose is to develop gene therapies that can have a transformative impact on people affected by devastating rare and non-rare diseases. Our proprietary platform enables us to methodically engineer novel AAV vectors and gene therapies with potentially improved tissue tropism, cell specificity, immunogenicity and safety. With our innovative science, we are working to broaden the reach of life-changing gene therapies to meaningful numbers of patients with an initial focus on central nervous system (CNS) and muscle diseases with significant unmet need.

Affinia Therapeutics Contacts



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Affinia Therapeutics Announces Addition of Gene Therapy Scientific and Medical Experts to Leadership Team to Advance Novel Gene Therapy Platform and...

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