CAMBRIDGE, Mass., Sept. 01, 2020 — eGenesis, a biotechnology company using breakthrough gene editing technologies for the development of safe and effective human-compatible organs, tissues, and cells to address the global organ shortage crisis, today announced the appointment of Michael Curtis, Ph.D., as President of Research & Development (R&D). Dr. Curtis brings to eGenesis more than 25 years of experience in scientific research and leadership in biopharmaceutical development across multiple therapeutic areas. Dr. Curtis will be responsible for managing the research and development of eGenesis’ xenotransplantation programs and will succeed William (Wes) Westlin, Ph.D., who has been appointed as the Company’s Chief Scientific Officer (CSO).
“Mike’s diverse and extensive development experience and leadership across multiple therapeutic areas at emerging and established biopharmaceutical companies, will be invaluable as we advance our programs into human trials,” said Paul Sekhri, President and Chief Executive Officer of eGenesis. “We are building a deep research and development leadership team and are fortunate to have Wes transition into the CSO role with responsibility for internal and external scientific programs and collaborations.”
Dr. Curtis joins eGenesis from Cadent Therapeutics, where he served as President and Head of R&D. At Cadent, he oversaw R&D, regulatory, and intellectual property operations. Dr. Curtis played a critical role in completing the merger between Ataxion Therapeutics and Luc Therapeutics that resulted in Cadent’s founding. During his tenure, Cadent Therapeutics developed a pipeline featuring novel therapies for treating psychiatric and neurological disorders. Prior to Cadent, he was responsible for product development and regulatory affairs at Catabasis Pharmaceuticals, where he led the clinical advancement of three products from discovery through first-in-human and phase 2 studies. His first executive role was at the oncology company, Infinity Pharmaceuticals, where he established and led a 30-scientist team that was responsible for all product development activities, including the advancement of the lead candidate into Phase 3 clinical trials. Prior to Infinity, he held Associate Director positions and spearheaded analytical development at Transkaryotic Therapies (currently Takeda) and Syntonix Pharmaceuticals (currently Sanofi).
Dr. Curtis holds an A.Sc. in Biotechnology from Cobleskill College and a B.Sc. in Biochemistry from the College of Environmental Science and Forestry. He earned a Ph.D. in Cell and Molecular Biology from the State University of New York Upstate Medical University.
“eGenesis aims to address the organ shortage crisis affecting people and their families all around the world,” said Dr. Curtis. “This is a great opportunity to be a part of an endeavor that can make a real difference for a growing patient population that has limited options today. I look forward to working closely with Wes and leveraging our combined many years of industry experience to lead the scientific efforts of xenotransplantation research and product development.”
About Transplantation and Xenotransplantation
The demand for lifesaving organs far outnumbers available supply. In the U.S. today, 20 people die every day due to lack of available organs for transplant and every 10 minutes an additional name is added to the national transplant waitlist. There are more than 110,000 people in need of an organ transplant in the U.S. alone.
The concept of xenotransplantation, or the transplantation of organs, tissue and cells from one species to another, has been explored for several decades, with the pig considered the most suitable donor for humans. However, until the development of modern gene editing tools, hurdles related to virology and immunology have prevented porcine organ xenotransplantation from advancing beyond early preclinical research.
eGenesis’ goal is to advance the field of transplantation and make available safe and reliable organs, tissues, and cells to patients in need. eGenesis uses gene editing technology such as CRISPR to directly address the key virology and immunology hurdles that have impeded xenotransplantation to date. eGenesis is advancing an initial product toward the clinic for kidney transplant, with the longer-term potential of addressing a broader organ recipient population and expanding the applicability of xenotransplantation into other areas such as cell therapy. Learn more at egenesisbio.com.
Burns McClellan, Inc.