Synlogic Expands Leadership Team to Support Rapid Advancement of the First Synthetic Biotic Towards the Clinic
Company Appoints Seasoned Biotech Executives to Lead Finance, Clinical, Translational and Manufacturing Functions
CAMBRIDGE, Mass.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Synlogic, a privately-held biopharmaceutical company developing novel medicines based on its proprietary synthetic biology and microbiome platform, today announced the expansion of its management team with the addition of the following key executives:
- Todd E. Shegog, chief financial officer
- Aoife M. Brennan, M.D., chief medical officer
- Caroline B. Kurtz, Ph.D., head of translational sciences and product development
- Richard M. Schwartz, Ph.D., senior vice president, process development and manufacturing
“We are pleased to have four experienced leaders with an impressive track record in the industry join our team during this pivotal time, as we prepare to file an investigational new drug (IND) application with the FDA for our lead synthetic biotic program, SYNB1020, in early 2017,” said Jose Carlos Gutierrez-Ramos, Ph.D., CEO of Synlogic. “Having received orphan drug designation and completed a productive pre-IND meeting with the FDA, we are now transforming our leadership team with outstanding drug development talent. This team of high caliber leaders will guide Synlogic through the next exciting phase of the company as we advance the lead programs and grow our pipeline. I have full confidence that Todd, Aoife, Caroline and Dick will be instrumental to Synlogic’s success and help us reach our goal of bringing this new class of medicines to patients suffering from debilitating diseases.”
As chief financial officer, Mr. Shegog will be responsible for the oversight and direction of the company’s financial strategy and management as well as facilities and information systems. Mr. Shegog brings more than 20 years of financial experience in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries. Most recently, Mr. Shegog served as senior vice president and chief financial officer at Forum Pharmaceuticals, where he was responsible for finance, operations and information systems in support of the pursuit of innovative therapies for schizophrenia and Alzheimer’s disease. Prior to Forum, Mr. Shegog was the senior vice president and chief financial officer of Millennium Pharmaceuticals, Inc., now Takeda Oncology, where he was responsible for management of the company’s financial resources, corporate planning, financial reporting and compliance. During his tenure from 1998 to 2014, Todd held key leadership roles supporting the early evolution of the company and its transformation from a genomics company to a fully-integrated drug developer, the approval and launch of its flagship oncology product, VELCADE®, and the $8.8 billion acquisition of Millennium by Takeda Pharmaceuticals. He began his career in healthcare at Genetics Institute (now Pfizer) in a variety of financial positions supporting its research and development organizations, and was a member of the commercial operations team that supported the launch of BeneFIX®. Mr. Shegog holds an M.B.A. from the Tepper School of Management, Carnegie Mellon University and a B.S. degree in electrical engineering from Lafayette College.
As chief medical officer, Dr. Brennan will be responsible for the oversight and direction of the company’s clinical development strategy and operations. Dr. Brennan joins Synlogic following six years at Biogen, where she was in roles of increasing responsibility and most recently served as vice president and head of the Rare Disease Innovation Unit, which included programs ranging from pre-clinical to commercial. She has also led programs across multiple therapeutic areas including the late phase development of nusinersen for spinal muscular atrophy and ALPROLIX and ELOCTATE, treatments for Hemophilia B and Hemophilia A. Prior to joining Biogen, Dr. Brennan was director of clinical development at Tolerx, a start-up biotech company focusing on immunotherapy for Type 1 diabetes. Dr. Brennan holds a medical degree from Trinity College Dublin, Ireland and has completed post-graduate training in internal medicine, endocrinology and metabolism. She has completed post-doctoral training in clinical research and metabolism at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston and is a graduate of the Harvard Medical School Scholars in Clinical Science Program.
In the role of head of translational sciences and product development, Dr. Kurtz will be responsible for all aspects of nonclinical development for Synlogic’s therapeutic programs. Previously, Dr. Kurtz was vice president and GC-C platform lead at Ironwood Pharmaceuticals, where she drove the development of linaclotide (LINZESS®) from pre-IND through NDA approval and life-cycle management. In this role, she managed the linaclotide development collaborations with U.S. partner Forest (now Allergan), European partner Almirall, and Japanese partner Astellas. Through the study of linaclotide’s pharmacology, her team identified a novel mechanism for the relief of visceral pain mediated by the release of cGMP from intestinal epithelial cells. She also served as the portfolio lead for the discovery and development of new GC-C agonists, including identification of two additional clinical candidates. Prior to her role at Ironwood, Dr. Kurtz served as director of infectious diseases at GelTex/Genzyme, where she led discovery of novel polymeric compounds as anti-infectives for intestinal and pulmonary infections. This work led to the discovery and clinical development of a toxin-binding polymer, tolevamer, for the treatment of C. difficile colitis. Dr. Kurtz received her Ph.D. in immunology from Harvard University in the laboratory of Dr. John Weis, and post-doctoral training in viral immunology and central nervous system demylelinating diseases in the laboratory of Dr. Robert Fujinami, University of Utah. She was recently recognized by PharmaVoice magazine as one of 2016’s 100 most inspiring people.
As senior vice president, process development and manufacturing, Dr. Schwartz will be responsible for the oversight and management of process development and manufacturing of Synlogic’s product candidates. Dr. Schwartz is currently the chief of the Vaccine Production Program (VPP) at the Vaccine Research Center (VRC) at the NIAID/NIH. At the VRC, Dr. Schwartz has been responsible for development and clinical production of vaccines against viruses which include HIV, Ebola, Zika, Influenza, Chikungunya and Equine Encephalitis as well as the first broadly neutralizing monoclonal antibody against HIV. Dr. Schwartz has 30 years of experience in pharma and biotech working in diverse areas including pharmaceutical natural product production, hematopoietic stem cells, vaccines and therapeutic proteins. Dr. Schwartz was previously the senior director of process and manufacturing sciences at MedImmune Vaccines (formerly Aviron), where he was responsible for vaccine development and clinical manufacturing of new vaccine candidates, as well as for providing support to commercial vaccine manufacturing operations. Additionally, he was team lead for a BARDA funded development effort to convert FluMist from egg-based to a cell culture based production process. Prior to MedImmune, Dr. Schwartz worked at SyStemix, Aastrom Biosciences and Eli Lilly. Dr. Schwartz received his B.S, M.S. and Ph.D. in chemical engineering from the University of Michigan.
Synlogic is a privately-held biopharmaceutical company based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, pioneering the development of a novel class of therapeutics, called synthetic biotics, based on its proprietary synthetic biology and microbiome platform. Synlogic’s two lead therapeutic programs are being developed for the potential treatment of rare inborn errors of metabolism of Urea Cycle Disorder (UCD) and Phenylketonuria (PKU). In addition to the company’s proprietary pipeline focused on rare diseases, the company is leveraging the broad potential of its synthetic biotics platform for novel drug development in major disease areas through partnerships with pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies. Synlogic is collaborating with AbbVie to develop synthetic biotics-based treatment for inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Synlogic is backed by leading life sciences investors, including Atlas Venture, New Enterprise Associates (NEA), Orbimed, Deerfield and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. For more information, please visit http://synlogictx.com/.