Aug 23, 2023
siRNAgen Therapeutics, a leading biotech in the RNAi therapeutics space, is pleased to announce the expansion of its advisory board with the inclusion of distinguished scientific and strategic experts.
Cambridge, MA.– siRNAgen Therapeutics, a leading biotech in the RNAi therapeutics space, is
pleased to announce the expansion of its advisory board with the inclusion of distinguished scientific and strategic experts. The appointments come as the company advances its research in CNS and immunology indications.
On the scientific advisory front, Prof. Yizhou Dong, a Robert Langer lab alumni renowned for his
contributions to the nanoparticle design and development of siRNA delivery platforms, and Dr. Marc Abrams, with over two decades of discovery and development expertise in RNAi therapeutics, have joined the board. Their combined experience will further solidify the company's standing in cutting- edge RNAi research and development.
In the strategic advisory domain, the company welcomes Dr. Nassim Usman, Perry Ha, Dr. Minji
Kim, and Dr. Errol de Souza. Dr. Usman, known for his leadership roles in Catalyst Biosciences and Sirna Therapeutics, brings a wealth of expertise in clinical development, capital formation and corporate partnering. Mr. Perry Ha, founder and Managing Director of Draper Athena, imparts his deep venture investment insight, further solidifying the board's comprehensive strategic outlook. Dr. Minji Kim brings deep knowledge in life science strategy and business development. Dr. Errol de Souza's distinguished career including pivotal roles in R&D and executive leadership in various public and private biopharmaceutical firms completes the new advisory board.
"We are thrilled to have such an esteemed group of individuals join our advisory board," said Dr. June Park, CEO of siRNAgen Therapeutics. "Their combined experience and insights will be invaluable as we navigate the next phase of our growth and continue our commitment to developing groundbreaking RNAi therapeutics."
About siRNAgen Therapeutics
siRNAgen Therapeutics is at the forefront of RNAi therapeutic development with a focus on CNS and immunology applications. The company is committed to harnessing the power of RNAi to address unmet medical needs and improve patient lives. For further information, please contact: email@example.com
Yizhou Dong is a Professor at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. His research focuses on the design and development of biotechnology platforms for the treatment of genetic disorders, infectious diseases, and cancers. Dr. Dong has authored over one hundred papers and patents. Several of his inventions have been licensed and are currently under development as drug candidates for clinical trials. He serves as a scientific advisory board member for Arbor Biotechnologies and siRNAgen Therapeutics. Dr. Dong is the recipient of multiple awards, such as Maximizing Investigators’ Research Award from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS), Ohio State Early Career Innovator of the Year, and The American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists (AAPS) Emerging Leader Award. Dr. Dong is an elected fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE).
Marc has more than 25 years of biopharma drug discovery and early development expertise spanning multiple therapeutic areas, drug modalities and platform technologies. He is currently Chief Scientific Officer of Carbon Biosciences, a venture-backed biotech company developing novel gene therapies to overcome the limitations of current delivery technology and reach new patient populations. Marc’s previous role was SVP, Discovery Research at Dicerna Pharmaceuticals (now a subsidiary of Novo Nordisk) where he led efforts to advance pipeline candidates and develop novel RNAi technologies. In this role, Marc and his team developed Dicerna’s GalXC-Plus™ RNAi delivery platform, powering multiple corporate partnerships and clinical programs. Earlier, Marc spent over half of his career to-date at Merck and Co., where he led or supported RNAi and small molecule candidates in oncology, virology and immunology. Marc has a B.S. from Drexel University, M.S. from the University of Rochester and Ph.D. in Biochemistry from Thomas Jefferson University; he has authored over 35 peer-reviewed publications and patents.
Dr Usman is currently President, CEO and a member of the Board of Directors at Catalyst
Biosciences (NASDAQ: CBIO). Dr Usman joined Catalyst in 2006 from Morgenthaler Ventures,
where he is a Venture Partner. Prior to joining Morgenthaler, he served as Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer at Sirna Therapeutics Inc. (NASDAQ: RNAI, acquired by Merck - NYSE: MRK), Chief Scientific Officer & Vice President, Research & Development at Sirna Therapeutics Inc. and Ribozyme Pharmaceuticals, Inc (RPI). (NASDAQ: RZYM). During his industrial career Dr. Usman has entered several drugs into clinical development, completed multiple licensing with pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies deals (totalling $2.2B), founded and exited from several companies and raised >$500M in both private and public financings. Dr Usman previously served on several private and public Boards of Directors including; Principia Biopharma (NASDAQ: PRNB), Mosaic Biosciences, Osprey Pharmaceuticals, Archemix Corporation, atugen AG and on the Scientific Advisory Boards of RXi Pharmaceuticals and Noxxon Pharma AG. Dr Usman began his industrial career when he joined RPI in 1992 as a Senior Scientist in Chemistry & Biochemistry and was promoted to Director of Chemistry & Biochemistry Research in 1994; VP, Research in 1996; SVP, Research in 1999; VP R&D in 2000, CSO in 2002 and SVP & COO of Sirna Therapeutics in 2003. Prior to joining RPI, Dr Usman was an NIH Fogarty and NSERC Postdoctoral Fellow and Scientist in the Departments of Biology and Chemistry at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology from 1987 to 1992. He has served as a consultant for several companies and law firms on nucleic acid chemistry and drug development. Dr Usman received his B.Sc. (Honours) and Ph.D. degrees from the Department of Chemistry at McGill University. In his doctoral dissertation, Dr. Usman developed a method for the solid-phase synthesis of RNA that is widely used in science and in
two marketed RNA products (Macugen™ & Onpattro™). Dr Usman has authored more than 70
scientific articles and 130 patents and applications.
Perry Ha is the founder and Managing Director of Draper Athena. He has been an active venture
investor since 1997 and has invested and served on the board of many successful companies both public and private. His investment areas span across software, data analytics, semiconductors, cleantech, eSports and education. He also served as CEO at three portfolio companies during his investment career. He currently serves on the board of several venture-backed companies and serves as the chairman of two companies; Juvenis and Knowledge AI. He is appointed a Distinguished Honorary Professor at Sookmyung Women’s University.
Prior to venture capital, he was a management consultant and advised Fortune 1000 clients to manage their technology portfolios and develop new products. Prior to that, he managed an R&D Group at Amicon, a life science devices company, which was acquired by Millipore in 1994. He was granted two patents. He served on the Board of Trustees at MIT and as Chair of the Education Visiting Committee. He is also a member of the Corporate Development Committee and a member of the Leadership Board of MIT McGovern Institute for Brain Research. He is the Board Chair of KACF-SF (Korean American Community Foundation of San Francisco), an advisor to Bay Area K-Group, and a founding Board Member of CKA (Council of Korean Americans). He earned BS and MS degrees from MIT and an MBA from Harvard Business School. He was the captain of his collegiate volleyball team and was selected to NCAA All-American third team. He is a life-long student and teacher of Tae Kwon Do, a Korean martial art of which he is a certified Master Instructor.
Dr. Minji Kim is a C-suite executive, advisor and company builder in life sciences with more than two decades of experience in corporate and business development, alliance management, commercial strategy, finance, operations, scientific research and company formation. She has extensive experience in start-up, mid-size public and private biotech companies in the US and China, and multinational pharmaceutical companies across broad therapeutic and technical areas, including oncology, CNS, ophthalmology, small molecule, biologics, medical device and digital medicine. With her broad deal experience, including both buy- and sell-sides, leading soup-to-nuts transaction processes, she consistently delivered transformative and profitable impact to biopharma companies, tripling company value, pivoting R&D directions, enabling equity financings with new strategic branding, and bringing $170 million upfront cash within less than 2 years through pharma partnerships. In addition, Minji uniquely provides global insights and network of industry partners and investors with her executive leadership experience at a global biotech company as well as her relationships with US, European and Asian life science professionals, which were established over time. Minji is currently President & CEO of Cross Border Partners, LLC, her consulting business to help start-ups, VCs and biopharmaceutical companies for corporate and program development strategies, business development and company formation efforts. She is also an independent board member of SK Biopharmaceuticals, a global commercial-stage biopharma company listed in Korea Stock
Exchange (KRX), where she serves ESG/Strategy, Nomination & Governance Committees. In
addition, Minji is a strategic advisor to a few US biotech companies as well as EIR of Yale Ventures and Cleveland Clinic. Previously, she was Chief Business Officer at Affamed Therapeutics and General Manager at Affamed Digital, Head of BD and Alliance Management at Jounce Therapeutics, VP of Corporate and Business Development at Curis, Inc and Global Oncology BD & Licensing team at Hoffmann-La Roche. She obtained her PhD in Seoul National University in South Korea and MBA in Yale School of Management.
Errol de Souza
Dr. De Souza is currently Chairman of Cyclerion Therapeutics. He has substantial experience as an executive in the biopharmaceutical industry, having founded companies (Neurocrine Biosciences) and served as Executive Chairman (Bionomics, Kures Inc., nLife Therapeutics, Ligon Discovery) and President and CEO of several public (Biodel; Synaptic Pharmaceutical Corp.) and private (Archemix; Neuropore Therapeutics) biopharmaceutical companies. Dr. De Souza has raised several hundred million dollars in capital in private and public sectors and has taken companies public (Neurocrine Biosciences IPO in 1996 & Bionomics IPO in 2021) and sold companies (Synaptic sale to Lundbeck 2002) to provide liquidity and build shareholder value. Over Dr. De Souza’s career, he has served in a number of high-ranking R&D roles, including SVP and U.S. head of R&D for Aventis (1998-2002), co-founder and EVP of R&D at Neurocrine (1992-1998) and Head of CNS at DuPont Merck (1990–1992). He serves or has served on several Editorial Boards and National Institutes of Health Committees as well as Board of Directors of several private companies (Merial, Archemix, Neuropore Therapies, Kures Inc., Intra-Cellular Therapeutics, Ligon Discovery, nLife Therapeutics, Zengen and
Psyadon) and public companies including Royalty Pharma (Nasdaq: RPRX), Neurocrine Biosciences (Nasdaq: NBIX), Targacept, Inc., (Nasdaq: TRGT), Palatin Technologies (AMEX: PTN), IDEXX Laboratories (Nasdaq: IDXX), Biodel (Nasdaq: BIOD), Synaptic Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq: SNAP), Catalyst Biosciences (Nasdaq: CBIO), Cyclerion Therapeutics (Nasdaq: CYCN) and Bionomics Limited (Australian Exchange: BNO.AX; Nasdaq: BNOX). He has edited 6 books and is an author or co-author of approximately 300 original articles, chapters or reviews and 300 abstracts. His research has focused on the receptor mechanisms involved in coordinating brain-endocrine-immune responses to stress. He is the recipient of numerous national and international awards including the 1990 Joseph Cochin Young Investigator Award of the Committee on Problems of Drug Dependence, the 1991 Jordi Folch-Pi Memorial Award of the American Society for Neurochemistry, the 1994 Curt Richter Award and the 2005 Service Award of the International Society of Psychoneuroendocrinology, the 1997 Daniel H. Efron Award of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology and the 2005 Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year (New England Biotech category). Dr. De Souza has served on the faculty of several universities including The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, University of California at San Diego and Rutgers University.