Ex-Pfizer I-O lead joins Sangamo as EVP of R&D

Woolfson, who started at Sangamo this week, will report to CEO Sandy Macrae. (Pixabay/rawpixel)

Sangamo Therapeutics has named Adrian Woolfson, Ph.D., as its EVP of R&D. The hire gives Sangamo an R&D chief with deep immuno-oncology experience as it works to advance its pipeline.

To date, California-based Sangamo has mainly applied its genomic technologies to the treatment of inherited metabolic diseases and hematological conditions such as hemophilia, with its work on cancer limited to a potentially lucrative cell therapy hookup with Gilead’s Kite Pharma. 

Woolfson, in contrast, has spent more than a decade working on early and late-stage oncology drug development at Bristol-Myers Squibb, Pfizer and most recently NousCom. Over that time, Woolfson has become increasingly focused on immuno-oncology, leading to him taking up the CMO position at neoantigen cancer vaccine biotech Nouscom at the start of last year.


Like this story? Subscribe to FierceBiotech!

Biopharma is a fast-growing world where big ideas come along every day. Our subscribers rely on FierceBiotech as their must-read source for the latest news, analysis and data in the world of biotech and pharma R&D. Sign up today to get biotech news and updates delivered to your inbox and read on the go.

The Nouscom appointment followed a four-year stint as global clinical leader of early and late stage immuno-oncology and hematology at Pfizer. Woolfson’s spell at Pfizer covered a period in which the Big Pharma tried to make up lost ground in immuno-oncology by working with Merck KGaA to build a pipeline around PD-L1 inhibitor Bavencio.

At Sangamo, Woolfson inherits a pipeline that in many regards is quite different from those he worked on in his previous gigs. Sangamo’s in-house clinical-phase assets include genome-editing therapies designed to treat hemophilia B and the inherited metabolic diseases MPS I and II. Other candidates in Sangamo’s in-house and partnered pipeline include a cell therapy treatment for beta-thalassemia and a gene therapy designed to correct Fabry disease.

Woolfson is well versed in genomics, though, and published two books on the topic before joining Bristol-Myers Squibb in 2007. With the EVP also having a background in immunology and experience of taking drugs into and through clinical development, Sangamo CEO Sandy Macrae, Ph.D., sees the resume as a good fit for his company’s needs.

"Adrian's extensive experience in research, translational medicine and drug development will be instrumental in guiding our therapeutic development strategy and leading Sangamo's growth into a late-stage development company,” Macrae said in a statement. 

Woolfson, who started at Sangamo this week, will report to Macrae. 

Suggested Articles

Quest Diagnostics has launched three new test kits for STDs that consumers can order online, within the privacy of their own home.

Digital imaging analysis provider Aidoc has raised $27 million to help build out its go-to-market team, after processing its one-millionth CT scan.

Two months of treatment with the diabetes drug Jardiance reduced pulmonary congestion and biomarkers of heart failure in pig models.