PHILADELPHIA, Feb. 11, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Spark Therapeutics, a late-stage company developing gene-based medicines for a wide range of debilitating diseases, announced today the appointment of Elliott Sigal, M.D., Ph.D., former director, executive vice president and chief scientific officer of Bristol-Myers Squibb, to its board of directors. Elliott led Bristol-Myers Squibb during its ascent as a biopharmaceutical leader and built one of the industry's most productive research and development organizations through his forward-thinking approach to innovation.
"We are excited and honored that Elliottwho is among the most respected leaders within the biopharmaceutical industrywill join us in our mission to develop one-time, curative therapies to treat debilitating diseases," said Jeffrey D. Marrazzo, co-founder, president and CEO. "Elliott's achievements in fostering R&D productivity will help us more quickly advance our pipeline of gene-based medicines through the clinic and, ultimately, to patients in need."
While at Bristol-Myers Squibb, Elliott is credited with bringing more than 14 new medicines to market to treat diseases such as cancer, mental illness, HIV/AIDS, hepatitis B, rheumatoid arthritis, and cardiovascular and metabolic disease, and simultaneously reducing the company's R&D expenses to less than half of its competitors. He has more than 25 years of combined experience in medicine, research and management, as well as vast genetic and personalized medicine expertise. Prior to Bristol-Myers Squibb, Elliott held positions at Syntex as a vice president of research and as CEO at genomics firm Mercator Genetics, where his team discovered the gene for hemochromatosis, a common disorder that leads to iron overload, diabetes and liver disease. He currently is a venture partner and senior advisor for New Enterprise Associates and is a consultant to biotechnology companies. In addition, he serves on the board of directors for Mead Johnson Nutrition Company and the Melanoma Research Alliance.
Elliott received his medical degree from the University of Chicago in 1981 and trained in internal medicine and pulmonary medicine at the University of California San Francisco (UCSF), where he also served on the faculty of UCSF's Department of Medicine from 1988 to 1992. Prior to medical school he received a Bachelor of Science, Master of Science and his Ph.D. in Industrial Engineering from Purdue University.
"Spark's promising clinical results, and its scientific team with unmatched expertise in the advancement of gene therapy, provide the ideal foundation for impacting the practice of medicine," said Dr. Elliott Sigal. "I am eager to join the Spark team to support their mission to treat patients who are suffering from serious genetic conditions."
Spark recently appointed Rogerio Vivaldi, M.D., M.B.A., former senior vice president and Head of Rare Diseases at Genzyme, a Sanofi company. Elliott and Rogerio join Spark's existing board:
Steven M. Altschuler, M.D., chairman of the board of directors and chief executive officer and president of The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia;
Thomas J. Todorow, executive vice president and chief financial officer of The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia;
Arthur Dantchick, managing director and member of the Management Committee of Susquehanna International Group, LLP;
Sharad Mansukani, M.D., a practicing ophthalmologist and leading reimbursement strategist; vice chairman, HealthSpring; strategic advisor to the board, Cigna; and former senior advisor to the Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS); and
Jeffrey D. Marrazzo, co-founder, president and CEO of Spark Therapeutics, LLC.
The board expansion is part of Spark's strategy to continue building out its executive leadership team as it advances additional programs to the clinic and prepares to complete development of its Phase 3 clinical program and advance the industry's deepest pipeline of adeno-associated virus (AAV) vectors.
For a complete list of Spark Therapeutics' board of directors and their biographies, please visit our website at www.sparktx.com/pioneering-leadership/board-directors.
About Spark Therapeutics
Spark Therapeutics is developing potentially curative, one-time gene therapy products to transform the lives of patients and re-imagine the treatment of debilitating diseases. Spark's lead gene therapy candidate, for RPE65-related blindness, is currently in Phase 3 clinical trials with the potential to be the first approved gene therapy in the U.S., and the first treatment to address the significant unmet needs of patients living with blindness due to inherited retinal dystrophies. In addition to the Phase 3 program in RPE65-related blindness, the company has a Phase 1/2 program in hemophilia B and preclinical programs to address neurodegenerative diseases and other inherited retinal dystrophies and hematologic disorders.
Spark's founding team includes scientists who led the movement to develop gene therapy as a new treatment paradigm, establishing clinical proof of concept in the eye and liver and contributing key insights to the field that have resulted in a resurgence of industry interest in gene-based medicines. Spark has rights to a proprietary manufacturing platform that has an unparalleled track record of success in supporting clinical studies across diverse therapeutic areas and routes of administration. The company's expertise across research, clinical, regulatory and manufacturing builds on a legacy of innovation and excellence in gene therapy established by Spark's team while at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia Center for Cellular and Molecular Therapeutics. To learn more visit www.sparktx.com.
SOURCE Spark Therapeutics