LEXEO Therapeutics Bolsters Cardiac Gene Therapy Leadership with New Executive Appointment and Formation of Scientific Advisory Board
– Eric Adler, M.D., joins LEXEO as Chief Scientific Officer –
– New Scientific Advisory Board comprised of molecular cardiology, cardiovascular imaging,
cardiac gene-editing, and RNA biology experts –
NEW YORK – November 2, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) – LEXEO Therapeutics, Inc. (LEXEO), a clinical-stage biotech company advancing a pipeline of adeno-associated virus (AAV)-based gene therapy candidates for cardiovascular and central nervous system (CNS) diseases, today announced a new executive appointment, as well as the development of a Scientific Advisory Board.
Eric Adler, M.D., has been appointed Chief Scientific Officer and will lead the advancement of LEXEO’s preclinical pipeline, primarily focused in cardiovascular diseases, including translational discovery, novel cardiovascular delivery systems and routes of administration, preclinical development and IND-enabling studies to advance key programs to first-in-human studies.
To further its commitment to bringing disease-modifying genetic medicines to patients with cardiac diseases, LEXEO has established a Scientific Advisory Board of recognized academic thought leaders in gene therapy, gene editing, RNA therapeutics, cardiomyocyte biology, clinical genetics, clinical cardiology, cardiac imaging/biomarkers, and cardiovascular trial design. This highly accomplished group of thought leaders will provide LEXEO with holistic guidance and insights regarding: 1) identification of cardiac targets with high unmet need; 2) selection of platforms and technology most appropriate for the given indication; and 3) design of preclinical and clinical trials. The collective experience of the Scientific Advisory Board will also guide the development of LEXEO’s existing pipeline, including programs for Friedreich’s ataxia cardiomyopathy, arrhythmogenic cardiomyopathy, and hypertrophic cardiomyopathy in addition to future programs.
“The addition of Dr. Adler to LEXEO’s leadership team, combined with the creation of a Scientific Advisory Board, further position our company to revolutionize the treatment of cardiac genetic diseases,” said R. Nolan Townsend, Chief Executive Officer of LEXEO Therapeutics. “As we continue to build our team and leverage the expertise of expert physicians and scientists to drive our mission forward, we aim to expedite the development of our potential therapies to improve the lives of patients.”
About Eric Adler, M.D., Chief Scientific Officer, LEXEO:
Eric Adler, M.D., a pioneer in cardiovascular gene therapy, is Professor of Medicine, head of the Heart Failure Section, Director of the Strauss Center for Cardiomyopathy, and the Czarina and Humberto S. Lopez Chancellor’s Endowed Chair in Cardiology at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD). His work has led to the development of a novel investigational gene therapy for Danon disease, which is currently in Phase 1 clinical development, and he serves on multiple advisory boards, including Rocket Pharmaceuticals, Ionis Pharmaceuticals, and Sana Biotechnology. Dr. Adler’s research is focused on the study and treatment of cardiomyopathy and he has published over 100 papers in peer-reviewed journals on the topic. He is currently an associate editor of Circulation Heart Failure, and he has served on leadership, grant review, and guideline committees for the American Heart Association, the Heart Failure Society of America, the International Society of Heart and Lung Transplant, and the National Institute of Health. Dr. Adler also performs clinical research on heart failure and has been a Principal Investigator in numerous cardiovascular clinical trials. Along with this new role at LEXEO, Dr. Adler will continue as a Professor of Medicine at UCSD, managing his academic laboratory. He earned his medical degree from the Boston University School of Medicine.
About members of LEXEO’s Scientific Advisory Board:
Marianna Fontana, M.D., is Director of the University College London (UCL) Cardiovascular Magnetic Resonance (CMR) unit at the Royal Free Hospital (RFH), Professor of Cardiology and Honorary Consultant Cardiologist at the National Amyloidosis Centre, Division of Medicine, University College London. She has authored 284 publications. Dr. Fontana’s major clinical and research interests focus on the delivery of efficient and effective care for patients with amyloidosis, with a particular attention on new technologies. She was appointed Director of the UCL CMR unit at the RFH in 2015, which she founded, and Professor of Cardiology at UCL in 2020. She was awarded an intermediate fellowship from the British Heart Foundation in 2018. Dr. Fontana is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Michael Davies Early Career Award in 2021 and the BHF Fellow of the year award in 2022. She obtained her medical degree and qualifications as a cardiologist at the University of Pisa.
Jeff Molkentin, Ph.D., is a professor at the University of Cincinnati Department of Pediatrics, the Director of Molecular Cardiovascular Biology at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, and Co-director of the University of Cincinnati Heart Institute. He was a Howard Hughes Investigator from 2008-2021 and was awarded the prestigious Basic Research Prize from the American Heart Association. Dr. Molkentin’s research focuses on the regulation of cell death through the mitochondria, cardiac hypertrophy, extracellular matrix biology, fibroblast activity, stem cells in cardiac regeneration, transcription, and mechanisms of membrane stability in muscular dystrophy.
Kiran Musunuru, M.D., Ph.D., M.P.H., M.L., is the Scientific Director of the Center for Inherited Cardiovascular Diseases and the Director of the Genetic and Epigenetic Origins of Disease Program at the Cardiovascular Institute at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. His research focuses on the genetics of heart disease and seeks to identify genetic factors that protect against disease and use them to develop new therapies. Dr. Musunuru is also co-founder and Senior Scientific Advisor of Verve Therapeutics.
Iacopo Olivotto, M.D., is Chief of Cardiology at Meyer Children Hospital and professor of cardiovascular medicine at the University of Florence, Italy. During the previous two decades, he has worked as a cardiologist at Cardiology at Careggi University Hospital in Florence, where he served as Head of the Cardiomyopathy Unit for over 10 years. Dr. Olivotto has authored over 300 publications in international peer-review journals and has played a role in designing and executing clinical trials on innovative therapies for genetic heart diseases, principally hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM). He remains focused on various clinical and translational aspects of pediatric and adult cardiomyopathies and rare cardiac diseases.
Victoria Parikh, M.D., is an Assistant Professor of Medicine at Stanford University. Her clinical and scientific interests focus on inherited arrhythmogenic cardiomyopathies, which are an increasingly recognized disease entity. Dr. Parikh is currently using patient cohort genetics, high throughput molecular biology and human induced pluripotent stem cell derived cardiomyocytes to study variant pathogenicity in cardiovascular disease, inherited cardiomyopathies, inherited arrhythmia, and arrhythmogenic cardiomyopathy.
Gene Yeo, Ph.D., is Principal Investigator and Professor at University of California, San Diego and has authored >200 publications. Dr. Yeo is a computational biologist who has made significant contributions to RNA biology and therapeutics. His primary research interest is in understanding the importance of RNA processing and the roles that RNA binding proteins (RBPs) play in development and disease. Since inception, Dr. Yeo’s lab has focused on uncovering molecular principles by which RBPs affect gene expression, how RBP- mediated post-transcriptional gene networks contribute to cellular homeostasis in stem cells and the brain, and how mutations in RBPs lead to human developmental and neurodegenerative disease. Dr. Yeo is also a co-founder in Locanabio and Orbital Therapeutics, both RNA-based therapeutic companies.
LEXEO’s Scientific Advisory Board will also include Ronald Crystal, M.D, Professor and Chairman of the Department of Genetic Medicine and Director of the Belfer Gene Therapy Core Facility at Weill Cornell Medicine, and founder of LEXEO Therapeutics, where he serves as its Chief Scientific Advisor.
About LEXEO Therapeutics
LEXEO Therapeutics is a New York City-based, clinical-stage gene therapy company focused on addressing some of the most devastating genetically defined cardiovascular and central nervous system diseases affecting both larger-rare and prevalent patient populations. LEXEO’s foundational science stems from partnerships and exclusive licenses with leading academic laboratories at Weill Cornell Medicine and the University of California, San Diego. LEXEO is advancing a deep and diverse pipeline of AAV-based gene therapy candidates in rare cardiovascular diseases, APOE4-associated Alzheimer’s disease, and CLN2 Batten disease, and is led by pioneers and experts with decades of collective experience in genetic medicines, rare disease drug development, manufacturing, and commercialization. For more information, please visit www.lexeotx.com or LinkedIn.
Evoke Canale for LEXEO