MILAN — September 8, 2022 — AAVantgarde Bio, a clinical stage Milan-based international biotechnology start-up that has developed proprietary Adeno-Associated Viral (AAV) vector platforms that allow for the delivery of large genes for inherited retinal disorders, announced the appointment of Dr. Natalia Misciattelli as Chief Executive Officer, effective immediately.
Dr. Misciattelli has more than 25 years of experience as an executive in the life sciences industry. She previously served as Chief Business Officer of NovalGen, a London-based biopharmaceutical company developing breakthrough cancer therapies, where her broad remit ranged from strategy development through to operational planning and execution.
Before that, she was Senior Vice President, Strategy and Operations for Freeline Therapeutics, a public biotech company developing transformative AAV-based gene therapies. At Freeline, she was responsible for multiple corporate functions and was also pivotal in enabling the company to raise a series of successful investment rounds, including a $158.8 million initial public offering (IPO) on the Nasdaq in August 2020.
"The appointment of Dr. Misciattelli as Chief Executive Officer marks another major milestone for AAVantgarde," said Paola Pozzi, a Partner with Sofinnova Partners’ Telethon Fund. "Her experience and leadership skills are a perfect fit for the company, and her drive and determination match its culture. She has a proven ability to deliver shareholder value internationally and is a team builder at ease with both finance and cutting-edge science. As investors, we could not be happier."
“Our Board of Directors is thrilled to appoint a leader of Dr Misciattelli’s caliber as CEO of AAVantgarde,” said Dr. Ram Palanki, Chairman of AAVantgarde’s Board of Directors. “Strong command of business and proven ability to drive results in private and public companies make her the ideal person to lead AAVantgarde into the future.”
“I’m excited to hit the ground running,” added Dr. Misciattelli. “AAVantgarde has an excellent pedigree, founded by Professor Alberto Auricchio, a world-renowned pioneer in gene therapy, under the auspices of TIGEM and Fondazione Telethon. I’m passionate about guiding the global expansion of the company as we prepare to imminently move this cutting-edge technology into the clinic toward a bright future of helping patients suffering with irreversible blindness associated with Usher syndrome and Stargardt disease worldwide.”
Dr. Misciattelli has a B.Sc. and a Ph.D. in Marine Microbiology from Bangor University, University of Wales. She started her career in finance with Arthur Andersen in London, went on to work in corporate development at General Electric Healthcare, and then gained valuable experience in the life sciences industry internationally as a partner at PA Consulting before moving into the biotech sector on her appointment at Freeline.
About AAVantgarde Bio
AAVantgarde Bio, a clinical stage Milan-based international biotechnology start-up that has developed proprietary Adeno-Associated Viral (AAV) vector platforms that allow for the delivery of large genes for inherited retinal disorders. Co-founded by Professor Alberto Auricchio and originating from the research activities carried out at Tigem (Telethon Institute of Genetics and Medicine) in Naples, Italy, and supported by Sofinnova Partners. AAVantgarde’s platforms are focused on broadening the application of AAV based therapies by addressing the limitations of single AAV therapies cargo capacity. Approximately 1,200 ocular and non-ocular human coding sequences are above standard AAV carrying capacity and could be leveraged using our platform technology.
For more information visit: www.aavantgardebio.com
About Usher syndrome
Usher syndrome (USH1B) is an inherited disease that affects the retina and the inner ear. USH1B is caused by mutations in the MYO7A gene. The therapeutic gene to treat USH1B is 6.7 kb and is therefore too large to fit inside a standard AAV vector.
Approximately 20,000 patients in the U.S. and E.U. have USH1B. These children are born deaf, have vestibular dysfunction and begin to progressively lose vision in their first decade of life. There are currently treatments available for deafness in these patients but there is a medical unmet need for these children as there is currently no treatment for USH1B-related blindness.
About Stargardt Disease
Stargardt disease is an inherited macular degeneration disease. Autosomal recessive Stargardt disease is caused by mutations in the ABCA4 gene. The therapeutic gene to treat Stargardt disease (ABCA4) is 6.8 kb which is too large to fit inside a standard AAV vector.
Stargardt disease is the most common inherited macular degeneration with approximately 60,000-75,000 patients in the U.S. and E.U. The most common form of Stargardt disease is the autosomal recessive form. Currently there are no treatments for the blindness caused by Stargardt disease.
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