Sofinnova Telethon & Sofinnova Capital
Genespire appoints Dr. Sabah Sallah as Chief Medical Officer
Accomplished executive with extensive preclinical and clinical gene therapy experience joins Genespire to accelerate pipeline to the clinic
Related Deal leadGraziano Seghezzi
Related Deal leadLucia Faccio
Milan, Italy, 7 July 2022: Genespire, a next generation gene therapy company developing first-in-class transformative therapies with advanced lentiviral vectors, today announces the appointment of Dr. Sabah Sallah MD, PhD as Chief Medical Officer.
Dr. Sallah will lead the Company’s clinical strategy, development and operations as Genespire progresses its novel advanced lentiviral gene therapy platforms towards the clinic.
Dr. Sallah is a board-certified hematologist who has spent more than 25 years in various clinical, commercial and academic roles with a focus on hematology, rare diseases, metabolic disorders and gene therapy. He joins Genespire from Freeline Therapeutics (Nasdaq: FRLN), where he served as Senior Vice President, Gene Therapy, Translational Medicine and Hematology. Prior to that, Dr. Sallah served as Vice President, Gene Therapy, Liver Directed Diseases at uniQure (Nasdaq: QURE), where he oversaw the company’s adeno-associated virus (AAV) hemophilia programs amongst others. He previously spent 13 years at Novo Nordisk in various clinical development roles, with a focus on hematology and growth disorders. Dr. Sallah held numerous clinical and academic roles and he published more than 30 scientific papers in peer reviewed journals. He holds an MD and a PhD from the University of Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Genespire’s advanced lentiviral vector platform overcomes several limitations of existing gene therapies and allows for the development of one-time treatments of patients affected by genetic diseases. These include among others, hereditary metabolic diseases and inherited hematologic disorders. Genespire’s unique immune shielded lentiviral vector (ISLV) platform enables, for the first time, the efficient systemic administration of lentiviral vectors. This system has significant advantages compared to other technologies, such as AAVs, since it allows stable expression of the therapeutic gene over time, including in dividing cells and growing organs, and is therefore suited for the treatment of both adult and pediatric patients. In addition, ISLVs are not subject to prevalent pre-existing neutralizing antibodies, therefore further broadening the patient population that can benefit from these treatments.
Dr. Julia Berretta, Chief Executive Officer of Genespire, commented: “Dr. Sallah’s extensive experience in the development of therapies in hematologic disorders, metabolic diseases and his knowledge of in vivo gene therapies will be an invaluable asset to Genespire as we progress our lentiviral-based therapies to the clinic. We are very pleased to welcome Dr. Sallah and work with him to accelerate our pipeline.”
Dr. Sabah Sallah, Chief Medical Officer of Genespire, added: “Having worked in the AAV space for many years, I am delighted to be joining a company that employs such a highly differentiated and exciting approach to gene therapy. Genespire’s advanced lentiviral vectors have tremendous potential and I believe that this technology has the possibility to reach disease indications and patient populations that can’t be addressed by current technologies. I look forward to leading the team to bring these much-needed therapies to the clinic.”
Genespire is a next generation gene therapy company developing first-in-class durable and transformative therapies with advanced lentiviral vector. Based in Milan, Italy, Genespire was founded in March 2020 by the gene therapy pioneer Prof. Luigi Naldini and Dr. Alessio Cantore, Fondazione Telethon and Ospedale San Raffaele. Genespire is a spin-out of SR-Tiget, a world leading cell and gene therapy research institute and is backed by Sofinnova Partners. Find out more about us at www.genespire.com.
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