CAMBRIDGE, Mass., Jan. 17, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — eGenesis, a biotechnology company revolutionizing the field of transplantation with its multiplexed gene editing platform, today announced the appointment of Paul Sekhri as president and chief executive officer, effective immediately. Mr. Sekhri brings more than 25 years of experience in the life sciences industry, including executive management, global business development, drug development and commercial strategy. Mr. Sekhri succeeds Julie Sunderland, who had served as interim chief executive officer of eGenesis since December 2017. Ms. Sunderland will join the eGenesis board of directors.
“Paul’s depth of expertise leading, directing and founding dozens of companies in the life sciences will be a valuable asset as eGenesis develops a new market space that has the potential to change the transplantation landscape. Paul will help eGenesis advance its product development platform for organ and cell therapy into the clinic in the coming years,” said Steven Gillis, Ph.D., chairman of the eGenesis board of directors. “We appreciate Julie’s invaluable contributions to eGenesis as interim CEO and look forward to her continued guidance as a member of our board as the Company enters its next phase of growth.”
Mr. Sekhri joins eGenesis with decades of experience leading life sciences companies, including those with a focus on immunology, and has been a director on more than 24 private and public company boards. He most recently comes from Lycera Corp., where he served as president and chief executive officer. Prior to Lycera, he served as group executive vice president, global business development, and chief strategy officer for Teva Pharmaceuticals Industries, Ltd., and earlier, operating partner and head of the Biotechnology Operating Group at TPG Biotech. Previously, Mr. Sekhri founded Cerimon Pharmaceuticals where he served as president and chief executive officer. Prior to founding Cerimon, he was president and chief business officer of ARIAD Pharmaceuticals. Earlier in his career, Mr. Sekhri held various senior positions at Novartis AG, including senior vice president, head of global search and evaluation, business development and licensing, and global head, early commercial development. Mr. Sekhri completed graduate work in neuroscience at the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore and received his B.S. in zoology from the University of Maryland, College Park.
Mr. Sekhri commented, “Over the last two years, eGenesis has pioneered the gene and cell engineering space by demonstrating the ability to achieve multiplexed gene editing on an unprecedented scale. The company has tremendous potential to address the global organ shortage and I am honored to be joining the team at this exciting time. I look forward to pulling from my years of experience in the industry and working together with the management team and the board to address substantial unmet medical needs.”
Currently, there is a tremendous unmet demand for transplantable organs, with more than 118,000 people in need of a lifesaving organ transplant in the U.S. alone. Of those, more than 75,000 people are active waitlist candidates. Allotransplantation, the transplantation of organs, tissues or cells from a donor to a recipient of the same species, is currently failing to meet critical patient needs. This is due to the substantial gap between organ supply and demand, increasing suboptimal organ quality and the continued need for life-long immunosuppressive therapy to sustain the donor organ. The concept of cross-species organ, tissue and cell replacement, known as xenotransplantation, has emerged as a potential alternative option to provide a safe and effective solution for patients currently on the transplant waitlist with the capability to ultimately expand the indications for which transplantation can provide a permanent solution.
eGenesis is revolutionizing the field of transplantation with an unparalleled, multiplexed gene editing platform for the development of human-compatible organs, tissues and cells. Harnessing the latest gene editing techniques, eGenesis has the capability to solve the global organ crisis by providing an alternative to allotransplantation. eGenesis is uniquely positioned to reinvigorate the field of xenotransplantation by addressing both the key virology and immunology hurdles that have impeded its advancement to date and provide commercially-viable products to save and enhance the lives of patients in need. eGenesis has a clear path forward to advance an initial product to the clinic for at-risk patients on the transplant waitlist, with the longer-term potential of addressing a broader population and expanding the applicability of transplantation into other arenas such as cell therapy.
Madeline Corrigan, Ph.D.
LifeSci Public Relations