Adrestia appoints Will Lewis as Chair, establishes US Operations and appoints new functional leads
Adrestia Therapeutics, a leader in synthetic rescue therapies for genetic diseases, today announced that it appointed William H. Lewis, J.D., M.B.A. as Chair of its Board of Directors, Jennifer Millian, M.S., M.B.A. as VP of U.S. Operations, and Philip Coxon, Ph.D., as VP of Business Development. This extends Adrestia’s presence to the United States and deepens its drug development capabilities as it moves its emerging pipeline of first-in-class therapeutics towards the clinic.
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Will Lewis, Adrestia Chairman
“Adrestia’s leading synthetic rescue platform is systematically mining the human genome to find new ways of treating patients with currently intractable diseases” said Lewis. “The team unites world-class biology and drug discovery leadership with an exciting vision for genetic medicine. We are discovering new biology that opens fresh ways of thinking about tackling devastating diseases. Embracing the full complexity of human biology enables us to move on from ‘one disease, one target’ thinking, to instead using one drug to treat clusters of related diseases with related root causes. This platform is delivering, and I’m thrilled to help make this revolutionary new approach a reality for patients.”
“Adrestia welcomes Will, Jen and Phil as we execute on our vision: building a fully-integrated company that efficiently discovers, develops and commercializes new drugs for people suffering from rare and prevalent diseases with a genetic component,” said Robert Johnson, Chief Executive Officer of Adrestia. “Will’s track record of creating value through company-building is a precise fit for us, and his experience will be invaluable at this time of transformational progress for our company. Similarly, both Phil and Jen are seasoned functional specialists who will maximize the impact of our platform and steer our pipeline to the clinic.”
Will Lewis serves as Chair and Chief Executive Officer of Insmed, a global commercial-stage biopharmaceutical company based in New Jersey, U.S. Will is the former Co-Founder, President, and Chief Financial Officer of Aegerion Pharmaceuticals, which was acquired by Amryt in 2019. He previously spent more than 10 years working in investment banking in the U.S. and Europe at JP Morgan and Robertson Stevens. He also previously worked for the U.S. government. Will holds an MBA and a Juris Doctor with honors from Case Western Reserve University. He serves as the Chair of BioNJ, the life sciences association for New Jersey, and as a member of the Board of Trustees of Case Western Reserve University. He previously served as a member of the board of uniQure, a Netherlands-based biopharmaceutical company focused on gene therapy.
Jennifer Millian has 20 years’ experience of genetic disease drug development. She most recently served as VP of Program and Alliance Management at Boston, U.S.-based gene therapy developer Affinia Therapeutics developing novel neurologic and neuro-oncologic AAV-based gene therapies. Prior to that, she served in similar roles at uniQure and Sanofi Genzyme, where she worked for nearly 16 years after beginning her career in scientific roles. Jennifer holds an MBA from Nichols College and a Master’s degree from Worcester State College.
Dr. Phil Coxon brings nearly 15 years’ of business development experience within the Life Sciences sector. He joins from AstraZeneca where he was Senior Director of Transactions in Global Oncology Business Development and Licensing. Prior to that, he held various business development and alliance management roles in Global Business Development & Strategy at Teva Pharmaceuticals across all its therapeutic areas of interest, including neurology. He began his career in business development at LifeArc, a leading U.K. medical research charity. Phil received his Ph.D from The Institute of Cancer Research in London, where he also conducted post-doctoral work.
These appointments follow the recent addition of Professor John R.B. Perry as Adrestia’s Vice President, Human Genetics. His focus at Adrestia is translating his expertise in large-scale human population genomic analyses to identify and validate new targets emerging from Adrestia’s experimental biology platform. Dr. Perry is a world-renowned expert in human population genetics at the University of Cambridge who was involved in discovering many key genetic drivers of diverse complex diseases including obesity, Type 2 diabetes, reproductive disorders and aspects of behavior.
About Adrestia’s synthetic rescue platform
Adrestia has developed a leading synthetic rescue drug development platform, which has already identified completely new approaches to treating intractable genetic diseases. The platform includes multiple components, each designed to yield new insights into how every gene in the human genome modifies a particular disease’s cellular phenotype. These insights are married with human genetic datasets to provide robust validation of new druggable targets and build an ever-growing synthetic rescue ‘Atlas’ of the human genome. As the Atlas expands, the opportunities to use synthetic rescue drugs to treat both rare and common diseases continue to grow.
This scalable platform builds on decades of research by Professor Steve Jackson’s laboratory at the University of Cambridge into synthetic rescue and the related concept of synthetic lethality for the treatment of cancer. The Jackson Laboratory’s work has yielded a wealth of concepts, techniques, and know-how, now translated into Adrestia’s platform.
Adrestia is a leader in synthetic rescue therapies for genetic diseases. As many directly causative mutations are not druggable, synthetic rescue embraces the much broader target set represented by functionally connected genes, to correct the effects of the causative mutations and ‘rescue’ health. Adrestia is creating a synthetic rescue ‘Atlas’ of the human genome and advancing a portfolio of first-in-class therapies, initially for neurologic, neuromuscular and cardiomyopathic diseases. Adrestia’s platform and in-house programs are complemented by a target discovery alliance with GSK and a Huntington’s disease collaboration with noted researchers including Dr Sarah Tabrizi at University College London.
Adrestia was co-founded by Professor Steve Jackson and the deep technology investment fund Ahren Innovation Capital, which co-led Adrestia’s Series A financing along with GSK. Jackson co-originated the first synthetic lethality drug, olaparib, which was the first drug approved to treat cancers caused by inherited mutations. For further information, visit: www.adrestia.com.
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