Taysha Gene Therapies Builds Experienced Executive Leadership Team to Advance Pipeline of Gene Therapies for Monogenic CNS Disease in Both Rare and Large Patient Populations

Key leadership team members previously led the development and commercialization of Zolgensma®, the first FDA-approved gene therapy for monogenic CNS disease

Appoints former Chief Medical Officer of AveXis, Sukumar Nagendran, M.D., and former Chief Financial Officer of AveXis, Phillip Donenberg, to Board of Directors; Phillip Donenberg to serve as Audit Committee Chairman

DALLAS–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Taysha Gene Therapies, a patient-centric gene therapy company with a mission to eradicate monogenic CNS disease, today announced the appointment of its executive leadership team. This group has significant experience in gene therapy drug development and commercialization, and will enable Taysha to build the corporate culture and infrastructure necessary to advance its extensive pipeline of 18 gene therapy programs, with exclusive options to acquire four additional programs from UT Southwestern Gene Therapy Program. In addition, Sukumar Nagendran, M.D., former Chief Medical Officer of AveXis, and Phillip Donenberg, former Chief Financial Officer of AveXis, have joined the company’s Board of Directors. Mr. Donenberg will also serve as the company’s Audit Committee Chairman.

“Joining the Taysha Board is a unique opportunity to contribute to scientific advancements in CNS gene therapy,” said Sukumar Nagendran, M.D., Taysha Board of Directors. “In partnership with UT Southwestern, Taysha has built an extensive pipeline of gene therapy candidates for life-threatening CNS diseases with significant unmet medical need.”

“It is a distinct pleasure to be reunited with many of my former AveXis colleagues that enabled the development and successful commercialization of Zolgensma,” said Phillip Donenberg, Taysha Board of Directors. “I am excited to contribute to Taysha’s efforts to deliver therapies with the potential to improve the lives of patients with devastating CNS disease.”

Each member of the Taysha leadership team has significant gene therapy expertise, with an unrelenting, patient-first focus guiding their individual areas of focus. Joining RA Session II, Founder, President and CEO of Taysha, on the management team are the following individuals:

  • Chief Medical Officer & Head of Research and Development, Suyash Prasad, MBBS, M.Sc., MRCP, MRCPCH, FFPM – Pediatric Intensivist with 20 years in the biopharmaceutical industry at Genzyme, BioMarin and, most recently, as SVP and CMO of gene therapy company Audentes Therapeutics.
  • Chief Financial Officer, Kamran Alam, CPA, MBA – Finance executive with follow-on financings and M&A experience; served as VP, Finance and Deputy Chief Financial Officer at AveXis, where he played a key role in the acquisition of AveXis by Novartis; most recently served as SVP Finance and Principal Financial Officer at Rocket Pharma.
  • Chief Technical Officer, Fred Porter, Ph.D. – Experienced in both academia and the biopharma industry in development of gene therapy and viral vaccine candidates, with manufacturing experience at Novartis, GlaxoSmithKline and, most recently, at BridgeBio Gene Therapy, where he was SVP of Technical Development & Manufacturing.
  • Chief Patient Officer & Head of Government Affairs, Emily McGinnis, MPH – Led patient advocacy and government affairs at AveXis; instrumental in the launch of Zolgensma, where she played a key role in newborn screening development and implementation efforts to rapidly diagnose spinal muscular atrophy patients in need of treatment.
  • Chief Regulatory Officer & Head of Quality, Mishima Gerhart – Brings over 20 years of biopharmaceutical regulatory expertise leading cross-functional and global teams at Reata Pharmaceuticals, AbbVie and, most recently, in regulatory positions of increasing seniority, including Head of Global Regulatory Affairs at Sanofi and Genzyme.
  • Chief Commercial Officer, Sean McAuliffe – Led the development and execution of go-to-market plan for Zolgensma; with experience at Baxter, Takeda and, most recently, AveXis, where he was US General Manager and VP of Marketing.
  • Chief Information Officer, Jim Rouse – Has over 20 years delivering progressive IT solutions and enabling organizational transformations. Extensive experience with cybersecurity, data integration and leading technology teams as CIO for Reata Pharmaceuticals, PTC Therapeutics and, most recently, at AveXis.
  • SVP of Corporate Strategy & Business Development, Dan Janiak, Ph.D. – With 15 years in venture capital and biopharmaceutical business development, he was a Partner at Mercury Funds, focused on new company creation in the life science sector, and most recently served in business development and corporate strategy at AveXis.
  • VP of Program & Alliance Management and Chief of Staff, Niren Shah, Pharm.D., MBA – Brings over a decade of rare disease industry expertise to Taysha; with experience at Novartis, NPS Pharma, he most recently focused on M&A and strategic in-licensing of multiple CNS gene therapy assets while in business development at PTC Therapeutics.

“From day one, we set out to build a team that has the passion, experience and talent to achieve our mission of eradicating monogenic CNS disease. Today, we are proud to announce a highly experienced team of CNS gene therapy experts,” said Mr. Session. “We are also pleased Dr. Nagendran and Mr. Donenberg have joined our Board and will contribute their several years of gene therapy expertise. Their experience in building AveXis will be invaluable as we continue to grow and advance several programs into the clinic.”

About Taysha Gene Therapies

Taysha Gene Therapies is a patient-centric gene therapy company with a mission to eradicate monogenic CNS disease. We are focused on developing and commercializing AAV-based gene therapies for the treatment of monogenic diseases of the CNS in both rare and large patient populations. We were founded in partnership with The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, or UT Southwestern, to develop and commercialize transformative gene therapy treatments. Together with UT Southwestern, we are advancing a deep and sustainable product portfolio of 18 gene therapy product candidates, with exclusive options to acquire four additional development programs. By combining our management team’s proven experience in gene therapy drug development and commercialization with UT Southwestern’s world-class gene therapy research capabilities, we believe we have created a powerful engine to develop transformative therapies to dramatically improve patients’ lives. More information is available at www.tayshagtx.com.


Company Contact:
Niren Shah, Pharm.D., MBA

Taysha Gene Therapies


Media Contact:
Carolyn Hawley

Canale Communications


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