Bo Cumbo, a seasoned biopharmaceutical executive, was appointed President and Chief Executive Officer of AavantiBio in 2020, after 8 years serving as Chief Commercial Officer and Executive Vice President at Sarepta Therapeutics. Prior to joining Sarepta in 2013, Mr. Cumbo served as Vice President of Sales, Key Account Management, and Treatment Educator teams at Vertex Pharmaceuticals. This is where he launched the drug Incivek, one of the most successful drug launches in the history of US pharmaceuticals. Mr. Cumbo also held multiple roles at Gilead Sciences over a 9-year span and has served as an independent member of the Boards of Directors of Ra Pharmaceuticals and CSM.
Mr. Cumbo received his BS in laboratory technology from Auburn University and started his career at GSK. He has over 26 years of pharmaceutical and biotechnology experience, with 11 specialty or rare disease launches during his career.
Jessie Hanrahan, PhD
Dr. Jessie Hanrahan serves as Chief Regulatory Officer of AavantiBio. Prior to joining AavantiBio, Dr. Hanrahan was the Vice President of Regulatory Science at bluebird bio, where she was responsible for the global regulatory strategy for the severe genetic disease franchise. While at bluebird bio, she worked to obtain numerous global regulatory designations from the FDA and EMA (Prime, Breakthrough Therapy, Regenerative Medicine Therapy, Rare Pediatric Disease), played a critical role in the MAA submission and approval of Zynteglo in Europe and the submission of an MAA for eli-cel (a therapy to treat adrenal leukodystrophy), and made significant contributions toward building the regulatory department. Prior to that, Dr. Hanrahan held positions of increasing responsibility at Sanofi Genzyme, where she worked on several programs, including oncology, multiple sclerosis, and rare disease therapeutic areas, spanning from pre-IND through postapproval settings. She played a key role in the approval of Mozobil in the United States, European Union, Canada, Australia, and many other regions, as well as in the approval of Lemtrada in the United States, European Union, and Canada.
Dr. Hanrahan holds a PhD in biology, as well as an MS and MPH, from Yale University and obtained her BA from Mount Holyoke College.
Paul Herzich, in his role as Chief Technology Officer, works to further establish and guide the development of manufacturing processes for AavantiBio. Mr. Herzich previously served as Vice President of CMC at BridgeBio Gene Therapy. In this role, he managed process and analytical development, facilities, quality compliance, and cGMP manufacturing of the company’s gene therapy products. With over 20 years of experience, he has worked on four gene therapy INDs as well as numerous other clinical and commercial vaccine programs. Prior to BridgeBio, Mr. Herzich served as Senior Director of Manufacturing at LogicBio and Director of Gene Therapy Clinical Manufacturing at Pfizer’s Bamboo Therapeutics.
Mr. Herzich holds an MBA from North Carolina State University and a BS in biology from Rutgers University.
Ty Howton is currently serving as AavantiBio’s Chief Operating Officer and General Counsel. Mr. Howton was previously at Sarepta Therapeutics, where he had served as their Executive Vice President, General Counsel, and Corporate Secretary since November 2012. In his role at Sarepta, Mr. Howton also oversaw quality assurance, information technology, and compliance.
Preceding his role at Sarepta, Mr. Howton served as Senior Vice President, Chief Legal Officer, and a member of the executive team at Vertex Pharmaceuticals. In this capacity, he participated in the general management of the company and oversaw all aspects of the Vertex global legal and compliance departments. He previously served as Chief Compliance Officer at Vertex, where he was responsible for designing and implementing the Vertex corporate compliance program as well as chairing the company’s corporate compliance committee.
Prior to joining Vertex, Mr. Howton worked at Genentech, a biotechnology company, where he served in a number of legal roles before becoming the company’s Chief Healthcare Compliance Officer. Mr. Howton was formerly a member of the Sidley Austin corporate healthcare practice, where he advised on corporate transactions involving life science companies and provided regulatory counsel. Mr. Howton holds a BA from Yale University and a JD from Northwestern University School of Law.
Douglas Swirsky serves as Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer of AavantiBio. Prior to joining AavantiBio, from 2018 to 2020 he was President and Chief Executive Officer of publicly traded Rexahn Pharmaceuticals, a company he joined as Chief Financial Officer in 2018. In addition to his roles at AavantiBio, Mr. Swirsky is currently Chairman of the Boards of Cellectar Biosciences and NeuroBo Pharmaceuticals, both publicly traded, clinical-stage biopharmaceutical companies. He has more than two decades of relevant experience in the biopharmaceutical and healthcare sectors, having served as a director of, or in senior management positions at, a number of publicly held companies over the last 15 years and having provided counsel to corporate clients as a healthcare investment banker.
Prior to joining Rexahn, from 2013 through its sale to Precigen (formerly known as Intrexon Corporation) in 2017, Mr. Swirsky was President and Chief Executive Officer of the publicly traded biotechnology company GenVec, which he joined in 2006 as Chief Financial Officer. Prior to joining GenVec, Mr. Swirsky worked at Stifel Nicolaus, where he served as a managing director and the head of Life Sciences Investment Banking. Previously, Mr. Swirsky held investment banking positions at UBS, PaineWebber, Morgan Stanley, and Legg Mason.
Mr. Swirsky is a certified public accountant and a CFA® charterholder. He has been recognized as NACD Directorship Certified™ by the National Association of Corporate Directors. He earned a BS in business administration from Boston University and an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.
Christopher Wright, MD, PhD
Dr. Christopher Wright serves as Chief Medical Officer of AavantiBio. Dr. Wright is a neurologist and neuroscientist who brings two decades of medical research and drug development experience in orphan and specialty diseases, including cystic fibrosis, dementia, hepatitis C, rheumatoid arthritis, and epilepsy.
Prior to joining AavantiBio, Dr. Wright was Senior Vice President and Chief Medical Officer of Cyclerion Therapeutics, where he led global development functions across therapeutic areas. Previously, he led the global development organization at Ironwood Pharmaceuticals, including responsibility for advancing the late-stage and life-cycle gastrointestinal and soluble guanylate cyclase stimulator programs. Earlier in his career, Dr. Wright spent 7 years in senior medical and clinical roles at Vertex Pharmaceuticals, including Senior Vice President, Medicines Development and Affairs, where he oversaw the development of Orkambi through Phase III, and the successful development and rapid approval of Kalydeco, a life-changing cystic fibrosis therapy, by the FDA, EMA, and other regulatory authorities. Dr. Wright also played an important role in the global development and approval of Incivek for hepatitis C.
Dr. Wright was an Associate Professor of Neurology at Harvard Medical School and practiced neurology at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston for 20 years. He earned a BS in biochemical sciences from Harvard University, an MD and MMSc from Harvard Medical School, and a PhD from Vrije University in Amsterdam.
Barry Byrne, MD, PhD
Dr. Barry Byrne is a clinician scientist who is studying a variety of rare diseases with the specific goal of developing therapies for inherited muscle disease. As a pediatric cardiologist, his focus is on conditions that lead to skeletal muscle weakness and abnormalities in heart and respiratory function.
His group has made significant contributions to the understanding and treatment of Pompe disease, a type of muscular dystrophy resulting from abnormal glycogen accumulation in the muscle. The research team has been developing new therapies using AAV-mediated gene therapy to restore cardiac and skeletal muscle function in Duchenne muscular dystrophy, Friedreich’s ataxia, Pompe disease, and other inherited neuromuscular diseases.
His group at the Powell Center has also established a series of new methods for large-scale AAV clinical manufacturing. The work is supported by several NIH and foundation awards.
Dr. Byrne is the Associate Chair of Pediatrics and Director of the University of Florida Powell Center and Child Health Research Institute. He obtained his BS from Denison University and his MD and PhD from the University of Illinois; he completed his pediatrics residency and cardiology fellowship as well as postdoctoral training in biological chemistry at the Johns Hopkins Hospital. Following his early career at Johns Hopkins, he joined the University of Florida and is now the Earl and Christy Powell University Chair in Genetics.
Manuela Corti, PT, PhD
Dr. Manuela Corti is currently an Assistant Professor and Director of Translational Research in the Child Health Research Institute and Powell Gene Therapy Center at the University of Florida. Dr. Corti is a clinical scientist engaged in translational research focusing on understanding the contribution of neurological impairment in neuromuscular disorders by combining expertise in clinical assessment and novel therapies that rely on correcting the fundamental genetic defect. Her specific research is dedicated to developing AAV gene therapy programs for neuromuscular diseases and immunomodulation strategies to prevent immune responses against the AAV capsid and the transgene and allow for AAV administration in pre-existing immunity. Her research interests also include outcome measures and clinical trial readiness for neuromuscular diseases such as Friedreich’s ataxia, Pompe disease, and Duchenne muscular dystrophy. Dr. Corti received her BS in physical therapy from the University of Insubria. She continued her education and earned her PhD in rehabilitation science from the University of Florida.
Ellen Hukkelhoven, PhD
Dr. Ellen Hukkelhoven is a Senior Biotechnology Analyst focused on public and private development-stage therapeutic companies at Perceptive Advisors. Dr. Hukkelhoven graduated magna cum laude from Princeton University with degrees in molecular biology and finance. She went on to receive her PhD in cancer biology from Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. During her tenure at MSKCC, she founded and built the life sciences division of InSITE, a top graduate fellowship program that helps early-stage companies with their most pressing needs. In addition to AavantiBio, Dr. Hukkelhoven serves on the Boards of Directors of MeiraGTx, Freenome, Kindbody, and Partner Therapeutics and is a member of the Board of Overseers of the Columbia Mailman School of Public Health.
Benjamin Lund is a Principal in Life Sciences at Bain Capital, where he has also served as an Associate on the North American Private Equity team, focused on healthcare. Prior to joining Bain Capital, Mr. Lund served as a Vice President at Paulson & Co., a Partner at Soleus Capital, and an Analyst in the Healthcare Investment Banking group at Goldman Sachs. Mr. Lund graduated with Phi Beta Kappa distinction from Princeton University with an AB in molecular biology and neuroscience.
Jake Simson, PhD
Dr. Jake Simson is a Partner at RA Capital Management where he works on both public and private investments. Previously, Dr. Simson covered solid tumor oncology landscapes. He holds a BS in materials science and engineering from MIT and a PhD in biomedical engineering from Johns Hopkins University. In his doctoral research, he investigated clinically translatable treatments for musculoskeletal tissue repair using injectable hydrogels. In addition to AavantiBio, Dr. Simson serves on the Boards of Directors of Xenikos, BV, Tyra Biosciences, and DiCE Molecules.
Ian Smith is a biotechnology leader with more than 30 years of finance and operations experience. In addition to serving as a member of the Board of Directors of AavantiBio, Mr. Smith serves as a Senior Advisor to Bain Capital Life Sciences, Chair of the Board of Solid Biosciences, Executive Chair of ViaCyte, and a Board member of Foghorn Therapeutics and provides consulting services to these and other biotechnology companies.
Prior to his current roles, Mr. Smith was Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of Vertex Pharmaceuticals as well as Chief Financial Officer between 2001 and 2019. Prior to 2001, he was a Partner in the life science and technology practice of the accounting firm Ernst & Young.
Mr. Smith received a BA with honors in accounting and finance from Manchester Metropolitan University in the United Kingdom.