- Additions strengthen management team and position company to advance portfolio of medicines targeting RNA-mediated diseases into the clinic
Expansion Therapeutics, Inc., a biotechnology company advancing transformative medicines to patients with RNA-mediated diseases, announced the continued expansion of its management team with the appointment of two seasoned leaders to support key functions, including Paddy Shivanand, Ph.D., as Vice President of Chemistry Manufacturing and Controls (CMC); and Mark Fielden, Ph.D., as Vice President of Nonclinical Development. Expansion also named world-renowned scientist and pioneer in RNA research, Prof. Lynne E. Maquat, Ph.D., of the University of Rochester, to its Scientific Advisory Board.
“Expansion Therapeutics was created to bring transformative medicines to patients with severe RNA-mediated diseases, such as myotonic dystrophy, for which there are currently no approved therapies,” said Kevin Forrest, Ph.D., Co-founder, President and Chief Executive Officer of Expansion Therapeutics. “We have made significant progress over the past year as we continue to accelerate our growth and advance our pipeline. The additions of Paddy and Mark to our management team and Lynne to our scientific advisory board – all who share our vision and passion – will be instrumental to our efforts to develop novel treatments for patients with the most urgent medical needs.”
New Appointments Strengthen Management Team
As Vice President of Chemistry Manufacturing and Controls (CMC) at Expansion, Dr. Shivanand will lead all CMC operations. Previously, Dr. Shivanand was Co-founder of JDP Pharma Consulting where she provided expertise in formulation development, process development, analytical sciences and CMC regulatory activities for numerous pharmaceutical companies. She has more than 20 years of experience in pharmaceutical product development including positions at ALZA Corporation and Johnson & Johnson.
Throughout her career, Dr. Shivanand has worked on the development of more than 25 medicines, leading to successful regulatory submissions and product approvals. She currently serves as Adjunct Faculty at Purdue University in the Biotechnology Innovation and Regulatory Science program. Dr. Shivanand earned a B. Pharm degree from the University of Mumbai and her M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Pharmaceutical Sciences, both from the University of Cincinnati.
“I am truly honored to work alongside such a talented group of leaders, scientists, and founders,” said Dr. Shivanand. “I believe Expansion has great potential to deliver upon an unmet need for therapies that target a range of serious diseases caused by RNA. This is a field that is growing and brimming with excitement and I’m thrilled to be on this journey with Expansion.”
With more than 15 years of experience in the pharmaceutical industry, Dr. Fielden will focus on nonclinical development of Expansion’s pipeline. Previously, he served as Scientific Director at Amgen where he led a team of toxicologists and an investigative toxicology lab contributing to the discovery and development of numerous drugs across a variety of indications in the metabolic, cardiovascular, neuroscience and oncology areas.
Dr. Fielden is a Diplomat of the American Board of Toxicology. He received a B.S. degree in Biological Sciences from the University of Guelph, Canada, and his Ph.D. in Biochemistry and Toxicology from Michigan State University where he studied nuclear receptor biology and endocrine disruptors.
“I’m excited to join the Expansion management team and help guide nonclinical and early development efforts,” said Dr. Fielden. “I look forward to using my experience and passion to help Expansion realize the full potential of its pipeline of novel small molecules targeting RNA.”
Addition to Scientific Advisory Board Complements Current Expertise
The appointment of Prof. Maquat to Expansion’s scientific advisory board complements the expertise of its current members who are leaders in the field of RNA-targeted small molecule chemistry and biology, RNA folding and structural biology.
Matthew D. Disney, Ph.D., Scientific Founder of Expansion Therapeutics said, “Prof. Maquat is a world leader and pioneer in studying and elucidating the intricacies of RNA processing pathways. We look forward to working together and leveraging her keen intellect to advance our programs.”
Prof. Maquat is the J. Lowell Orbison endowed Chair and Professor of Biochemistry and Biophysics in the School of Medicine and Dentistry, Director of the Center for RNA Biology and Chair of Graduate Women in Science at the University of Rochester. After obtaining her Ph.D. in Biochemistry from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and undertaking post-doctoral work at the McArdle Laboratory for Cancer Research, Prof. Maquat joined Roswell Park Cancer Institute before moving to the University of Rochester.
“I am extremely impressed with Expansion’s strong capabilities and assets, unique RNA-targeting technology platform, and commitment to advancing novel, impactful therapies,” said Prof. Maquat. “I look forward to partnering with the Expansion team so we can take a meaningful step in the development of treatments that could have a significant impact on the lives of people with severe RNA-mediated diseases.”
Prof. Maquat is also an elected Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (2006), and an elected Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (2006), the National Academy of Sciences (2011) and the National Academy of Medicine (2017). She was a Batsheva de Rothschild Fellow of the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities (2012-2013) and has received numerous awards. These include the William C. Rose Award from the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (2014), the Canada Gairdner International Award (2015), the international RNA Society Lifetime Achievement Award in Service (2010) and in Science (2017), the Vanderbilt Prize in Biomedical Science (2017), the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB) Excellence in Science Award (2018), and the Wiley Prize in Biomedical Sciences (2018).
Expansion Therapeutics is a drug discovery and development company pursuing the vast potential of small molecule medicines for RNA-mediated diseases. Based on exclusive worldwide rights to groundbreaking research from the laboratory of Matthew D. Disney, Ph.D., at The Scripps Research Institute, Expansion has assembled the intellectual property, know-how, and proprietary enabling technologies and tools necessary to facilitate the creation of potent and specific small molecule binders of RNA. Through this unique platform, Expansion is building a portfolio of novel RNA-targeted drug candidates with activity across a broad number of disease indications. The company’s initial development focus is on therapies for patients with expansion repeat diseases who have limited and unsatisfactory treatment options. Expansion is based in San Diego, California, and Jupiter, Florida.