Renowned neuroscientist brings pioneering drug development expertise and vision to emerging leader in next-generation AAV gene therapy
CAMBRIDGE, Mass., March 22, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Voyager Therapeutics, Inc. (Nasdaq: VYGR), a gene therapy company developing life-changing treatments and next-generation adeno-associated virus (AAV) capsids, today announced the appointment of Alfred W. Sandrock, Jr., M.D., Ph.D., as chief executive officer (CEO). Dr. Sandrock succeeds Michael Higgins, who served as interim CEO since June 2021, and continues to serve as Chairman of the Voyager Board of Directors.
“I am excited to welcome Al Sandrock as CEO. Al is a global thought leader in neuroscience with an impressive track record bringing transformative new medicines to patients,” said Mr. Higgins. “His success pioneering the development of numerous innovative neurological treatments, and particularly, his skill in advancing promising candidates from early-stage research toward clinical proof of concept, is perfectly suited for Voyager. He is the ideal leader to amplify the impact of our proprietary TRACERTM AAV capsids that we believe can overcome many of the limitations of first-generation AAV gene therapy and create meaningful therapeutics for patients.”
“I’m honored to lead Voyager, a company with the promise to pioneer a new frontier in modern medicine and help make AAV gene therapy a new standard of patient care for many diseases,” said Dr. Sandrock. “Years of dedicated research by the Voyager team has led to exciting progress in the field; the next generation of novel AAV capsids with enhanced tissue tropisms has the potential to widen the therapeutic window of gene therapy for a broad range of diseases. This important work has led to licensing agreements with Novartis and Pfizer and developments for Voyager’s own internal pipeline. We intend to establish human proof of concept across a range of serious diseases, with an emphasis on neurological targets.”
Dr. Sandrock was appointed to the Voyager Board of Directors in February 2022, following 23 years at Biogen where he identified and developed novel therapies for a variety of serious diseases. He served an eight-year term as chief medical officer at Biogen and was ultimately appointed head of research and development. Over the course of his tenure, he led the discovery, development and regulatory approval of numerous medicines including: ADUHELM™, AVONEX®, PLEGRIDY®, SPINRAZA®, TECFIDERA®, and TYSABRI®. Dr. Sandrock also served on the Executive Committee and held several other senior executive positions at Biogen, including senior vice president of development sciences, senior vice president of neurology, and vice president of clinical development, neurology.
Dr. Sandrock earned a B.A. in human biology from Stanford University, an M.D. from Harvard Medical School, and a Ph.D. in neurobiology from Harvard University. He completed an internship in medicine, a residency and chief residency in neurology, and a clinical fellowship in Neuromuscular Disease and Clinical Neurophysiology at Massachusetts General Hospital.
About the TRACER™ AAV Capsid Discovery Platform
Voyager’s TRACER™ capsid discovery platform is a broadly applicable, RNA-based functional screening platform that allows for rapid in vivo evolution of AAV9- and AAV5-derived capsids with enhanced tropisms and cell- and tissue-specific transduction properties in multiple species, including non-human primates (NHPs). Initial data from the first of many libraries screened in NHPs demonstrated the proprietary capsid variants effectively penetrated the blood-brain barrier and achieved widespread biodistribution and transduction of multiple regions of the brain. Separate results have demonstrated the ability of certain capsids to transduce cardiac muscle and to de-target the dorsal root ganglia. Voyager is proceeding with additional capsid campaigns derived from AAV9, AAV5, and other capsid serotypes to identify novel AAV vectors optimized for specific therapeutic applications.
About Voyager Therapeutics
Voyager Therapeutics (Nasdaq: VYGR) is leading the next generation of AAV gene therapy to unlock the potential of the modality to treat devastating diseases. Proprietary capsids born from the Company’s TRACER discovery platform are powering a rich early-stage pipeline of new and second-generation programs and may elevate the field to overcome the narrow therapeutic window associated with conventional gene therapy vectors across neurologic disorders and other therapeutic areas. voyagertherapeutics.com LinkedIn Twitter
Voyager Therapeutics® is a registered trademark, and TRACER™ is a trademark, of Voyager Therapeutics, Inc. ADUHELM™ is a trademark, and AVONEX®, FAMPYRA®, PLEGRIDY®, SPINRAZA®, TECFIDERA®, and TYSABRI® are registered trademarks of Biogen Inc.
This press release contains forward-looking statements for the purposes of the safe harbor provisions under The Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 and other federal securities laws. The use of words such as “may,” “might,” “will,” “would,” “should,” “expect,” “plan,” “anticipate,” “believe,” “estimate,” “undoubtedly,” “project,” “intend,” “future,” “potential,” or “continue,” and other similar expressions are intended to identify forward-looking statements.
For example, all statements Voyager makes regarding the suitability of Dr. Sandrock for the position of, and the contributions Dr. Sandrock may as, the Voyager’s Chief Executive Officer; Dr. Sandrock’s leadership skills; the potential for novel capsids generated by Voyager’s TRACER capsid discovery technology, to have a positive impact for gene therapy development and the treatment of patients with medical conditions; and the ability to broaden the application of Voyager’s TRACER platform and establish human proof-of-concept across a range of serious diseases, are forward looking statements.
All forward-looking statements are based on estimates and assumptions by Voyager’s management that, although Voyager believes such forward-looking statements to be reasonable, are inherently uncertain. All forward-looking statements are subject to risks and uncertainties that may cause actual results to differ materially from those that Voyager expected. Such risks and uncertainties include, among others, the ability of Dr. Sandrock to perform successfully his duties as the Chief Executive Officer of Voyager; the continued development by Voyager of various technology platforms, including the TRACER platform; Voyager’s scientific approach and general development progress; Voyager’s ability to attract and retain talented employees and contractors and the sufficiency of Voyager’s cash resources to fund its operations.
These statements are also subject to a number of material risks and uncertainties that are described in Voyager’s most recent Annual Report on Form 10-K filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, as updated by its subsequent filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. All information in this press release is as of the date of this press release, and any forward-looking statement speaks only as of the date on which it was made. Voyager undertakes no obligation to publicly update or revise this information or any forward-looking statement, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, except as required by law.
Source: Voyager Therapeutics, Inc.