Rare Daily Staff

Rare disease drug developers Abeona Therapeutics and Syntimmune both announced executive appointments to strengthen their executive leadership teams.

Abeona, which is developing gene therapies for rare genetic diseases, named Max Colao as its new chief commercial officer. Colao has more than 20 years of global pharma and biotech experience and most recently served as the senior vice president of U.S. commercial operations at Alexion Pharmaceuticals. At Alexion, he led a team of several hundred people and was responsible for $2 billion in sales across three franchises.

“With our pipeline maturing toward commercial stages, we’re focused on building a strong team to deliver on our ambitious goals,” said Carsten Thiel, CEO of Abeona. “I am excited to welcome Max to our organization given his broad commercial experience and deep understanding of the healthcare industry.”

Abeona also expanded its leadership team with the appointment of Kristina Maximenko as global head of human resources and announced that its chief operating officer Jeffrey Davis will be stepping down from his role.

Syntimmune, which is developing antibody therapeutics for rare autoimmune diseases, named Mario Saltarelli as its new chief medical officer.

Saltarelli, who most recently served as senior vice president at Vertex, brings broad experience in discovery research, clinical development, pipeline strategy and global regulatory operations. Donald Johns, who has been acting chief medical officer, will become the executive vice president of medical and scientific affairs for Syntimmune.

“Mario’s deep expertise in drug development and strong leadership skills will be a tremendous asset to Syntimmune as we advance our pipeline of novel therapies targeting a broad range of autoimmune diseases,” said Jean-Paul Kress, Syntimmune’s president and CEO. “We’re thrilled to have him on board to lead our medical organization. I’d also like to thank Don for his support as acting CMO, and I’m pleased that he’ll be continuing to help Syntimmune strengthen our medical and scientific leadership position.”

Prior to Vertex, Saltarelli served as chief medical officer of Annexon Biosciences and as senior vice president and chief science officer at Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals. He has also held leadership roles at Shire, Abbott (AbbVie) and Pfizer. He earned both an M.D. and a Ph.D. in neurosciences from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.
July 26, 2018
Photo: Max Colao chief commercial officer of Abeona and Mario Saltarelli, chief commercial officer

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