Rare Daily Staff
Cyclerion Therapeutics, the Ironwood Pharmaceuticals spin-out established at the start of the year to develop therapies targeting deficient nitric oxide signaling involved in a wide range of diseases, said it appointed Andreas Busch as chief innovation officer of the company.
Busch brings extensive R&D and portfolio leadership experience across a broad range of therapeutic categories, including significant expertise in rare and orphan diseases and in the discovery and development of sGC stimulators, a class of drugs that increase nitric oxide signaling. He joins Cyclerion from Shire, where he served as executive vice president, head of R&D, chief scientific officer, and a member of the executive committee.
Busch will lead Cyclerion’s Innovation Center, which gathers research, development, customer insights, and external innovation together in one team to identify, advance, and optimize medicines. In his role, he will focus on Cyclerion’s current pipeline of five sGC stimulator programs. Those programs include olinciguat, an experimental sGC in phase 2 development for sickle cell disease, genetic blood disorder affecting hemoglobin, a protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen throughout the body.
Busch will report to Peter Hecht, Cyclerion’s CEO, and will work closely with Mark Currie, president and chief scientific officer of Cyclerion, who has led the building of the sGC platform that enabled the creation of company.
“Andy is a terrific addition to our already deep and experienced leadership team. With his outstanding track record of innovative drug discovery and development, strategic portfolio management, and executional drive, he brings a unique set of experiences and skills to Cyclerion,” said Hecht. “He is the perfect person to help drive forward our next-generation sGC stimulators targeting serious and orphan diseases.”
Previously, Busch spent 13 years at Bayer, where he was most recently executive vice president, head of drug discovery, and a member of the executive committee. During that time, he led the development of many therapies, including the company’s sGC stimulators through clinical proof of concept. Prior to Bayer, Busch served as global head of cardiovascular research at Hoechst and Sanofi-Aventis.
He received his Ph.D. in Pharmacology at Johan Wolfgang Goethe-University Frankfurt, where he also was appointed as extraordinary professor. He received multiple awards for his academic work, including the Sir Bernhard Katz Award, the Franz-Volhard Award and the Heisenberg Fellowship.
“Teaming up with a group that shares my appreciation for the power and potential of sGC stimulation, with a highly promising pipeline and a shared passion to create multiple important medicines for patients, is a once in a lifetime opportunity,” said Busch. “Cyclerion’s ability to design target- and organ-specific sGC stimulators is a huge differentiating step toward the potential treatment of specific serious and orphan diseases and represents a winning proposition.”
Photo: Andreas Busch, chief innovation officer of Cyclerion