Sean Nolan Replaces RA Session II as CEO of Taysha Gene Therapies
December 19, 2022
Taysha Gene Therapies said its board chair Sean Nolan has been appointed CEO to succeed RA Session II, who has resigned from his operating role, but will continue to serve on the company’s board of directors.
Nolan has more than 30 years of biopharmaceutical experience. He previously served as CEO of the gene therapy company AveXis until its acquisition by Novartis. While at AveXis, Nolan led the company through an initial public offering and transitioned it into a fully integrated global organization with research, clinical, regulatory, manufacturing and commercial capabilities.
In addition, Sukumar (Suku) Nagendran, a director on Taysha’s Board, and a physician, drug developer, and biotech executive, has been appointed president and head of R&D.
Nolan said that 2023 is a crucial year for Taysha.
“It is imperative that we precisely execute as an organization on delivering key clinical and regulatory milestones as we endeavor to bring transformative therapies to patients and families suffering from devastating diseases,” he said.
Taysha develops intrathecally delivered AAV gene therapies for monogenic CNS diseases and has a promising pipeline, including TSHA-102, which is the first-and-only gene therapy in clinical development for Rett syndrome, and TSHA-120, which is in phase 1/2 development for the treatment of GAN and awaiting regulatory feedback.
RA Session II founded the company in 2019 to commercialize gene therapy research from the labs at UT Southwestern. One year later, the company raised $181 million in an IPO.
In March 2022, however, Taysha laid off 35 percent of its staff and cut its pipeline to four programs from 20. Family foundations had funded the initial research at UT Southwestern for many of the programs that were paused.
With only $34.3 million in cash and cash equivalents at the end of September, Taysha raised $25.6 million in a public offering and received a $50 million equity investment from Astellas to support its two lead candidates in exchange for 15 percent ownership in the company and an exclusive option to buy the two programs: a gene replacement therapy for the treatment of Rett syndrome and TSHA-120, a gene replacement therapy for the treatment of GAN.
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