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Tessera Names Industry Veteran Michael Severino CEO

June 2, 2022

Tessera Therapeutics, the biotechnology company pioneering gene writing technology, named Abbvie Vice Chairman and President Michael Severino as CEO and a director on the company’s board.

Photo: Noubar Afeyan, Founder and CEO of Flagship Pioneering and Tessera co-founder and board member

He replaces Tessera co-founder Geoffrey von Maltzahn, who will remain with the company as board chair. Flagship Pioneering, which founded Tessera, also named Severino a Flagship Pioneering CEO-Partner.

Tessera’s Gene Writing technology consists of multiple platforms designed to offer scientists and clinicians the ability to write therapeutic messages into the human genome, thereby curing diseases at their source. Tessera’s Gene Writer tools are based on Mobile Genetic Elements (MGEs)—the most abundant class of genes, representing half of the human genome. Tessera has evaluated tens of thousands of natural and synthetic MGEs to create Gene Writer candidates with the ability to write therapeutic messages into the human genome. Tessera’s research engine further optimizes the discovered Gene Writer candidates for efficiency, specificity, and fidelity—compressing eons of evolution into a few months.

Severino brings more than two decades of biopharmaceutical leadership to Tessera, having led the strategy behind research, development, registration, and commercialization of more than a dozen FDA-approved therapies. In his roles at AbbVie as executive vice president of research and development, chief scientific officer, and most recently vice chairman and president, he led efforts to build a strong pipeline and advance promising science for patients in the areas of hematologic oncology, immunology, and neuroscience.

Prior to joining AbbVie, Dr. Severino held several senior leadership roles at Amgen, leading to his appointment as senior vice president and corporate chief medical officer where he oversaw the company’s global clinical research efforts. Prior to Amgen, he was senior director at Merck and was responsible for leading research in multiple areas, including clinical genomics, molecular profiling, and experimental medicine.

“Mike will play a critical role at Flagship as CEO-Partner and, through that position, take on the role as CEO of Tessera, a company revolutionizing genetic medicine,” said Noubar Afeyan, Ph.D., Founder and CEO of Flagship Pioneering and Tessera Co-Founder and Board member. “Mike’s R&D expertise and years of experience leading innovative strategies for notable biopharmaceutical companies will help drive Tessera’s growth and the translation of its pioneering technology.”

Author: Rare Daily Staff

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