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Voyager Names Biogen Veteran as New CEO

March 22, 2022

Gene therapy developer Voyager Therapeutics name Alfred Sandrock, Jr. as its CEO to succeed interim CEO Michael Higgins.

Photo: Alfred Sandrock, Jr., CEO of Voyager Therapeutics

Higgins, who has been interim CEO since June 2021, continues to serve as chairman of the Voyager Board of Directors.

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. Initial data from the first of many libraries screened in non-human primates 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.

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: Adulhelm, Avonex, Plegridy, Spinraza, Tecfidera, and Tysabri.

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.

He 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.

“Al is a global thought leader in neuroscience with an impressive track record bringing transformative new medicines to patients,” said 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.”

Author: Rare Daily Staff

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