Neurologist and Neuroscientist with Deep Expertise in Orphan and CNS Drug Development Across Disease Areas
AavantiBio, a gene therapy company focused on transforming the lives of patients with rare genetic diseases, today announced the appointment of Christopher Wright, M.D., Ph.D., as Chief Medical Officer. A neurologist and neuroscientist, Dr. Wright brings to AavantiBio more than 20 years of medical research and drug development experience in specialty and CNS orphan diseases, including cystic fibrosis, dementias, epilepsy, mitochondrial diseases, and sickle cell disease.
An accomplished scientific and medical leader in both the academic and biopharmaceutical communities, Dr. Wright most recently served as Senior Vice President and Chief Medical Officer of Cyclerion Therapeutics (NASDAQ: CYCN), where he led global development functions across therapeutic areas, including clinical development and operations, regulatory affairs, patient safety, quality, and pharmaceutical development. Previously, he led the global development organization at Ironwood Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: IRWD), including responsibility for advancing the late stage and life cycle gastrointestinal and soluble guanylate cyclase stimulator programs. Earlier in his career, Dr. Wright spent seven years in senior medical and clinical roles at Vertex Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: VRTX) including Senior Vice President, Medicines Development and Affairs, where he oversaw the development of ORKAMBI® through Phase 3, and the successful development and rapid approval of KALYDECO®, a lifechanging cystic fibrosis therapy, by the FDA, EMA and other regulatory authorities. Dr. Wright also played an important role in the global development and approval of INCIVEK® for hepatitis C.
“We are thrilled to welcome Chris to AavantiBio as a key member of the senior leadership team who shares our commitment to deep science, innovation, and collaboration,” said Bo Cumbo, Chief Executive Officer of AavantiBio. “Chris and I previously worked together at Vertex. I know his extensive background in CNS diseases and specialized experience in orphan drug development, along with his unique perspective as a physician and scientist, will be essential to our mission of bringing transformative therapies to patients with rare genetic diseases.”
“As a neurologist personally committed to improving patient care, I have been deeply impressed with the innovative approach backed by sophisticated science that AavantiBio is employing to develop potentially life-changing treatments for those suffering from serious neurological diseases,” said Wright. “I’m excited to partner with this experienced team to advance the development of the Company’s lead program in Friedreich’s Ataxia and broader pipeline of gene therapies to patients who need them most.”
Dr. Wright earned a A.B. in biochemical sciences from Harvard University, an M.D. and MMSc. from Harvard Medical School and a Ph.D. in neurosciences from Vrije University in the Netherlands. Previously, he was an associate professor of neurology at Harvard Medical School and a graduate of and advisor to the Harvard-MIT Clinical Investigator Training Program. For 20 years, Dr. Wright was a practicing neurologist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, Mass. He currently serves as a Clinical Advisory Board member at Cyclerion Therapeutics and on the Advisory Board of Clora Inc.
Earlier this month, AavantiBio announced the appointments of Douglas J. Swirsky as Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer, and Ty Howton as Chief Operating Officer and General Counsel.