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CRISPR Therapeutics Lost its Executive to Locanabio

Locanabio bolstered its C-suite on Tuesday, appointing executives from CRISPR Therapeutics and Astellas’ Audentes Therapeutics to steer the company’s preclinical pipeline forward. CRISPR Therapeutics’ head of hematology and in vivo research, John Leonard, Ph.D., joins as a chief scientific officer. Locanabio’s chief medical officer will be Edward Conner, M.D., who formerly worked at Audentes Therapeutics, which is now Astellas Gene Therapies.

When it comes to severe neurodegenerative, neuromuscular, and retinal illnesses. In December, the San Diego biotech raised $100 million in a Series B round to develop medicines for myotonic dystrophy, Huntington’s disease, frontotemporal dementia, and other diseases.CEO Jim Burns, Ph.D., in a statement, said, “Their extensive experience in drug discovery and development across multiple therapeutic areas, including rare and neuromuscular diseases, and deep insights into successfully advancing new genetic medicines will be instrumental as we progress and expand the company’s pipeline.”

Leonard worked at CRISPR on gene-editing projects for liver and neuromuscular indications employing lipid nanoparticle and adeno-associated virus vector delivery of CRISPR-Cas9. In addition, Leonard was the chief of metabolic and neuromuscular research in Sanofi Genzyme’s rare disease unit before joining CRISPR.The CRISPR movement gained traction last week when Intellia and Regeneron first demonstrated that gene editing could be done in humans. The results boosted CRISPR Therapeutics, which saw its stock rise by roughly $18.

Conner brings a background in clinical development, translational medicine, and clinical strategy to the table. Conner assisted with clinical development and operations, medical affairs, regulatory, drug safety, and patient advocacy at Audentes, according to Locanabio. Sangamo Therapeutics, Ultragenyx Pharmaceutical, BioMarin Pharmaceutical, and Roche’s Genentech are among Conner’s previous employers.

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