CAMBRIDGE, Mass.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Axcella Health, a biotechnology company pioneering a new class of products to rebalance patients’ metabolic state to address serious unmet medical needs, today announced the additions of William “Chip” Baird, and Cristina M. Rondinone, Ph.D., to the Board of Directors. Mr. Baird and Dr. Rondinone bring a combined five decades of life sciences experience across multiple therapeutic areas including metabolic, rare and orphan diseases. Their wealth of knowledge around capital management, R&D, and strategic collaborations will be instrumental to the Company’s next stage of growth and beyond.
“We are thrilled to have Chip and Cristina join our Board of Directors. Their broad experience and deep expertise in financial and strategic planning as well as in drug development will provide vital guidance to our leadership as we continue to advance and broaden our pipeline of proprietary AXA™ candidates and grow as a company. I would like to thank our retiring board members Dr. Charles Cooney and Peter Hutt for their dedication and service to Axcella,” said David Epstein, Executive Partner of Flagship Pioneering and Chairman of the Board of Directors for Axcella.
Mr. Baird will Chair the Audit Committee and brings to Axcella a successful track record of capital raising and building global commercial organizations. Dr. Rondinone will join the Science and Technology Committee, applying her extensive research and development experience in metabolic diseases to help steer the development of Axcella’s proprietary AXA™ candidates.
“I was drawn to Axcella by their novel point of view on metabolic dysfunction, and the potential of their products to reprogram metabolism to address complex diseases. I look forward to guiding the expansion of their platform, research and development efforts,” commented Dr. Rondinone. “I’m excited to join Axcella during this critical stage of the Company as they expand the organization and progress their programs,” added Mr. Baird.
Axcella is further strengthening the organization with the appointments of Paul F. Fehlner, J.D., Ph.D., as Senior Vice President, Chief Intellectual Property Officer, and Heidy Abreu King-Jones, J.D., LL.M., as Vice President, Legal and Corporate Secretary. Dr. Fehlner comes to Axcella with over 28 years of experience in patent and intellectual property in the life sciences, and has been named to the IAM Strategy 300 World’s Leading Patent Professionals for the past four years. For the past nine years Dr. Fehlner was Head of Intellectual Property at Novartis Pharmaceuticals where he led a team responsible for obtaining, maintaining, and enforcing IP rights. Dr. Fehlner will lead Axcella’s Intellectual Property and product exclusivity strategy. Ms. Abreu King-Jones joins Axcella after over four years at Sarepta Therapeutics, Inc. where she led Sarepta’s Corporate Law Department and was lead attorney for its commercialization transition, implementing Sarepta’s compliance program and becoming its lead Commercial Counsel. Prior to Sarepta, Ms. Abreu King-Jones was an associate in the Securities and Public Companies practice group at Ropes & Gray LLP. Ms. Abreu King-Jones will serve as Axcella’s Corporate Secretary and lead Legal affairs and strategy outside of intellectual property matters.
“Paul and Heidy provide Axcella with deep experience in Intellectual Property and Corporate Law, and we are thrilled to have them join our growing team,” said Bill Hinshaw, President and CEO of Axcella.
The new members of Axcella’s Board of Directors:
- William “Chip” Baird, has served for the last six years as the Chief Financial Officer of Amicus Therapeutics (Nasdaq: FOLD), a global commercial-stage biotechnology company at the forefront of advanced therapies to treat a range of devastating rare and orphan diseases. Previously, Mr. Baird spent 10 years as the CFO of PTC Therapeutics (Nasdaq: PTCT), also in the rare disease space. In his roles as CFO, Mr. Baird has raised over $1.9 billion of capital through a variety of mechanisms, including private and public equity, convertible and venture debt, grant funding, and strategic collaborations. Mr. Baird has also helped lead successful M&A efforts for Amicus, acquiring three companies in the last four years. Prior to his corporate roles at Amicus and PTC, Mr. Baird worked in strategy consulting for LEK Consulting in their life science group. Mr. Baird began his career in commercial banking at First Union National Bank. Mr. Baird received a B.S. from Georgetown University’s Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service and an M.B.A. in finance from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.
- Cristina M. Rondinone, Ph.D., is Vice President, R&D and Head of Cardiovascular, Renal and Metabolic Innovative Medicines (iMED) group at MedImmune, leading a cross-functional team dedicated to therapeutic area strategy, prioritization and advancement of the company’s portfolio. Prior to this role Dr. Rondinone was Head of the Cardiovascular/Metabolic Disease Center (CV/MD) iMED group, and VP of R&D and Head of the CV/MD Center of Excellence. Previously, Dr. Rondinone was Head of Metabolic and Vascular Diseases, at Hoffmann-La Roche, Inc., and Group Leader, Associate Research Fellow, and Research Investigator at Abbott Laboratories. Prior to industry, Dr. Rondinone was Associate Professor in Molecular Medicine, University of Gothenburg, Sweden. Dr. Rondinone is the author of over 75 peer-reviewed scientific publications, 2 books, and is a co-inventor of 5 granted patents. Dr. Rondinone is the recipient of numerous awards, including becoming a Member of the Real National Academy of Pharmacy in Spain. Dr. Rondinone received her Ph.D. in Biological Sciences from Buenos Aires University and conducted her postdoctoral training at the Laboratory of Cellular and Developmental Biology, NIDDK, National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland.
About Axcella™ Health
Metabolic dysregulation is at the heart of many diseases. Axcella is combining endogenous metabolic modulators to develop powerful new medicines with the goal of addressing metabolic dysregulation by safely reprogramming cellular physiology with unprecedented multifactorial effects. We are developing AXA™ product candidates to leverage the diversity and synergy of metabolic modulators to restore health across a network of dysregulated pathways. With our platform, we are transforming traditional drug discovery and development. Our platform has already produced a rich pipeline of product candidates in programs targeting liver, muscle, CNS and other metabolic dysregulation targets. Axcella Health was founded by Flagship Pioneering. www.axcellahealth.com