AAVantgarde Announces Appointment of Naveed Shams, MD, Ph.D. as Chief Development and Medical Officer

MILAN, ITALY / ACCESSWIRE / June 30, 2022 /AAVantgarde Bioa biotech startup that develops gene therapies for inherited retinal disorders based on adeno-associated viral (AAV) vectors, announced the appointment of Naveed Shams, MD, Ph.D., as Chief Development and Medical Officer (CDMO).

Sofinnova Partners, Thursday June 30, 2022, Image from the press release

Most recently, Dr. Shams led over 60 scientists as the Head of Translational Research and Early Development efforts at ProQR Therapeutics, a clinical-stage oligonucleotide (RNA) platform company focused on rare inherited retinal diseases.

“Naveed is a seasoned biotechnology executive and highly respected clinician with more than three decades of expertise in the development and commercialization of ophthalmic drugs globally. His extensive experience as a global leader in ophthalmology R&D should prove invaluable in building AAVantgarde into a clinical-stage company,” said Dr. Ram Palanki, Chairman of the Board of AAVantgarde.

Dr. Shams received his medical degree from Dow Medical College in Karachi, Pakistan and his Ph.D. in microbiology and immunology from the University of South Carolina. After completing a fellowship in cornea and external diseases at the Schepens Eye Research Institute & Department of Ophthalmology, Harvard Medical School, he served on the department’s research faculty. His industry leadership experience spans multiple therapeutic areas and includes tenures at Santen, Genentech, Novartis Ophthalmics, Opko Health, On Demand Therapeutics, Storz Ophthalmic Instruments. At Genentech, Dr. Shams led the clinical team responsible for the development and approval of ranibizumab (Lucentis®) for the treatment of age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

AAVantgarde Bio’s technology builds on existing AAV platforms, which are the primary viral vector technology used in gene therapy applications. The company is a spin-off from TIGEM, an international research institute based in Naples, owned and managed by Fondazione Telethon. The founder of AAVantgarde, Professor Alberto Auricchio, is a highly recognized scientist and a pioneer in the field of gene therapy.

“I am excited to join AAVantgarde to lead the development of the company’s next generation of large gene replacement AAV therapies in the clinic,” Dr Shams said. “AAVantgarde Bio has two proprietary AAV platforms for delivering large genes with flagship programs in ophthalmology. This is an exciting time to join the organization.”

Paola Pozzi, partner of Sofinnova Partners Telethon Fund, said: “With the recent clinical trial application successfully submitted to AIFA, Italy, Naveed’s leadership will be essential in the development of AAVantgarde’s lead investigational products for the treatment of Ushers syndromes and Stargardt disease. Dr. Shams is well known in the Sofinnova Partners’ network as an industry veteran capable of building and motivating teams. I look forward to his leadership to help accelerate the development of the innovative portfolio of ‘AAVantgarde to meet the unmet needs of patients around the world.

AAVantgarde has been supported since 2021 by the Sofinnova Telethon Fund, a seed fund dedicated to investments in rare genetic diseases.


About AAVantgarde Bio

AAVantgarde Bio is an innovative biotech start-up, co-founded by Pr. Alberto Auricchio and born from research activities carried out at Tigem (Telethon Institute of Genetics and Medicine) in Naples, Italy, and supported by Sofinnova Partners. For more information visit: www.aavantgardebio.com

Paola Pizza
Telephone: +39 348 6363603

THE SOURCE: Sofinnova Partners

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