13 Dec, 2023 Alnylam R&D Day 2023
On December 13, 2023, we hosted a virtual R&D Day event showcasing Alnylam’s late stage clinical efforts, next wave programs, and platform advances. The event included presentations from Alnylam senior leaders as well as guest speakers.
Akshay Vaishnaw, M.D., Ph.D. – Chief Innovation Officer
Dr. Akshay Vaishnaw joined Alnylam Pharmaceuticals in 2006 as VP Clinical Research and has then subsequently served in various R&D roles with increasing responsibility. In October 2023, he was named our Chief Innovation Officer. Previously, Akshay was promoted to President of R&D in March of 2018 and was appointed as President of Alnylam in January of 2022. Prior to 2006, he was at Biogen as Senior Director, Translational Medicine.
Akshay received his M.D. from the University of Wales College of Medicine, U.K., and Ph.D. from the University of London, U.K., in Molecular Immunology. He is a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians, U.K. Akshay is a member of the Board of Directors for Editas Medicine Inc. and Scholar Rock Inc. From 2014-2018, he served as a Board member of Visterra, Inc.
Vasant Jadhav, Ph.D – Chief Technology Officer, SVP
Vasant Jadhav is Chief Technology Officer, SVP, at Alnylam Pharmaceuticals, where he leads the RNAi Platform Technology efforts including siRNA designs and delivery approaches. He has >20 years of experience in the field of oligonucleotide therapeutics focusing on delivery and mechanistic investigations. He joined Alnylam in early 2014 after 12 years at Sirna-Merck, where he focused on optimizing siRNA designs and conjugate-based delivery systems. He is co-inventor of multiple technologies including ESC+ siRNA design, REVERSIR, GEMINI (Bis-RNAi) and extra-hepatic delivery approaches. His contributions with the team on potency and specificity of siRNAs are utilized in multiple approved RNAi drugs and the deep pipeline at Alnylam. He has authored >30 peer-reviewed publications in prestigious journals such as Nature Biotechnology, Nature Communications, Nucleic Acids Research, two of which were recognized as ‘Paper of the Year’ in 2021 and 2022 by the Oligonucleotides Therapeutics Society.
Vasant obtained his PhD in Biotechnology from the University of Pune in 1998 and completed a post-doctoral fellowship at University of Colorado, Boulder working on discovering ribozymes that support RNA world hypothesis.
Karyn Schmidt, Ph.D. – Principal Scientist, Research
Karyn Schmidt is Principal Scientist, Research at Alnylam Pharmaceuticals and has >15 years of experience in RNA biochemistry. After joining Alnylam in 2017, Karyn has directed multiple cross-functional teams expanding the applications of RNAi therapeutics, and led a Regeneron-partnered program from discovery through pre-clinical development. Currently, she co-leads efforts to develop delivery solutions to bring RNAi therapeutics to muscle and will lead the first program through development. Karyn is co-inventor of multiple oligo-based technologies, has authored several high-impact papers, and co-organized a Keystone Symposia on Small Non-coding RNAs.
Karyn received her PhD in Biochemistry in 2012 from the University of Rochester in Rochester, NY, and completed a postdoctoral fellowship at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute/Harvard Medical School where she investigated the role that long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) play in oncogenesis.
Paul Nioi, Ph.D. – SVP, Research
Dr Paul Nioi joined Alnylam in 2018 and is currently Senior Vice President of Research. He is responsible for Alnylam’s portfolio of preclinical siRNA assets across all disease areas. He oversees the discovery of new targets, identification of development candidates and the body of mechanistic preclinical work needed to advance programs into the clinic. Before joining Alnylam, Dr Nioi worked at both Amgen and Schering-Plough in roles of increasing responsibility. He received his PhD from the University of Dundee and BSc from the University of Edinburgh.
Anna Borodovsky, Ph.D. – VP, Research
Dr. Anna Borodovsky joined Alnylam in 2006 and is currently Vice President of Research focusing on leading the company’s preclinical liver pipeline from target nomination to development candidate selection and into first-in-human studies. During her long career at Alnylam, Anna participated in the development of several of the company’s clinical and commercial stage programs, including inclisiran and givosiran.
Kirk Brown, Ph.D. – VP, CNS Research
Kirk Brown is the Vice President of CNS Research at Alnylam Pharmaceuticals. His preclinical work in rodents and nonhuman primates combining stable siRNA designs with alternative conjugation strategies has enabled potent, long-lasting silencing across the CNS following a single intrathecal administration. In addition to driving RNAi platform innovations, Kirk leads a team of CNS target biologists and serves as the research lead for ALN-APP, the first clinical CNS RNAi program.
David Werring, M.D. – Professor of Clinical Neurology, Stroke Research Centre, UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology
David trained in medicine at Guy’s hospital medical school and in neurology at King’s College hospital, The National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery, Queen Square, and St Thomas’ hospital. He was appointed Consultant Neurologist at Queen Square and Watford General Hospital in 2005. He is now Professor of Clinical Neurology at the Stroke Research Centre, UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology, and Honorary Consultant Neurologist at the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery. He delivers acute and specialist outpatient stroke care and runs a research program focussed on intracerebral haemorrhage and cerebral small vessel disease. David is Chief Investigator for the OPTIMAS randomised trial of anticoagulation timing after acute ischaemic stroke associated with atrial fibrillation. He is Head of the Research Department of Brain Repair and Rehabilitation, Chair of the Association of British Neurologists Stroke Advisory Group, Stroke Specialty Lead for the NIHR North Thames Clinical Research Network, President-Elect of the British and Irish Association of Stroke Physicians, Expert Advisor to the NICE guideline centre, and editorial board member of the European Journal of Neurology, European Stroke Journal, International Journal of Stroke and Practical Neurology. David was Chair of the UK Stroke Forum, the largest UK multidisciplinary stroke conference, from 2020-2022.
Kevin FitzGerald, Ph.D. – Chief Scientific Officer & EVP, Head of Research & Early Development
Kevin FitzGerald is Chief Scientific Officer, EVP, Head of Research and Early Development at Alnylam Pharmaceuticals in Cambridge, MA. He has over 23 years of drug discovery experience. He joined Alnylam in 2005 as an Associate Director of research after spending 7 years at Bristol-Myers Squibb. He has served in roles of increasing responsibility and leadership since that time. His achievements at Alnylam include leadership of the company’s RNAi delivery efforts, resulting in two clinically validated modes of siRNA delivery, and the development of Alnylam’s RNAi therapeutic novel class of medicines. He is an inventor on over 50 patents including the majority of Alnylam’s marketed and pipeline programs, as well as an author of over 50 papers including many in prestigious journals such as Nature, Cell, and NEJM. He has led multiple programs — including Alnylam’s inclisiran program — from discovery through pre-clinical development, regulatory submissions, and early clinical development. Kevin received his Bachelor of Science in genetics from Cornell University and his doctorate in molecular biology from Princeton University. He completed his post-doctoral fellowship in oncology at Harvard Medical School.
Rhian Touyz, MBBCh Ph.D. – Executive Director & Chief Scientific Officer, Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre
Dr. Touyz is the Executive Director and Chief Scientific Officer of the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre. She is the Canada Research Chair in Cardiovascular Medicine and the Dr. Phil Gold Chair in Medicine McGill University, Montreal, Canada. She is also the British Heart Foundation (BHF) Emeritus Chair. She was recruited to Montreal in September 2021 after serving 10 years as the Director of the Institute of Cardiovascular and Medical Sciences and BHF Chair and Professor of Cardiovascular Medicine, University of Glasgow, United Kingdom. She also directed the BHF Centre of Research Excellence in vascular biomedicine at the University of Glasgow.
Dr. Touyz, a clinician-scientist, received her BSc (Hons)(1980), MBBCh(1984), MSc(1986) and PhD(1992) in South Africa. She completed a post-doctoral fellowship at the Clinical Research Institute of Montreal (CRIM) in 1996 and then progressed the scientific/academic ladder to become Staff Scientist and Professor in the CRIM, University of Montreal. In 2005 she was recruited to the Kidney Research Centre, Ottawa Hospital Research Institute, University of Ottawa, where she was the Canada Research Chair in Hypertension Tier 1, until 2011 when she was recruited to the University of Glasgow to direct the Institute of Cardiovascular and Medical Sciences. She is an elected Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences (FMedSci), the Royal Society of Edinburgh (FRSE), the College of Physicians and Surgeons (FRCP), AHA (FAHA), European Society of Cardiology (FESC) and Canadian Academy of Health Sciences (FCAHS).
Simon Fox, Ph.D. – VP, Zilebesiran Program Lead
Simon Fox joined Alnylam in December 2021 after 16 years of industry experience, most of this time spent developing and commercializing innovative treatments for cardiovascular, metabolic, and hematological diseases. Prior to joining Alnylam Simon held numerous global strategic roles in both the R&D and commercial functions. He was the Global Medical Affairs Director responsible for AstraZeneca’s diabetes franchise, notably lifecycle management strategy and launching Farxiga (dapagliflozin) globally. In addition, he also held the position of Global Marketing Director for Brilinta (ticagrelor), responsible for driving strategic investment decisions for new indications. Most recently Simon was at CSL Behring as the global commercial lead for their late-stage cardiovascular program before going on to lead their hematology franchise globally which included the first approved gene therapy for hemophilia B, Hemgnix (etranacogene dezaparvovec).
Simon obtained his Bachelor of Science in chemistry, drug design and toxicology, and his Ph.D. in organic chemistry from the University of Hull, UK.
John Vest, M.D. – SVP, Clinical Research
Dr. John Vest joined Alnylam in 2015 and is currently Senior Vice President of Clinical Research. He serves as the Global Clinical Lead for the ATTR Amyloidosis Franchise. In this role Dr. Vest oversees both the clinical development strategy and clinical trial execution for Alnylam’s innovative RNAi therapeutics targeting transthyretin. He has played an instrumental role in multiple pivotal Phase 3 studies of ONPATTRO and vutrisiran. Before joining Alnylam, he worked in the Cardiovascular Translational Medicine group at Novartis where he played a key clinical role in developing the company’s early stage pipeline of compounds in the cardiovascular space. Prior to his career in industry, Dr. Vest spent over 16 years in the study and practice of medicine. Dr. Vest received his MD from Columbia University where he went on to complete a residency in Internal Medicine and fellowship in Cardiovascular Disease. He subsequently completed sub-specialty training in Clinical Cardiac Electrophysiology at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital before returning to Columbia where he joined the faculty of the Cardiology Division.
Ali Murad, M.D. – Senior Director, Clinical Research
Dr. Ali Murad joined Alnylam in 2017 and is a Senior Director of Clinical Research, working within Alnylam’s TTR Franchise. In this role Dr. Murad oversees clinical trials of Alnylam’s innovative RNAi therapeutics targeting transthyretin.
Before joining Alnylam, Dr. Murad worked in a range of roles at Novartis Pharmaceuticals. Prior to this, he worked at McKinsey & Company, where he led projects for a range of pharmaceutical and biotechnology firms. Dr. Murad has also worked as a physician in the UK’s National Health Service and a Research Fellow at the University of Bristol. Dr. Murad received his medical degree from the University of Oxford, where he was a Hobson-Mann scholar, and holds Membership of the UK Faculty of Pharmaceutical Medicine and Diplomate Membership of the UK Faculty of Public Health.
Tolga Tanguler – Chief Commercial Officer
Tolga Tanguler joined Alnylam in January 2021 and has over 20 years of global biopharmaceutical experience in a variety of marketing and commercial roles. He has worked across multiple geographies including the U.S., Europe, and emerging markets and in a broad range of small and large disease therapy areas.
Prior to joining Alnylam, Tolga served for two years as Senior Vice President and Head of Alexion U.S., where he led an organization of 700 colleagues across sales, market access, marketing, operations, and patient services. Before Alexion, he spent the majority of his career at Pfizer serving in roles of increasing responsibility, most recently as Regional President, North America for Rare Diseases and prior to that as Global Vice President and Alliance Co-Head, Eliquis, as well as and serving as a country manager of Denmark and Iceland during his tenure.
Tolga received his Bachelor of Science in Finance and Economics from Istanbul University in Turkey and his MBA in Marketing and Supply Chain Management from Michigan State University, as well as a post graduate certificate in Marketing from the University of California, Santa Barbara.
Yvonne Greenstreet, MBChB – Chief Executive Officer
Dr. Yvonne Greenstreet joined Alnylam in 2016 as Chief Operating Officer, was promoted to President and COO in 2020, and was appointed as a Director and Chief Executive Officer in late 2021. Yvonne has more than 25 years of experience in the Biopharmaceutical industry, driving strategy and innovation, bringing transformative medicines to patients, and building successful businesses in the US, Europe and globally.
Between 2011 and 2013, Yvonne was Senior Vice President and Head of Medicines Development at Pfizer serving on the executive team leading a rapidly growing $16bn division. Prior to Pfizer, she was at GlaxoSmithKline plc for 18 years, where she was Senior Vice President and Chief of Strategy for Research and Development. Yvonne had previously been in various positions of increasing responsibility at GSK, including Senior Vice President for Medicines Development and Chief Medical Officer for Europe.
Yvonne trained as a physician and earned her medical degree (MBChB) from The University of Leeds in the UK. She also holds an MBA from INSEAD Business school in France. Dr. Greenstreet serves on the board of directors of The American Funds and previously served on the board of directors of Pacira BioSciences, Inc. and argenx SE. Additionally, she is in the Scientific Advisory Committee of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, a member of the Discovery Council of Harvard Medical School and a member of Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) Health Section Governing Board (HSGB)
Pushkal Garg, M.D. – Chief Medical Officer
Dr. Pushkal Garg joined Alnylam in 2014 with 15 years of experience in clinical drug development. He oversees all clinical development activities at Alnylam. Prior to joining Alnylam, Dr. Garg served as Vice President, Global Clinical Research, Immunoscience at Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS). He was the strategic leader of the Immunoscience franchise and oversaw the development of multiple clinical assets across the areas of rheumatology, gastroenterology, nephrology, and transplantation. While at BMS, he was instrumental to the late-stage development and approval of Nulojix® (belatacept) for kidney transplant recipients, and for supplementary biologics license applications (BLAs) for Orencia® (abatacept). Preceding this, Dr. Garg held various roles at Millennium Pharmaceuticals, overseeing the clinical development of multiple small molecule and biologic therapeutics for the treatment of inflammatory disorders.
Dr. Garg received a Bachelor of Arts with high honors in Biochemistry from the University of California, Berkeley, and his M.D. from the University of California, San Francisco. He completed residency training in Internal Medicine at UCSF, was a fellow in the Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholars Program at Johns Hopkins University, and served on the faculty of Harvard Medical School and the Brigham & Women’s Hospital in Boston prior to joining the industry. Dr. Garg is a member of the Board of Directors of SQZ Biotechnologies (SQZ).