USA – Editas Medicine has hired Baisong Mei as its chief medical officer (CMO), making the Sanofi and Biogen veteran the latest new executive to come aboard after a series of personnel changes at the gene editing biotechnology company.
Finding a new chief medical officer was one of the top priorities of incoming CEO Gilmore O’Neill, who started on June 1.
Effective immediately, Mei takes over Editas’ clinical research and drug development work, the company said. He replaces Lisa Michaels, who was fired in February.
Mei has over 20 years of experience in the biotech and pharmaceutical industry. He previously served as the senior global project head for rare diseases and rare blood disorders at Sanofi for nearly six years where he led the clinical development pipeline in several rare diseases in hematology, neurology and nephrology.
Prior to that, he was at Biogen for almost seven years where he worked on hemophilia and hemoglobinopathy.
Some of his major achievements include bringing novel medicines through clinical development and global regulatory approval, including Alprolix and Eloctate, medicines for hemophilia B.
He arrives at a key moment for Editas, which is looking ahead to multiple notable clinical readouts but has faced a number of delays and setbacks.
Editas was formed early last decade with plans to turn the Nobel Prize-winning CRISPR gene editing technology into medicines.
Although Editas was one of the first to bring a CRISPR drug into human testing, its lead program for an inherited form of vision loss produced mixed results in early testing.
Some of Baisong Mei’s major achievements include bringing novel medicines through clinical development and global regulatory approval, including Alprolix and Eloctate, medicines for hemophilia B.
The study has also been slower to progress than those for other CRISPR medicines from CRISPR Therapeutics and Intellia Therapeutics.
Editas has dealt with frequent senior-level turnover in recent years, too, including three different CEOs since 2014.
As CMO, Mei will now lead the company’s research efforts, starting with the vision loss therapy in early-stage testing.
Editas is testing a mid-level dose of the treatment in pediatric patients and expects to report updates in the second half of the year, the biotech said in May.
Editas is awaiting clearance from regulators to evaluate a high-dose cohort in children.
Editas also expects to provide preliminary clinical data for an experimental sickle cell disease treatment this year as well, it said in the earnings report.
The company is pursuing cancer research as well and presented preclinical data in May for a natural killer cell therapy dubbed EDIT-202.
Liked this article? Sign up to receive our regular email newsletters, focused on Africa and World’s healthcare industry, directly into your inbox. SUBSCRIBE HERE