News and Press
Abata Announces Formation of Advisory Board Comprised of Leading Industry Experts in Treg Biology, Cell Therapy and Corporate Development
- Abata Advisory Board to be chaired by Abata co-founder Diane Mathis, Ph.D.
- Additional members include renowned industry leaders: John Maraganore, Ph.D.; Charles Cooney, Ph.D.; and Gerald Nepom, M.D., Ph.D.
Abata Therapeutics, a company focused on translating the biology of regulatory T cells (Tregs) into transformational medicines for patients living with progressive multiple sclerosis (MS) and other severe autoimmune and inflammatory diseases, today announced the formation of the Abata Advisory Board, chaired by Diane Mathis, Ph.D., co-founder of Abata. The Abata Advisory Board brings together industry and scientific experts John Maraganore, Ph.D.; Charles Cooney, Ph.D.; and Gerald Nepom, M.D., Ph.D.; who will work with the Abata leadership team to create new possibilities for patients through Treg cell therapy.
“Partnering with this distinguished and brilliant group of leaders positions Abata for success in creating transformational Treg cell therapies for multiple sclerosis, Type 1 diabetes, and other severe autoimmune and inflammatory diseases,” said Samantha Singer, M.S., M.B.A., president and chief executive officer, Abata Therapeutics. “Their deep collective experience in R&D, manufacturing, and corporate development affords us invaluable expertise and guidance. On behalf of our entire team, I am honored to have the opportunity to collaborate with this group and look forward to their insights.”
“Abata was founded to combine the best science in Treg biology and cell therapy with a deep understanding of the devastating diseases it aims to target and an incredibly talented team. The world class leaders we’ve assembled for the Abata Advisory Board are a match for those same founding principles,” said Dr. Mathis. “The company’s approach to engineering Tregs for enriched site-specific activation offers patients suffering from severe autoimmune disease, who currently have no treatment options, the prospect of a safe, robust, and durable therapy. I’m honored to chair this advisory board and continue to advise on Abata’s incredible work.”
The Abata Advisory Board members include:
- Diane Mathis, Ph.D. (chair): Professor of Immunology and holder of the Morton Grove-Rasmussen chair of immunohematology at Harvard Medical School, principal faculty member at the Harvard Stem Cell Institute and associate faculty member of the Broad Institute. Dr. Mathis is a world-renowned leader in Treg biology with a lab focused on the fields of T cell differentiation, autoimmunity, and inflammation. She has led landmark studies on T cell differentiation focused on maturation and selection of the T cell repertoire in the thymus and on cellular and molecular influences on the “flavor” of T cell responses in the periphery. Dr. Mathis currently serves on the advisory boards of Rockefeller University, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Genentech, Pfizer, Amgen and several research institutes worldwide. She was elected to the U.S. National Academy of Sciences in 2003, the German Academy in 2007, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2012.
- John Maraganore, Ph.D.: Former founding CEO of Alnylam Pharmaceuticals. At Alnylam, Dr. Maraganore led the company’s pioneering efforts to advance RNA interference therapeutics, bringing four approved products to market. He also formed over 25 significant partnerships with leading pharma and biotech companies, raised over $7 billion to fund the company’s research, development, manufacturing, and commercialization activities, and built $25 billion in market capitalization. Currently, Dr. Maraganore serves as the chair of Hemab Therapeutics and as a director of Agios Pharmaceuticals, Beam Therapeutics, and Kymera Therapeutics. He is an active mentor to emerging leaders across the biotechnology industry and serves in advisory roles at Pictet, Saliogen, SQZ Biotech, and Brii Biosciences in addition to other companies. Dr. Maraganore is on the board of the Termeer Foundation, which advances the legacy of the late Henri Termeer, and on the advisory boards of the n-Lorem Foundation, committed to nano-rare diseases; and Ariadne Labs, committed to health systems innovation.
- Charles L. Cooney, Ph.D.: Robert T. Haslam Professor Emeritus in the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Department of Chemical Engineering and Deshpande Center Faculty Director, Emeritus. Dr. Cooney is one of the world’s most highly regarded experts in biochemical engineering and his research and teaching interests span a range of topics within biochemical engineering, pharmaceutical manufacturing, bioprocess development and technological innovation. He serves as a consultant to and/or director of several biotech and pharmaceutical companies including AIM Biotech, Codiak Biosciences, GreenLight Biosciences, Boyd Technologies, Hovione, Innovent Biologics, and LayerBio. Dr. Cooney previously served on the board at Genzyme and as the chair of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Advisory Committee for Pharmaceutical Science. Among his awards and distinctions, Dr. Cooney was nominated Founding Fellow, American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering; received the Gold Medal from the Institute of Biotechnological Studies; and received the James Van Lanen Award for Distinguished Service to the Division of Microbial and Biochemical Technology of the American Chemical Society.
- Gerald Nepom, M.D., Ph.D.: Director, Immune Tolerance Network (ITN), sponsored by the National Institutes of Health, and Founder and former Director of the Benaroya Research Institute, a leading translational immunology center in Seattle, Washington. His primary research interests focus on characterization of the human CD4 T cell response in autoimmunity as well as the translation of immunological intervention strategies into innovative clinical trials. His laboratory is credited with several advances in human autoimmunity, including initial descriptions of HLA class II disease associations, structure, and function, and the development of human class II tetramers for direct T cell detection and analysis. Dr. Nepom serves as an advisor for many academic and nonprofit organizations involved in biomedical research and is past president of the Federation of Clinical Immunology Societies (FOCIS). He is also an affiliate professor of immunology at the University of Washington and has published over 350 scientific papers. Dr. Nepom has received recognition through several awards, including the University of Washington School of Medicine Distinguished Alumni Award, the David Rumbough Award for Scientific Excellence from the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, and the George Eisenbarth Award from the Immunology of Diabetes Society.
About Abata Therapeutics
Abata Therapeutics is focused on translating the biology of regulatory T cells (Tregs) into transformational medicines for patients living with severe autoimmune and inflammatory diseases. Founded by pioneers in Treg biology, T cell receptor and antigen discovery, disease pathogenesis, and molecular and imaging biomarkers, Abata has developed a differentiated product engine to create engineered Treg cell therapies that are tissue-specific, robust, and durable. In addition to its lead program in progressive multiple sclerosis (MS), Abata has programs in Type 1 Diabetes (T1D) and inclusion body myositis (IBM) – two additional tissue-specific autoimmune diseases with substantial unmet need and a strong rationale for Abata’s Treg approach. The company was launched in 2021 by Third Rock Ventures, with participation from a diverse syndicate of investors, including ElevateBio, Lightspeed Venture Partners, Invus, Samsara BioCapital, and the JDRF T1D Fund. Abata is based in Cambridge, Mass. Please visit abatatx.com or follow us on Twitter or LinkedIn for more information.