CAMBRIDGE, Mass., June 28, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Voyager Therapeutics, Inc. (NASDAQ:VYGR), a clinical-stage gene therapy company focused on developing life-changing treatments for severe neurological diseases today announced the appointment of G. Andre Turenne as president and chief executive officer of Voyager effective July 16, 2018, at which time he will also become a member of the Voyager Board of Directors. Mr. Turenne joins Voyager with extensive strategic business development and commercial leadership experience, including nearly 12 years at Genzyme and Sanofi where he most recently served as Sanofi’s senior vice president, global head, business development and licensing responsible for partnering activities across all of Sanofi’s business units. As announced earlier this year, Steven M. Paul, M.D., Voyager’s outgoing president and chief executive officer, will continue to serve on Voyager’s Board of Directors and as a member of Voyager’s Science & Technology Committee following his retirement as president and chief executive officer, also effective July 16, 2018.
“Andre’s proven leadership, strategic vision, strong track record of commercial and business development experience, and deep understanding of our programs and gene therapy platform make him an ideal fit to lead Voyager through its exciting next stage of development,” said Mark Levin, chairman of Voyager’s Board of Directors. “We look forward to working with Andre as he transitions into this role and continuing Voyager’s mission of becoming the leading gene therapy company focused on severe neurological diseases. With Andre on board, we want to thank Steve for his extraordinary contributions in the founding and leadership of Voyager and we look forward to Steve’s continuing contributions as a Director.”
“Voyager is in a very strong position with our pivotal gene therapy clinical trial for Parkinson’s disease about to begin and having recently been granted RMAT designation by the FDA,” said Steven M. Paul, M.D. “Our vector and delivery optimization efforts have benefitted our Parkinson’s disease program as well as our preclinical pipeline programs targeting Huntington’s disease, ALS, and Friedreich’s ataxia. Our collaborations with AbbVie and Sanofi Genzyme are also progressing nicely and I am proud to have co-founded the company and helped assemble the talented and dedicated team at Voyager that has achieved these impressive milestones, and I look forward to supporting Andre in his new role.”
“I am honored to join the Voyager team at this important time in the company’s evolution and help progress its potentially transformative programs,” said Andre Turenne. “During my career, I have had the opportunity to evaluate many types of exciting companies, technologies, and therapeutic approaches, and to integrate and grow these businesses over time. Having been involved with Voyager from an early stage during the collaboration with Sanofi Genzyme, I am thrilled to now be joining this team at the leading edge of developing potentially ground-breaking therapies for patients with severe neurological diseases.”
Mr. Turenne joins Voyager from Sanofi where, as senior vice president, global head, business development and licensing, he was responsible for partnering activities across all of Sanofi units including Sanofi Pasteur, Sanofi Genzyme, Diabetes-Cardiovascular, General Medicines, and Consumer Health, and also served as Chair of the Sanofi Transaction Committee. He previously served as global head of strategy and business development at Genzyme following its acquisition by Sanofi. In addition to his extensive business development transactions and leadership positions, Mr. Turenne has held senior leadership positions at the country level as general manager of Sanofi Genzyme Australia/New Zealand with P&L responsibility for that region and at the global franchise level as head of commercial operations for the Renal and Endocrinology division, which achieved one billion dollars in annual revenues during his time. Mr. Turenne began his career in industry as a consultant at Kendall Strategies, the consulting arm of Feinstein Kean Healthcare, now part of Ogilvy.
Mr. Turenne holds a B.A. from Kalamazoo College and an M.B.A. from the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth.
Voyager has entered into an employment agreement with Mr. Turenne that, among other things, provides for the grant of a non-statutory stock option outside of the Company’s 2015 Stock Option and Incentive Plan as an inducement material to Mr. Turenne’s entering into employment with Voyager in accordance with Nasdaq Stock Market Listing Rule 5635(c)(4). The stock option to purchase 650,000 shares of the Company’s common stock is being granted effective as of Mr. Turenne’s start date as president and chief executive officer. The stock option grant was approved by the Compensation Committee and each of the independent directors of Voyager in accordance with Nasdaq Stock Market Listing Rule 5635(c)(4). The stock option will have an exercise price per share equal to the closing price per share of Voyager’s common stock on The Nasdaq Global Select Market on the effective date of grant. The stock option will have a ten-year term and will vest over a four-year period, with 25% of the shares underlying the option award vesting on the first anniversary of the date of grant and the remaining 75% of the shares underlying the option award to vest monthly over the subsequent 36-month period.
About Voyager Therapeutics
Voyager Therapeutics is a clinical-stage gene therapy company focused on developing life-changing treatments for severe neurological diseases. Voyager is committed to advancing the field of AAV gene therapy through innovation and investment in vector engineering and optimization, manufacturing and dosing and delivery techniques. Voyager’s pipeline focuses on severe neurological diseases in need of effective new therapies, including Parkinson’s disease, a monogenic form of ALS called SOD1, Huntington’s disease, Friedreich’s ataxia, neurodegenerative diseases related to defective or excess aggregation of tau protein in the brain including Alzheimer’s disease and severe, chronic pain. Voyager has broad strategic collaborations with Sanofi Genzyme, the specialty care global business unit of Sanofi, AbbVie, and the University of Massachusetts Medical School. Founded by scientific and clinical leaders in the fields of AAV gene therapy, expressed RNA interference and neuroscience, Voyager Therapeutics is headquartered in Cambridge, Massachusetts. For more information, please visit www.voyagertherapeutics.com.
This press release contains forward-looking statements for the purposes of the safe harbor provisions under The Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 and other federal securities laws. The use of words such as “may,” “might,” “will,” “would,” “should,” “expect,” “plan,” “anticipate,” “believe,” “estimate,” “undoubtedly,” “project,” “intend,” “future,” “potential,” or “continue,” and other similar expressions are intended to identify forward-looking statements. For example, all statements Voyager makes regarding the initiation, timing, progress and reporting of results of its preclinical programs and clinical trials and its research and development programs, its ability to advance its AAV-based gene therapies into, and successfully initiate, enroll and complete, clinical trials, the potential clinical utility of its product candidates, its ability to continue to develop its gene therapy platform, its ability to develop manufacturing capability for its products and successfully transition its manufacturing process, its ability to perform under existing collaborations with, among others, Sanofi Genzyme and AbbVie and to add new programs to its pipeline, its ability to enter into new partnerships or collaborations, and the timing or likelihood of its regulatory filings and approvals, are forward looking. All forward-looking statements are based on estimates and assumptions by Voyager’s management that, although Voyager believes to be reasonable, are inherently uncertain. All forward-looking statements are subject to risks and uncertainties that may cause actual results to differ materially from those that Voyager expected. Such risks and uncertainties include, among others, the initiation and conduct of preclinical studies and clinical trials; the availability of data from clinical trials; the expectations for regulatory submissions and approvals; the continued development of the gene therapy platform; Voyager’s scientific approach and general development progress; and the availability or commercial potential of Voyager’s product candidates. These statements are also subject to a number of material risks and uncertainties that are described in Voyager’s most recent Annual Report on Form 10-K filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, as updated by its subsequent filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Any forward-looking statement speaks only as of the date on which it was made. Voyager undertakes no obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statement, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, except as required by law.