Kintai Therapeutics Announces Appointments of Industry Veterans to its Executive Leadership Team

Complementary biomolecular transfer modalities added to Kintai platform through integration with Flagship’s Senda Biosciences

CAMBRIDGE, Mass., July 16, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Kintai Therapeutics, a pioneer in unlocking the power of the human enteric signaling network and its signals throughout the body to combat disease and promote health, announced today that it is in the initial stages of combining its operations and talent with fellow Flagship Labs-founded company Senda Biosciences. Founded in 2019, Senda is developing novel platforms designed to solve the challenges of transferring therapeutic payloads across biological barriers. Dr. Guillaume Pfefer, CEO-Partner at Flagship Pioneering, and Dr. Scott Plevy, CSO of Senda Biosciences, will serve as CEO and CSO of the newly combined company, respectively.

Dr. Pfefer is a 25-year veteran of the biotech and pharmaceutical industries who most recently served as Senior Vice President, Global Vaccine Leader for SHINGRIX, GlaxoSmithKline’s (GSK) vaccine for the prevention of shingles. Prior to joining Senda Biosciences in 2019, Dr. Plevy served as CSO at Synlogic, Inc. and previously led the Gastroenterology Disease Area at Janssen Immunology Research & Development. Having led the establishment of the company’s deep and diverse pipeline of clinical candidates over the past two years, previous Kintai CEO Dr. Paul-Peter Tak will continue to serve the newly combined company as a senior advisor.

“We are delighted to add the business and scientific expertise and experience of Guillaume and Scott to Kintai’s exceptional executive leadership team,” said John Mendlein, Ph.D., Chairman of the Board of Kintai Therapeutics and Executive Partner of Flagship Pioneering. “As the medical community continues to recognize the role of enteric biology in diseases as far ranging as oncology and COVID-19, this is an exciting time to leverage Kintai’s industry first enteric biology and small molecule chemistry platform for generating innovative product candidates with first-in-class mechanisms for a number of therapeutic areas, including metabolic, cancer and neurological diseases. We thank Paul-Peter for his many contributions and look forward to the important contributions Guillaume and Scott will undoubtedly make in harnessing the innovative platform opportunities and expertise of the newly combined Kintai and Senda organization to combat disease and promote health.”

Dr. Pfefer is an experienced life sciences executive who brings a wealth of expertise spanning research and development, manufacturing, strategy, commercial, business development and operations. As part of his role as Global Vaccine Leader for GSK, he led the U.S. launch of SHINGRIX, where he and his team delivered one of the best biopharma launches in North America over the past decade as independently assessed by IQVIA. Prior to GSK, Dr. Pfefer served as President and CEO of Kala Pharmaceuticals, where he helped transform the company from a pre-clinical technology platform start-up to a leading ophthalmology company currently with two commercial products on the market. He holds a Master’s degree in Chemical Engineering from the National School for Chemical Engineering (Nancy, France), a Ph.D. in Materials Science from Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS), France, and an MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.

“I am excited to be joining a team dedicated to translating breakthrough science and technology into new solutions for preventing and treating diseases,” said Dr. Pfefer. “With its novel biological insights based on the generation of human sample data and machine learning capabilities and modular chemistry proficiencies, Kintai is ideally positioned to bring transformative medicines to patients suffering from a broad array of metabolic, cancer and neurological diseases. I am also enthusiastic about the potential of a company that will meld the resources and expertise of Kintai and Senda and eager to unveil the full potential of this combined organization in due time.”

Dr. Plevy is a gastroenterologist and molecular immunologist who, prior to his appointment as CSO of Senda, held leadership positions at Synlogic, Inc. and Janssen Immunology Research & Development, LLC. During his career, Dr. Plevy has published over 110 refereed papers, served as the lead investigator on multiple early-phase clinical trials and performed translational research to advance the understanding of novel immunologic interventions in inflammatory bowel disease and other immunologic disorders. Dr. Plevy earned both an M.D. degree and an A.B. in mathematics from Columbia University and completed residency training in internal medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. He subsequently completed a clinical fellowship in gastroenterology at the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA), and a postdoctoral research fellowship at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Department of Microbiology and Immunology, UCLA School of Medicine.

“I am thrilled to be joining Kintai at this important time in the company’s clinical advancement,” said Dr. Plevy. “It is truly a rare opportunity to be able to join a team working at the forefront of an entirely new approach to precision therapeutics that elucidates broad implications of enteric biology and microbiology in many human diseases with unmet medical needs. I am honored to play a role in helping to bring the promise of Kintai’s Precision Enteric Medicine™ discovery platform to reality.”

About Kintai and Senda
Kintai Therapeutics is uniquely focused on unlocking the power of the enteric signaling network and its signals throughout the body to fight disease and restore health. The company’s Precision Enteric Medicine™ (PEM™) compounds are based on a deep understanding of the interconnected biology of the microbiome, gut immune system, and enteric nervous system. Kintai has pioneered a new frontier in gut science, resulting in a unique understanding of a wealth of new genes, metabolites, and signaling molecules, leveraging these insights to rapidly translate into a highly actionable pipeline. Through the company’s focus on human biology, experimental medicine, bioinformatics and machine learning, Kintai has created a discovery and therapeutic development approach to identify and deliver new medicines. Kintai’s multidisciplinary expertise and its technology platform has delivered a pipeline of programs across multiple therapeutic areas, including oncology, neurology, metabolic disease and immunology. Kintai believes that its core strength lies in the hearts and minds of its talented employees who keep patients at the center. Kintai was founded in 2016 by Flagship Labs, the innovation foundry of Flagship Pioneering. To learn more, please visit the company’s website at Founded in 2019, Senda is developing novel platforms designed to solve the challenges of transferring therapeutic payloads across biological barriers. 

About Flagship Pioneering

Flagship Pioneering conceives, creates, resources, and develops first-in-category life sciences companies to transform human health and sustainability. Since its launch in 2000, the firm has applied a unique hypothesis-driven innovation process to originate and foster more than 100 scientific ventures, resulting in over $34 billion in aggregate value. To date, Flagship is backed by more than $4.4 billion of aggregate capital commitments, of which over $1.9 billion has been deployed toward the founding and growth of its pioneering companies alongside more than $10 billion of follow-on investments from other institutions. The current Flagship ecosystem comprises 41 transformative companies, including Axcella Health, Denali Therapeutics, Evelo Biosciences, Foghorn Therapeutics, Indigo Ag, Kaleido Biosciences, Moderna, Rubius Therapeutics, Sana Biotechnology, Seres Therapeutics, and Syros Pharmaceuticals.

Kristen Bridge
Kintai Therapeutics