BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS — Akouos, a precision genetic medicine company developing gene therapies to restore and preserve hearing, announced two key leadership appointments this week.
Gregory Robinson, Ph.D., has joined the company as chief scientific officer, and co-founder Michael McKenna, M.D., expands his role to full-time chief medical officer.
Using Gene Therapy to Restore and Preserve Hearing
“In the past year, Akouos has made substantial progress advancing our gene therapy pipeline and establishing the leading precision genetic medicine platform focused on inner ear disorders,” said Manny Simons, Ph.D., founder, president and CEO of Akouos.
“We are excited to build upon this momentum and strengthen our team with the appointment of two incredibly talented leaders. Greg brings to Akouos an impressive track record in gene therapy and rare disease translational research. His insight and experience will be valuable in our effort to advance a portfolio of gene therapies for the deaf and hard-of-hearing. Mike, a world-renowned neurotologist with expertise in translational inner ear drug delivery research, was instrumental in the founding of Akouos, and we are delighted that he has joined us full time as chief medical officer. Together, their combined expertise will be instrumental in accelerating our precision genetic medicines through clinical development and advancing a rich pipeline of gene therapies for individuals with hearing loss.”
–Manny Simons, PhD, Founder, President and CEO of Akouos
According to the announcement, Dr. Gregory Robinson brings more than 20 years of scientific leadership experience. Most recently, he served as the chief scientific officer at Nightstar Therapeutics (NASDAQ: NITE), an AAV gene therapy company focused on inherited retinal diseases. Greg was a key member of the leadership team that led Nightstar to its $800 million Biogen acquisition earlier this year. Prior to Nightstar, Dr. Robinson was the chief scientific officer of Agilis Biotherapeutics, where he was responsible for advancing research programs focused on AAV-based gene therapy candidates for the treatment of rare central nervous system disorders. Previously, he held leadership roles at Shire Plc., where he led discovery research. He has also held positions at Eyetech Pharmaceuticals, Pharmacia Ophthalmology and Hybridon. He has co-authored more than 40 peer-reviewed publications and has 13 issued patents. Dr. Robinson holds a B.S. in biology from Macalester College, a Ph.D. in biochemistry from Boston University, and completed postdoctoral studies at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute, Harvard Medical School.
Dr. McKenna, a co-founder of Akouos, will be expanding his role to full-time chief medical officer, having previously served in this role on a part-time basis since 2018. For the past 15 years, Dr. McKenna led efforts to establish inner ear drug delivery systems to enable the development of hearing restoration therapies. Prior to Akouos, he held the Joseph B. Nadol, Jr. Chair and was the director of the Division of Otology and Neurotology at Massachusetts Eye and Ear and a professor of otolaryngology at Harvard Medical School. Dr. McKenna’s laboratory shaped the field’s understanding of the molecular pathophysiology of otosclerosis through over three decades of pioneering research. He and his colleagues were the first to demonstrate an association between the COL1A1 gene and clinical otosclerosis. Dr. McKenna holds an M.D. from the University of Southern California School of Medicine, completed his otolaryngology residency at Harvard Medical School, and his fellowship in neurotology and base skull surgery at the House Ear Clinic.
Akouos is a precision genetic medicine company dedicated to developing gene therapies that restore and preserve hearing. Leveraging its adeno-associated viral (AAV) vector-based gene therapy platform, Akouos is focused on developing precision therapies for forms of sensorineural hearing loss. Headquartered in Boston, the Company was founded in 2016 by world leaders in the fields of neurotology, genetics, inner ear drug delivery, and AAV gene therapy. Akouos has strategic partnerships with Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary and Lonza, Inc.