BOSTON, MASSACHUSSETTS — Akouos, Inc., a precision genetic medicine company dedicated to developing potential gene therapies for individuals living with disabling hearing loss worldwide, announced the appointment of Sachiyo Minegishi as chief financial officer, effective today.
In addition, the company announced that Jennifer Wellman has been promoted to chief operating officer, from her prior role as senior vice president of regulatory and quality.
“Sachiyo is a strategic leader with deep experience in business development and commercialization strategy, specifically in developing gene therapies for rare diseases. Her leadership will prove invaluable as we continue to build Akouos as a fully-integrated genetic medicine company, and continue to advance our program pipeline of AAV-based genetic medicines with the potential to treat a broad range of inner ear disorders. Jennifer’s promotion to chief operating officer is reflective of her significant contributions to Akouos and the integral role she has played in our growth over the last several years. We look forward to her continued leadership in this expanded role.”–Manny Simons, Ph.D., M.B.A., CEO, President and Co-Founder
Ms. Minegishi has 20 years of experience in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industry, serving in various roles at global companies, as well as investment banking. Most recently, Ms. Minegishi led the gene therapy program for Sickle Cell Disease at bluebird bio to initiation of Phase 3 studies and regulatory alignment on clinical path to registration. Earlier, Ms. Minegishi held leadership roles at Aegerion Pharmaceuticals, Human Genome Sciences, Genzyme, and Amgen. She began her career in investment banking at Merrill Lynch, with a focus on execution of equity financing and mergers and acquisitions in the biotechnology industry.
Ms. Minegishi earned a B.S. in Chemical Engineering and Economics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and an M.B.A. from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.
“As Akouos enters this critical stage of advancing towards the clinic, I am excited to work alongside the entire team at Akouos and hearing loss community to develop precision genetic medicines for patients with disabling hearing loss,” said Ms. Minegishi. “Akouos is uniquely positioned to rapidly advance towards the goal of restoring, improving, and preserving hearing and I am honored to have the opportunity to contribute my expertise.”
Ms. Wellman has over 20 years of experience in adeno-associated viral (AAV) vector gene therapy research and development. Prior to joining Akouos in early 2018, Ms. Wellman was co-founder and head of product development strategy at Spark Therapeutics, Inc. While at Spark, and at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, she led the regulatory and clinical development for several AAV gene therapies, including Luxturna®, the first FDA-approved gene therapy for a genetic disease. Earlier in her career, she was at Avigen, Inc. in various R&D positions with increasing responsibilities.
Ms. Wellman holds an Honours B.S. in Microbiology and Immunology from Queen’s University (Canada) and an M.S. from University of New Haven.
Akouos is a precision genetic medicine company dedicated to developing gene therapies with the potential to restore, improve, and preserve high-acuity physiologic hearing for individuals living with disabling hearing loss worldwide. Leveraging its precision genetic medicine platform that incorporates a proprietary adeno-associated viral (AAV) vector library and a novel delivery approach, Akouos is focused on developing precision therapies for forms of sensorineural hearing loss. Headquartered in Boston, Akouos was founded in 2016 by leaders in the fields of neurotology, genetics, inner ear drug delivery, and AAV gene therapy.