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Friday 08 July, 2016

PureTech Health PLC

PureTech Appoints Feng Zhang to SAB & Expands Team

RNS Number : 6189D
PureTech Health PLC
08 July 2016

PureTech Health plc


PureTech Appoints Feng Zhang to Scientific Advisory Board and Expands Team and Advisory Group


PureTech Health plc ("PureTech" or the "Company", LSE: PRTC), a cross-disciplinary biotech company developing novel medicines at the interface of the gut, brain and immune system, today announced the appointment of Feng Zhang, Ph.D.  to its Scientific Advisory Board (SAB). The Company has also appointed Jeff Stevens, as Vice President of Growth Strategy & Operations and has expanded its team of senior advisors to include Meghan Fitzgerald, DrPH, Executive Vice President of Corporate Strategy, M&A and Health Policy at Cardinal Health; Atul Pande, M.D., Former Senior Vice President and Head of Neurosciences at GlaxoSmithKline; and Philip J. Larsen, M.D., Ph.D., Global Head of Diabetes Research & Development at Sanofi.


"We are very pleased to add these accomplished leaders to our team and advisory group of distinguished scientists and clinicians," said Daphne Zohar, Chief Executive Officer of PureTech Health. "Insights from this group will further add to the intellectual capital resident at PureTech as we advance and enhance our pipeline."


Feng Zhang, Ph.D., will join PureTech as a member of the Company's SAB. He is an accomplished bioengineer focused on developing tools to better understand nervous system function and disease. His lab applies these novel tools to interrogate gene function and study neuropsychiatric diseases in animal and stem cell models. Since joining MIT and the Broad Institute in January 2011, Dr. Zhang has pioneered the development of genome editing tools for use in eukaryotic cells - including human cells - from natural microbial CRISPR systems. These tools, which he has made widely available, are accelerating biomedical research around the world. Dr. Zhang is a recipient of many awards including the Perl/UNC Prize in Neuroscience (2012, shared with Deisseroth and Boyden), the National Science Foundation's Alan T. Waterman Award (2014), the Jacob Heskel Gabbay Award in Biotechnology and Medicine (2014, shared with Jennifer Doudna and Emmanuelle Charpentier), the Canada Gairdner International Award (2016, shared with Emmanuelle Charpentier and Jennifer Doudna), and the Tang Prize in Biopharmaceutical Science (2016, shared with Emmanuelle Charpentier and Jennifer Doudna). He has also received technology innovation awards from the McKnight, New York Stem Cell and Damon Runyon foundations. In 2013 Popular Science named him one of its "Brilliant Ten." He was named one of the "Top 20 Researchers in 2014" by Nature Biotechnology, which considers the total impact of a scientist's body of published work. Dr. Zhang is also a founder of Editas Medicine, a genome editing company with specific expertise in CRISPR-Cas9 and TALE technologies.


Jeff Stevens will join PureTech as Vice President of Growth Strategy & Operations. In this role, he will be helping to refine and prioritise indications and commercial opportunities for PureTech's growth stage platforms. Mr. Stevens has been involved with the global healthcare industry for nearly 25 years. He started his career at Roche in sales, marketing, and business development before transitioning into institutional investments. Over the past decade, Mr. Stevens was a dedicated healthcare analyst and portfolio manager at Fidelity Investments in Boston. During his tenure at Fidelity and other asset managers, he has researched and invested in a diverse mix of biotherapeutic, medical device and service companies from all over the world. Mr. Stevens has a BS in chemistry from Trinity College and an MBA in finance and strategy from New York University.


Meghan Fitzgerald, DrPH, will join PureTech as a senior advisor. She is the Executive Vice President of Strategy, M&A and Health Policy at Cardinal Health and is a member of Cardinal Health's executive committee. She is an expert on a wide array of healthcare topics and trends, including specialty healthcare and healthcare policy. Dr. Fitzgerald leads Cardinal Health's Corporate Strategy team and previously was the President of Cardinal Health Specialty Solutions, a specialty healthcare business that offers services for healthcare providers, payers, and pharmaceutical and biotech industries. Specialty Solutions is one of the fastest growing businesses at Cardinal Health. Prior to joining Cardinal Health, she was Senior Vice President of New Markets International Division and Business Development at Medco Health Solutions, Inc., where she was responsible for leading business development efforts in the U.S. and internationally. She previously held positions of increasing responsibility at Pfizer Global Pharmaceuticals, where she supported business strategies and operations, including the implementation of ten-year lifecycle plans for various pharmaceutical products such as Celebrex. Dr. Fitzgerald serves on the Board of Directors for SeniorLink, a model of in-home care for elders as well as Concert Pharmaceuticals. She is a member of the World Economic Forum's Global Agenda Council on Aging and also serves as a member of the adjunct faculty at Columbia University in New York, teaching The Business of Healthcare and Strategy.


Philip J. Larsen, M.D., Ph.D., will join PureTech as a senior advisor. He is the Global Head of Diabetes R&D at Sanofi. He has 20 years of pharmaceutical and biotechnology industry experience in the field of diabetes and obesity. Previously he was Head of the Neuroendocrine Pharmacology Department at Novo Nordisk and was Chief Scientific Officer for diabetes research at Eli Lilly. Dr. Larsen also founded Rheoscience, a Danish biotechnology company focussed on obesity and diabetes. He has served in his current role at Sanofi since August 2012, where he is directing discovery and early clinical development in the field of diabetes, including addressing diabetes with both small molecule and biologics based therapies. In addition to drug product focused research, under Dr. Larsen's leadership Sanofi has intensified its focus on translational medicine to address the accelerating prevalence of type 2 diabetes.


Atul Pande, M.D., will join PureTech as a senior advisor.  Dr. Pande has more than two decades of experience in drug development. He has led several programmes in neurosciences, respiratory, HIV, oncology and cardiovascular therapy areas. Dr. Pande is the former Senior Vice President and Senior Advisor, Pharmaceutical R&D at GlaxoSmithKline and has been active in the development of multiple important central nervous system drugs while holding various senior roles in Pfizer R&D, Parke-Davis/Warner-Lambert, and Lilly Research Laboratories. His experience includes drug development, registration, launch and lifecycle management in the areas of anxiety, depression, epilepsy, neuropathic pain, schizophrenia, traumatic brain injury, and Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases. Dr. Pande is a psychiatrist and fellow of several scientific societies, including the American Psychiatric Association. He began his career as a faculty member at the University of Michigan Medical School where his research focused on mood disorders. He has published over 50 peer-reviewed scientific papers and over 100 abstracts, book chapters, and book reviews.


About Pure Tech's Scientific Advisory Board

In addition to its group of esteemed Senior Advisors who are working with PureTech on specific projects or products, PureTech's Scientific Advisory Board is focused on identifying "what's next" for PureTech. This group is chaired by H. Robert Horvitz, Ph.D., PureTech Board Advisor and SAB Chair, Nobel Laureate and David H. Koch Professor at MIT. Members of the SAB include Dennis A. Ausiello, M.D., Chief Emeritus of Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital and Jackson Distinguished Professor of Clinical Medicine at Harvard Medical School; Edward Boyden, Ph.D., optogenetics pioneer, professor of Biological Engineering and Brain and Cognitive Sciences at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Media Lab and the MIT McGovern Institute; James J. Collins, Ph.D., Termeer Professor of Medical Engineering and Science and Professor of Biological Engineering at MIT; Sanjiv Sam Gambhir, M.D., Ph.D., Ludwig Professor and Chair, Department of Radiology and Director of the Molecular Imaging Program at Stanford University; Raju Kucherlapati, Ph.D., PureTech Board member, Paul C. Cabot Professor of Genetics and Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and Robert Langer, Sc.D., PureTech Co-founder and Board member, David H. Koch Institute Professor at MIT; and Feng Zhang, Ph.D., W.M. Keck Career Development Professor of Biomedical Engineering in the departments of Brain and Cognitive Sciences and Biological Engineering at MIT and Core Member at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard.


About PureTech Health

PureTech Health (PureTech Health plc, PRTC.L) is a cross-disciplinary biotech company focused on areas of growing scientific and technical insights that are at an important inflection point, including the central nervous, gastro-intestinal and immune systems, and the interactions and signalling between them. PureTech has approximately 20 clinical studies across its pipeline targeting multi-billion dollar market opportunities, including five human proof-of-concept studies and multiple pivotal or registration study readouts expected in the next two years. While inevitably some technologies will not advance to commercialisation, PureTech's approach mitigates risk as most of the cash resides on a PureTech parent company level, allowing PureTech to build value and divert cash to its most successful programmes as milestones are achieved. PureTech has over 220 patents and patent applications. PureTech's leading team and board, along with an advisory network of more than 60 expert founder-scientists and advisors across multiple disciplines, gives PureTech access to potentially ground-breaking science and technological innovation. With healthcare undergoing major transformation, PureTech believes it is well positioned to develop and launch medicines for the 21st century. For more information, visit and connect with us on Twitter.


Forward Looking Statement

This press release contains statements that are or may be forward-looking statements, including statements that relate to the company's future prospects, developments and strategies. The forward-looking statements are based on current expectations and are subject to known and unknown risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results, performance and achievements to differ materially from current expectations, including, but not limited to, those risks and uncertainties described in the risk factors included in the company's regulatory filings. These forward-looking statements are based on assumptions regarding the present and future business strategies of the company and the environment in which it will operate in the future. Each forward-looking statement speaks only as at the date of this press release. Except as required by law, regulatory requirement, the Listing Rules and the Disclosure and Transparency Rules, neither the company nor any other party intends to update or revise these forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.


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For further information, please contact:



+1 617 651 3156

Allison Mead, Director, Communications and Investor Relations




FTI Consulting (Communications adviser to PureTech)

+44 (0) 20 3727 1000

Ben Atwell

Matthew Cole



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