Foundational RNA and cLNP expert Antonin (Tony) de Fougerolles joins Etherna as independent board member
NIEL, Belgium, Jan. 9, 2023 /PRNewswire/ -- Etherna (“the Company”), a leading mRNA technologies company, announced today that Antonin (Tony) de Fougerolles has joined its board of directors as an independent member. This follows the Company’s recent Series B2 financing round to expand investment in its integrated mRNA technology platform and further pursue its new partnership-driven business strategy.
Tony is currently the CEO of Evox Therapeutics, an Oxford-based company developing exosome therapeutics, and has an extensive background in mRNA and more specifically LNPs through his roles at Moderna and Alnylam. He has nearly 25 years of biotech R&D experience in building out drug pipelines, and he has played a key role in developing and successfully advancing 3 new drug modalities to the market (mRNA, RNAi, single domain antibodies) and in helping build several multi-billion-dollar companies from start-up stage. As founding Chief Scientific Officer (CSO) at Moderna Therapeutics, he pioneered modified mRNA as a new therapeutic and vaccine drug modality and the mRNA chemistry and delivery systems that form the basis of the approved COVID-19 mRNA vaccines. Prior to that, as VP of Research at Alnylam, he helped develop RNA interference (RNAi) as a new drug modality, including overseeing development of the first approved LNP-based RNAi delivery system and the development of several approved RNAi drugs including inclisiran. Author of over 60 scientific publications and an inventor on over 100 issued US patents, Tony has also a ‘Belgian’ connection, from his time as CSO at Ablynx (now Sanofi) where he played a key role in the approval of the first single domain antibody drug, caplacizumab. Tony obtained his PhD in Immunology from Harvard University.
Since Etherna was founded in 2013, the Company has established an integrated set of proprietary capabilities for end-to-end design, development and manufacture of next-generation mRNA products. These include molecular designs, lipid biochemistry expertise, customized lipid nanoparticle formulations (cLNPs), mRNA-based T cell adjuvants, and advanced manufacturing processes, and overcome the current challenges facing the development of mRNA therapeutics. Etherna’s new business model will utilize this suite of capabilities as enablers to deliver superior products for partners in both early-stage research as well as later-stage development for mRNA therapeutics.
“Tony is exceptionally qualified to help ensure Etherna’s future corporate growth,” added Russell Greig, PhD, Chair of Etherna’s board of directors. “His addition to the board will add momentum to the company’s mission to deliver cutting edge advances in mRNA and LNP technologies for the treatment of unmet medical needs.”
“I am thrilled to be joining Etherna’s board and contributing to its future growth,” commented Tony de Fougerolles. “The cLNPs and mRNA manufacturing expertise that the company has developed is world-leading and impressive in both its breadth and novelty. As is increasingly being understood, the ability to robustly deliver mRNA and other genetic medicines to new cell types and tissues is the central element needed to enable their wider application.”
Marijn Dekkers, Chairman of Novalis LifeSciences, said: “We are excited to have Tony join at this important stage of the Company’s development. He is a fantastic addition to the competences we have already gathered on the board. In addition to scientific excellence, he is a proven entrepreneur with an incredible track record of commercializing new modalities and technology platforms.”
Bernard Sagaert, interim CEO of Etherna said: “We are delighted to have Tony join the board, as he brings, together with Ken, vast experience in cLNPs and mRNA to Etherna, and is well connected in the industry. Having him on board will be invaluable in helping us implement our new business strategy. Strengthening and expanding our significant expertise in designing, synthesizing, and manufacturing cLNPs for a range of prophylactic and therapeutic indications, will enable the Company to accelerate near-term revenue growth through technology licensing and mRNA cGMP manufacturing services for multiple future partners.”
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